Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is the latest milestone in the evolution of their galaxy series. This iteration adds two new devices to the Galaxy family, the S8 and S8+ variants. These were officially unveiled last month at a press event in New York. Currently, these are available for pre-order from Flipkart and Samsung India stores.
We got a chance to check out the Galaxy S8 Plus variant, a technological marvel. After fiddling with the unit we received, we were so eager to add our remarks. Here is our quick glance of the device from head to toe.
Starting with the design, we loved every bit of it. The 6.2-inch screen dominates the front part along with some visible sensors and 8-megapixel selfie camera. A pressure sensitive home button and soft nav keys replace the old physical ones hence increasing the screen estate. On the glossy back is the 12 MP primary camera with the flash and fingerprint sensor. The left-hand side has the volume rockers and the dedicated Bixby button, the power key is on the right-hand side. The SIM card slot is located on the top side, whereas the bottom side features the USB type-c port, 3.5mm jack, and the loudspeaker grills.
The device weighs just about 173 g and the dimensions 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm aren’t that inconvenient. However, we had some difficulty in locating the fps while holding the device normally. In the process, we noticed that the glossy back is a real fingerprint magnet. Another feature worth mentioning is the IP68-rated water and dust resistance. Everything else is just perfectly orchestrated and harmoniously designed.
The humongous bezel-less display is the keynote of this device. The native resolution is WQHD+ (2960 x 1440), however Samsung allows you to alter it between HD+ (1480 x 730), FHD+ (2220 x 1080) or WQHD+ (2960 x 1440) via the settings. Even though the AMOLED is power efficient we suggest you set a lower resolution for better battery life. It’s a 529-570 ppi display with 24-bit colour depth. Samsung retains the Always On Display, which allows you to view the clock, battery and missed phone call/message notifications when the screen is turned off. The infinity curved design won’t let you down with accidental edge touches as per our experience.
- Infinity Curved Display: a bezel-less, full-frontal, edge-to-edge screen.
- Soft nav keys and pressure sensitive capacitive home button.
- With Always On Display, you’ll never miss a notification.
Samsung has levelled up its security with defense-grade biometrics which includes the iris scanner. This is not the retinal scanning you see in movies, where the back of the eye is scanned. Here a picture of your eye’s coloured part (iris) is taken and the pattern is compared for authentication by the system. Other security measures include the usual facial recognition, fingerprint, pattern, password and PIN. Finally, for data security, Samsung has introduced Knox system to protect privacy.
- Iris Scanner for authentication.
- Other Safety measures – Facial recognition, fingerprint, pattern, password and PIN.
- Data is now more secure with Knox System.
User Interface & Apps
You can forget the TouchWiz, we now have the all new Samsung Experience UI. It’s all clean providing better accessibility to apps with almost fewer touches and swipes. You now have Samsung’s proprietary digital assistant, the Bixby. She can be invoked by voice commands or with the dedicated h/w button. New addition to the app section is the Samsung Pay which is a mobile wallet to carry out digital payments with ease. Samsung also has the built-in advanced blue light filter to reduce eyestrain, so no more sleepless nights.
- All new Samsung Experience UI.
- Samsung’s proprietary Bixby Digital Assistant.
- Samsung Pay digital payment wallet.
- Built-in blue light filter.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a performance powerhouse, where the SD 835/Exynos 8895 topples most charts. Samsung’s 10nm LPE FinFET technology offers better performance without any compromise in efficiency. However, in India, we only have the Exynos 8895 octa-core processor variant available for purchase. Galaxy S8 Plus gaming is now at a whole new level with Vulkan API supporting GPU’s – Adreno 540 and Mali G71. Also with the faster 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, tombstoning is out of the question. As of the charts, Galaxy S8/S8 Plus scored over 6000 in Geekbench, above 200000 in Antutu. In fact, Galaxy S8/S8 Plus beats the iPhone 7 in most scenarios by miles, but still, we are getting mixed results for both.
- An industry first 10 nm SoCs – SD 835, Exynos 8895.
- Vulkan API supported GPU’s – Adreno 540 & Mali G71.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus now holds the best benchmark scores.
In the camera department, there is no big change apart from the 8MP autofocus camera boost to secondary. The 12MP primary, however, takes better photos compared to the S7 Edge. We have the usual camera modes like Auto, Pro (manual), Panorama, Selective focus, Slow motion, Hyperlapse, Food and Virtual Shot. Shooting 4K videos with Galaxy S8 Plus is a cakewalk and the improvement in optical image stabilisation and smoother shutter performance is noticeable. The integrated Bixby vision is a noticeable feature, we also recommend you to try out the camera mods like dual camera, from Samsung app store.
- 8MP front-facing camera with autofocus, Sony IMX 320 Exmor RS with f/1.7 wide angle lens.
- 12MP primary camera with Sony IMX 333 Exmor RS with f/1.7 wide-angle lens having OIS, EIS etc.
- Integrated Bixby Vision to make your life easier.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is capable of achieving Gigabit LTE speeds with integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and is future proof with Gigabit WiFi. The device also supports 2G and 3G networks. A hybrid dual SIM and single SIM variants are available. Other connectivity specs include Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, ANT+ and USB v3.1 Type-C 1.0. The Samsung Dex docking station’s connectivity includes 2 USB ports, 1 USB Type-C port, Ethernet port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an HDMI port. In addition, the Dex gives you a desktop experience by coupling with a big screen, a full-sized keyboard and a mouse. But you need to purchase the Dex and supported accessories separately.
- Futureproof integrated Gigabit LTE modem.
- Latest Bluetooth 5.0 and USB v3.1 connectivity.
- ANT+ allows you to link with health and fitness sensors like Garmin.
- Samsung Dex offering a bigger screen desktop experience.
We were slightly disappointed about the 3500mAh capacity at first, but it turned out to be more than enough for a day and a half’s usage. Juicing up is quicker with fast charging and wireless charging features. Playback of a 90 min length high definition video consumed only 8-12% under various display resolutions and looks really promising for daily chores.
- Tweaked battery without compromising performance.
- Faster charging and wireless charging features.
Inbox Components and Extra Accessories
Inside the package you will find the handset(midnight black, coral blue & maple gold), earphones tuned by AKG, USB Type-C Cable, travel Adapter, USB Connector (C to A), micro USB Connector (C to B), ejection pin, ear tips, quick start guide & smart switch leaflet. Other accessories include covers which provide style and functionality, wireless charger and battery pack. Some of the Phone+ accessories include Gear VR, Gear 360, Dex and Gear Fit.
I have been using OnePlus 3T as my daily driver, but with 3 days of continuous usage, the Galaxy S8 Plus has charmed me a lot. My viewing experience is now bigger, better and vivid with the infinity display. The battery capacity didn’t bother me much even with the long hourly business calls, occasional web browsing and other entertainments. The AKG tuned earphones were really a feast to my ears and I could listen to it all day long. Altogether, my life has changed a lot since this new addition.
Signs of Samsung rising from the ashes of Note 7 is apparent with Galaxy S8 Plus. You won’t regret buying this if your budget allows. The other competing brands you can consider are the iPhone 7 Plus, LG G6, and Pixel XL. Some of these rivals offer better features and ergonomics. To conclude this is the perfect “next big thing” by Samsung. Peace!