The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are here. This time, coming after the fiasco with its Note 7 smartphones, the flagship means much more to the Korean tech leviathan than before. The flagship also comes at a time where lot of consumers are increasingly questioning the need for a top-end flagship, and settling for the so-called mid-range flagships that offer more bang for the buck. But Samsung has been in this game for too long and knows what ticks, at least with its dedicated user base.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ is clearly the phone the Android universe would want to aspire to. There are a lot of other expensive, spec heavy smartphones in the top end from companies as varied as HTC and Asus, but Samsung has pretty much set the benchmarks when it comes to Android smartphones. The S8 is no exception.
The phone has a lot to offer. But after a 12-hour stint with the phone, I think there are at least four features that are good enough to sell the phone, and good enough for one of you to make the decision to buy it.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Design
The S8 and S8+ are well and truly Samsung Galaxy phones. The design language has just evolved a wee bit and it still carries the legacy of its predecessors. The glassy finish and the curved edges will announce from meters away that a Galaxy phone is headed your way. But where Samsung has really pushed the envelope is with the aspect ratio of the phone itself.
So even the larger the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is a good fit in your hand with both the thumb and the fingers wrapping around it well. And in comparison to the smaller S8, there is not much of a difference in grip. This is quite and achievement and something other smartphone manufacturers might end up emulating soon.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Display
Samsung is really pushing the Infinity Display on the S8 as the next big thing. Initially, before actually seeing the phone, I was thinking this is not a big deal, especially for Samsung which has had curved edge displays on its phones for a while. But it is only when you play a video on the S8 and switch on the Infinity Display mode — no, it is not default — that you really feel the difference it makes to the viewing experience.
In a darkly lit room, if you are able to concentrate, it should be the closest you can get to a cinematic experience with something held in your hand. This is quite something.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Camera
Again, given how good the S7 and Note 7 cameras were, it should have been a foregone conclusion that the S8 will have a good, even better camera. Samsung has delivered that for sure. This camera gives you the kind of detail and richness not usually seen in smartphones. One image I took in a dimply lit room was way more better than what the actual scene was like.
Yes, it is a bit of overprocessing, but the colours that come are great, and not really an overkill like we are used to seeing. Again, another image that I shot at dinner — yes, I do take a lot of food shots — convinced me that this camera is a winner. How, else can you explain the colours and details on Mama’s Spicy Ramen.
Bixby on Samsung Galaxy S8+
At the launch, this was the one thing that excited me the most. A personal assistant built into the phone, like a Siri or a Cortana. But Bixby is not really a personal assistant is that sense, it is more like a behind the scenes concierge that makes life easier for the boss.
It comes up on the -1 screen just a right swipe away from the homescreen. And once you have logged in and give the necessary permissions it is constantly trying to give you what you want on a platter — you most used websites, the weather, top news, latest photos… but it is a bit too similar to Google Now, in a good sort of way.
There is also Bixby in your camera which can reach based on what it is seeing, be it a book or a monument. I have had limited success with it so far, having done a random search of Who Moved My Cheese.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ seems to be a phone that has a lot of plus points. At least, in the first 12 hours I have not encountered any major issues except for the realisation that this phone take quite some time to charge up. Also, we need to see how something like Bixby works in the Indian market.
Watch this space for a full review in the coming days.