Samsung has launched a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, surprise! In all seriousness, after months of (truly unparalleled) leaks Samsung’s 2017 flagship smartphones are here and a lot has changed. Mostly for a better, yet there is also some recession and a few areas of probable regression.
So what has Samsung got right with a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus and that indication should we buy, if any? Let’s take a look…
Design Display – Bigger Without Being Bigger?
Without doubt a title change to Samsung’s new flagships are their displays. Both a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus get outrageous new 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch displays respectively, yet a best thing about this is impact these large panels have had on their size:
- Galaxy S8 – 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm ( 5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31-inch), 155g (5.36oz)
- Galaxy S8 Plus – 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm (6.00 x 3.09 x 0.31-inch), 173g (oz)
- Galaxy S7: 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm (5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31-inch) and 152g (5.36oz)
- Galaxy S7 Edge – 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm (5.94 x 2.86 x 0.30-inch) and 157g (5.54 oz)
Yes, a title is a Galaxy S8 has combined 0.7-inches of shade space while remaining roughly a same distance as a Galaxy S7. The same can't be pronounced for a Galaxy S8 Plus, that is both bigger and heavier than a Galaxy S7 Edge (which it replaces), yet it is still by distant a many compress 6.2-inch smartphone ever made.
Samsung has achieved this by dramatically pleat down a tip and bottom bezels to emanate fascias that are now scarcely all display. And what displays! Both new Galaxies have winding ‘Edge’ panels that Samsung has re-christened ‘Infinity Displays’ and for once a hype is not overblown.
The dual ‘Always On’ OLED panels have thespian 18.5:9 aspect ratios with 2960 x 1440 local resolutions and kindly tilted curves some-more same to a Galaxy Note 7 than their predecessors. Predictably they are a visible provide and a brightest, sharpest, many jaw dropping displays we have ever seen in a smartphone and a initial phones to be postulated Mobile HDR Premium acceptance (handy given Amazon and Netflix’s HDR ambitions).
For many users these new screens with be understanding makers, regardless of anything we contend from this indicate onwards. The downside is Samsung will boat these phones both using 1080p resolutions by default. This can be increased, yet usually during a responsibility of battery life (more later).
Look elsewhere and there are other pointed changes: dull corners to a displays and a silken aluminium framework which, for my money, are stairs retrograde (the former needlessly cuts off dilemma pixels, a latter is some-more disposed to scratching) yet a displays win we over regardless.
Besides when we have a 5.8-inch phone that weighs usually 14g some-more than Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 7 (and 33g reduction than a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus) you’re going to spin heads. LG’s G6 wowed us usually final month, yet Samsung has already overtaken it from a pattern perspective.
Flip a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus around and things are are some-more familiar. Samsung has defended a adore em/hate em potion backs, yet a detriment of a home symbol from a front (it simply wouldn’t fit anymore) means there’s a practical home symbol while a fingerprint reader has changed to a back. Illogically it has been pushed alongside a camera that you’ll blemish over and over again when we clear it and it’s tough to strech if we have tiny hands, quite on Galaxy S8 Plus.
To opposite this Samsung has propitious an iris scanner to both new models, as seen on a Galaxy Note 7, it is quick and accurate yet we do have to deliberately demeanour into your phone’s camera for fixing that isn’t easy on a move. A mixed of both iris and fingerprint approval should get a pursuit done, yet it’s not perfect.
More practically, Samsung has defended microSD expandable storage (supporting cards adult to 256GB) and IP68 H2O and dirt insurgency that allows for full submersion in adult to 1.5 metres of H2O for adult to 30 minutes. This is unvaried from a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
Launch colours will be Midnight black, Orchid Grey and Arctic Silver yet pattern some-more options to fill out this underwhelming preference in a entrance months.
Cameras – Incremental Upgrades Raise Concerns
2016 was a year program won a camera race. Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL took a technologically defective camera procedure and swept divided a foe with forlorn picture processing. Now Samsung is personification a same pretence by maintaining a same categorical behind procedure as a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge yet articulate adult new picture estimate software.
As such you’ll find a 12 megapixel, f/1.7 orifice shooter on a behind with a same brew of Sony and Samsung variants shipping globally and a new concentration on estimate detonate photography. This means Samsung take mixed shots of a theme as customary afterwards stitches them together, a accurate same pretence Google did so good with a Pixel.
Initial impressions are Samsung hasn’t still pulled this off as good as Google and a exam shot we took comparing a Galaxy S8 to a Pixel XL saw a latter come out on top. One print isn’t adequate to pull a plain end though, so some-more contrast is needed.
Where hardware changes have been finished is to a front camera with both a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus featuring upgraded 8 megapixel sensors compared to a underwhelming 5MP modules in final year’s phones.
I pattern a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus to be among a best smartphone cameras of 2017, yet it seems a doorway has been left ajar for both Apple and Google to transcend them with their flagships after in a year.
Performance – Evolution Not Revolution
As approaching a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus have changed to a latest slicing corner chipsets, yet what we get will again count on where we live:
- Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus (US) – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core chipset (4x 2.35GHz and 4x 1.9GHz Kryo CPUs), Adreno 540 GPU; 4GB of RAM
- Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus (Europe and Asia) – Exynos 8895 (4x 2.3 GHz 4x 1.7 GHz CPUs), ARM Mali-G71 MP20 GPU; 4GB of RAM
Historically Samsung has claimed Qualcomm and Exynos chipsets have immaterial differences, yet genuine universe contrast has consistently found a Exynos chips to be somewhat faster and easier on battery life. We won’t know if that’s a box again until examination samples are issued.
When it comes to benchmarks, Samsung claims sincerely medium gains compared to final year: a 10% faster CPU and 21% faster GPU (vs 30% and 64% jumps between a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S6), creation opening evolutionary rather than revolutionary. A various with 6GB of RAM might come to a Asian market, yet Samsung has no skeleton to recover it in a US or Europe during this time.
My time with a dual phones did still find both a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus pang from Samsung’s chronological flaws of occasional loiter and forsaken frames of animation, yet these were pre-release inclination using unfinished software. Still, it’s something to watch out for.
Aside from this you’ll find a burst to Bluetooth 5.0 (the initial blurb phone to underline a new standard) that provides 2x speed and 4x operation of Bluetooth 4.2, and Qualcomm’s X16 LTE modem that is able of gigabit speeds. That’s flattering stunning, yet we are doubtful to find many carriers who can take advantage of it.
Software – Classier But As Bloated As Ever
I’ll acknowledge off a bat that I’m not fan of Samsung’s endless Android customisation, nor a mania with needlessly duplicating core Android apps, yet with a upgraded ‘Grace UX’ TouchWiz has never looked better.
Then again it has also never been some-more cluttered as Samsung has installed both a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus with some-more program than ever before. There’s Samsung Pass – a secure login apparatus for financial services, Samsung Connect – an IoT heart identical to Google Home and Apple Home, and Bixby – a previously announced hybrid of Google Now and Google Goggles. Handy? Yes. Essential? No. Non-removable? Of course.
There are also still dual app stores, dual calculators, dual web browsers, dual mobile remuneration services, dual clocks… we get a idea. For me it’s profusion and I’m not tender that both phones will launch formed on Android 7.0, when Android 7.1 (itself a vital upgrade) is scarcely 6 months old.
As ever Samsung hardware continues to be category leading, yet a association seems dynamic to outing itself adult with software. With one engaging exception…
Smartphones As PCs
The many talked about aspect of Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus program is indeed not designed for smartphones during all. If we hack adult £150 (US seeking cost TBC), we can buy a DeX wharf that turns these new flagship phones into ChromeOS-style desktop computers.
How this works is a smartphone sits in a DeX dock, a wharf is powered over USB Type-C, a dual USB-A ports support a keyboard and rodent and it has an HDMI pier to bond a monitor. The outcome is a reworked chronicle of Android to emanate a simple desktop interface that can run Android apps and is business accessible due to support for Citrix Receiver and Amazon Workspaces.
It’s a crafty pretence (borrowed from Microsoft’s earnest yet stagnating Continuum concept), yet £150 will also get we a simple Chrome OS laptop or Chromebox that can do a pursuit improved and doesn’t impair your smartphone while it is in use.
Battery Life – Stagnation Brings Concern
Which brings me to maybe a biggest area of regard in Samsung’s new smartphones. Having been traumatised by a bomb local of a Galaxy Note 7, this year Samsung has played it protected and propitious a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus with informed battery capacities:
- Galaxy S8 – 3000 mAh (same as Galaxy S7)
- Galaxy S8 Plus – 3500 mAh (same as Galaxy S7 Edge)
The regard here is that while a new chipsets are some-more efficient, a displays are now dramatically larger. When we asked Samsung member how prolonged they approaching a phones to final compared to final year’s models they were neutral and a total were not published during launch. This is something I’ll be looking into once examination models are available.
The good news is that, while small-ish, Samsung says a new Galaxies’ batteries are super protected interjection to a new ‘8 Point Quality Check’ and they have improved cycle longevity losing usually 5% of their ability in a year compared to adult to 20% on prior models. Fast connected and wireless charging is also customary on a span and they have finally shifted from micro USB to USB Type-C after a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were a usually holdout flagships final year.
Price And Storage – Increases All Round
Samsung hasn’t been bashful to boost a cost of a Galaxy operation in new years and this is function again in 2017, that takes both a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus above iPhone pricing:
- Galaxy S8 – 64GB – $750 / €799 / £689
- Galaxy S8 Plus – 64GB – $850 / €899 / £779
Some movement exists (Best Buy lists a phones for $725 and $825 respectively), yet a tough fact is these 64GB phones unbarred are now approximately a same cost as a 128GB iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. MicroSD works in Samsung’s foster here, yet a threshold has been crossed.
What helps palliate some of that pain is that 64GB is double a (bizarrely low) 32GB Samsung offering in 2016, and it is formed on a faster UFS 2.1 standard. You’ll also get decent AKG earphones bundled to palliate a pain and that Samsung will also sell alone for $99, that gives a clarity of what you’re getting.
Still we can’t assistance yet feel these phones are $50 overpriced and given how many users already possess decent headphones these days, I’d have ditched a AKG earphones to keep a cost down.
Pre-orders are now open with sell accessibility on Apr 21st (US, Asia) and 28th (most tools of Europe). Meanwhile if we wish those cheaper Best Buy prices, you’ll have to wait until some time in May.
For me Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are dual of a many visually overwhelming smartphones ever made. Their prophesy of an ‘all display’ fascia represents a destiny of smartphone pattern and this will be adequate to sell millions of units around a world.
But there are also questions when we demeanour underneath their pleasing exteriors. Both a camera and altogether opening on a dual phones are usually incrementally upgraded, a fingerprint reader is bizarrely re-positioned and there is genuine regard that battery life might have taken a step back. The fact both phones are using during 1080p resolutions out a box for a initial time given a Galaxy S5 in 2014 can't go unnoticed.
As such a Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus poise as many questions as they answer with a repeated theme: Is their beauty usually skin deep, and will anyone care?
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