News: How Stable Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Oreo Update?

How Stable Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Oreo Update?

So, you want to install the Oreo beta on your Galaxy Note 8 but you're not sure if it's stable enough. It is a beta, of course, so waiting until others have tried it out sounds safer. Well, over the past five days, I've used the T-Mobile version as my daily driver and there are a plethora of new features, as well as a few glitches. Let's take a look at the bugs, performance, and battery life.

1. The Zoom Seems Broken in Camera

By far the biggest bug in the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update is the unreliability of zoom in the Camera app. The zoom feature isn't completely broken, it works on occasion, but it seems to be pretty random. I've noticed this occurs most often when switching back and forth between landscape and macro shots.

In the picture of my keys below, you can see the lack of zoom when using the "x2" button. A few users on Reddit have reported that zoom works fine on Oreo with their Galaxy Note 8, so this is either isolated or only occurs in certain situations, but a camera bug is always a big deal.

Trying x1 zoom (top) vs. x2 zoom on the same shot (bottom).

2. You Can't Run All the Apps You Could Before

While not a bug per se, this Oreo build for the Galaxy Note 8 has "Uncertified" status in the Play Store due to not passing SafetyNet checks. This is bad news for users of apps that invoke Google's SafetyNet APIs to check for official firmware.

The idea behind SafetyNet is to protect sensitive app data on compromised devices. Any Android phone that is rooted or otherwise modified will fail the SafetyNet check. Considering that the CLQ1 Oreo build for the Galaxy Note 8 is a leaked test build, it makes sense that it fails SafetyNet checks.

It's relatively easy to determine if your device is "Certified" or "Uncertified" on the Play Store. Head to the Google Play Store and open the slide-out menu on the top left. Scroll down and tap on "Settings." Next, scroll down to "Device certification" where you will see your phone's status. If your device is "Uncertified," like the Galaxy Note 8 running Oreo, you will not be able to run certain apps. The most important affected apps are Android Pay, banking apps, and Netflix.

3. Miscellaneous Bugs & Stability

Aside from the two major drawbacks above, there are some minor annoyances to be aware of. Gear VR seems to be broken for nearly everyone using the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo Beta. Admittedly this impacts a small number of users, but it is something worth noting.

When we initially installed the beta, a factory reset was necessary to pair a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier with the Galaxy Note 8. While users are reporting varying degrees of success with the Gear app, it's best to anticipate a factory reset to pair your watch.

While Android Pay did not work on our device, Samsung Pay is performing very well thus far.

Overall stability and smoothness are relatively good for a beta. There is very little input lag, and scrolling through the UI and app drawer is flawless. One area of noticeable lag is Bixby Home. Swiping from the left of your home screen will reveal Bixby Home, but the process takes significant time and is a bit janky. Bixby Voice seems to be unaffected by this issue and is very responsive to voice commands.

Some third-party apps will force-close occasionally. We've noticed this with Flamingo and Snapchat more than others. All of this may sound like a lot, but it's a pretty small list of issues for an early test build.

4. Battery Life May Be Affected

When installing a major software update, improved battery life is one of the first things users look for. On the other hand, instabilities in beta builds can occasionally decrease battery life. The Galaxy Note 8 on Oreo is a bit of a mixed bag.

Standby time seems to be excellent, but actual screen-on time has been pretty poor after a few cycles. When running Nougat, we averaged around 5.5 hours of screen-on time on our Galaxy Note 8. In three full charge cycles since installing the Oreo update, the average screen-on time is around 4 hours.

Of course, battery life is subjective and depends greatly on the user. These numbers were obtained with approximately 18-hour workdays, with 12 hours on Wi-Fi and 6 hours on LTE. Usage of the phone on these workdays consisted of YouTube streaming, social media, gaming (Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp for 1–2 hours per day), and responding to a few hundred comments within YouTube Studio.

The Final Verdict

All in all, the question of whether you should install the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo beta depends on which apps you use and your tolerance for a few bugs. If you rely on mobile payments through Android Pay or stream Netflix all day long, it's probably not a good daily driver for you. On the other hand, if you're mostly using your phone for productivity apps, it's not an awful experience.

For those of you that are adventurous enough, let us know in the comments how the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update is working for you. If you're wondering how this compares to the Galaxy S8 Oreo beta, we'll have more on that soon!

Cover photo and screenshots by Jeff Springer/Gadget Hacks

1 Comment

I tried this version for 3 days and there were some apps that were crashing. My biggest complaint was Samsung Health not working along with my Gear Fit2 not being recognized. I use these apps daily and I tried a factory reset but then I found a number of apps would not install...

I flashed my device back to the official version from Samsung on the 3rd day.
It was fun using the newest features but too many bugs for me...

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