After a long series of leaks, speculation and unconfirmed release dates, Samsung has finally released its brand new flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. It was definitely worth the wait. Both the S8 and S8+ are pretty much identical apart from its screen size and battery. This is what we like to see, as you shouldn’t be penalised with fewer features just because you prefer to carry a smaller phone. Having said that, we couldn’t go past the jaw-dropping screen of the Samsung Galaxy S8+, and that is what we managed to get our hands on to try out.
At first glance, the Galaxy S8+ has a somewhat familiar look to past Samsung smartphones, but once you are up close and personal with the phone, the newly redesigned handset will blow you away. It is a beautiful device, with every corner and edge of the S8 now being rounded. The S8+ features a 6.2 inch Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display that is packed tightly into the frame of the phone. This means that the phone is mostly just screen, with the lowest bezel-to-screen ratio we’ve seen on a smartphone. The removal of the outer glass framing on the front of the phone has resulted in the S8 having a very striking, futuristic look that is completely unique.
One of the major changes in this version of the Galaxy is the removal of the home screen mechanical button and fingerprint scanner. These have been separated; the home button is now embedded under the screen and a new fingerprint scanner can be found at the back of the phone next to the camera. This probably wasn’t the best place to put the fingerprint scanner as we found that from a tactile perspective, it could often be confused with the camera lens. This really isn’t a huge issue though as we preferred using the other options to unlock the phone, namely the iris scanner and facial recognition. The iris scanning is much improved in comparison to the S7 and the facial recognition is almost instant.
Overall, it’s hard to fault the design of the Samsung S8/S8+. The glass front and back gives the phone a beautiful sleek finish like no other. But if we had to pick a flaw, it would have to be that (like all glass objects) it does become a bit of a fingerprint collector.
Along with the announcement of the new phone, Samsung also introduced Bixby – the highly touted new intelligent personal assistant that is included with the S8 and S8+. Bixby is an AI system that was designed by Samsung to make interaction easier with the increasing complexity of everyday devices. Bixby is currently limited to 10 Samsung first-party apps. Once it is fully integrated it will work across a range of Samsung products.
An interesting accessory of the S8 is the Samsung Dex, which turns this Android phone into a true desktop-class environment. Using Dex is effortless, just plug the phone into the Dex dock that is also connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and then you are good to go. You can do tasks such as edit documents through Google’s productivity apps or Microsoft Office, or connect to a remote desktop using Citrix or Amazon WorkPlaces. Samsung Dex helps to harness the full capabilities of this powerful phone and leaves the door open for Samsung to upgrade on the idea of turning their phones into laptop-like devices in the future.
Every S8 and S8+ will also come bundled with AKG headphones that are lightweight and feature powerful sound.
When Samsung first introduced curved screen edges, they were pretty, but also pretty annoying. The original design of the S6 Edge, whilst innovative, did not factor in accidental finger contact on the edge of the screen from simply gripping the phone. This lead to the inadvertent triggering of functions and item selections as a result. Whilst we never tried the S7 Edge, we also heard reports of this happening. However, we are happy to say that the dual curved edges of the S8/S8+ have not been prone to this issue.
Not as ‘courageous’ as Apple, Samsung has kept the headphone jack for this edition of its flagship. Alongside the headphone jack, you’ll also find a brand new USB Type-C port for charging, microphone and speaker. On the top of the phone, you’ll find the usual unified SIM tray that holds a nanoSIM and microSD card. The phone itself has 64GB of inbuilt storage which might be enough for some users but for those who need more, it can be expandable to 2TB through the microSD slot.
The S8 comes with an IP68 rating, so you won’t have to worry about dust nor water getting in – in fact you can pretty much take it swimming with you. Hooray for the party pool shots.
The back camera is the same as the one in the Samsung S7, but the new multi-frame image feature is excellent. Three snaps are shot and the sharpest one of the three is selected whilst using the other two to reduce motion blur. So despite having the same camera, the software improvement allows the S8 to take better photos in low light. The front-facing camera has been upgraded to an 8MP that is clear, sharp and features a great low-light sensor.
Featuring the most incredible screen ever to be built on a phone, and if Android is your thing, then this is definitely the best phone you can get right now… well in a few days time. Australia will initially get the Midnight Black, Orchid Grey and Maple Gold versions of both the phones on the launch date of April 28th.
Visit samsung.com for more information.