Galaxy S8 Review

Updated June 19, 2018 By Pulse 2.0 Staff

The Galaxy S8 is Samsung’s big comeback after the Galaxy Note 7 was recalled due to battery faults. After the Galaxy Note 7 was recalled, Samsung fans waited eagerly to find out what the Korean electronics giant had up its sleeves for its next flagship smartphone. And Samsung has made the wait worth it with the release of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

The Galaxy S8 has a radical new design, slimmer bezels, a sophisticated camera and a much faster processor.

Design

Samsung Galaxy S8 Infinity Display

In the past, Samsung played it safe with the design of its Galaxy S line of devices. The front of the Galaxy S8 has customizable virtual buttons rather than physical hardware buttons. And the front of the Galaxy S8 does not have the Samsung logo in all caps. The Galaxy S8 bezels are much slimmer and the devices are a bit taller than before. The corners of the Galaxy S8 devices are curved, which gives them a sleek and aesthetic design.

The virtual Home button supports haptic feedback so it feels like you are actually pressing a physical button. You can wake the devices up by pressing on the front screen. And you can also double-tap to wake the devices as well.

The size of the Galaxy S8 is 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm (5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 in) and the S8+ is 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm (6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 in). The weight of the Galaxy S8 is 155g and the S8+ is 173g. As a comparison the iPhone 7 is 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in) and the iPhone 7 Plus is 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 in). Since the Galaxy S8 screens are taller, you will be able to see more emails, text messages, and news feeds per swipe.

The back of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is glass, which facilitates the wireless signals needed for Wi-Fi, cellular connections, and wireless charging. But there is a problem with the glass back: it attracts fingerprint smudges. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ has a heart rate sensor on the back so that you can track your pulse while on-the-go. The fingerprint scanner on the back of the device towards the top — which means it is next to the rear-facing camera. And since the fingerprint scanner feels similar to the camera lens, it gets easily covered with fingerprints.

Samsung was originally planning to integrate the fingerprint scanner into the display through a partnership with Synaptics. Samsung poured resources into Synaptics’ fledgling technology last year but the results were frustrating said a source with The Investor Korea back in March 2017.

Display

The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch AMOLED display (570ppi) and the S8+ has a 6.2-inch AMOLED display (529ppi). The edge-to-edge displays on both devices are dubbed as “Infinity Display.”

The resolution on both devices is 2960×1440 with 18.5:9 aspect ratios. Unfortunately, it is rare to find video content that has 18.5:9 aspect ratios so you will likely see black bars on the sides of the video app unless you stretch it out.

Performance

Samsung Galaxy S8 Performance

As usual, Samsung is releasing a U.S. version and an international version of the Galaxy S8. The international version uses Samsung’s Exynos chipset. And the U.S. version has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset is an eight core chip, meaning there is a major boost in the multi-core performance. Paired with these chipsets is 4GB of RAM.

Storage

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices have 64GB of internal storage. But there is a microSD card slot for expansion.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy S8 Camera

Front-Facing Camera

The front-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture and autofocus built-in. The front-facing camera also has face unlock and an iris scanner built-in. The iris scanner is a bit slower than the fingerprint scanner. And you have to activate the iris scanner by swiping up on the lock screen and aiming the camera at your face.

The face unlock feature immediately activates when you turn the phone on. For the face unlock feature to work, you have to aim the device around 8-20 inches from your face. Face unlock cannot be used to make payments through Samsung Pay or access private data since it isn’t as secure as other biometric technologies.

Rear-Facing Camera

The rear-facing camera has a 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. Interestingly, these specs have not been changed since the predecessor. However, Samsung enhanced the software processing to ensure images look better in low-light conditions.

Bixby Digital Assistant

Samsung has decided to build a voice assistant of its own, which competes against Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa. Samsung even built a dedicated button into the device for Bixby. Unfortunately, Samsung did not have this feature ready at launch including English voice commands.

Bixby has three components: Home, Voice, and Vision. Bixby Home is similar to Google Now as it has virtual cards for content like weather, social updates (Facebook and Twitter), maps with nearby locations (Foursquare), email buttons, news (powered by Flipboard), ride sharing (Uber), fitness, etc. Bixby Vision is a visual search engine that supports product search, wine search, place and landmark recognition, text translation, QR / barcode reader, and the ability to find similar images. And Bixby Voice supports voice commands like “set screen brightness to 75%” and “show Las Vegas photo album.”

This is a bit of a strange addition because Google Assistant is already built into Android. Adding a second voice assistant to the Galaxy S8 seems unnecessary. And Google Assistant can be pulled up by long-pressing on the Home button.

IP68

Galaxy S8 IP68

The Galaxy S8 is IP68 rated so it can survive 1.5 meters of water submersion for up to 30 minutes. This means you can play some music and watch some videos on your devices while you are in the shower.

USB-C/3.5mm Headphone Jack

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ has a USB-C port for wired charging and data transfer. Both devices also have a 3.5mm headphone jack. Included in the box, Samsung is including a set of high-quality $99 Harman AKG headphones.

Bluetooth 5.0

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are the first smartphones to have Bluetooth 5.0 built-in. The range of Bluetooth 5.0 is 4x more than Bluetooth 4.2. Plus it has twice the data speed. Another Bluetooth 5.0 feature is the ability to connect to two Bluetooth devices at a time. This feature will be much more useful as more peripherals are released with Bluetooth 5.0 support.

Gigabit LTE

Samsung Galaxy S8 Network Features

There is another major first for the Galaxy S8. The S8 is the first gigabit LTE smartphone. There aren’t any gigabit networks to utilize it on yet. But U.S. carriers should be launching gigabit networks before the end of 2017.

Battery

The Galaxy S8 has a 3,000 mAh battery and the S8+ has a 3,500 mAh battery. These battery capacities are actually smaller than the S7 Edge devices, but it has a new design so that it lasts longer than older batteries.

DeX

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a feature like Windows Continuum that allows the devices to be used like PCs. When you connect the Galaxy S8 or S8+ to the DeX docking station, you can use it like a computer. The DeX station can also connect to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard.

Google Daydream Support

In May 2017, Google announced that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be getting support for Google Daydream this summer. The feature will be added to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ through a software update. After the update is downloaded, users will be able to connect their Galaxy S8 or S8+ to the Google Daydream View VR headset.

What Are The Pros And Cons?

Pros:

1.) Amazing display

2.) Sophisticated and sharp camera

3.) The front-facing camera is one of the best I have seen

4.) Advanced Bluetooth 5.0 and Gigabit LTE

5.) The IP68 dust and waterproof feature comes in handy

Cons:

1.) Higher priced

2.) The fingerprint sensor being placed on the back makes it vulnerable to finger smudges

3.) Smudges easily appear on the glass back

4.) The default storage amount is on the low side compared to other smartphones on the market

Samsung Galaxy S8 Specs

– Size: 5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 in (148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm)

– Weight: 155g (5.47 oz.)

– Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (U.S.) / Exynos 8895 (EMEA)

– GPU: Adreno 540 (U.S.) / Mali-G71 MP20 (EMEA)

– Network: GSM/HSPA/LTE

– RAM: 4GB

– Display: 5.8-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 5

– Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi)

– Storage: 64GB (internal), up to 256GB (expandable)

– Rear-Facing Camera: 12-megapixel with optical image stabilization (4K video), f/1.7 aperture

– Front-Facing Camera: 8-megapixel with f/1.7 aperture

– OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

– IP Rating: IP68 (dust and waterproof over 1.5 meters for 30 minutes)

– Battery: 3,000 mAh with fast charging and wireless charging (Qi/PMA) support

– Port(s): USB-C for charging, 3.5mm jack for audio

– Sensors: iris scanner, fingerprint reader, heart rate, SpO2

– Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0

– Digital Payment: Samsung Pay

– Additional Features: NFC, Samsung DeX (desktop-like experience), TouchWiz UI

– Released: April 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Specs

– Size: 6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 in (159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm)

– Weight: 173g (6.10 oz)

– Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (U.S.) / Exynos 8895 (EMEA)

– GPU: Adreno 540 (U.S.) / Mali-G71 MP20 (EMEA)

– Network: GSM/HSPA/LTE

– RAM: 4GB

– Display: 6.2-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 5

– Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)

– Storage: 64GB (internal), up to 256GB (expandable)

– Rear-Facing Camera: 12-megapixel with optical image stabilization (4K video), f/1.7 aperture

– Front-Facing Camera: 8-megapixel with f/1.7 aperture

– OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

– IP Rating: IP68 (dust and waterproof over 1.5 meters for 30 minutes)

– Battery: 3,500 mAh with fast charging and wireless charging (Qi/PMA) support

– Port(s): USB-C for charging, 3.5mm jack for audio

– Sensors: iris scanner, fingerprint reader, heart rate, SpO2

– Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0

– Digital Payment: Samsung Pay

– Additional Features: NFC, Samsung DeX (desktop-like experience), TouchWiz UI

– Released: April 2017

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