The first thing I want to talk about is screen: it’s big, it’s high resolution, it’s bright. Its aspect ratio is stretched out, so wide-screen content fits it better. The extra visual real estate is nice but using it one-handed is not very easy.
The second thing is the design. I mean, visually it looks amazing but it’s more than that. This is the first phone that I’ve used where the curved screen felt really comfortable in my hand. When it comes to phones, I don’t care too much about millimetres and grammes and stuff like that I just want to feel comfortable my hand and most curved screens just don’t feel good in the hand. But this one does and that’s because of the frame. The transition from the front glass to the frame and then to the back glass feels almost seamless, there’s just nothing with texture. It’s really nice to hold but it’s also really slippery. I would strongly recommend getting a skin for S8, or even a case.
The other things I like are the wireless charging, the headphone jack and Bluetooth 5.0. I love the micro SD slot, the USB-C port and the performance feels really quick so far.
The camera hardware is similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge. But, let’s be honest, the camera on the S7 was awesome, so it’s not too big of a deal to me that they didn’t upgrade the camera. The front-facing camera has improved quite a bit and considering how many selfies I take every day I think this was a good call.
So this device has a large screen that is super bright and has high resolution so there’s a lot of pixels to process and the battery size isn’t huge, so I wasn’t expecting amazing battery life. The first full day of use I end up the day with thirty-one percent left. Relatively heavy use over the course of the day. At night I charged it back up, watched some YouTube videos with maximum volume and maximum screen brightness, highest resolution (WQHD+) and when I checked it eight hours later it was at thirty-six percent. The screen on time was basically the same. I think that’s not bad I mean on iPhone 7+ I’d probably got some very similar numbers.
The facial recognition is awesome – it works fast and it’s reliable. I tried it with sunglasses and it didn’t work very well.
The fingerprint scanner isn’t in the best location. I have to stretch for it but since the facial recognition is so good I’m totally fine with it being on the back.
The Galaxy S8 is packed with a lot of cool techs. But hardware specs aren’t everything. For me, the user experience is by far the most important thing when it comes to any kind of device. And with this, there are a couple things that kind of detract from the user experience.
The first is that on-screen home button. I think it could or should be a little bigger. And the haptic feedback isn’t good, it feels like a regular phone vibration.
The speakers are also not stereo and I know a lot of people don’t care about this. But I consume most of my media on my phone and it’s so weird watching a super high-res video that looks gorgeous on the screen while having tinny audio that just comes out from one side of the phone. It just feels off.
The screen is also difficult to use one-handed. So a wide phone like the Google Pixel XL is already wide and a little bit uncomfortable to use but it’s okay – I manage. The S8, because of the tall screen, the vertical stretch is crazy.
The last thing is, probably, my most personal opinion I know a lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I don’t love where they’re going with Bixby. And this time it comes with a dedicated hardware button which you cannot reassign to some other function.
So if you’re interested in this phone and you enjoyed the S7 Edge user experience (as I did) you’re going to love the S8. It’s just a basically an elevated version of this phone. Truly next level hardware, you’re going to love it.
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