Samsung S8 Review

Following the Note 7 disaster, Samsung really needs a huge success to keep its lead in the smartphone market. Is the Galaxy S8 it?

It would appear so. The Galaxy S8 is arguably the best improvement in smartphone design in years and the biggest step forward to the holy grail of an all-screen phone.

The S8 has curved screens like last year’s model, but now the top and bottom of the phone is much smaller, measuring 9mm from the very top of the device and just over 7mm from the bottom, giving it a screen-to-body ratio of 83%.

The long and narrow 5.8in QHD+ “infinity” screen provides the big-screen experience in a body practically the same width as, and only a little taller than the Apple iPhone 7. The S8’s body is narrow at just 68.1mm wide, which is 9.8mm narrower than the iPhone 7+,  and therefore a lot more manageable to use than the competition.

Samsung is the market leader in screen technology, and the S8 has the company’s best smartphone display to date. It’s simply beautiful, with rich colours, inky blacks, excellent viewing angles and a surprisingly large brightness range. It is bright enough to see in direct sunlight but will also go very dim to make viewing the screen at night much less dazzling.

Out of the box the display is set to the equivalent of full HD resolution, despite the fact that the screen is capable of displaying resolutions up to QHD+. Users can opt for QHD+, FHD+ or even a 720p equivalent (in theory the higher the resolution the shorter the battery life but the crisper the display).

The S8 is Samsung’s most tactile phone to date. The glass back, curved edges and polished metal sides feel great. Samsung’s usual home, back and overview capacitive buttons are gone, instead replaced with software navigation keys. The place on the screen where the home button is displayed is pressure sensitive, acting both as a software button and a hardware button in one.

Specifications

  • Screen: 5.8in quad HD+ AMOLED (570ppi)
  • Processor: octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 or octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 4GB of RAM
  • Storage: 64GB + microSD card
  • Operating system: Android 7.0 with TouchWiz
  • Camera: 12MP rear camera with OIS, 8MP front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, wireless charging, Bluetooth 5, GPS and Iris sensor
  • Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm
  • Weight: 155g

 

The Samsung Galaxy S8 costs £689 with 64GB of storage. It comes in black or grey and is due to ship 28 April.

For comparison,Google's Pixel XL is £712 with 32GB of storage, Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus costs £719 with 32GB of storage and the LG G6 costs £649 with 32GB of storage.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best smartphone available, full stop. It has raised the bar for top-end smartphone design, is one of the most future-proofed phones you can buy and squeezes a large selection of cutting-edge technology into a consumer-friendly package that anyone can use.

Nothing is perfect, of course: the fingerprint scanner could be positioned better, the battery could last longer, the pace of software updates is questionable and the lack of USB-PD is disappointing. But what you get is a brilliant, exciting smartphone that’s beautiful. It feels like you’re holding the future.

Pros: 64GB + microSD card slot, wireless charging, IP68, brilliant screen, tiny body, great camera, iris scanner, 24-hour battery, pressure-sensitive screen, notification LED

Cons: fixed battery, only Android 7.0, no USB-PD, fingerprint scanner placement not ideal

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