4 things the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 can do that the Galaxy S8 can't

If you're on the fence about which of Samsung's latest flagship phones you should buy, this might help out.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Watch this: 4 things the Galaxy Note 8 can do that the Galaxy S8 can't

Beyond a slightly larger display and a somewhat boxier design, the Note 8 has kept a few features to itself when compared to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. 

Write on the screen

A staple of the Note line has always been a big screen and the S-Pen. The Note 8's S-Pen is waterproof, more sensitive, and has a smaller tip for easier writing.

Samsung improved two S-Pen features on the Note 8, including Screen Off Memo and translation using the pen.

17 hidden Galaxy Note 8 features

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Screen Off Memos is now capped at 100 pages of notes, reminders, sketches or whatever you want. Translate is no longer restricted to single words and can now do complete sentences.

Camera tricks

Josh Miller/CNET

This is an obvious one, given that it would require a hardware upgrade in order for the S8 to gain an extra camera.

With the second lens on the back of the Note 8, you can take photos that contain more depth-of-field information, which leads to a bokeh effect. In other words, the subject of your photo is in focus while the background is blurry. And with the Note 8, you can actually adjust just how much bokeh is used, before or after the photo is snapped when using the Live Focus feature.

Another cool feature, Dual Capture, gives you the ability to zoom out on a photo captured with both rear cameras, showing the entire scene instead of just the original subject. 

Live Messages

One of the demo Live Messages on a Note 8 I sent myself during my hands-on with the device. 


Similar to Apple 's Digital Touch feature, Live Messages will let you draw or write a message, and then share it in animated form.

Using the S-Pen you can draw on top of a photo or handwrite a message, and the Note 8 will record every pen stroke. The shared image is a standard animated GIF and should be playable regardless of the service used to send it.

App Pair

Josh Miller/CNET

Multiwindow apps are nothing new to Samsung devices, with the Korean company implementing the feature well before Google integrated it into Android Nougat . With the Note 8, Samsung is making it easier to repeatedly use two apps at the same time.

The feature is called App Pair and is part of the Edge screen feature. Using App Pair, you pick two apps, say Calendar and Messages, as a shortcut. Then when you tap on the pair, both apps are opened in multiwindow mode.

You can set any two apps as a pair, as long as each one supports multiwindow mode.

Samsung Experience

Some of these features, Live Messages and App Pair, for example, don't rely on hardware. There's nothing stopping Samsung from updating the Samsung Experience software running on all current Galaxy devices with these same features.

A Samsung representative confirmed to CNET some of the software-based features would indeed eventually make their way to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but stopped short of providing a time frame or specific list.

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