Samsung’s best take on Android to date, Galaxy S8 is one seriously desirable smartphone. With a large screen and no home button at the bottom, this phone has changed how the company’s smartphones look.
The curvy phone had round corners that help the phone sit snugly in your grip, making it perfect for one-handed use. After losing the physical home button from the front of the phone, the bezels at the top and bottom of the display are very thin.
The always-on display shows you the home button whenever the phone is locked.The fingerprint reader has been moved to the back of the phone.
The IP68 water-resistant phone has room on the bottom edge for a speaker, reversible USB-C charging port, and a headphone jack.
The fingerprint scanner is on the back, by the camera, and it's rather hard to use from the natural holding position for a phone in your palm. It is something you could get used to, but we're not sure why Samsung put it so close to the camera when it could have been closer to the middle of the phone.
The 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display is packed tightly into the frame, with whopping 2960x1440 pixels. According to the company, this is the first phone that’s certified for HDR Mobile Premium, meaning it’ll play nicely with both Netflix and Amazon Prime when they launch their respective HDR streams for mobiles.
With a 12MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture lens, dual pixel autofocus and optical image stabilisation, the camera of the latest phone is not too different from that of Galaxy S7. The front camera has been upgraded to an 8MP sensor, complete with f/1.7 aperture and rapid autofocus. What’s different is that for every time you press the shutter button, the phone takes three photos.
The phone offers a camera app that allows you to take your pick of filters, and add stickers to your shots once you have pressed the shutter button.
Thanks to a home-grown, octa-core Exynos CPU running four cores at 1.7GHz and four at 2.3GHz, S8 is easily one of the most powerful phones in existence. It has a 4GB RAM and 64GB storage but you can always add more with a microSD card.
While 3000mAh battery doesn’t sound enough, with a CPU/GPU combination that’s more powerful than before there are some efficiencies to be offered in terms of saving the battery life. There's also wireless and fast charging on board by default.
Bixby, AI assistant, is the latest and most prominent addition to the phone; it's meant to be a frictionless assistant that can follow you through voice, the camera or touch, learning what you want it to do, and not requiring you to know a specific set of phrases to make it work.
It doesn’t just recognise your voice, but detects what’s onscreen and what the camera is pointed at, too. It can launch most of the phone’s main features and apps, set wallpapers, recognise text, QR codes and barcodes, and can detect places using the camera to give you dining and transport tips. It also helps with calendar organisation, can set reminders, stream content to your TV and speakers, or control any IoT-connected device in your home. Bixby replaces the naff S Voice of previous models, and provides proper control over the Galaxy S8 experience.
After an explosion-filled 2016, the tech firm has a lot to prove, and S8 is the phone the company is desperately searching for. With the best best-looking display, the phone looks simply gorgeous. There are still a few unknowns, though: battery life could turn out to be terrible, or Bixby could end up a dud if developers don’t support it.
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