The Samsung Galaxy is here and its quite impressive. From its polished aluminum body to its infinity display, it does not disappoint.
Samsung knew it needed to make up for the Galaxy Note 7’s horror show. I knew before its debut to expect big things for the Galaxy S8. they needed more than incremental upgrades to draw customers back, especially those whose skepticism lies in trusting their phones won’t explode in their hands.
- 12MP 1/2.5″ CMOS sensor with 1.4-micron pixels
- F1.7 aperture
- On-sensor phase detection
- 4K video
- 1080p@120fps slow-motion
- 8MP, F1.7 front camera with AF
- 5.8″ (S8) / 6.2″ (S8+) display with 2960×1440 resolution
- Android 7.0 Nougat
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 chipset (depending on region)
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- microSD-slot up to 256GB
- 3000mAh (S8) / 3000mAh (S8+) battery
- Fingerprint sensor and iris scanner
- IP68 certification
Apple has always been the top dog when it comes to design, no doubt, but this time, the Samsung Galaxy S8 changed the game. The Galaxy S8 is just gorgeous. Its simply the best looking phone I’ve ever seen. That’s right, I said it! The Galaxy S8 just blows Apple out of the water.
Lets start with the display. Samsung calls it the “infinity display”. The edges are cured and it looks like the contents just rolls off to the sides. Measures at 5.8″ with a 1440 x 2960 pixels (~570 ppi pixel density), it takes up a whooping 83.6% screen-to-body ratio. The colours pop with great brightness and contrast. It almost looks like the contents are painted onto the display.
The aluminum body is thin and incredibly light at 155 g, but it feels sturdy and precise. The ends are curved, making it easy to hold in the hand. Having no bezels means that there is no room for the fingerprint sensor, its now placed at the back, much so like the other Android phones mention-able – the Google Pixel. Which is where I personally prefer it to be totally honest. Its convenient and feels natural. The home button is replaced with on-screen software buttons. Samsung said its pressure sensitive so it operates more so as a physical button. I think that was a long awaited move; only making the phone modern and sleek.
Samsung clearly took the safe route when it comes to the camera. The rear single 12 megapixel shooters, with an f/1.7 aperture a fast autofocus, features only incremental upgrades. While the S8 has undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, rear shooter on a smart phone – we expected more. Like the duel-lens design on the iPhone 7.
The Multi-frame image feature is a nice addition to the camera, three snaps are taken and the sharpest one is selected. The rear shooter also features 1,000 frames per second video.
The camera resolution at the front has been upped from 5 to 8MP and there is now also a face-detection AF.
Samsung surprised us when they unveiled Bixby, an all new virtual assistant that helps you navigate and discover the phones features. Samsung said that Bixby is intelligent and will learn the more you use it. As with Google Assistant, Bixby understands contextual phrases, which is a part of deep learning, and doesn’t require the user to memories a multitude of commands.
Impressive is the Shop feature tied in to Samsung partners, you take a picture of the item and Bixby displays options on where to buy. While there are other apps that can do the same, Bixby offers more convenience that is portalled to Samsung trusted partners. Bixby can be activated by its own dedicated button on the right of the phone, that’s a big commitment. Seems like Samsung is in this for the long haul.
All that aside, our take is far less generous, what we saw was a slow and clunky imitation of every other voice assistant on a phone. At this time Bixby can basically make calls, send text messages, search and look up places by image recognition. Google assistant is still on the S8 and can be activated by long-pressing the home button. This bring to mind the question as to whether users will ever use Bixby when Google Assistant can do all those things and more in a more intuitive approach.
Bixby does have promise, a slim one at that.
The S8 ships with Android & (nougat) which is layered over by Samsung Proprietary interface (formerly TouchWiz). This UI is highly criticized by some but the recent upgrades Samsung made polished it well in a manner that fused together Android and Samsung’s own ethos together.
Gone is the app tray and it’s replacement is a single swipe up to unveil a horde of apps. This feels very natural and allows a faster access to a rich profusion of apps.
Samsung is trying to make a phone into a PC with DeX. DeX, that looks like a candle holder, morphs with the Galaxy S8 to provide a desktop environment. It has a HDMI port for a monitor, USB ports for a mouse and a keyboard and an Ethernet port for network connectivity. Its intent is to provide a seamless desktop environment for its customers with powerful desktop apps like Microsoft Office. The interface features an app draw on the side and grant apps full access to notifications and re-sizable windows.
While Samsung browser and Microsoft Office apps works fine, the majority of Android apps will look stretch out – until of course the developer updates their app. Its definitely a nice touch, how usable it is remains to be seen.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a remarkable device; one that will lead in design and build. Its camera is an impressive shooter with crisp results however minimal upgrade Samsung offered from the S7. Bixby will have to represent its promise and its growth fueled only by Samsung’s commitment and persistence. Desktop Experience, while a nice touch and added number on the feature list, still has a long way to go. Still, a nice addition for the average user. In short, I’m sold by its absolutely stunning design.