The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the most comfortable phone I’ve ever held in my hands. In a body that’s much smaller than you would anticipate, it’s a stunning blend of glass, metal, and an enormously large screen that looks stunning.
And that may not be enough to distinguish it from the crowd any more.
In my hands, I’m struck by the fact that nothing about it seems particularly shocking, and this isn’t simply because damn near everything about it has been leaking for the better part of a year. The screen, which is the most significant element of any phone, is the most daring feature. On the Galaxy S8, it can be moved up and down to cover almost the whole front of the phone, which is a great feature. It also bends to the left and right, creating what Samsung refers to as a “infinity display,” which gives the appearance that there are no bezels at all. And, while we’re on the subject of curves, the four corners of the screen are also gently curved rather than squared off, which adds a touch of beauty as well as the possibility of increased screen endurance.
When it comes to screen size, the S8 and S8 Plus deliver on Samsung’s promise of packing more screen into a smaller package, making them far more useful than rival large-screened phones. I didn’t have any of the accidental touch difficulties that I’ve been having with the Galaxy S7 Edge, which was a relief. However, I just spent about an hour on the phone with the customer, so it’s conceivable that there is still a problem.
More than anything else, the S8 is a pleasure to use. These phones are exceptionally well-designed, despite the fact that they may seem to be standard fare in 2017. There are no seams, just the tiniest of camera bumps, and everything seems to have been machined to sub-millimeter tolerances, which is impressive. They have a sense of foreboding about them that is almost tedious. Many of the design cues are carried over from the S7 Edge and Note 7, but they have been honed to their Platonic perfection.
GALAXY S8 SPECS
As you would assume, the S8 is equipped with the most powerful specifications available on an Android phone. It will either be Qualcomm’s newest (and somewhat more uncommon) Snapdragon 835 or Samsung’s own Exynos processor, depending on where you are located in the world. Regardless of the model you choose, Samsung claims that it is constructed on a 10nm technology, which should supposedly reduce power usage. Everything was lightning-fast throughout my limited time with it. Hopefully, it will remain that way over time – Samsung phones have a bad reputation for doing so.
The basic S8 sports a 5.8-inch screen with a 570ppi pixel density and a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels. The S8 Plus, with its 6.2-inch screen and 529 pixels per inch (ppi), has the exact same resolution as the S8. For my money, the S8 in its regular configuration is the best option. There is still a substantial amount of screen area, but the overall body size is greatly reduced. The screen’s height is also noteworthy: the aspect ratio is a super-tall 18.5:9, which provides a significant amount of additional screen real estate to navigate through. I didn’t get the opportunity to test a large number of third-party applications, so I’m hoping that the new aspect ratio will not cause too many problems. Even if we do, Galaxy phones are popular enough that developers will be encouraged to upgrade their applications to include support for them.
Other than that, the specifications are rather standard: 4 gigabytes of RAM, 64 gigabytes of internal storage, and an extendable SD card port, to name a few.
GALAXY S8 BATTERY
I’m almost 900 words in and I haven’t cracked a joke about an exploding phone (thank you, Samsung) yet. The moment has come, however, to remind out that the last time the phone manufacturer introduced a phone this large and stunning, the company practically burned itself on fire on an alarmingly frequent frequency. The company’s first reactions to this problem were bungled and unsatisfactory for a long period of time before pivoting, apologising, and introducing a new method for ensuring the safety of batteries. Those safety checks are crucial, but Samsung will have to live with all of the exploding phone jokes for a little longer, and they will have to hear them every time one of its phones is mentioned.
As a result, when it comes to storage space on the S8, Samsung did not push the limit. The S8 has a battery with a capacity of 3,000mAh, while the S8 Plus has a bigger battery with a capacity of 3,500mAh – the same size as the Note 7. However, when you consider the fact that they are required to power enormous displays, neither is really massive. When used for more than a year or two, Samsung says that it has modified the battery chemistry in order to make the batteries live longer.
For this reason, Samsung is providing the typical set of power choices, including Qualcomm Quick Charge and compatibility for both main wireless charging protocols. The battery life of these phones is still a source of concern for me, though. In fact, it may be a compelling argument to think consider upgrading to the bigger S8 Plus model instead.
GALAXY S8 CAMERAS
It’s also worth noting that Samsung hasn’t done much to push the edge in the photography department. The Galaxy S8 has the exact same back camera as the Galaxy S7, which is a 12-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilisation (OIS). Samsung claims to have improved the image quality on the software side, and in my little experience with it, I discovered that it is substantially quicker than the camera on the Galaxy S7 Edge.
In particular, it’s worth noting that the S8 Plus does not receive an improved camera or a dual-camera configuration. With the exception of the screen size and battery capacity, both phones are similar.
GALAXY S8 SOFTWARE
It should come as no surprise to anybody that Samsung is capable of producing high-quality electronics. The software, on the other hand, is where we have cause to be cautious. Going back to the bad old days of TouchWiz, Samsung has gained a well-deserved reputation for taking Android and fouling it up with a slew of questionable design choices.
For the last several years, the most popular refrain has been one of restraint, and I’ll say it again today: “Restraint is the key.” When it comes to controlling its worst tendencies, Samsung has done a very decent job. There are a slew of bizarre features hidden away in the settings menu’s shadowy depths, but the overall appearance, feel, and functionality of Samsung’s Android skinning are rather nice right out of the box. Samsung’s Android skinning is based on the Android operating system.
BIXBY, SAMSUNG’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT
The company may not have spent much effort in altering its hardware design language, upgrading its camera, or cramming in a larger battery, but the results are impressive. However, Samsung has been concentrating on finding out how to create software that people really want to use, and it is all centred around a new virtual assistant named Bixby, which is now in beta.
As previously stated, Bixby is activated by pressing a genuine dedicated physical button on the device’s side. It has three fundamental operating modes:
Bixby Home may be accessed with a single quick touch of the button (you can also swipe over to it from the home screen). By holding down the button for a long period of time, Bixby’s voice functions are activated. The augmented reality capabilities of Bixby may be accessed by a little button on the camera app.