Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus review

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The latest Samsung terminal has a futuristic design that fits in perfectly with the trend for this 2017. Among the highlights are the screen with its new 18.5: 9 aspect ratio, user interface change and options Device performance. Read on to discover in detail the strengths and weaknesses of S8. 

Pros

  • Design
  • Screen
  • IU
  • Performance Modes

Cons

  • Medium range battery
  • Location of the fingerprint sensor
  • Bixby

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Availability & Pricing

The Galaxy S8 will hit the market from April 28 at a price of 809 euros. For those who can not wait there is a  pre-sale open from March 29 to April 19  (only one day left). The first lucky people will receive it on April 20th. As for the variety of color we have: gray orchid, midnight black and silver arctic. By the way, the accessories are also in pre-sale with expected arrival on April 20. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Design and finishing

As I mentioned at the beginning of this analysis, to have the Galaxy S8 in the hands we will have the feeling that we are before the correct smartphone. As they say, the first impression is the one that counts the most. If we rely on this, Samsung could have achieved success. The first sensation you have when looking at the Galaxy S8 is spectacular. The Galaxy S8 looks round, we will not notice any singing between glass and body, which makes it feel comfortable in the hands. 

The slight change in dimensions as to the previous generation is very small compared to the change in screen size. The screen of the S8 uses approximately 83.6% of the front space, its predecessor uses 72.1%, so you have an idea. In other words, the S8 is 6.5 mm longer than the Galaxy S7.

To achieve this incredible ratio between size and screen, the South Korean manufacturer has dispensed with the ‘Home’ button on the front, leaving behind one of its identifying signs.

The design of the screen, called ‘Infinity Display’, is so good that it really gives the feeling that the whole front of the device is a screen. This also helps the fact that, unlike previous versions, the front is black and therefore the limits are barely noticeable. Even the sensors, the front camera and the speaker connections seem camouflaged. Of course, until we turn on the screen. 

With regard to the materials used in the construction of the Galaxy S8, the rear and front parts are made of glass, protected with Gorilla Glass 5, and the metal structure is very narrow because the screen is curved on the sides. Also note that the camera does not protrude. As for the feeling left by their finishes we can only say that it is really good.

As a novelty, Samsung has decided to create a physical button for the Bixby virtual assistant, which creates some visual imbalance in the device. I also have to say that I often landed on the Bixby button thinking it was one to decrease the volume. But worse than that, is knowing that at the moment we can not use that button in Spain or Latin America. To date, Bixby only offers us some limited features and to use it we need to speak and configure the phone in English.

The Galaxy S8 has an IP68 certification so it is protected against water ingress, this means that it can be used to record videos or even take photos underwater. However, there is a limit of 1.5 meters deep and 30 minutes. As a result, it should be noted that the speakers will need some time to completely dry to provide the same sound quality as before being in contact with water.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Screen

One of the most remarkable work of Samsung is on the front of the Galaxy S8: the screen. We have to point out that Samsung has located a large screen in a relatively small body.

 

LG has taken the same path with its G6 giving its screen an aspect ratio of 18: 9 instead of the traditional 16: 9. Samsung uses specifically in its S8 a relation of 18,5: 9, that offers a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. Compared to classic QHD smartphones, the S8’s screen offers 400 more pixels.

The benefits are multiple. But as it is a new technology, not all applications are compatible with this new relationship of screen. Currently, most games and videos display a black bar at the top and bottom of the screen (or at the corners) when they are in 16: 9 format, causing some pixels to be lost.

In the Sky Dancer game, for example, due to the curvature of the S8 screen, the menu information was halved, making the experience even worse than the one on the G6’s flat screen, using the same game.

I have also noticed that, unlike the LG G6, the Galaxy S8 software is less intuitive in that it costs more to discover where the option is to switch between screen formats. In short, I think Samsung should work a little on it and on the other hand, also the developers to make applications compatible with the new trend. Fortunately, Netflix and YouTube can be used perfectly in this new configuration.

As usual, Samsung opts for SuperAMOLED technology, which promises a wider color spectrum or as it has called Samsung: Mobile HDR. The panel is super bright and offers a very realistic experience of colors. In addition, AMOLED panels offer deep blacks. However, the white tilts a little towards the blue tone, but this does not really interfere with the quality of the screen.

This year, both S8 models have a curved screen, which usually offers good immersion experience in games and videos, but sometimes the sides reflect the light and limit the experience.

The standard screen resolution is FullHD +, that is, 2,224 x 1,080 pixels, smaller than the QHD + (2,960 x 1,440 pixels) resolution of the LG G6. But this is for a reason, it serves to increase the battery life (to activate it you must go to the ‘Settings’ of the device). This feature has been added to the Galaxy S7 after upgrading to Android 7.0 Nougat. 

I’m very fan of this feature. I explain: the S8 processor is not using the eight cores at all times, so we do not need to have our phone configured to offer high performance. Thus, Samsung differentiates between four modes of performance for the Galaxy S8: ‘Optimized’, ‘Game’, ‘Entertainment’ and ‘High performance’. To access the option, in addition to through the ‘Settings’ menu, we can use the shortcut through the edge of the screen by sliding the finger from left to right.

When the Galaxy S8 is set to use the maximum values ​​specified, we will notice how the battery descends quickly, but in return we will have incredible screen quality and also audio.

Bixby

Samsung has high hopes for Bixby. It is a digital assistant that, among other things, will revolutionize voice control in the S8. It is clear that Samsung wants to approach Microsoft, Apple and Google, announcing its own virtual assistant. However, I think that may not yet really be the moment.

Finally, I must highlight two features that greatly enhance the user experience on the Galaxy S8. On the one hand, Samsung Flow allows us to continue our activities between devices, for example, continue reading an article that we started in the S8 on a tablet. On the other hand, Samsung Cloud allows us to make a very reliable backup. In my case, taking the data from my Galaxy S7 to S8 was extremely easy.

Another option offered by the Galaxy S8 is unlocking the screen using face recognition. At the time of the launch of the device, a video appeared on the internet that showed how to circumvent this feature and that brought with it a lot of vulnerability criticism. However, after several tests, neither I nor my colleague who tested the Galaxy S8 + were able to reproduce the problem.

Through this option, the screen unlocks very quickly, in a matter of milliseconds, but the recognition of the face in a dark environment is not very good, in fact it is even impossible. This method can not be used to validate payments.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Performance

The Galaxy S8 is marketed in Spain and Latin America with the Exynos 8895 processor with ARM graphics Mali G71. This processor makes the S8 is 10% faster than the S7 and, in terms of graphics, the improvement is 21%. Now, I come from an S7 and I can say that the S8 is fast, but I have not noticed a big difference in my daily use. 

The S8 reaches the international market with an internal storage of 64 GB (UFS 2.1). The RAM was maintained relative to its predecessor, that is, 4 GB (LPDDR4). However, in South Korea, Samsung has launched a Premium model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. By the way, in the USA, you can also find the variant with Snapdragon 835.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Camera

In recent years, Samsung has always paid great attention to the camera. With the Galaxy S6 and S7 Samsung has proven that quality in this aspect is possible. But the competition never sleeps: LG has introduced a dual camera with wide angle and Google has built with its Pixel probably the best camera on the market.

In 2017, Samsung again uses a 12-megapixel sensor and double-pixel technology for a fast and accurate focus. For image capture in low-light environments, the manufacturer has continued to invest in the f / 1.7 at 1.4μm pixels. The sensor used on this occasion is the SLSI_S5K2L2_FIMC_IS developed by Samsung and not by Sony, like the one we had with the Galaxy S7 line. Samsung offers an optical image stabilizer and support for the RAW format.

The sensor of the front camera is also signed by the manufacturer and has 8 megapixels, autofocus (AF) and f / 1.7. The quality of the front camera is superior to the Galaxy S7 and, from my point of view, is one of the best on the market.

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