Samsung Galaxy S8 — Quick Look

Android fans, Samsung fans, everywhere unite!  The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are two fantastic devices that will have you saying “take my money”.  What are some of the main draws to this device?  Is it the curved display?  Is it the thinness of the design?  Is it the camera?  It’s actually all of these characteristics and more.

Design

Galaxy S8 takes on an incremental approach in it’s design scheme and is fully embracing its edge display, Samsung touts this as the “Infinity Display”, which leaves little bezel at the top and bottom of the device.  Essentially, you’re either looking at a 5.8 or 6.2″ massive screen.  But what is truly different about this?  These large devices fit inside of other smartphones with larger bezels like the Google Pixel or iPhone 7 Plus; however, the Galaxy S8 devices are a bit narrower making them potentially easier to pocket and hold.

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Front of Galaxy S8.

Hardware

What’s the best camera that money can buy?  That’s right, the one that’s with you.  A camera that is always with you is the one built into your smartphone and the Galaxy S8 camera will not disappoint in one bit.  During my hands-on time with the device (in a local Best Buy) pictures turned out crystal clear and vibrant, which is a usual of most Samsung devices — very pleasant to look at although not the most true to life.  The stock Samsung camera app had absolutely no shutter lag and captured images within an instant of touching the button.  Speaking of buttons, there is no more home button on the latest flagship device with Samsung finally switching to on screen buttons marking a big step forward and aligning the company more with the modern Google design language for devices.  Although the home button is no longer physical, the user will receive haptic feedback when it is pressed on the screen.  (Cool note about the button is that the square that triggers the home action moves around on the screen slightly, unbeknownst to users, to avoid burn in on the screen, nice huh?)

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Rear of the Galaxy S8, highlighting the camera and the fingerprint sensor.

Since the home button is virtualized, that means that the fingerprint sensor needed to move and in this iteration of the device, it lands itself next to the camera.  This was not the best design decision, as even someone with larger hands has a difficult time reaching the correct spot on the back of the device to activate it.  A giveaway at this fact is because Samsung built technology into the camera to understand when there are extra smudges on it (likely because users are trying to access the fingerprint scanner).  Most Android OEMs either keep the home button on the front or move the sensor altogether to the back middle of the device, which is simply more ergonomic and looks a lot better.

View the complete specifications of these new devices here.


Software & Interface

Samsung has done an excellent job fine tuning the software that comes loaded on their latest flagship device.  The S8 and S8+ come with your standard set of Google apps and Samsung preloaded goodies, and this year the software and interface is it’s lightest yet.  No, I didn’t go into the settings and check how many non-stock apps were installed; their ROM is still not the lightest, but overall feel is much improved from previous years.  From the settings app, to the notification shade the overall user-experience is much lighter and closer to stock, as Samsung has seemed to have taken cues from the complaints of many users over the years.


Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is in elite company here and is certainly one the best built, looking and performing smartphones currently on the market.  Featuring an all new “infinity” display that offers more view-able real estate (although, this new display curves around the edges, it’s still unclear what actual function it serves in other circumstances in the OS) than most other devices on the market.  If you’re up for an upgrade and you’re interested in a new thin, light device with excellent performance — check out the latest offerings from Samsung with it’s S8 and S8+.

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