- Slippery finish
- Darker colors are fingerprint magnets
- Hard-to-find fingerprint scanner
- Screen measurement might mislead
Hoping to redeem themselves after the Note 7 debacle, Samsung’s latest entry in their popular flagship S-series brings mobile firsts and some interesting changes to the mix. There’s no denying that the phone is an absolute stunner in pictures. But a pretty phone isn’t always a phone that’s good for daily use.
Reviews are rolling in on this much-anticipated release and we’ve slogged through them all so you don’t have to!
Let’s see what they’re saying!
The Galaxy S8 features a metal and glass chassis with a glossy finish and edge-to-edge display. While reviewers raved about how great it looks, they complained fingerprints and smudges. Some also felt the glass treatment made the phone slippery—something you want to be careful about with a phone of this price.
IT Pro UK said, “It's an absolutely gorgeous device - instantly striking and breathtakingly beautiful. It is, without a doubt, the best example of smartphone design produced to date.”
The overall design has changed from the typical Samsung layout. The phone is slimmer across and taller overall. With the tiny bezels on the front display, they’ve had to shift the fingerprint scanner to the rear. This was met with mixed reviews. While no one had trouble with responsiveness, many reviewers noted that it was hard to tell the fingerprint scanner and camera lens apart.
The phone also has an IP68 waterproof rating and a front-facing iris scanner.
Heading around front, you’ll see the biggest changes from Samsung’s usual formula. The screen now extends to the edges of the device, gently curving to meet the frame. There’s also no physical home button at the bottom. Instead, you’ll use a pressure sensor in the screen and software buttons.
Reviewers raved about the screen—both for its appearance and performance. Alphr said, “This is about as good a screen as you can get.”
While it’s a 5.6-inch screen, the 1440-by-2960 resolution is an important consideration. This means you can’t compare this to screen sizes on many other models. PC Magazine highlights this, saying, “On a standard 16:9 aspect ratio phone, you get the same real estate in a 5.6-inch screen. So I think you should consider the S8's screen on par with the 5.5-inch, 16:9 displays on the Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 7 Plus.”
Performance, once again, had reviewers singing Samsung’s praises. Depending on your region, you’ll find either a 2.35GHz octa-core Snapdragon processor or an Exynos 8895 processor. Paired with 4GB of RAM, reviewers found no delays or overheating issues.
Alphr summed up opinions well, saying, “Every benchmark revealed speeds at the very top of the class… it’s pretty clear that the S8 offers far more future-proofing than any other device we’ve seen to date.”
You’ll find Android 7 Nougat on the phone out of the box with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. While Samsung’s been dinged in the past for piling on bloatware, it appears they’ve streamlined things for the S8. All models come with 64GB of internal storage. Should you need more, the microSD slot supports cards up to 256GB.
On paper, the 12MP rear camera doesn’t seem that impressive. However, reviewers found that real-world use was a different story. Both PC Magazine and V3 called it the best smartphone camera ever released. Optical image stabilization and a large aperture make the phone good for low-light photography.
Heading around front, you’ll find an 8MP lens. It also includes autofocus for easier selfies. Reviews for the front lens were equally positive. Low-light performance isn’t as good as the rear camera.
The battery was another aspect that surprised reviewers. The 3,000mAh battery doesn’t appear to offer any more capacity than the battery in the S7, yet reviewers had no problem pushing a day and a half on a single charge. QuickCharge support saw full recharges in just over an hour.
If you’re in an area with spotty signals, support for Gigabit LTE and HPUE means you might see stronger signals. Reviews showed that these features live up to the hype. Your experience will depend on the network in your area.
The phone also includes Bluetooth 5. But none of the reviewers could find a Bluetooth 5 device to test the new features.
Overall, reviews for the Galaxy S8 are overwhelmingly positive. Apart from a slippery, smudge-prone finish, there were few complaints. PC Advisor UK summed up opinions well, saying, “Samsung has taken the best phone around and made it even better with an impressive screen and design. It ticks a shed load of boxes you'd want a flagship to do.”