Remember when we used to make fun of Samsungsmartphones for their cheap plasticky design? Oh how the times have changed.
It’s probably not a stretch to call theGalaxy S8 the best looking smartphone in the market today.
The design language is actually similar towhat we’ve seen from Samsung since the Galaxy S6.
But over the years, it’s been fine-tuned,and polished into the gem that it is today.
On top of that, you still get the added reliabilityfrom a phone that is water resistant.
Samsung have had the best displays aroundfor years.
And this year, they’re taking things a littlebit further with what they call the Infinity Display.
Essentially, it’s a curved edge screen withan 18.
5:9 aspect ratio, and very little bezels at the top and bottom.
I love how the bezels are all black no matterthe colour of the phone.
So the inky black AMOLED display blends reallynicely into the bezels.
Being a taller screen, the 5.
8-inch displaysize isn’t exactly as big as you think it would be.
It’s more like taking the 5.
1-inch screenon the S7 and stretching it taller.
But because of the curved edge, the widthon the S8 is actually a bit narrower than the S7.
Which makes it surprisingly easy to use one-handed.
The display is stunning to look at as perusual from Samsung, with great colours, contrast, and outdoorvisibility.
Out of the box, the resolution is set at FHD+.
This probably helps with battery life andperformance.
I can’t really tell the difference betweenthis and WQHD+, so I’m keeping it FHD+.
Because not once have I looked at this displayand thought it was anything less than incredible.
The taller screen is great for pretty muchanything that has scrollable content.
There is just so much room here.
Another great use is the split screen feature.
For me I mostly just use it for watching YouTubewhile doing something else.
Samsung also added in an additional mode thatI thought was quite interesting called Snap window.
Basically it allows me to select an area topin at the top instead of a direct split screen.
It allows me to allocate an even smaller areafor YouTube.
Giving me extra space to do other things.
There is a very minor drawback here.
Not all apps supports this aspect ratio yet.
All of Samsung’s own apps works great ofcourse, but some third party apps and games might not.
One option that Samsung provides would beto automatically scale the apps.
The other would be to just live with the blackbars along the sides.
Same goes for videos too, since most online content are in 16:9.
The S8 also marks a big change for Samsung,switching over to software buttons.
The best part is, I can finally have the backand recent apps button where they belong.
I actually quite like the design of the buttonsas it looks good no matter where you prefer the back button to be.
Unlike the stock Android buttons which wouldlook out of place when reversed.
Something that won’t be immediately apparentis that the home button is actually sensitive.
pressure It’s basically there to emulate an actualphysical button.
So I can press a bit harder to wake the phone,or go back to the home page even in full screen apps.
It may not sound like much, but I found itto be really useful once I got used to it.
Because one of the most annoying thing abouton screen buttons is that you have to swipe up before you can pressthe home button in fullscreen apps.
I was really crossing my fingers that thefingerprint sensor would be underneath the screen as rumours suggested.
Because it would have worked great with thepressure sensitive home button.
But it seems like Samsung couldn’t get thetechnology to work in time, and thus it was banished to the back of thephone in an awkward position.
I could probably get used to it eventuallyand using a case that isolate the sensor makes it easier to use as well, but it’s still not a great position fora fingerprint sensor.
There are other options for biometric authenticationlike the iris scanner or the new facial recognition.
The iris scanner is more secure, but requiresa deliberate action to unlock the phone which I find a bit of a hassle.
The facial recognition is probably the easiestand quickest option, but is not as secure, so you still can’t use it for things likeSamsung Pay.
Talking about options, Samsung’s softwareexperience is the same story too.
TouchWiz provide tons of options and features,some of which I would probably never use.
If you’ve used any Samsung devices in recentyears, you’ll know what I mean.
But if you’ve been following Samsung’sprogress, you’ll know that TouchWiz has been getting better and better with each generation.
On the S8, I think it’s now one of the mostcohesive looking Android skins around.
Everything looks well-designed to work withboth Samsung’s design language, as well as Google’s material design.
Perhaps one minor complaint I have is howthe app drawer works.
After swiping vertically to get into the appdrawer, it changes into a horizontal swipe.
It just feels a little awkward.
Compare it to the Pixel Launcher for example, only the top portion of the app drawer willbe harder to reach, and the rest are easily accessible becauseof the vertical scrolling grid.
Then, change the swipe down gesture to bringdown the notification shade instead.
These two changes would make a tall screenway easier to use.
The new software feature that Samsung is toutingis called Bixby, Samsung’s bet on virtual assistants.
It’s a pretty big bet considering they gaveit a dedicated button on the phone.
I can use Bixby to see a quick summary ofa bunch of supported apps, set up reminders, use it to search for similarlooking images, identify landmarks, and wine.
identify That’s it for now in Singapore.
From Samsung’s website you can read up onSamsung’s vision for Bixby in the future, and a lot of it seems pretty promising.
But for now, it’s just the feature I accidentallyactivate when I press the wrong button.
Quick tip, you can turn off the Bixby pagefrom the homescreen.
But sadly, you can’t disable Bixby entirely.
It’s not all bad though, in fact Samsunghas made a lot of nice improvements to TouchWiz.
Talking about all of the features will probablytake hours, so I’m just going to touch on the ones thatI think are useful or interesing.
Always-on-display is still awesome to havesince my phone is on my desk most of the time.
This time round there are even options tointegrate music controls and upcoming events.
The edge screen now incorporates Note7’ssmart select features which allows for more screenshot options, as well as the ability to create short GIFs.
There is a “Separate app sound” setting,which allows me to play audio from difference sources.
So I can play music through my bluetooth headset,while another person could be watching YouTube on the phone at the same time.
Some older features are still here too, likethe ability to capture a long screenshot, quick launch camera using the power button,and the tasks edge panel which allows me to pin shortcuts.
The good thing is, you can turn on or offa lot of these features if you don’t use them.
The performance also feels more responsivethan any version of TouchWiz I’ve used before.
We’ll have to see how well it holds up overtime, but for now, everything is mostly as smooth and responsiveas it should be.
Which shouldn’t be surprising since theS8 is pretty much packing the latest hardware.
Exynos 8895, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.
It’s also one of the first phones to packin Bluetooth 5.
0 which should bring better transfer rate and better range.
Nothing really groundbreaking, so it’s moreof an evolution here.
One of the things I was concerned about wasthe 3,000mAh battery for a phone with this screen size.
But in my time with it, it lasted me a dayof use quite easily.
I would have loved a bigger battery, but afterthe Note7, I can’t blame really Samsung for playing it safe.
Anyway, it supports fast charging throughboth wired and wireless options, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to keepthe phone powered for heavier usage.
Another interesting snippet of news that cameout during the launch was that the S8’s battery will degrade lessquickly compared to the S7’s under normal use.
There’s no way to know for sure now, butfingers crossed.
Samsung has included a pair of earbuds tunedby AKG in the box, which is kind of nice I guess? But I do wished the speaker was better.
It sounds decent enough for a single firingspeaker, but it’s easy to accidentally cover it up.
Of course a stereo speaker setup would beeven better.
The rear camera has the same setup as theS7 with a 12MP camera with Dual Pixel autofocus, f/1.
7 aperture, and optical image stabilisation.
It’s supposed to be a slightly differentcamera sensor from last year, and Samsung says that there are improvementsin the image processing.
To my eyes, I don’t really see a significantdifference though.
Which might not be such a bad thing sincethe camera on the S7 was already one of the best to begin with.
Images have nice punchy looking colours, gooddynamic range, good contrasts, and nice details.
It’s a camera that can produce great lookingimages without much effort from the user most of the time.
Sometimes in more challenging lighting conditions,manual exposure adjustments are still required due to the way the phonemeters the exposure.
But most of the time, the auto-HDR mode worksreally well at getting a well exposed shot.
Also, Dual Pixel is still one of the fastestautofocus I’ve seen on a smartphone to date.
The front camera has a minor upgrade to an8MP camera with f/1.
7 aperture and autofocus.
Which sound great on paper, but I’m stillnot a fan of the way images are being processed, which seems to wash out finer details.
There are also these funky effects built rightin the camera app if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 represents a small step intothe future.
The almost bezel-less Infinity Display combinedwith top-notch industrial design, makes this feel like a generation ahead fromall of the phones I’ve used before this.
Except it’s not quite there yet in a fewminor ways.
It has its flaws, and things that I wishedit could do better.
But this is as complete a package you canget from a smartphone today.
And if you want something a little bit bigger,there is the S8+ as well which is the exact same phone just with abigger battery and screen.
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