GALAXY S8/S8+

We delve deep with the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Are they worth it?

T3 India - - CONTENTS -

Aflag­ship phone launch is im­por­tant to ev­ery com­pany but this time, it’s more so for Sam­sung. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are the first flag­ship de­vices af­ter Sam­sung re­called its Galaxy Note7 smart­phone last year. But are the de­vices great enough to prove Sam­sung’s point that it is still the num­ber one An­droid man­u­fac­turer? Read on.

Let’s get this straight: the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are beau­ti­fully de­signed phones. Last year’s Galaxy S7 edge was a stun­ner in its own right but Sam­sung has clearly out­done it­self. In­ter­est­ingly, Sam­sung has gone with curved dis­plays for both the vari­ants un­like what the brand did with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 se­ries. There are other changes as well. For in­stance, the bezel-less screen takes up lit­er­ally the whole front, which means a phys­i­cal home but­ton with in­te­grated fin­ger­print sen­sor has been given a miss. In­stead, Sam­sung has put the home but­ton un­der the screen and the fin­ger­print sen­sor has been moved to the back. The place­ment of the fin­ger­print reader is ad­ja­cent to the cam­era sen­sor, which in our opin­ion, is rather odd and in­creases the chances for the fin­gers to touch the cam­era glass in­ad­ver­tently. The glass back looks pretty good but make sure you have a handy cloth with you at all times, be­cause it is a fin­ger­print mag­net.

As for the but­ton and port place­ments, the right side hosts the power but­ton whereas the left fea­tures the vol­ume but­tons along with the ded­i­cated Bixby but­ton. The top side fea­tures the Dual SIM hy­brid slot while the bot­tom side sports a the 3.5mm head­phone jack, USB Type-C port and loud­speaker. There’s also an iris scan­ner placed on the front. Oh, and the phones’ re­tain the IP68 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion so that you can dunk them in wa­ter in 1.5m for up to 30 min­utes.

When it comes to the size, both Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are taller but nar­rower, which en­sures a good grip. The Galaxy S8, we feel, has the per­fect size while the Galaxy S8+ is man­age­able, but would re­quire both the hands for reg­u­lar use.

In short, Sam­sung should be proud of these two new look­ers in its reper­toire. The brand has cer­tainly set a bench­mark for other smart­phone mak­ers when it comes to de­sign.

IN­FIN­ITY MAGIC

The Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ screens are known as In­fin­ity Dis­play and all it takes is one look at them to know why they are called so. The 5.8-inch screen on the Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ vir­tu­ally take up the front area en­tirely (bar­ring the top

and bot­tom bezel), giv­ing you an all-screen il­lu­sion. It’s a Su­per AMOLED panel with both phones sup­port­ing up to Quad HD+ res­o­lu­tion (2960x1440). In­ter­est­ingly, the de­fault res­o­lu­tion of the dis­play is Full HD+ (2220x1080) but can be easily tweaked in the dis­play menu. The colours are vivid, as is typ­i­cally the case with OLED pan­els, with the op­tion to ad­just colour tem­per­a­ture, sharp­ness and sat­u­ra­tion. Our unit did not face the red tint is­sue – a re­cent soft­ware up­date has added a bit more colour cus­tomi­sa­tion to take care of that. Other dis­play ad­just­ments in­clude the op­tion to ac­ti­vate or de­ac­ti­vate the blue light fil­ter and the abil­ity to run apps in full screen. Do note though, not all apps and games will work full screen. The ded­i­cated app icon has been re­moved for an up­ward or down­ward swipe to re­veal the app drawer. The edge pan­els and edge light­ing stay but edge feeds that used to re­veal con­tent in a locked state have been shown the door in the Galaxy S8 se­ries.

There are other soft­ware en­hance­ments like Game mode, One-handed mode, Multi-win­dow mode and Panic mode, which, on press­ing the power key three times, calls In­dia’s emer­gency ser­vice num­ber, 112,. How­ever, the in­clu­sion of Panic mode has ne­ces­si­tated the re­moval of the handy quick cam­era ac­cess found on global vari­ants.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ also sup­port Sam­sung Pay in In­dia, which al­lows users to trans­act through

a credit card, debit card, Paytm or even UPI.

In terms of se­cu­rity, the phones are equipped with an oddly placed fin­ger­print sen­sor at the back and an iris scan­ner at the front. The fin­ger­print sen­sor works with amaz­ing ac­cu­racy but the iris scan­ner is more about luck. While we had the phones for test­ing, it wasn’t of­ten that they were able to de­tect our iris, de­spite try­ing to un­lock in well-lit ar­eas. Face recog­ni­tion is fairly ac­cu­rate and has bet­ter chances of work­ing than the em­bed­ded iris scan­ner.

The Al­ways-On dis­play has got some im­prove­ments as well. In ad­di­tion to show­ing off the time, no­ti­fi­ca­tions and calendar, Al­ways-On dis­play now sup­ports FaceWid­gets that give quick ac­cess to mu­sic con­trols, today’s sched­ule and alarm.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ also come with Bixby, Sam­sung’s new vir­tual as­sis­tant, which can be ac­ti­vated with a press of a ded­i­cated but­ton on the phone. Bixby col­lates in­for­ma­tion, just like Google Now, and shows ev­ery­thing in one place, such as today’s sched­ule, Sam­sung Health info, apps and lots more. The dis­play cards and other in­for­ma­tion vary ac­cord­ing to the use of the phone and the lo­ca­tion. Cur­rently, Bixby is in its nascent stage with lim­ited func­tion­al­ity. The phones also have some­thing known as Bixby Vi­sion, which makes use of the cam­era to in­tel­li­gently de­tect and sug­gest fur­ther ac­tion. For in­stance, point­ing the cam­era to a QR code will re­veal the code. The de­tec­tion is gen­er­ally fast but re­lies on an in­ter­net con­nec­tion.

Both phones come with a 12MP f/1.7 at the rear and an up­graded 8MP f/1.7 on the front. Just like its pre­de­ces­sor, the Galaxy S8 se­ries takes some great pic­tures with fast fo­cus, good colour bal­ance and sharp­ness. The phones also come with ad­di­tional modes like Pro – to give ex­tra con­trol over the pic­ture – Food, Hyper­lapse, Slow mo­tion, Panorama, Se­lec­tive fo­cus and Vir­tual Shot. You can down­load more from Sam­sung’s app store. The cam­era app has also added a va­ri­ety of live fil­ters and stick­ers that can be used in real time.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ fea­ture 3000mAh and 3500mAh bat­tery re­spec­tively and go­ing just by the ca­pac­ity, it’s safe to say that Galaxy S8+ of­fers bet­ter bat­tery life. In our reg­u­lar use, the Galaxy S8 of­fered about 10-12 hours of bat­tery life on a sin­gle charge, whereas Galaxy S8+ crossed 17-18 hours with ease. Both phones were sub­jected to mod­er­ate to heavy use, from watch­ing videos and web surf­ing to at­tend­ing calls and play­ing mu­sic. Both phones sup­port fast as well as wire­less charg­ing but there’s no im­prove­ment in the charg­ing time when com­pared to Galaxy S7 se­ries.

WORTH THE SPEND?

Ev­ery­thing boils down to one ques­tion – is it worth it? That ac­tu­ally de­pends. Both Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are great phones, no doubt, but there’s not much of an in­cen­tive if you’re up­grad­ing from the Galaxy S7 se­ries. If you’re com­ing from Galaxy S6, how­ever, or crossing over from a com­pet­i­tive brand, you’ll love what Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have to of­fer. The cam­era, over­all per­for­mance are great and that dis­play, well, that’s a guar­an­teed head-turner.

Words Ku­nal Gan­gar

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