The Samsung Note II (not 2) first caught my attention almost 6 years ago. It seemed like ridiculous overkill and oversized for the daily driver. But, as power-users like myself started posting up their personal experiences, it became quickly apparent the Note series was very little about size but more about performance. In 2013 with my consistent nature to be a little different, I ponied up and jumped the Android ship and tackled the Microsoft Lumia 1020. I was skeptical that as a power-user the Microsoft App store would satisfy but the bright red box packaged with a knockout camera left me happy for about 2 days. With Microsoft not allowing a person to download and use Firefox or Chrome as their desired browsers, this quickly alerted me to how this was going to be a totalitarian state of control; homey don’t play that.
As an AT&T customer for over 15 years, I was able to jump ship 60 days into my 24 months contract (remember how that was?) and the timing was right to acquire the newest Note 3. Immediately, the ability to customize the setup and personalize along with the notable horsepower of a flagship phone made me realize that Samsung had arrived to the party with the best recipe of all phones available. Operating systems were still not being updated with regularity and at the speed that Google and Android are now currently deploying their software. By the time the Note 5 arrived, it had the latest operating system, the best phone, and enough surprises to make it still seem like Christmas.
“Innovation is opera: Theft and murder and egos and false starts and years in the wilderness and years of treading water …”
One thing that has always driven me a little nuts is how Samsung Corporate keeps trying to push their solutions to problems that don’t exist. Let me introduce you to Bixby. I am very happy for people that love their Iphones and love having fireside chats with Siri. I AM NOT THAT GUY. I do not want a forced AI into my custom Android experience. In the past, Samsung phones had other Samsung apps they “bloat” to their phones, but you could bury their existence with denied permissions. Taking delivery of the new Note 8, based on reviews I was already a little bored. And, I immediately got into my phone and turned off every Bixby application I could find. But, Bixby is overwhelmingly hardwired into this particular phone and that is the breaking point for me.
There was also a bluetooth issue that would not auto-connect with my car stereo system. Rumor has it updates are being pushed out to fix this but Samsung does have a history of bluetooth issues and for $1000, I expect this new car driven off the showroom floor to be squared away. Lastly, there was a Samsung camera app available on the Note 5 that allowed you to do a postage stamp selfie in your photo. That is no longer available.
Today I went out to try the new camera features touted by this phone. Meh. Nice enough but my Note 5 can do basically the same thing that I need when using my smartphone as a camera. Plus, Bixby is involved in the camera. GET OUT OF HERE BIXBY! That was the last straw. I came home packaged up the Note 8 and delivering this to the local post office for a return. SAY NO TO BIXBY!
Despite my love for wireless charging, I believe the soon to be released, Sony XZ1 Compact will be the phone for me. Robust camera and no ridiculous assistant. But, I can always yell OK GOOGLE when needed. Below is a gallery with no post-edits except a watermark on the Note 8 images.