Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Introduction


There are many things to like about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and very few reasons not to get one. It is big, it is shiny, and it is powerful. It comes with an S Pen stylus, and its dual camera is capable of actual 2X zoom and bokeh effects. But there is one noteworthy detail that could make you think twice before taking out that credit card – owning one will set you back around $1000. Yikes!

The OnePlus 5 cannot match the Note 8’s visual appeal, and it doesn't have a fancy stylus either. Looking at its camera and hardware specs, however, it could give the Note 8 a run for its money. And speaking of money, the OnePlus 5 costs only half as much. Сhould you consider it as an alternative to the Note 8, аnd is Samsung's phablet really twice as good?

Design


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

I was tempted to start this paragraph with a joke about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 being so huge, but then I decided not to. I mean sure, it is large enough to have its own gravity field, but that’s exactly its point as a product. It is a niche device made to provide plenty of workspace for those who demand it, and it gets the job done wonderfully through efficient use of real estate, filling nearly all of its front side with screen space. To top it all off, its display is shaped around an aspect ratio of 18.5 by 9, giving you spacious screen area within a body that is still possible to grasp.

The OnePlus 5 looks dated next to the futuristic and forward-looking Galaxy Note 8, but its more traditional design has its strengths. For starters, it is easier to operate with one hand and the lack of a curved screen minimizes the chance of accidental edge taps occurring. Also, the fingerprint scanner is in a position making much more sense – below the display. That the OnePlus 5’s metal back would be more resilient than the Note 8’s glass one should also be taken into account.

Speaking of damage, the Galaxy Note 8 is water resistant – just like every high-end _phone_ should be nowadays. So is its S Pen stylus. The OnePlus 5 skips on water resistance, unfortunately, but it has a perk of its own – the slider switch at the side letting you quickly toggle between loud and silent profiles. Pretty neat!

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches
162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
6.88 oz (195 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5
6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
5.40 oz (153 g)

OnePlus 5




Display


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Both phones come with AMOLED displays – vibrant and overly saturated by default, but you have the option to switch to a different color profile if you value color accuracy over eye candy. At this point, the similarities between the two panels end, pretty much.

There’s no need to go into details here. All you need to know is that the OnePlus 5’s display gets the job done, but the one on the Galaxy Note 8 is superior in many ways – is easier to see outdoors, it can display HDR video, and it supports Samsung’s Always-on Display feature, making you aware of the time and pending notifications even when the _phone_ is in standby. Oh, and there’s none of that jelly effect you might notice with the OnePlus 5 while scrolling.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 518
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6471
(Excellent)
2.03
3.39
(Good)
2.29
(Good)
OnePlus 5 435
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8014
(Poor)
2.13
6.63
(Average)
6.29
(Average)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Introduction


There are many things to like about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and very few reasons not to get one. It is big, it is shiny, and it is powerful. It comes with an S Pen stylus, and its dual camera is capable of actual 2X zoom and bokeh effects. But there is one noteworthy detail that could make you think twice before taking out that credit card – owning one will set you back around $1000. Yikes!

The OnePlus 5 cannot match the Note 8’s visual appeal, and it doesn't have a fancy stylus either. Looking at its camera and hardware specs, however, it could give the Note 8 a run for its money. And speaking of money, the OnePlus 5 costs only half as much. Сhould you consider it as an alternative to the Note 8, аnd is Samsung's phablet really twice as good?

Design


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

I was tempted to start this paragraph with a joke about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 being so huge, but then I decided not to. I mean sure, it is large enough to have its own gravity field, but that’s exactly its point as a product. It is a niche device made to provide plenty of workspace for those who demand it, and it gets the job done wonderfully through efficient use of real estate, filling nearly all of its front side with screen space. To top it all off, its display is shaped around an aspect ratio of 18.5 by 9, giving you spacious screen area within a body that is still possible to grasp.

The OnePlus 5 looks dated next to the futuristic and forward-looking Galaxy Note 8, but its more traditional design has its strengths. For starters, it is easier to operate with one hand and the lack of a curved screen minimizes the chance of accidental edge taps occurring. Also, the fingerprint scanner is in a position making much more sense – below the display. That the OnePlus 5’s metal back would be more resilient than the Note 8’s glass one should also be taken into account.

Speaking of damage, the Galaxy Note 8 is water resistant – just like every high-end phone should be nowadays. So is its S Pen stylus. The OnePlus 5 skips on water resistance, unfortunately, but it has a perk of its own – the slider switch at the side letting you quickly toggle between loud and silent profiles. Pretty neat!

Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches
162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
6.88 oz (195 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5
6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
5.40 oz (153 g)

OnePlus 5




Display


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Both phones come with AMOLED displays – vibrant and overly saturated by default, but you have the option to switch to a different color profile if you value color accuracy over eye candy. At this point, the similarities between the two panels end, pretty much.

There’s no need to go into details here. All you need to know is that the OnePlus 5’s display gets the job done, but the one on the Galaxy Note 8 is superior in many ways – is easier to see outdoors, it can display HDR video, and it supports Samsung’s Always-on Display feature, making you aware of the time and pending notifications even when the phone is in standby. Oh, and there’s none of that jelly effect you might notice with the OnePlus 5 while scrolling.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 518
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6471
(Excellent)
2.03
3.39
(Good)
2.29
(Good)
OnePlus 5 435
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8014
(Poor)
2.13
6.63
(Average)
6.29
(Average)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and functionality


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Samsung didn’t make the Galaxy Note 8 for the mainstream consumer. It is a device targeting power users – those that know how to make the most of such a feature-packed smartphone. The OnePlus 5 was also tailored around the phone enthusiast niche, much like every OnePlus flagship before it. Despite this, the two phones approach the software part of the user experience in very different ways.

Samsung's interface on the Note 8 - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung's interface on the Note 8 - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung's interface on the Note 8 - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
Samsung's interface on the Note 8 - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Samsung's interface on the Note 8


Visually, the Galaxy Note 8 is a step ahead, with more fluid and good-looking animations, with a better choice of display fonts and wallpapers, with coherent UI elements built around the same theme and style. By comparison, the OnePlus 5 is rather bland-looking, with black and white being the colors dominating its interface, although Android purists would appreciate its rather stock appearance.

Productivity is a great strength of the Galaxy Note 8 - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Productivity is a great strength of the Galaxy Note 8

Productivity is another strength of the Galaxy Note 8. The larger screen gives you more space to work on and fits more content vertically – while browsing a web page, for instance. Side-by-side multitasking also benefits from the extra-large display: you can have a YouTube video, an IM app, and the keyboard shown on the screen – all the same time. And the advantages of having an S Pen for note-taking, drawing, and UI interaction should be clear to anyone who has read our Galaxy Note 8 review.

The OnePlus 5 isn’t as flashy as the Note 8. It can’t quite match its productivity feature set either. But it offers a number of practical options that power users might find cool. One is the set of customizable navigation buttons at the bottom – you can use physical buttons or on-screen ones, you can rearrange them to your liking, you can even assign various shortcuts – a long-press of my back button pulls down my notifications, for example. And I’ve also activated the built-in dark theme – it not only makes the OnePlus 5 look cooler, but it saves battery too.

The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5
The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS - Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS

Processor and memory


This is one of the areas where the OnePlus 5 truly shines. With Qualcomm’s latest and best Snapdragon 835 system chip and 6 or 8 gigs of RAM, the phone is well equipped for both the present and the future. In fact, even the base OnePlus 5 matches the Note 8’s hardware specs -- and yes, it is just as fast, if not faster thanks to its lighter user interface. Both phones are great for gaming as they can run even the most demanding titles without any issues.

One thing we should mention is that the Galaxy Note 8 comes with a microSD card slot for storage expansion. The OnePlus 5 does not have such a slot, but we don’t see this as a dealbreaker when the 128GB model is priced at just $539.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 175439
OnePlus 5 178968
JetStream
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 67.884
OnePlus 5 69.780
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 60
OnePlus 5 60
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 39
OnePlus 5 40
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 3422
OnePlus 5 3500
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 1877
OnePlus 5 1941
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 6552
OnePlus 5 6678
View all

Web browsing and connectivity


Samsung has equipped the Note 8 with its own web browser, while the OnePlus ships with Google’s Chrome. While both work well and provide all necessities you’d expect, the larger, taller screen on the Note 8 fits more content, which makes for a smoother browsing experience. On top of that, Samsung's UI lets you have two web browsers open side by side at the same time, which could be handy.

As far as connectivity options carrier availability go, the Galaxy Note 8 can be bought from and used on all major US carriers, which makes it easy and convenient to own one. In contrast, the OnePlus 5 is sold unlocked on the manufacturer’s website. You’re not tied to a specific carrier, which is much appreciated, but the phone won’t work on Verizon or Sprint’s networks. Dual SIM is a go with this one, in case you need the functionality.

Camera


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

On the surface, the Galaxy Note 8 and the OnePlus 5 seem to be equally capable in the camera department. Both offer dual cameras, both can provide optical zoom, both can add background blur to your photos to make your subject stand out better. The Note 8, however, has optical image stabilization (on both cameras, for that matter) and provides better optical magnification -- 2X vs 1.6X for the OnePlus 5, which gives it the upper hand as far as camera specs go.

Image quality


Although the OnePlus 5 has more megapixels -- 16MP vs 12MP for the Galaxy Note 8 -- it lags behind when it comes to detail preservation. Upon close inspection it is easy to see that Samsung’s phablet captures clearer photos. Same is the case when we use their secondary cams -- the 20MP shooter on the OnePlus 5 can’t match the amount of detail captured by the Note 8’s 12MP secondary shooter. The difference is even more pronounced in low-light situations.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

It is also worth mentioning that the Galaxy Note 8 tends to “beautify” the scene - it would often add a saturation boost, making colors appear brighter than they do in real life. This does make certain scenes pop, but could not work so well with others. The OnePlus 5 appears to be more consistent when it comes to color accuracy, sticking to a more neutral, more realistic color representation.

Both phones can take portrait photos enhanced with that trendy background blur effect, also known as bokeh. But the results are a bit of a mixed bag. The Galaxy Note 8 easily produces clearer portraits, with better separation of the subject from the background. Plus, you can adjust the strength of the effect if you wish to, even if you’ve already taken the shot. But interestingly, the OnePlus 5 achieves a more realistic bokeh, coming closer to the kind of blur you’d get out of a dedicated camera. Still, we find the Note 8’s portraits better due to their higher overall quality.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 1.7
1.96
996
765
OnePlus 5 1.1
1.5
682
682
View all

Video quality


Both phones can shoot video at up to 4K resolution, but again, the Galaxy Note 8 has the upper hand. One of the key differences we’re noticing is that when zooming with the Note 8, footage is clearer and much more detailed, as if the OnePlus 5 doesn’t use its secondary cam at all when recording video.



Multimedia


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

One thing both phones have in common is the presence of a headphone jack. However, only the Galaxy Note 8 comes with a pair of earphones in the box -- a pretty decent set tuned by AKG.

Speaking of audio, both handsets have a single bottom-firing loudspeaker, and we find it hard to pick a favorite. Let’s just say that they both sound loud and good enough -- not bad in terms of overall quality, but not spectacular either.

If you watch a lot of movies and TV shows on your mobile device, the Galaxy Note 8 is the more suitable choice thanks to its greater screen area and support for HDR content. But for regular YouTube videos, both handsets get the job done equally well, as the Note 8’s technical advantages make much less of a difference.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 0.78
OnePlus 5 0.96
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 74.6
OnePlus 5 77
View all


Call quality


There’s not a whole lot to say here really. The earpiece on the Galaxy Note 8 gets sufficiently loud during calls, and so does the one on the OnePlus 5. Voices are clear, and there haven’t been any complaints on the other side of the line.

Battery life


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

Both phones hold 3300mAh worth of charge, which is a fair amount for a phone of this class. The OnePlus 5, however, performed significantly better during our battery test, presumably due to its smaller screen requiring less power to keep all those pixels lit. But in real life, both phones should have no troubles lasting through a full day of moderate use, and maybe well into the second one if used lightly.

Fast charging is a go with both handsets, so you can easily get your dying battery halfway full within 30 minutes or so. However, the OnePlus 5 requires both the stock charger and the stock cable in order to utilize its quick-charging abilities. Wireless charging is only available on the Note 8 here.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 7h 50 min (Good)
OnePlus 5 9h 18 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 102
OnePlus 5 99
View all

Conclusion


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs OnePlus 5

The OnePlus 5 is one of the best phones to get if value for money is what you’re looking for. It was far from perfect at launch, but software updates have taken care of many of the wrinkles, and now, with a starting price below $500, it is a phone worth checking out. Thanks to the top-notch hardware under its hood, speed is one of its biggest strengths, and Android enthusiasts could find the clean, bloat-free UI more appealing than Samsung’s software experience.

But is the OnePlus 5 a worthy alternative to the Galaxy Note 8? Not really. Anyone who is even considering the Galaxy Note 8 as their next Android phone is likely someone who does not make compromises. True, you can get two OnePlus 5 phones for the price of a Galaxy Note 8, but with its modern and efficient design, with its superior camera, with its feature-rich interface and S Pen integration, the Note 8 is definitely the handset to go with if you demand the very best Android can currently offer.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Pros

  • Better cameras take clearer photos and videos
  • Water resistant
  • Much larger screen in a slightly larger body
  • Taller aspect ratio is great for work and multitasking
  • S Pen could be useful and fun
  • Available on any major US carrier

OnePlus 5

Pros

  • Half the price, yet just as fast
  • Better battery life