Samsung Galaxy S8 is a strong phone and it needed to be as it is competing with record breaking sales of the new iPhone and now it will also face fierce competition from Pixel by Google. Samsung, however, is not phased by this competition and has claimed that it is going to reinvent the smartphone by going away from the boxy designs and their limitations.
Rory O’Neill, the Director of Marketing Samsung Mobile Europe has said before the launch of S8 at a media event that we all want phones with big screens but don’t want to carry large phones, smartphones had been limited by their designs.
From the first impressions it is clear that Samsung has succeeded in creating a strong smartphone. The most marketed feature of this handset is the Infinite Display, although it is not all screen but it is as close as it can get. Samsung has also removed the front-facing home screen button but the phone is still easily usable.
However, there are still some drawbacks with this phone, there have been no upgrades on the camera and the User interface is a little irksome. However, even with these couple of letdowns it is still an extremely impressive smartphone from Samsung.
Samsung has done something new with this smartphone and you can judge it by just looking at it, the front of the phone is almost all screen except for two thin strips, one at the bottom and the other at the top. These strips were necessary because the front camera cannot be placed directly on the screen. The Galaxy S8 has a much lower bezel-to-screen ratio than any other global flagship phone by other companies.
Samsung is calling this feature the Infinity Display and with almost bezel-less sides the screen looks like it’s spilling over to the back of the phone. This is the first model by Samsung that does not feature the front- facing home button, a feature that it has kept even though most of its competitors had abandoned it. In addition the fingerprint scanner is also moved to the back of the phone right next to the camera. This position makes it hard to use the fingerprint scanner and it would have been better if it was in the middle of the phone.
Samsung has made serious efforts to make sure that all the corners and edges of the phone are rounded and it has resulted in an extremely pleasant feel while holding the phone. With the dimensions of 148.90 x 68 x 8mm it is in no way a small phone, the screen size is 5.8 inch reaching all corners with a single thumb could be a struggle.
That said, it is actually slimmer than the previous model and has a bigger display than iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL while being only a bit taller then them. The screen size does include the curves, however, it is still very impressive and the phone feels comfortable in hands. The Galaxy S8 is almost dust and waterproof and it can also be charged without a cable.
The Galaxy S8 features a 5.8 inch screen with colorful, bright and clear Super AMOLED display with a QHD resolution. The screen offers an aspect ratio of 18:5:9, the internal apps are specifically optimized to make full use the large space. For third party apps the users will have to go through the settings of the phone to optimize them so that they can make full use of longer displays.
Samsung is claiming that it has introduced the first ever truly mobile HDR screen even though Sony and LG have already announced such features in addition with partnering with Amazon and Netflix to provide HD content. However, adding an HDR screen at the time of its launch may not be a good idea as it will further increase the cost.
The phone comes with a sophisticated user interface with a Samsung Experience skin on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. The changes in the app tray are the most visible as there is no app tray on the home screen. Apps can be accessed by swiping your finger up or down from the main display in a natural and nice way.
Samsung has successfully transferred the fingerprint scanner from the front to the back of the phone, now it is not a mechanical button and is no longer clicked when pressed. For people who find this feature annoying there is the option of facial recognition or iris scan which can be used by just holding the phone up slightly.
This iris scan of Galaxy S8 has also been improved and it is much faster and better than its predecessor, however, the phone still needs to be at a very precise angle. Facial recognition is a better option as an alternative for fingerprint scanner as it works very quickly and effectively. It is less safe as it can be fooled by a decent picture of the owner.
The user interface is extremely fast and responds quickly to the touch, it only shows signs of slowing down while exiting the video player which is quite common in most of the phones. The front-facing home button has been replaced by a virtual key below the screen which is pressure sensitive.
If there is one major letdown in this phone that would be the camera, no serious improvements have been made in this section even though contrary promises were made by Samsung. This may be due to the fact that Samsung had introduced the best smartphone camera in 2016 with the Galaxy S7 and it does not want to change it. This model has a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera, it comes with a multi-frame image feature. This feature takes three shots at once but only the best one is selected. However, it is not yet clear if the phone selects the sharpest of the three images or it interpolates the three images just like an HDR.
The camera has enough features to keep fans happy but it does not have the feature of 1,000 frames per second super-slow motion feature. The camera takes amazingly sharp photos in auto mode which is quite quick also while the pro mode is fully featured and slik. There are numerous other modes to keep the user busy and interested.
Only time will tell if Samsung made the right choice by sticking with the previous camera, however, this camera has already proven its brilliance when it comes to speed and photo quality. The front camera is also sharp and clear and features an amazing low-light sensor making it a great for taking selfies.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a 3,000mAh battery without all the problems faced by the Note 7, it also comes with the option of wireless charging. It is highly likely that the battery has not received any noticeable upgrade as Samsung did not talked much about the charging speed or wireless power management during the briefings. Just like the camera Samsung has decided to reuse the same battery of the previous phone.
Before the launch of this phone Samsung had announced that it will be launching its own version of an intelligent assistant. Bixby is the artificial intelligence service launched with the Galaxy S8, there is a dedicated Bixby key on the side of the phone for instant access. Bixby will used at first in phones in U.S and South Korea, in UK it will be introduced later after integrating the local accents.
Bixby is a virtual assistant controlled by voice commands, touch or camera, you don’t have to use complete phrases to make it understand what you want it to do. However, in reality it is just a slower and more clunkier version of voice assistant on other phones. Currently it is only good for making calls and recognizing places through image recognition.
The Galaxy S8 also comes with Google Assistant which is a much better option than using Bixby as it can perform all the functions that Bixby performs and more. Samsung is still building on Bixby and it is expected to improve with future models.
Technology: GSM / HSPA / LTE
OS: Android OS, v7.0
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835
CPU: Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
GPU: Adreno 540
Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm (5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 in)
Weight: 155 g (5.47 oz)
Build: Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back panel
SIM: Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Type: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size: 5.8 inches (83.6% of screen-to-body ratio
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi pixel density)
Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Primary: 12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash
Features: 1/2.5″ sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, Auto HDR, panorama
Video: 2160p@60fps, 1080p@120fps, HDR, dual-video rec.
Secondary: 8 MP, f/1.7, autofocus, dual video call, Auto HDR
Card Slot: microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot)
Internal: 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
Alert Types: Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker: Yes with Stereo speakers
3.5mm Jack: Yes
WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: v5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX
GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS,BDS, GALILEO
USB: v3.1, Type-C1.0 reversible connector
Sensors: Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2
Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Non-removable Li-Ion 3,000 mAh battery
Colors: Orchid Grey, Midnight Black, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold
Release Date and Price
It is quite clear that this phone will have very high price tag and it is even expected to be the most expensive Samsung phone ever made. The final price of the phone has not been confirmed yet but it will be much more pricier than last year’s model. According to rumors going around currently the phone is priced at approximately $845. According to Samsung the Galaxy S8 will be officially released on April 21 and the pre-ordering will begin from March 30