Samsung officially launched the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones. The S8 comes with a 5.8 inch screen and the S8+ a 6.2 inch screen. The S8 has a 3,000 mAh battery versus the S8+ with a 3,500 mAh battery. Apart from that the phones are identical.
– Infinity Display – with AOD, Multi Screen, Edge Screen
– Bixby AI with Hardware Button
– Security unlock with Face, Eyes, Fingerprint and PIN
– Camera – 8mp front camera with Auto Focus. Same hardware for rear camera as S7.
– Samsung Pay
– Samsung DeX – Desktop dock
– Samsung Connect
– Bluetooth 5, also connect 2 bluetooth devices independently
– Water Resistant as last year
– Micro SD card support
– Gorilla Glass 5 back and front
– New 10nm Exynos Processor or Snapdragon 835 in some countries.
Pricing £690 and £780.
So what do I think so far. On paper it seems small upgrades over the S7 Edge. Larger screens. New screen aspect ratio. Better processor. Bluetooth 5. Virtual hidden front screen home button. Finger print sensor next to the rear camera. The new VR Headset with Bluetooth controller look nice as did the new Samsung Gear 360 camera.
I will be honest, I wasn’t blown away. The new processor combined with the software is the one aspect of this phone that will make a difference for it. Small bezels and glass edge to edge means more screen breakages if dropped. The rear mounted finger print sensor next to the camera lens is stupid. It will be difficult to reach for left handed people and will end up with finger print smudges on it. At least the camera software advices you to wipe the lens if it detects smudges. Samsung is hoping face unlock will be the preferred method.
Bixby does nothing at the moment as on launch this is a Korea and US feature only. Samsung Pay is not available in the UK. So 2 of the key features highlighted at the Samsung Unpacked event are not available in the UK yet. Bixby is larger than just one phone of course, and in future could link into Samsung Smart Things and a lot more. But currently it does nothing in the UK and will probably take time to develop.
The DeX Dock has potential, maybe if you used Citrix app on your phone and then used the larger screen with the dock. But running android apps seems odd on a larger screen.
The near Gear VR looks superb as does the new Gear 360. The Gear 360 now works with iOS from iOS 10 upwards.
The camera uses the same hardware as the S7. So the improvements are all down to software and the prowess of the new processor. I do believe we will see improved quality images. Samsung has added snapchat type filters within the camera app.
The battery sizes are too small. No wonder Samsung has implemented a screen resolution reduction feature in the battery saving settings. The smaller S8 should have had a least 3,500 mAh and the S8+ should have been 4,000 mAh minimum. It appears Samsung has played it safe with its batteries, which is understandable, but these phones are going to run flat fast.
The new aspect ratio means app developers will have to update their apps to adjust to the new screen size. This impacts the LG G6 as well.
At this price point, Samsung faces stiff competition. It will probably sell well but honestly I would look at all the options out there, including the phones still to be announced in April.
Finally, out of all the colours available currently for this new S8, I still prefer my red iPhone 7 Plus.
What about you?