Samsung Galaxy S8 Review: Time to Ditch The iPhone 7 Not The iPhone 7 Plus
This Samsung Galaxy S8 review limits exaltation to focus on real life usage and related frustrations.
Samsung is expected to debut its upcoming flagships, the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+, at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas to be held in January. (Image: Siddharth Safaya/ News18.com)
A stroke of luck for Samsung prevented the disastrous Galaxy Note 7 from arriving in India. Now, the Galaxy S8 could be the smartphone to make consumers forget and forgive. The technology media globally has called for a truce with Samsung accepting that the Galaxy S8 deserves a chance.
However, personally I am still sceptical to get the Galaxy S8 to bed to sleep, and of course, maintain a safe distance when it's charging. While Samsung wants everyone to move on ahead, but it will just not happen so quickly.
In India, the Galaxy S8 could seriously confuse first-time iPhone buyers as the latest iPhone 7 starts at Rs 50,000. This is because most first-time iPhone buyers are opting for the iPhone 7 because they cannot afford the iPhone 7 Plus. It is like maintaining a balance between having the latest iPhone and affordability.
The Galaxy S8 has the potential to make iPhone 7 buyers stretch their budget. But the price of Rs 57,990 will be the deciding factor for Samsung.
Samsung is already taking praises like 'stunning display', 'drop-dead gorgeous design' or 'the best Android phone of 2017' for granted with the Galaxy S8. But it is definitely not perfect. Also, for Galaxy S7 edge users, the experience is nearly the same with the new S8. So, is it worth it? Here is our review.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8. (Image: Debashis Sarkar/ News18.com)
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has the best display in business. While there are talks about the "Red Tint issue", our review unit did not have it. Be sure to check the phone before you buy if you can. Else, Samsung has acknowledged it and a fix is on its way. For most users, realising the "red tint" would be difficult.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 sports a 5.8-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED curved display. It offers a 1440x2960 pixel resolution with 570 PPI. The resolution can be changed to Quad HD+(WQHD+) or Full HD+ as required.
Despite housing a bigger 5.8-inch display, the Galaxy S8 manages to be actually smaller than the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge. While maintaining the slimness of the Galaxy S8, Samsung has managed to provide a flat back without any protrusion near the rear camera area.
The 18:9 aspect ratio in the Galaxy S8 has changed the way smartphones look and feel. To give an edge-to-edge feel, Samsung has introduced “crop-to-fit” feature which helps any content (videos or apps/games) to occupy the entire screen, thus eliminating the ugly black bands along the curved portion.
The build quality is impressive and feels premium all the way. The virtual home button makes it stand out. It is also pressure sensitive and offers the regular Google Assistant when pressed hard.
The Galaxy S8 is powered by an octa-core Exynos 8895 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which can be expanded up to 256GB. Overall, it is a smooth Android phone. We did not face any major performance hiccup during our time with the Galaxy S8. The phone heats up a bit while gaming and charging but it can be ignored.
The smartphone runs Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. Samsung has finally cleaned its Touchwiz interface. It's simple, bloatware free and smooth to use. Samsung has added Microsoft Office apps which comes handy but sadly you cannot get rid of them.
The Galaxy S8 offers a great multitasking experience with its split screen view. You can easily play a game or watch videos on the same screen while chatting with someone over WhatsApp.
Taking a screenshot on the Galaxy S8 is a delight. You can just wave your palm to take a screenshot (also available on S7 edge) or just use the regular hardware buttons. Most importantly, the scroll capture screenshot feature helps you to scroll the entire screen and take one long screenshot.
The Maple Gold version of Galaxy S8.
The Edge Screen takes time to get used to. It is helpful and something you would love to flaunt. The Samsung Galaxy S8 offers tons of features on the software front which will keep you busy. For Galaxy S7 edge users, there is nothing new here.
The Galaxy S8 sports 12-megapixel rear camera with 'Dual Pixel' technology. The camera features include optical image stabilisation and f/1.7 aperture. In the front, there is an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus. The image quality is similar to what the S7 edge had offered. Cutting a long story short, it will easily satisfy your mobile photography needs.
Out-of-the-box buyers will get a pair of good quality AKG earphones along with a micro-USB to Type-C adapter, Type-C to USB adapter, Fast Charging adapter and USB Type-C data/charging cable. The earphones are of good quality as expected.
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What's not so cool?
The 3,000mAh battery of the Samsung Galaxy S8 can last maximum a one day on one full charge. You will have to charge the phone at night to use it the next morning peacefully. Talking of which, the Galaxy S8 takes a bit less than two hours to get fully charged with its Quick Charge adapter. There is a power saving mode to help squeeze extra battery but it's a compromise.
Bixby has taken the back seat in India. Literally, it is of very little use at this infancy stage. Google Assistant is a far better tried and tested AI and it seems Samsung will find it hard to match it, at least in India.
You will have to give time to get used to using this curved phone. Ghost touches and pocket dials (especially with Always On display) will be annoying.
The most handy and easy screen unlocking method would be the pattern lock. The iris scanner sounds awesome but in reality, it's a task to you use the iris scanner to unlock the phone. It works fine in pitch black darkness with glasses but it will frustrate you under sunlight or bright day light.
The awkward position of the fingerprint scanner makes it difficult to use it and you will take time to get used to. Also, the fingerprint sensor is not as a fast as we are used to.
Of course, the all-glass Samsung Galaxy S8 is slippery and fragile. While the display (protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5) is still strong, the rear glass (claimed to be the same Gorilla Glass 5) is not that tough. A single drop on a concrete floor can kill the beauty. Do not forget to get a good back cover.
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The Samsung Galaxy S8 majorly competes with the Sony Xperia XZs, LG G6, HTC U Ultra and it's very own Galaxy S7 edge in the Android flagship arena. But for someone wanting the latest and best, the Galaxy S8 clearly dominates. Of course, there is the iPhone 7. But Samsung should worry more about the iPhone 7 Plus and not the smaller iPhone 7.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best Android flagship that you can buy in 2017. If you have the money and you want the best Android smartphone, just go ahead and buy it. And if you cannot afford it, there is always the comforting touch from the likes of Xiaomi and OnePlus.
Do not forget to buy a good quality back cover to protect the Galaxy S8. Even Samsung India officials are suggesting you not to drop it.
If you are thinking whether to buy the Galaxy S8 or S8+, then note that the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 is more compact and way more manageable than the bigger 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus. It's a task to reach out for the fingerprint scanner at the back of the Galaxy S8+ and with an unreliable face unlock and iris scanner, it is going to be frustrating. But if you have big hands, you might consider trying the Galaxy S8+. In terms of overall experience, both are exactly the same.
For first-time iPhone buyers, the Galaxy S8 is a better phone compared to the iPhone 7 considering the comfort of Google's amazing ecosystem in India which is free. But if you really want to shift to iOS and get the latest iPhone, then opt for the iPhone 7 Plus.
And lastly, for iPhone fanbois, the Galaxy S8 is a smartphone which you will envy till the time you witness the next iPhone.
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