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Samsung Galaxy S8 | Review

Overview
Reviewed

14 August 2017

Launched

April 2017

Design

End-to-end screen
Smooth continuous surface
Pure, pristine,
uninterrupted glass
Aluminium shell
Colours: Midnight black, Orchid grey

Camera

Main camera: 12 MP
Dual pixel sensor
F1.7 lens, 4K video
3840 x 2160 @30fps
Pro-mode, selective focus
Front camera: 8MP
F1.7 lens, autofocus

Memory

4 GB RAM, 64 GB ROM
MicroSD up to 256GB

Ecosystem

Exynos 8895 Octa
2.3GHz, 1.7GHz Octa-Core
10 nm processor
1024-QAM router support
Vulkan capabilities

Display

5.8" dual edge Super AMOLED
Quad HD+, 16M colours
2960 x 1440 resolution
Stunning Infinity Display
Immersive screen

Ease of use

Android 7.0, Bixby,touchscreen controls, Iris scanner, Facial recognition, Fingerprint scanner, Samsung Knox security, wireless charging

Connectivity

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MU-MIMO,1024-QAM, Bluetooth v5.0 LE up to 2 Mbps

Battery

3000 mAh battery
Talk Time 3G
Hours : up to 20
Internet Usage Time
3G Hours : up to 11
Internet Usage Time
WiFi Hours : up to 14
Video Playback Time
Hours : up to 16
Audio Playback Time
Hours : up to 44
Audio Playback Time
Always on display off
Hours : up to 67

Portability

IP68 water resistant
148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm
Weight: 155 g

Other Features

AKG earphones included, MP3, MP4, GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, ANT+, 3.5mm Stereo, NFC, Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor

Positives

Impressive Edge display
Strong performance
Excellent camera

Negatives

Awkward fingerprint sensor placement
Bixby needs work
Expensive

Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
-Design
9.6
10
-Camera
9.5
9.5
-Memory
9.4
9.5
-Ecosystem
9.7
10
-Display
9.6
10
-Ease of use
9.3
9.5
-Connectivity
9.2
9.5
-Battery
9.1
9.0
-Portability
9.1
9.5
The Last Word

Samsung has really hit the mark here, while everything may not be perfect it certainly knocks any rivalling smartphone out of the way, setting the bar very high. The Galaxy S8 combines an infinity edge display with a strong performance and impressive camera. The sleek design looks and feels great while the colourful display is ultra-sharp and incredible to look at. There are some issues, the fingerprint sensor is awkwardly placed making it unintuitive and also encourages you to smudge fingerprints on the camera lens. Also, Bixby is still in it's training wheels, even though we have now seen a larger roll-out there are some kinks to iron out and some functionality that has yet to be explored. That said these are not reasons not to but the S8, Bixby will receive more updates...... soon we hope and you can choose to use the iris scanner instead of the fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S8 is expensive, if you already have the S7 Plus there may not be enough to make you switch, but if you want the latest, most powerful and stylish phone on the market......... take a look at the Galaxy S8!

9.4
Our Rating
9.6
User Rating
You have rated this

The Review

A look at the Samsung Galaxy S8……… what or who is Bixby?

read the full review ...

Design

One of the best design features Samsung brought with it’s last release was the curved edge display and we are delighted to see it’s back, not just in the plus model but standard with the Galaxy S8 also, which we love. In the endless battle of “best smartphone”, Samsung may have just secured it’s title for 2017 taking the best features from the S7 and Note 7 and refining them into the sleek, slender and smooth Galaxy S8. The end-to-end screen looks fantastic, the infinity edge display makes it look like you’re holding just a screen in your hand rather than a phone. The screen curves around to meet the glass back of the S8 with only a thin metal strip between the two, seamlessly blending in together for one smooth continuous surface which feels great in your hands, no blunt uncomfortable edges at all. The pure, pristine, uninterrupted glass looks great, giving a nice glossy finish all around the phone, though this does mean the Galaxy S8 is prone to fingerprints everywhere which is not surprising but some may find it annoying. The S8 is extremely light and with the glass finish you will be forgiven for thinking it feels fragile however the back is Gorilla Glass 5 and underneath you will find an aluminium shell meaning it’s quite strong. That said, as with any high end smartphone I would recommend using a case to protect it in case of dropping it, no matter how sturdy they feel. With the infinity edge display Samsung had to get rid of the physical home button, it’s all touchscreen now and you will find an extra button below the volume rocker which is for Bixby, but we’ll look at that later. The only design feature I don’t like is the fingerprint sensor placement, it’s awkward and seems like Samsung didn’t put much thought into it, even with this issue the overall design is much cleaner, smoother and feels like Samsung has found it’s place.

Camera

The Galaxy S8 comes with a 12 MP main camera with dual pixel sensor and F1.7 lens that can shoot 4K video and 3840 x 2160 @30fps. It is interesting that Samsung has not gone with a dual lens camera like we’ve seen in rival smartphones, is that the right move? It appears so, the Galaxy S8 still produces some of the best pictures from a smartphone, some may say the best and given that the Galaxy range has been head of the game for so long it’s not surprising it’s well able to rival the new dual lens cameras. Image quality is sharp, focused with plenty of detail, colours are rich warm and vibrant, a few small but noticeable improvements from the S7, a little more refinement. Where you will see a bigger difference is in low light conditions, the S8 handles these conditions much better than before, and better than rival smartphones which is great for those who love to snap away on nights out. Unfortunately this development has made the S8 camera a bit more sensitive to light, in strong sunlight you will see a lot more bleeding and noise, is it a good trade-off? We’re not sure, it depends when you prefer to take photo’s, but if Samsung can balance out this issue to have both light and dark images better quality they really could be the best. Samsung has also improved the camera’s usability and app, making it not only more intuitive to use but also adding new features like pro-mode and selective focus. There is nothing ground-breaking but rather Samsung has taken all the camera features we like and some we don’t, and made them available for the Galaxy S8, even using features we see on Snapchat like stickers and filters. The front camera has also been upgraded to an 8MP camera with F1.7 lens and autofocus. Images are better quality than the S7 and Samsung has also managed to improve low light images from the front camera too.

Memory

The S8 comes with 4 GB RAM and the only option available is 64 GB ROM, rather than offering two or three memory options. 64GB is middle of the road and will suit most users for basic use and if or when you need more memory the S8 has a MicroSD which takes up to 256GB which means you only need to incur the cost of higher memory when you need it.

Ecosystem

Samsung has packed the Galaxy S8 with an Exynos 8895 Octa 2.3GHz, 1.7GHz Octa-Core 10 nm processor, 1024-QAM router support with Vulkan capabilities. And what this breaks down to is one of the most powerful smartphones currently available. Some questioned Samsung using their own Exynos processors rather than Snapdragon and in the past the Exynos processor may have wavered in performance, however Samsung has now proved that it made the right decision investing in it’s own technology. With a Geekbench score of 6686 the Galaxy S8 out-performs the iPhone 7 which scores just 5972. What does this mean to you? The Galaxy S8 is fast, smooth and a joy to use. Applications open quickly, web browsing is slick and games play with no noticeable lag.

Display

Samsung has produced the best smartphone display for some time now and we expect them to keep ahead of the game……. and they have. The Galaxy S8 is even better than the S7 Plus display and a lot better than rival smartphones. The S8 comes with a 5.8″ dual edge Super AMOLED Quad HD+ display with 16M colours and 2960 x 1440 resolution. This stunning Infinity Display means there is no border surrounding the images you are viewing, film you’re watching or game you’re playing, allowing a completely immersive experience. While not all films will utilise the full screen initially you can adjust the setting to fill the display, which makes the most of the curved display. Images are crisp, clear and full of rich, vibrant colours. Whites are extremely clean and blacks are very dark with great contrast. The display is the sharpest we’ve seen and thanks to the powerful processor the S8 can keep up with games while maintaining an ultra sharp screen. The S8 is being advertised as HDR compatible, just like most TV’s today, the only issue is there is not much, if anything that is HDR for mobile yet. It’s a great feature and will be interesting to see how well it translates when we can view a film or streaming service in HDR, but we’ll have to wait.

Ease of Use

The S8 comes with Android 7.0 and will update to Android Oreo when it launches, however Samsung uses it’s own Touchwiz layered on top. While TouchWiz was a little hit and miss in the beginning Samsung has made big improvements and we see some more improvements here, its far more user friendly and less quirky than before. If you are coming from a TouchWiz phone already you will be pleasantly surprised, if you are moving from regular Android it will take a little getting used to but not as big of a leap as before. As I mentioned earlier the S8 no longer has a physical home button and instead uses it’s Infinity Display to accommodate touchscreen controls, they work just the same as the previous control buttons and just as well, the touchscreen is very responsive and great with multi-touch gestures.

Samsung has gone for an array of security features rather than settling on one, it comes with an Iris Scanner, Facial Recognition and a Fingerprint Scanner all linked to Samsung Knox security. You have to choose whether to use the Iris Scanner or Facial Recognition in the setting, however you can combine this with the fingerprint scanner and use either when you want to unlock and of course you can use a standard pin code to unlock. The S8 of course comes with wireless charging capabilities, a feature we love and wish other high end smartphones would join the club. That said, you can use wired charging if you wish and as Samsung has ….. thankfully…… kept the headphone jack so you can listen to music while charging your phone, something Apple users miss, unless you bought the AirPods. Samsung has included a set of AKG earphones in the box, sound quality is good and the in-ear headphones are comfortable to wear.

And now we come to Bixby, initially only launched in South Korea and the USA with limited functionality we have now seen a larger roll-out with more features…….. but it has yet to reach it’s full potential. Bixby is Samsung’s answer to Siri and Cortana, while it looks like Samsung has bigger plans for Bixby at the moment there are only certain functions Bixby is capable of. You can use Bixby to navigate around your phone and ask it to perform certain tasks like texting, answering calls, opening applications….. the usual basic functions. You can do this by pressing the Bixby button or saying “hey Bixby”. However you will have to use Google Assist, which is on board, for tasks like getting directions etc. Bixby does link in with the camera app allowing you to take a picture of an item and use Bixby to find the product or buy it online, it is early days and not completely smooth but a good feature. Overall the S8 is more user friendly and feature rich, we just have to wait and see Bixby’s full potential as currently it’s a little limited.

Connectivity

The Galaxy S8 is compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MU-MIMO,1024-QAM and Bluetooth v5.0 LE up to 2 Mbps.

Battery

The S8 is packed with a 3000 mAh battery which is smaller than the Note S7, however given the issues this had it’s not surprising. Samsung state the S8 will give you up to 20 hours talk-time or up to 14 hours WiFi internet usage. This is about average but given the performance and impressive display it’s actually quite good, with average daily use you will get a day out of the battery and with the always-on display turned off you can squeeze a little more out of the battery. Samsung has included fast-charge which will bring you from flat to half full in approximately 35 minutes.

Portability

The Galaxy S8 is IP68 water resistant a feature we see less in smartphones these days, while you can’t or shouldn’t take it swimming you can take some under water snaps up to 1.5 meters and of course not worry about taking calls in the rain. The S8 is ultra light weighing a mere 155 g so you can carry it in your pocket without noticing much, though a case will add a little extra weight and I do recommend getting one.

Samsung Galaxy S8 front night back
Samsung Galaxy S8 front night back
Samsung Galaxy S8 front night back
Samsung Galaxy S8 front side back lying down
Samsung Galaxy S8 front side back lying down
Samsung Galaxy S8 front side back lying down
Samsung Galaxy S8 front night
Samsung Galaxy S8 front night
Samsung Galaxy S8 front night
Samsung Galaxy S8 side black
Samsung Galaxy S8 side black
Samsung Galaxy S8 side black
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera
Samsung Galaxy S8 front snow back grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front snow back grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front snow back grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front angle snow
Samsung Galaxy S8 front angle snow
Samsung Galaxy S8 front angle snow
Samsung Galaxy S8 side grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 side grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 side grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front pink sand back grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front pink sand back grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front pink sand back grey
Samsung Galaxy S8 front angle sea
Samsung Galaxy S8 front angle sea
Samsung Galaxy S8 front angle sea
Samsung Galaxy S8 Bixby
Samsung Galaxy S8 Bixby
Samsung Galaxy S8 Bixby
Samsung Galaxy S8 Water resistant
Samsung Galaxy S8 Water resistant
Samsung Galaxy S8 Water resistant
Samsung Galaxy S8 feature
Samsung Galaxy S8 feature
Samsung Galaxy S8 feature
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera bike
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera bike
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera bike
Samsung Galaxy S8 Gear
Samsung Galaxy S8 Gear
Samsung Galaxy S8 Gear

Unboxing

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Durability

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Review

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Comparison

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What others are saying ...

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About The Author
Lynne Pettre
Reviewing the latest tech in Ireland and across the globe.