First detailed review of Notes 8 (beta 2) I've seen so far. Jumping to the final paragraphs:
IBM's overhaul of the Notes user interface is largely for the good. Even though I don't personally like the consumery look of the new calendar, things like in-message "conversation" viewing and the new "Open" button for applications are useful additions. But it can still be a daunting piece of software to get to know, with some nonintuitive UI issues remaining.
From the perspective of the end-user e-mail client alone, I'd be happy to upgrade to Notes 8 to get added features such as in-message threading and Activities, but not so much so that I'm ready to plead with our IT department for an upgrade. I might make a single request, though: With the word processing and spreadsheet collaboration that Quickr is supposed to bring, an upgrade would be more appealing.
See the full article for details and screen shots.