What to Do with the Samsung Note 8

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Note 8

The newest Samsung Note 8 just came out.  Although I skipped the Note 7, I have been an avid Samsung Note 8 for years…since the Note 3.  Samsung broke all the screen barriers with its new Samsung Note series in December 2011 and its 5.3 inches “monster” sized screen.  Many scoffed at its large “phablet” size.

But the Note had a lot to back it up.  It had a dual 1.4 GHz processor, a writing stylus, and a beautiful screen.  It was a beauty and a powerhouse to behold.

Today, the Samsung Note 8  continues to push the boundaries with its stunning 6.3 inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon 825 super fast processor, dual lens camera with a telephoto lens, and amazing stylus capabilities.


The Samsung Note 8

People often ask me, what’s the big deal about the Samsung Note series?  Why are you such a fanatic?  Well, first of all, the Samsung Note has always taken amazing pictures and has done better with zooming in and performing well in dim lighting situations than any other phone I’ve used.

Second of all, Samsung continues to innovate and bring new features to its flagship phone series more than any other brand.  To best explain to you why the Note 8 is different than other phones, I’ll show you some of my favorite features through pictures…


The Edge Advantage


The edge menu was first introduced with the Note 5.  Then an option, now it is on all Note 8 phones.  The edge menu allows you to swipe from the right and bring up a quick menu to get to your favorite apps.  Swipe from the side again and you’ll see another quick menu – for news, notes, favorite contacts, or whatever you personalize your quick menu to be.

It’s super handy and cuts through the clutter of the many apps I use.  I also use a second quick menu for contacts so I can get ahold of family members or friends via phone or text fast.


Face/Iris Scanner

If you like to lock your phone but hate putting in a password each time, Samsung gives you a couple more options.  Use the fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, the face scanner which  memorizes your face to open, or the new iris scanner which scans your eyes to ensure you are authorized to open your phone.

Although I like the face/iris scanners and they work fairly well, I prefer the fingerprint scanner because you can more easily open the phone in a dimly lit room.  When the room is dark, I have to enter a code because it cannot see my eyes or face clearly.  Plus, it makes me a little nervous about how safe it is having my eyes scanned.



The S-Pen is the main distinguishing factor versus most other phones.  Inside the Note 8 is a cleverly concealed lightweight stylus pen, called the S-Pen.  Use this stylus to write notes, draw, and hover over words for more information.


Pin It Note

Wish you had a reminder note right on your screen for your grocery list, To Do list, to call someone first thing in the morning, etc?  With the S-Pen you can handwrite a note to yourself and pin it to the Note 8’s Always On Display so you can find it easily.  It pins to the Always On Display for 10 minutes, but you can repin it again whenever you’d like.


Take Notes with S-Notes


I’m never caught without a “pen” and “paper” close at hand with my Note 8.  I can use the stylus and the Always On Display to quickly jot down a phone number or address, without having to wake up my phone.

I also can hand write notes in my OneNote app, email, and other apps with the stylus and the words are automatically transcribed as I write.  I used to take all my notes during Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) this way.  Then they sync up with the OneNote app on my desktop computer and I can search for words from my notes easily using OneNote’s search.  It works great!




If you’re reading something in a foreign language online – whether an article, pictures of words on signs, or even menu items, you can use the S-Pen Translation mini-app to discover what the word means in English. 

After opening the Translation within the S-Pen quick menu, just hover your pen over a word and choose if you wanted it translated from French (if the word is in French) to English and the Translation is pretty accurate.


Live Message


You can create your own animated .gif using the S-Pen and either a blank screen or you can write on a picture you’ve already taken.  It’s a fun way to send a more interesting text to your family members or friends.

Here’s a picture I took of our dog Curly.  I used the Live Message feature, using my S-Pen, to draw a tongue and eyebrow on her.  But the Live Message actually records as you draw and saves the picture as an animated gif.  It’s a really cool, unique feature.  I use this feature to send fun messages to my daughter.


Screen Write


Take a screenshot of anything on your phone using Screen Write and you can easily add your own notes to it.  Keep it for reference, or text/email it to a friend!

Use it to draw on maps, to take a screenshot of something you are shopping for and add your notes to it, or even screenshots of houses with your notes, if shopping for a new home.  The possibilities are endless.  I used this feature with my Note 4 to take a picture and write down the aperture of the camera the instructor used during a photography class once.



Bixby is Samsung’s new assistant – the Samsung version of Siri, Cortana, or Hey Google.  Bixby is a work in progress but Samsung has built in some unique functionality that comes up with the Bixby button and within the Camera function.

Pressing the Bixby button, you can ask Bixby things like:

  • What is the weather?
  • Pull up a map of downtown LA
  • Open the Life360 app
  • Turn on/off the flashlight
  • What is 360 squared?
  • Close all apps
  • Turn on airplane mode
  • Post my last photo to Instagram
  • Show me the weather for the weekend
  • Show me the weekly calendar for this week
  • What’s my schedule today?
  • Start the stopwatch now
  • Wake me up in 20 minutes
  • Take a selfie

And so much more.  You can even teach Bixby how to do things you’d like to have done in some cases.  More on Bixby coming up soon.




Live Focus

With the Note 8’s the dual camera, you can use “Live Focus” to take a picture close-up of someone or something but it also takes the background.  So if you prefer you can see the full picture, behind the close-up shot.  It’s pretty cool and gives you the opportunity to show a fuller picture behind the close-up.

In this picture, I blurred out the background but even after I take the shot, I can unblur the background if I prefer.


Bixby Vision


You can take a picture of something and use the Bixby Vision option right there in preview mode to either search for a similar image online or shop for something like it online.  I tried taking a picture of a cool Lander cable I have and Bixby Vision helped me find it online to purchase.

I also took a picture of the pattern on my shorts and Bixby Vision pulled up similar patterns in fabrics, clothing and more.  In fact, one of the fabrics it pulled up I loved.  I may buy the fabric to reupholster my Gram’s favorite old chair.  What a great tool, I found, for finding fabric!


       Photo Translate


If you take photos in a place with a foreign language on the streets, stores, etc., you can select the text you would like translated and Bixby can translate for you…right within the camera/gallery app!  Pretty cool.



  • Amazing dual-camera with great clarity, both with optical image stabilization (helps with camera shake)
  • The camera supports 2x optical zoom, great for getting better pics of your child getting their award!
  • Is IP68 certified so it’s waterproof even after being emersed in water for up to a half hour
  • Even with its 6.3 inch screen ( 2960 x 1440 pixels), it is easy to navigate with one hand, as it’s elongated rather than wide
  • Has an Always On Display so you can see the time, battery power, message notifications, and more without picking your phone up
  • Uses the latest, Corning Gorilla Glass 5.0, which is the strongest phone glass on the market
  • Has an ultra-thin bezel around the phone for more visual space due to two infinity edges
  • Uses the latest charging USB-C connect AND it has a  3.5mm headphone port
  • It has an expandable MicroSD slot – you can expand the memory up to 256GB!!!
  • If you don’t use the MicroSD slot, you can use the slot for an extra SIM card to use as a home and work phone
  • The Note has lots of processing power with 6GB RAM to multiprocess and display video and games
  • Includes wireless charging, just lay it down on a wireless charging pad (extra) – no need for cords



  • There is only one speaker on the phone, two would make for better stereo sound
  • Is one of the pricer phones on the market


The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, unlocked, is available from Best Buy for $950 from Samsung, including free shipping.  But check around with your mobile carrier too, they may have some good deals going on.  I bought mine through T-mobile, they had a buy one, get one free promotion with a new line.  So now my best friend and I both have our new Note 8’s.


Note 8


I love the cases from Lander too, which include a hand strap for extra precaution that you don’t drop your phone.  Available in a cool blue and purple color, the Lander Moab Case sells for $39.99.



A Mom’s Perspective

The Samsung Note 8 lives up to the Note’s leading-edge technology reputation.  It is packed with advanced features and conveniences you can’t find on other phones.  The pictures it takes are stunning and displayed on the beautiful 6.3-inch display, they are truly breathtaking.
The dual camera and Live Focus are pretty fun to play with as well, getting a different perspective or contrived blur depending on what the focus of your picture is.  And the Bixby Vision adds a whole new convenience to translating or finding things on the Internet with a touch of your finger.
The stylus pushes the envelope in productivity for me.  To have the ability to make a quick handwritten note when writing down a phone number or to do list and pin it to the Always On Screen is such a time saver.  No need to fish around in my purse for a pen and paper.
The Samsung Note 8 has exceeded my expectations…but then again…they were lower due to the Note 7 fiasco!  Nonetheless, for those who seek a robust phone with amazing picture clarity, increased productivity, and enhanced conveniences, the Samsung Note 8 is a great fit.

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