The Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of those phones that only has to do well – it’s up against some massively impressive competition in 2017 – along with the good news is that this is, indeed, a very strong phone.
A number of S8 leaks we’ve seen are staggering, both in their volume and truth, but they don’t tell the whole story about a mobile that’s certain to be at the top (or very near the summit) of most ‘best phone’ lists this year.
The Infinity Display is the headline feature of this handset – while it is not all screen, it’s as close as can be. Samsung has also been very clever in the way it is got around the loss of the front-facing residence display button, managing to make the handset usable without requiring the mechanical key on the front of the Galaxy S8.
The New Samsung Galaxy S8
Phones are stale. Whether it’s Huawei P10 an iPhone 7, Sony Xperia XZ Premium or any other flagship phone, they all look and feel the same. But just when people thought their delight and couldn’t surprise anymore, the Samsung Galaxy S8 proved me wrong.
- 5.8-inch quad-HD Infinity Display (AMOLED)
- Samsung Exynos 8895 (Europe and Asia) or Qualcomm Snapdragon (USA)
- 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (microSD up to 256GB)
- 3000mAh battery with wireless and fast charging
- Rear camera: 12 megapixels, f/1.7 aperture, and dual- pixel sensor
- Front camera: 8 megapixels, f/1.7, and autofocus
- Iris and fingerprint scanner
- Samsung Bixby personal assistant
- Android 7 Nougat with Google Assistant
Let’s start with the design, where nothing comes close to the Galaxy S8. It’s the best-looking phone I’ve ever seen. The curved back nestles perfectly in your palm, while the glass shimmers as it is hit by light. The three colors – a dark black, bright silver and a gray with a bluish tinge – are all subtle. There’s no nasty white front plate in sight.
The S8 is thin and incredibly light at 155g, but it feels tough and precisely made. It is IP68 water- and dust-resistant, so it is great for 30 minutes to depths of 1.5 meters. The glass is just a little fingerprint prone, but no worse than any other glass cell phone people Have used.
Like the recently started, and superb, LG G6, the front of the Samsung Galaxy S8 is virtually all screen. And this is really what makes the S8 standout. Unlike with the G6, though, the display here melts away into the sturdy metal rim. There’s no ‘Edge’ version this year because both versions have a sloping panel.
It’s a much subtle curve than on the Galaxy S7 Edge, just like on the Note 7, and that makes it a lot easier to use. There’s still a bit of extra reflection on this portion of the display, but it’s a small trade-off for such an eye-catching look.
Samsung has placed literally moved everything else to the back when it pushed the screen size to the absolute maximum in the Galaxy S8. With a display size of 5.8 inches, the Galaxy S8 is the biggest main smartphone to date, leaving behind the standard 5.1-inch to 5.5-inch standards in this category. On that same note, it has even surpassed the ordinary screen size of phablets that used to be in the 5.5-inch to 5.7 inches.
This is a huge upgrade. From the measly 5.1-incher, the Galaxy S series got a major bump in screen size. Samsung managed to do this by putting everything else at the rear. No more physical home button. No more space for the Samsung logo. They trimmed down the bezels on all sides, merely leaving space for an Iris scanner, sensors, and the front camera.
The Galaxy S8 also got arch a display, a feature first introduced in the Galaxy Note Edge, then adapted by S7 Edge the Galaxy S6 Edge/Edge, and Note7. This signaled the sunsetting of the Edge variant in the S series with the bigger S8 simply being referred to as the S8 (and not an S8 Edge using the old nomenclature).
The S8 features a large screen resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 pixels (WQHD ) giving it a pixel density of 568 ppi. The resolution can be natively adjusted, though, with options of full High Definition (2,220 x 1080 pixels) and HD (1,480 x 720 pixels), depending on user preference.
The deal with Bixby
Bixby is a little tougher to explain. It’s a three-parter that combines elements of voice commands with Google Now – style cards and image recognition. And Samsung has named each part.
Bixby Voice is the Siri/Google Voice Search/Amazon Alexa component that you speak orders to. But it’ll be limited at launch. You can ask it to toggle your Wi-Fi settings, share a photo with someone and perform other phone-centric tasks, but you can’t launch an internet search, like looking up the weather when your favorite restaurant’s going to close or asking.
You begin it by pressing and holding the Bixby button beneath the volume keys (like a walkie-talkie), or with a wake word — Samsung will provide more details closer to the S8’s sale date.
Bixby Home is like Google Now cards and it lives one swipe left of the dwelling display. It is a scrolling list of things such as the news and weather stories, your step count, plus some recommendations for things you do. As an example, if you call the same person at 4 p.m. every day, Bixby Home will suggest the same when 4 o’clock rolls around. You can customize what you see in the settings, and share items with others.
Bixby Vision will feel eerily familiar to anyone who’s ever used Google Goggles or Bing Vision on a throwback Lumia mobile. A camera feature, it uses optical image recognition to extract text (OCR), identifies objects and read QR codes. It’s possible for you to scan a book cover to shop for it and learn more about wine through partner Vivino. It uses Google Translate to translate text in 52 languages, and Pinterest to assist with picture search.