Change is hard. I don’t like it. It’s a big part of the reason I’ve been using a continuous string of iPhones for the last decade.
But Samsung threw down the gauntlet, and said the Galaxy Note8 could change me.
Here’s how that went.
More screen size
I’ve already written about how amazing the screen of the Note8 is – and that I was planning to upgrade to an iPhone Plus – but it’s worth another call out. While the iPhone Plus has a large screen, the phone is also slightly wider than the Galaxy Note8. My hands aren’t big enough to use the iPhone Plus with one hand, which means I’d always need both hands.
However, between the narrower build of the Galaxy Note8 and the infinity edges (it curves around, and the touch screen follows it around the edges), I can still use the Galaxy Note8 with one hand – but get all the advantages of a bigger screen. This comparison shot also shows how the Galaxy Note8 display fills nearly the entire face of the screen – there’s no wasted space.
Everyone uses their smartphone for different things, but one thing I do a lot of is read books and work online or on emails. The added screen space makes everything just that little bit easier.
Samsung have conveniently made it extremely easy to switch to Samsung from many other phones – they even provide an extension that plugs straight into many iPhone models so you can transfer your data.
As someone that doesn’t enjoy reading instructions (yes, I am a millennial that arrogantly assumes everything should be intuitive), I was pleased that I could connect both devices via the cable provided, and was prompted on what to do next with a few simple steps.
My only complaint from this conversion was that some of my photos in the Camera Roll came through out of order.
Moving to Android
Along with switching to the Galaxy Note8, I also had to make the change to Android, meaning most of my apps now work slightly differently. The key difference is the “Back” button within apps, rather than the app itself having a dedicated function to go back through screens. There is also a “switch apps” button at all times, rather than needing to double tap the iPhone’s Home button to bring up the other apps you have open.
Also, some apps have the navigation bar in a different spot. The main one I noticed is Facebook. The navigation bar is at the top of the screen, rather than the bottom. So the first few times I used Facebook, I kept closing it instead of jumping between notifications and newsfeed. (Update: Since writing this piece, the Facebook Android app has updated and the navigation is now across the bottom.)
The hardest thing about using something new is realising how many shortcuts and tricks you’ve become accustom to, and realising you’re going to have to start the slow process of learning them all over again. To make your life easier than mine (and to save you the Googling time), here are some of Samsung’s most-used smartphone shortcuts.
Hold down the power button and the down volume button for a few seconds. The screenshot will pop up in the bottom right corner so you can edit, write on it or share it straight away.
2. Opening the camera – quickly
Double tap the off button to bring up the camera. (More on the camera here.)
3. Turning on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Airplane Mode
Rather than swiping up for the Control Centre, swipe down from the top of the screen. Bonus tip: This entire section is customisable, so you can add in features that you want easy access to.
I like to think my emoji game is pretty strong. So you can imagine my horror at opening my emoji tab on the Galaxy Note8 and realising they look different. For a few days, I didn’t know if I was sad face or awkward face, laughing out loud or just “happy”.
This was certainly my least favourite thing. And I’ll be honest, I’m not quite back to my A Game.
The S Pen
The S Pen was my new favourite feature of the Galaxy Note8. It adds a superior layer of convenience and functionality. I’ve written more about how I used the S Pen here.
One thing that I use all the time is the Quick Notes feature that allows you to pin notes to your lock screen. It’s basically designed for people like me that go to the shops for milk and come home with everything except milk. When I’m running errands, it’s the best way of keeping track of my tasks, and you can just delete the note with a double tap once complete.
Although I would not recommend this hack, I use the quick notes (pinned to Lock Screen) to write my shopping list for dinner while I’m at the gym. It stops me from opening my phone in the middle of a workout to type up a grocery list, and so stops me from getting distracted by other apps.
My top tip for anyone else making the change is to buy at least one extra charger.
When you’ve had the same brand of devices for a long time, you take for granted that, no matter where you go, you’ll probably have a phone charger. I’m used to having one next to my bed, one in the living room, and one at work. When I converted to the Galaxy Note8, I only had the one. The battery life easily lasts me a full day – even when using the phone quite regularly – but that doesn’t help if you accidentally leave your charger at work.
The Samsung Wireless Charging Dock (available for purchase separately) is great, but doesn’t come with the charging cable. So, save yourself the panic of waking up on 3% and facing a commute to work without your phone, and grab another charger so you’ve always got a spare!
So, will I stick with it? Yes, definitely. Other devices now feel so small – I love the size of the Galaxy Note8 and its infinity display. I also now refuse to live without an S Pen, in the off chance I need to write all over something important.