Samsung Galaxy S8 is a phone that just has to do well because it is up against massively impressive competition in 2017 – the good news is that the phone is honestly a very strong device. Though the S8 leaks we have seen are staggering, both in accuracy and volume, but they don’t really tell the whole story about the phone that is certain to top the list of the best phones this year.
The headline feature of this device is the Infinite Display of the handset. Samsung has also been clever in the way it has got around the loss of front-facing home screen button by making the handset usable without using the mechanical Galaxy S8 front key.
However, it does not mean that the phone is perfect because many people will complain about the lack of significant improvement to the camera and user interface. But that shouldn’t be a big deal because Samsung has done an impressive job on the phone.
Samsung Galaxy S8 release date and price
It should be clear that this is the most expensive phone from Samsung at this moment. The Samsung Galaxy S8 price is $724 (AU$ 1,199, £689).
April 21 is the actual Samsung Galaxy S8 release date in the US while it is April 28 in the UK. Pre-order is now available in UK – you can pre-order and get your up to eight days earlier.
How the Samsung Galaxy S8 looks will be the major thing that will sell it to the millions of fans and wider audience clamoring for a new phone from the brand. While there are no much internal upgrades, the front of this Smartphone is mostly only display and it is by far the lowest bezel-to-screen ratio we have seen on the global-available flagship phone until now.
Every edge and corner of the new Samsung Galaxy S8 is rounded, giving it a pleasing feel in the hand. Samsung has spent 2 years to convince the world that curve screen is the best and this has reflected in this latest phone and the larger Galaxy S8 Plus from the brand.
Having said that, this new Smartphone is not a small phone. Though the 5.8-inch screen is tightly packed into the frame but it is still large at 148.90 x 68 x 8mm, and with a single thumb, you will struggle o reach all corners of its screen.
The fingerprint scanner can be seen at the back, by the camera, and reaching it from the natural holding position of the phone in the palm is rather hard. Though we are not sure why Samsung placed it closer to the camera when it should have been closer to the middle of the phone, you could get used to it.
However, we shouldn’t get carried away with ho impressive the Galaxy S8 fits in the hand, with a 5.8-inch screen squashed into a small chassis – and one that packs in wireless charging and a IP68 rating, you will be able to even immerse the phone in dust and water with little worry. In fact, you don’t even to plug in a cable to charge it.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes in 3 different colors at launch for both the UK and US: Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver and Midnight. Coral Blue and Maple Gold are saved for other regions.
The screen is one of the headlines of this phone and I think we should spend a little time on it.
Before we dabble into the details about the screen of the Samsung Galaxy S8 analysis, it should be noted that its display has acquired the “best Smartphone screen” title in the DisplayMate’s in-depth testing – placing it on top of all on the market. In summary, the Galaxy S8 screen is outstanding.
The 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display is clean, colorful and bright, with a QHD resolution (thanks to the screen being extended further down the chassis, you can get a little more at 18.9:9 aspect ratio).
That stretch allows more content to be spilled down the front of this phone, with all the internal apps optimized to use the larger space. There is no way to make everything widescreen with ease when it comes to third-party apps, which may deter some people to make full use of the display until they go through the Galaxy S8 setting menu.
Samsung is partnering with both Amazon and Netflix to offer HDR streaming to its phone – it will help you view HDR-enabled programming on the phone. At this stage, HDR standard means little, so this is not the most important feature.
Samsung shocked the whole world with the announcement of Bixby intelligent assistant even though people will not be able to use it until spring. Despite the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the launch vehicle for AI service, a key is also dedicated to Bixby on the side of the Galaxy S8.
Both the US and people in South Korea will first use the Bixby and the UK people will be able to use it latter because Samsung is working on integrating the accents with its service.
What actually is Bixby? It is a frictionless assistant that can follow you through the voice, camera or touch, learning what you want to do without requiring you to know a certain set of phrases to make it work.
Unfortunately that was not what we saw at launch – we saw a slow and clunky imitation of other voice assistant on a phone. Presently, you can use Bixby to call, look up wine or work out different places around you through image recognition.
UPDATE: Samsung has contacted us to explain that what we saw in the demo was not really the indicative of how the Bixby works – we hope to do in-depth review on it when it is rolled out later.
The inclusion of Bixby is not a bad idea, but it is far from the power of its rivals. Being able to ask your phone to give you weather forecast or call someone for you is not that impressive, but the Bixby Vision, built into the camera is more impressive because it allows you to identify items and get info on wine.
There are no surprises in term of the Samsung Galaxy S8 spec for anyone who has been following the leaks. Its 4GB RAM sits alongside the Samsung’s Exynos 8895 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. So it means Samsung Galaxy S8 has 10% more powerful CPU than that of last year and 21% more grunty GPU for better manipulation of all the little blocks on the screen.
Once again, Samsung has refined its user interface to provide its own Samsung Experience (formerly TouchWiz) skin on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. Many people have unfairly maligned the UI, and the new upgrades fuse Android and Samsung’s own design ethos together well.
App tray is one of the most important changes in this phone – there isn’t one on the home screen. You can swipe your finger up or down from the main display and you will be taken to your hordes of apps – it is a nice way of doing things naturally.
The fact that Samsung moved the fingerprint up by the camera is annoying but you can use facial recognition or scanning to unlock the phone by holding it up slightly.
There is little improvement on the Samsung Galaxy S8 despite promises to the contrary. The specs tell the same story as the experience: 12MP sensor on the rear, with f/1.7 aperture a fast autofocus.
The fact that the Samsung Galaxy S8 has battery of only 3000mAh does not portend any problem. The only issue may be the longer screen that has more pixels to power, but the CPU/GPU is more powerful than in the previous phones and can save the battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Dex Station
Samsung Dex station is an inclusion that docks the Galaxy S8 inside and it will transform from phone to mini PC, complete with2 USB ports, Ethernet and an HDMI out. Just plug in a keyboard and mouse and you will be able to work like you were in front of a desktop.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Initial Verdict
With what I have seen so far, Galaxy S8 is an outstanding smartphone. It looks gorgeous even when you off it, comes with the best display I have seen so far and it is one of the most powerful smartphones around. Maybe this is exactly what the Samsung fans have been waiting for.
The battery life could turn to be terrible and the position of the fingerprint is not really nice. If developers don’t support the Bixby feature, it could turn to be dud.
I think there is nothing special about the camera as most of the other big-hitters have switched to dual camera setup.
Aside from some minor issues with the phone, it looks set to become a phone to beat.