Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH -

A lot is rid­ing on Sam­sung’s new­est smart­phones – the Galaxy S8 with a 5.8-inch dis­play and the Galaxy S8+ with a 6.2inch dis­play. The mak­ers are hope­ful that the new launches will re­fur­bish Sam­sung’s im­age, post the Note 7 bat­tery fi­asco, and give fierce com­pe­ti­tion to the much-an­tic­i­pated iPhone 8.

While there are some ap­pre­cia­ble changes on the face of it, we re­viewed the S8+ in de­tail to bring you the yays and nays.

First off, ku­dos to Sam­sung for fit­ting in a huge dis­play and yet re­tain­ing the com­pact­ness of the phone. The front and rear are made of glass, and a thin metal frame adorns the curves. Sam-Sam sung’s much-touted in­fin­ity dis­play – the screen spills over the sides of­fer­ing a seem­ingly end­less dis­play – is in­deed im­pres­sive. Watch­ing mul­ti­me­dia on this phone is a de­light. The 1,440x2,960 pixel res­o­lu­tion makes ev­ery­thing look rich and colour­ful.

Sam­sung has bid adieu to the phys­i­cal home but­ton; it is now at the bot­tom of the dis­play. A short­cut key has been added on the left side panel for Bixby – Sam­sung equiv­a­lent of Ap­ple’s Siri and Google As­sis­tant. The fin­ger­print scan­ner has been moved next to the cam­era mod­ule, mak­ing it slightly dif­fi­cult to ac­cess. The S8+ has an iris and face un­lock fea­ture. The phone is IP68 cer­ti­fied wa­ter and dust re­sis­tant. Although put­ting a back cover for pro­tec­tion would not do jus­tice to this good-look­ing phone, it may not be able to with­stand ac­ci­den­tal drops.

The in­ter­na­tional ver­sion of Sam­sung S8+ runs on Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor, while the In­dian ver­sion runs on Sam­sung’s in-house Exynos 8895 SoC – both lever­age the 10nm fab­ri­ca­tion process that prom­ises power ef­fi­ciency. Paired with 4 GB of RAM and 64-GB on­board stor­age, the unit man­u­fac­tured in In­dia is on par with the Snap­dragon vari­ant. The S8+ runs on An­droid 7.0, and a re­fresh­ing UI. One can ac­cess short­cuts from the home screen; swipe up­wards from any­where on the home­screen for the app launcher tray. Aside from Google ser­vices, Sam­sung has neatly clubbed all its apps in one folder which can be dis­abled or unin­stalled. For worka­holics, Sam­sung S8+ has Mi­crosoft apps such as Word, Ex­cel, Pow­erPoint, OneDrive and Skype.

There’s no dual cam­era mod­ule on the de­vice, yet the 12-MP lens with f/1.7 and 1/2.5" sen­sor size does a fan­tas­tic job at cap­tur­ing im­ages in well-lit en­vi­ron­ment. The auto mode strug­gles a bit in low light, but the pro mode can be used to ad­just set­tings.

Sam­sung’s new vir­tual as­sis­tant, Bixby, cur­rently only shows sched­ules, up­com­ing re­minders, cards, car­ries out im­age search and such. So, that’s a sore point. The Galaxy S8+ works on a 3,500-mAh bat­tery with Type-C charg­ing port. It sup­ports quick charge that can power up the phone from 0 to 100 per cent in just two hours. A sin­gle charge lasted me a day with­out any heat­ing is­sues.

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