Samsung has a lot riding on the success of recently launched Galaxy S8 and S8 plus. The Note 7 failure still fresh, the stakes running are so high that the Soth-Korean giant simply can not afford to flunk this time. The company needed to make some bold moves and come out with something innovative and refreshing to win back people’s confidence.
In comes the Galaxy S8 duo, packed with new features and futuristic looks that challenge every notion that you might have had of a smartphone. But is it the best smartphone that money can buy? We have been living with this beauty for a week to ascertain just that. Let’s share our findings in our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S8+.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Specifications
- 6.2-inch Super AMOLED, 2,960 x 1,440 resolution (QHD), 529 PPI, HDR 10, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, IP68 certified
- Samsung Exynos 8895 chipset; 10nm LPP fabrication process; Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Mongoose & 4x 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53); Mali-G71 GPU
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB internal memory
- Android 7.0 Nougat, Experience UX OS, Bixby Smart Assistant
- 12 MP, f/1.7 aperture lens, dual pixel phase detection autofocus, OIS, Multi-frame image processing, dual tone flash, 2160p videos at 30fps
- 8MP front camera, F/1.7 aperture lens, autofocus 1440p video at 30fps
- 5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm and 173 grams
- Rear mounted fingerprint, Iris Scanner, Face recognition, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Heart rate, SpO2
- Dual SIM slot (Hybrid), LTE with VoLTE, 802.11 a/g/b/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC
- 3300mAh battery
- Colors: Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Best Price in India: Rs. 64,900
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Design
I am yet to come across a single image that does true justice to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ beauty. Both phones are engineering and design marvels and dazzle with their killer looks. Samsung has been trying to accomplish this edge to edge deign for years (In fact, Samsung started conceptualizing the S8 duo design during the days of Galaxy S6) and with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ it has consequently managed to achieve what a few years back might have seemed too far-fetched.
Samsung craftsmanship is clearly visible by the way it managed to cram a large 6.2-inch display in a comparatively smaller body. The S8+ overall footprint stands at 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm which can be compared to Apple iPhone 7 Plus (5.5-inch display ) dimensions (158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm) to put things in perspective.
At first glance, the S8 plus front is all display. With 84 percent screen to body ratio, there is practically no space to mess around. It has no physical home and navigation buttons, minimum forehead and lip bezel, sides are almost bezel-less. The stunning arched-display seamlessly merges into metal chassis. Similarly, the back also has curved glass that tails in on the corner to ensure a firm grip.
The design symmetry is near perfect. It’s polished with a finesse to give an impression that it’s entirely a single piece of glass and nearly without any visible joints. The home button is pressure sensitive and delivers haptic feedback with a long press – something similar to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (though it’s intensity isn’t as gratifying in our opinion). We did kind of miss the home button. You can no longer scan your fingers to unlock the phone using the home key and you can’t double tap to fire the camera either.
Above the Display, there is a selfie camera, iris scanner module, earpiece, and sensors. The physical power button, volume rocker and Bixby key all offer good tactic feedback. Samsung has managed to almost eradicate the rear camera hump that was present in its predecessor. For the first time, Samsung has moved the fingerprint reader to the back and it now sits next to the camera module.
Like most glass back phones, the S8 plus too feels slightly slippery and attracts smudges rather easily (mostly on the rear). Despite Gorilla Glass 5 protection, various test results show, its back is quite prone to scratches and damage, so you better buy a case soon. To top it all, the S8 and S8 Plus both are IP68 certified and can withstand submersion in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
Overall, the S8 Plus design surely deserves all the praises as its feels and seems futuristics. It’s not a rehashed version of anything that we have seen in the past.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Display
Mesmerizing. I couldn’t find a better superlative to describe the Galaxy S8+ display in one word. Over the years, Samsung has been ruling the roost with its AMOLED panels that offer deep blacks, infinite contrast, and punchy colors. With Samsung’s new Infinity Display it has pushed the envelope even further. The S8 Plus display has excellent color reproduction capability, it is crispy and delivers deep blacks, offers extreme viewing angles, and the sunlight visibility is also no concern here.
The first thing you will notice about the S8+ display is that it is longer than any similar size display phablet, this is precisely because the Infinity Display has an unconventional 18.5:9 aspect ratio (similar to LG G6). The longer than usual screen size prove really handy during split screen usage and also during media consumption. However, all apps are not optimized for S8+ screen and you might see black bars at the bottom every now and then. All system apps and google apps including YouTube work fine, though.
Samsung has added different display modes (AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo, Easy mode) along with additional option to manually tweak color balance settings. There is a blue light filter too that saves your eyes from strain caused by blue light.
The 6.2-inch display of S8 Plus has 529ppi pixel density and a maximum resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. However, Samsung ships it with default resolution set to FHD+ (2220 x 1080 pixels) to conserve battery. It is world’s first smartphone display to come with UHD alliance Mobile HDR Premium certification.
While watching media content its curved edges create an illusion of floating display that in turn creates a delightful viewing experience.
Till the last generation, phone with Samsung Edge had an inclination to register unintended touches which were very annoying. However, this is no longer an issue with the S8 pair. It doesn’t frustrate you with errant touches.
Overall, I have no inhibitions while saying this: I think is S8 and S8+ have the best Smartphone displays I have come across.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Software
Apart from refreshing design changes, Samsung has made much-required changes on the software front. The S8+ boots Android Nougat based
TouchWiz Experience UX out of the box. It is well optimized, fast, and intuitive.
Generally, when I review a device with custom ROM, the first thing that I do is install a third party launcher. However, with the new Samsung UI I didn’t have any such urge. There are a number of things to like here. The new notification alert, option to choose between app drawer or all apps stacked on the home screen and improved spilt-screen function where now you can resize windows to any ratio as per liking. You can also crop page to the small functional area and do away with unwanted elements.
You can access app drawer by swiping up or down from home screen (similar to pixel launcher). Notification alert has changed too. Now all you get is a small bubble on top of the screen when you receive a new message or alert. The Edge UI can be used to add apps, contacts and other shortcuts for quick access. Even though it is a bit gimmicky, Edge lighting looks pretty as hell when it creates a color aura around the phone when it is placed facing downwards.
The most talked about software feature of the S8+ is arguably the half backed Bixby virtual assistant (complete guide) which company sees as an answer to Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, HTC’s Sense Companion and Amazon’s Alexa. It gets a dedicated key on the left edge. Just click Bixby button twice to trigger Bixby Home. Just like Google cards, Bixby too displays various information be in the form of cards. It can study your routines and interest and can come up with a suggestion. Also, it can give weather updates, news, set reminders, and integrate Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Also Read: Best Snapdragon 835 Smartphones You Can Buy
There is Bixby Vision which also has a shortcut present in default camera app. It works similar to Google Goggles as its employs computer vision tech to run contextual algorithms to provide right answers. Interestingly, most of Bixby features are not available as of now but will be rolled out via OTA update.
We didn’t get Samsung Pay (FAQ) on our Samsung Galaxy S8+ review unit but we could make it work by sideloading and installing the APK, and then updating the app.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Performance
Being a tier-1 flagship smartphone, the S8 Plus packs most advanced hardware inside. The model sold in countries like the US is powered by Qualcomm’s best Snapdragon 835 chipset while in India it comes equipped with a 2.3GHz octa-core Exynos 8895 chipset clubbed with Mali G71 MP20 GPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. If that’s not enough, you can swap secondary Sim with microSD card up to 256GB. Moreover, it also earned the title of the first smartphone to feature Bluetooth 5.0 which offers dual audio streaming and better range.
We tried hard to push our review unit to the limits but the Galaxy S8+ showed no signs of weakness. It didn’t show any signs of slowing down even with a large number of apps running in the background. There were no performance hiccups as it managed to sail through apps, browsers, benchmarks and games smoothly. However, we didn’t expect anything lesser from a flagship device in 2017. The only question now remains, is will the S8 Plus continue to deliver this level of performance in months to come, that’s the question I can’t answer right now. During heavy usage, the phone did slightly heat up every now and then.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Benchmark Scores
|AnTuTu 3D Marooned||31.62 FPS|
|Antutu 3D Garden||48.43 FPS|
|GeekBench 4 (Single and Multicore)||1988, 6168|
|3D Mark Slingshot Extreme||1954|
|3D Mark Ice Strom Extreme||12175|
|PC Mark Work 2.0||5478|
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Camera
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S7 came with a great performer especially in low light therefore, Samsung has had no reason to overhaul or jump into dual camera bandwagon yet. The S8 main camera has a 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture, with double dual pixel sensor and optical image stabilization (OIS). Though there hasn’t been any major change on the hardware side of the equation, the Galaxy S8 Plus manages to outwit its predecessor with better photo quality. Samsung has made some changes and now uses a multi-frame process to capture better pictures especially in poor lighting conditions.
The front camera, on the other hand, did go through a very significant upgrade. The S8+ selfie camera is an 8-megapixel sensor which now also gets autofocus support. The Selfie autofocus is great and works like a charm. It is capable of detecting multiple faces in the frame and locks focus quickly. The Selfie shots turned out neat with a good amount of details. It also comes with beautifying options, and several snapchat or Instagram-like filters.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Camera Samples
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Call quality, Audio, Fingerprint sensor and Battery
Samsung’s 2017 flagship passes with flying colors in conversation quality test. Both participants were able to hear each other even in noisy surroundings. When it comes to audio the Samsung Galaxy S8+ has mono bottom firing speaker which is loud enough to meet day-to-day needs. Unlike iPhones, the Galaxy series continues to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone comes bundled with AKG branded headphones which are comfortable and sound great too.
Though the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is a tad slow but accurate. Having said that, it is quite possible that you don’t use it at all thanks to its awkward placement. The fingerprint sensor sits comfortably next to the camera and most of the time instead of fingerprint sensor you end up placing your finger on camera glass. In my time with the phone, I have been relying on the less secure facial recognition to unlock the phone.
The Galaxy S8 Plus comes with a 3500mAh battery which supports fast charging and wireless charging. If there is one thing that didn’t impress us in this marvelous phone it has to be its battery performance. While for most average users it will manage to last a full day, heavy users like me will have to plug it (or dock) mid-day.
Should You Buy Samsung Galaxy S8+
Without a doubt, yes. It is right at the top when comes to smartphones and it won’t be an exaggeration if we call it best Android Smartphone that we have used till date. It has got most bases covered – be it design, display, performance, software or camera. The overall experience is so pleasing that it’s easy to overlook imperfection such as fingerprint sensor placement and less than stellar battery life.
- Gorgeous design
- Meticulous fit and finish
- Brilliant camera
- Dazling display
- Intuitive Software
- Bad fingerprint scanner placement
- Half baked Bixby assistant