I’ve tried the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + and I’m already clear which are the best phone of the year
With a screen that now occupies more part of the front, some but interesting changes in design level and few but sufficient improvements in hardware level, the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + are already a reality. A great proposal from Samsung that we have already been able to try.
We travel to London to know everything about the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 +, show you our first impressions and so you know what all they will offer.
Specifications of Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 +
Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S8 +
Physical Dimensions 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm (155 grams) 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm (173 grams)
Display Screen Super AMOLED curve of 5.8 inches 18.5: 9 Super AMOLED screen curve of 6.2 inches 18.5: 9
Resolution 1,440 x 2,960 pixels 1,440 x 2,960 pixels
Processor Exynos 8895 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (depending on region) Exynos 8895 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (depending on region)
Octacore (2.3 Ghz + 1.7 Ghz) 64 Bit 10-nanometer Octacore (2.3 Ghz + 1.7 Ghz) 64 Bit of 10 nanometers
4 GB RAM 4 GB
Memory 64 GB (UFS 2.1) expandable via microSD (up to 256 GB) 64 GB (UFS 2.1) expandable via microSD (up to 256 GB)
Android 7.0 software with TouchWiz Android 7.0 with TouchWiz
Connectivity LTE Cat.16, Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (2.4 / 5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT +, USB Type-C, NFC , VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM, Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), VHT80 MU-MIMO, ), ANT +, USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)
12 megapixel rear cameras with a lens with OIS and f / 1.7
8-megapixel front with f / 1.7, autofocus 12-megapixel rear with a lens with OIS and f / 1.7
8-megapixel front with f / 1.7, autofocus
Battery 3,000 mAh 3,500 mAh
Other IP68 protection, quick charging and wireless charging IP68 protection, quick charging and wireless charging
Price 809 euros 909 euros
The design of the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + maintains the essence of the S7 Edge. Continue with the bet of a screen with curved edges leaving behind the option of flat version. And both front and rear make use of the glass. Regarding colors, it comes in three variants: Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Arctic Silver. But let’s go with the news and changes where maybe some are not to the liking of the majority.
With curved panel and 18.5: 9 aspect ratio the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + say goodbye to the flat model
The first thing that will catch your attention will be your frontal. Thanks to the reduction of the upper and lower frames the screen gains prominence, achieving what they call Infinity Display.
This is a personal assessment, of course, but at the aesthetic level it seems that the work of Samsung surpasses the already seen in the Xiaomi Mi Mix or LG G6. At least with the black model where the continuity of the glass with the frame, which have the same tone, makes the device look really attractive.
Of course, the work of Xiaomi or LG is remarkable and there will be those who prefer them by dimensions, use of flat screens, … but the new Galaxy polish a design that was already very good, the S7 Edge. Among those aspects improved is the subject of curves, now with a slightly smaller curvature. That variation is not easy to appreciate but according to Samsung will help to avoid inadvertent touch on the screen (curved area) while holding the terminal.
With compact dimensions, large finishes and a very comfortable hand feeling, the design of the Galaxy S8 is at a high level.
With very compact dimensions, even more if we consider the diagonal of their respective screens -5.8 “on the S8 and 6.2” on the S8 + – the terminal feels great in the hand and not at all heavy (S8 155 Gr and S8 + 173 g). Of course the subject of being so “round” will make you like it more or less according to the preferences of each. But I think that neither the manufacturer’s good performance nor the quality of the materials will be debatable.
Returning to the dimension issue, this compact design with large diagonal screens is achieved thanks to the use of panels with an aspect ratio of 18.5: 9 of which I tell you things later.
Otherwise, the most striking thing is that we no longer have a physical button on the front. Which does not mean that it has disappeared as such. Now, with a pressure sensitive sensor placed behind the screen, the Home button becomes invisible. It maintains the same functions as the S7 and when we make use of it will give us a vibration so that we are aware that it has been pressed. This vibration is interesting, similar to the iPhone 7 and once accustomed offers a correct experience.
The change of the home button implies another difference in the new Galaxy S8 and S8 +, now the fingerprint reader is in the back. For many the front seems a better location, for others the back is the most natural area for how the device is attached. Personally the biggest problem here is the position that Samsung has chosen, right on the side of the camera.
When we make use of the fingerprint reader in the S8, by its size, it is not uncomfortable and is arrived at easily. In the S8 + model the thing changes since its size is more difficult to reach. Although the biggest problem is that touching the lens involuntarily will be the most common. Therefore, we will leave traces that if we are not careful then they will affect the photographs we make.
Reviewing the rest of the terminal, we have power button, volume controls, USB C and headphone connector as well as an exclusive button to invoke Bixby, your new voice assistant.
Samsung continues to demonstrate the power of the Super AMOLED screens
The new Galaxy makes use of screens with Super AMOLED technology and a different aspect ratio to what we are accustomed to see, 18,5: 9. Of little quality it is necessary to comment, in these first impressions the experience was very good. It has everything we like about AMOLED technology and enhances details like darkening the edges of the previous generation.
The screen is the main complaint of the device, a SuperAMOLED screen with 18.5: 9 ratio and 1440×2960 resolution.
In subjects of brightness level, color representation and contrast the screens are up to the expected. It will have to be analyzed better during the review but I do not think they will disappoint anyone. Although the most striking is its aspect ratio, similar to what is seen in the LG G6 only a little higher to have a few more pixels high (from 2880 goes to 2960).
We have two panels with different diagonals (5.8 and 6.2 inches) but same resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. This resolution does not offer those two exact squares of the terminal of LG but the difference is almost negligible, 80 pixels more in vertical.
With a clear commitment to offer large screens without compromising the dimensions of the terminal, the experience of use is certainly favored by both the aspect ratio of the screen and the reduction of its frames. When we use the device in its natural position -vertical- we will be able to view more information as well as take advantage of the split-screen options of Android Nougat.
When it comes to consuming multimedia content we will also have advantages even if there are situations in which it is used and others in which it is not. Because seeing the classic black stripes when viewing a video will be something that continues to happen, the difference is that depending on the content will be reduced or will go from horizontal to vertical.
Something to highlight of the new screens is the support for HDR content. Samsung has decided to bet and integrate the support for HDR 10 in its screens of S8 and S8 +. This will allow better viewing quality when playing compatible HDR content. The little I could see does not allow a clear assessment on whether it is a big improvement or not, but improving the management of brightness levels and color capacities of the screen is always interesting. Still, we will have to wait for analysis for more data.
In short, the screen is at least at the same level as the S7. And the change of ratio is something that possibly arrives to stay because they offer improvements in the experience and consumption of content.
Up to 21% more powerful than the Galaxy S7
The technical sheet of the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + may not represent a breakthrough compared to what was seen in the last high ranges of the market. The processors used will be the Exynos 8895 or Snapdragon 835 according to market and come accompanied by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage expandable via microSD.
The hardware improvements of Galaxy S8 and S8 + are not their main value but they improve up to 21% the performance of the S7.
However, according to Samsung, the S8 is up to 10% more powerful than the S7 while the S8 + would reach up to a 21% improvement. Being cautious, the brief experience I had was satisfactory. As much system as the few applications that I could use moved with ease.
I do not think I have power problems. Especially when we could see how well it responded to make use of the desktop mode, one of the striking novelties of this product. Through the use of the DeX Station base we convert the Galaxy S8 and S8 + into desktop computers. With a system interface that adapts to the screen where we are visualizing it, the monitor.
It will also be interesting to see how this configuration will affect autonomy. In theory both the Exynos and the 835 promise more optimization but, perhaps, the 3,000 and 3,500 mAh respectively of the S8 and S8 + could be very fair capabilities. So watch out because we will see it with data in the review.
Software and security: will it make any difference?
If there is a section that liked much of the new Galaxy was definitely the software. With Android 7.0 Nougat and all the news that we already know seems to have been able to implement improvements to make these devices more productive and secure tools.
At security level there will be three biometric security options: fingerprint reader, iris reader and face detector. The footprint is the safest and fastest option as far as I can see but we have the “problem” of sensor location. The iris reader could not prove how I would have liked to wait for the review to draw conclusions, but it seems to work well, practically transparent to the user – even if he wears glasses. And face detection is also a quick option but may be less secure than the previous ones. That yes, according to Samsung more convenient for the user. I still have the option of footprint.
Regarding the software, the system’s fluidity is good and the improvement offered by Android 7.0 with options like split screen – something that was already common in Samsung terminals – as well as a less recharged interface are appreciated. Applications open quickly and we will have to see how it behaves in the day to day and with certain applications to value better. However, what I liked the most was the desktop mode mentioned above, something very similar to Remix OS that offers many possibilities.
DeX Station is a great addition to the new Galaxy S8 and S8 + that will allow them to be converted into desktop computers
Thanks to DeX, an accessory that will be sold separately at a price of € 149, will allow the Galaxy S8 or S8 + to be converted into a desktop computer. Of course, adapting the Android interface that we will see on the monitor screen. An idea that is not new but will bring great value to the device as a productive tool or even for entertainment (movies, series and games). Everything with a good fluidity and an adaptation of the applications and control that for the few minutes that I saw promises enough. Equally, another section to evaluate better in the analysis.
In addition, when we use the desktop mode we will not only be able to use Android apps, but also solutions like Citrix that will allow you to connect to a PC remotely and work with it as if we were in front of it. And by the way, if we disconnect the device and do not close any application, when we reconnect will appear the sales that we had open and in the same position.
You have more information about DeX and how it works in this article. If you ask if the terminal gets too hot, the answer is no. It does raise the temperature a little because it requires something more but for that is the ventilation system of the base and turns off the screen.
No double camera system remains a large camera
With many manufacturers betting on dual camera systems, Samsung maintains the same scheme as the S7. It improves the front camera that happens to use an 8MP sensor, aperture lens f1.7 and Smartfocus. Besides new features in the camera application that will allow the use of stickers.
Samsung does not jump to dual camera systems, it keeps what worked so well with the S7
But it is the back camera that interests most. Here we have a single 12MP sensor, f1.7 aperture lens, OIS stabilization and Dual Pixel focusing system. Basically the “same” camera of the Galaxy S7.
After a few photographs we can only say that if the S7 camera was good this will still be as good or, possibly, better. I stay with that seems to me a smart decision on the part of the manufacturer, and that we usually think that Samsung always points to any technological novelty even if it does not know how to take advantage of it.
Therefore, it is better to continue with a bet that has given such good results to bet on something where it is not known if they will be able to contribute something better. So we are looking forward to trying it out, making future comparisons and much more. Because we are sure that this will be one of the most important cameras of this 2017 as well.
Regarding the application, with the inclusion of some gestures that improves usability at the option level is practically the same app seen in the S7. With its manual controls, support for RAW photos, etc. A good application for advanced users and for those who only look and shoot.
Before evaluating what has been our brief experience with the new Galaxy S8 and S8 +, a few details. Samsung showed Samsung Connect, an application dedicated to control all the demotic of the home. As well as a series of accessories like sleeves, new wireless headphones, dock or base DEX, new Gear VR and the new Gear 360 also. This camera finally promises 360 video in 4K real.
And now, being aware that we need more time to thoroughly test the terminal and all its news, the fact is that globally we have liked. Its design is an improvement on what has already been seen in the S7, it is comfortable in hand, maybe it is still something slippery but it is striking and sure that does not leave anyone indifferent.
The new Galaxy S8 and S8 + are a very successful evolution of the S7, where the screen is their main claim.
Regarding your hardware, from the processor to the cameras or screen, is one more step in the right direction. Having a higher power boost is always interesting but what these S8 and S8 + offer is not little. And if we gain in aspects such as optimization of autonomy (which we want to see how it behaves by the capacity of its batteries), better process management, etc. We will be facing a very attractive terminal at a high price but not unbalanced at first. Plus, joint use with your DeX Station earns you points.
Therefore, as we see in other manufacturers, the key here is experience. Which is improved in many ways but with one that is key: the screen. The S8 and S8 + is more than interesting. Your aspect ratio requires getting used to the beginning, because it generates a feeling of having a device longer than normal evident. But as time goes by, not only do you like it but you see the other terminals in another way, not worse but … as if they were many years ago.