Samsung is back with a smartphone flagship, which it hopes will douse the flames created by the Galaxy Note 7. With the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ the Korean tech giant has every reason to play safe, at least stay clear of features that could result in issues. So the Samsung Galaxy S8 clearly aims to be the dependable flagship with enough new features to interest loyalists thinking of an upgrade. Here is our review.
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Launched in New York, the Samsung galaxy S8+ will start selling in India this week. The phone does look a lot like what you would expect any Samsung phone to be. But it has one very unique feature in the ‘Infinity Display’ which kills the side bezels on this phone, and offers screen with unmatched dimensions.
But this display is actually squeezing a larger screen into a smaller chassis. Hold this phone in your hand, and you will not guess this is actually a 6.2-inch display. This is the most innovative bit about the phone.
Specifications: 6.2-inch 2K Infinity Display | Exynos 8895 processor octa-core 2.35GHz (quad) + Quad 1.7GHz (quad), Mali G71 MP20 | 4GB RAM+64GB storage (expandable to 256GB) | 12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture lens, Dual Pixel Technology, OIS + 8MP front camera f/1.7 aperture lens | 3500 mAh battery | Android Nougat | Full specifications of Samsung Galaxy S8+ here
Price: Rs 64,900
What is good?
Of course, the display is amazing. The bezel-less experience is for sure more natural than everything we have been experiencing for many years now. In a dimly lit room, this screen can gradually make you forget the surrounding, and concentrate purely on the screen, which is great for those who consume long form video on small screens. The content literally flows out of the screen. In my books this is the best screen on any phone at the moment.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ offers a lot of new experiences, among them the most prominent is Bixby. But Bixby is not what I thought it is, it is personal assistant in the background to give you relevant stuff when you need it. So what used to be the Flipboard screen in top-end Samsung devices earlier is now the Bixby screen, with Flipboard as just one of the elements.
It helps you keep tab of engagement, weather, top news and most frequented websites. What I like about Bixby is that you don’t really need to ask it much, the answers are available on a platter. Also, there is a Bixby button in the camera app that lets you click a picture of something, and ask the assistant to identify it. This comes with varying degrees of success and often Bixby can identify a book, but not which one.
I would have expected Samsung to push a dual screen camera as this is pretty much becoming the norm these days for top-end flagships. However, Samsung seems to have resisted the temptation and gone for a great camera without the extra muscles. What it offers now is undoubtedly the best Android camera.
The kind of colours it can reproduce along with the rich details is unparalleled. The camera comes with all kinds of presets you might need, plus some fun animated add-ons you will use in the first week, and then get bored of them. The manual mode gives a lot of options to exploit this superb camera.
We should actually be talking about the performance of any flagship phone only if there is an issue with it. With the Samsung Galaxy S8+ performance is a given, as it should be. Everything the phone set out to do, it achieves with ease.
Also, for a flagship this phone is always cool and never stressed enough to lose its temperament or temperature. This also means the battery is capable of lasting a whole day with 4G connectivity, camera use and heavy browsing.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ professes a heightened sense of security. So there is a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner and face scanner, all to let you into the device and to keep others from accessing your data. Since, Samsung is pushing its Samsung Pay payment platform with this phone, this added layer of security makes good sense. Both the iris scanner and face detection work well in good light, but you will need to fall back on your PIN if the light is weak.
What is not that good?
I will be really scared about the safety of this phone with the ‘Infinity Display’. Usually when a phone slips from your hand and falls, edges protect the display. Here the edges will need maximum protection. There is no point hiding a phone like this under a flapped cover after having spent so much money on it. To add to the stress, the glass on the edge does not make for a great grip either.
Also, the audio quality could have been a lot better for this screen, especially when you consider where some of Samsung’s rivals are pushing this. This is not a big issue, but it is time all flagships started offering top notch audio experiences.
One last thing is that since the home button has become virtual, there is no space for a fingerprint scanner up front. The fingerprint scanner has now been accommodated next to the camera, but not exactly where you would rest your fingers. This means you have to keep searching for the scanner and the location takes a lot of getting used to.
Should you buy?
Yes, if you are looking for a top-end Android phone and want the best. The only challenger for this phone is the Google Pixel, which has not really flown off the shelves. My word of caution is to wait a few weeks before you buy the phone, just to ensure there are no major issues being reported from other parts of the world. Otherwise, this is a perfect phone with no big problems, and a lot of good features that will ensure a great user experience everyday.