After an embarrassing setback with the Galaxy Note 7, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is promising to be a bigger and better phone you’ll be proud to have. The smaller version, the Galaxy S8 has been a homerun for the company and they’re hoping with a bigger screen, comes a better experience and a much-loved phone.
Does it live up to hype? Let’s find out in this review.
Design and Build:
Samsung phones have come a long way. Whereas the company initially developed phones with high end plastic, for the S8+, they’ve made sure to echo a more sophisticated look and quality by using a combination of glass and metal in its build.
The Galaxy S8+ is narrower and taller compared to the competition, including the iPhone7+ and the OnePlus 3T. It offers an 18:5 ratio instead of the regular 16:9 screen ratio you’ll find in other phones. The S8+ offers a 6.2 inch screen size compared to the 5.5 inch of the S8. For some people, the top portion might be just a little out of reach but with Samsung’s smart screen configuration, this isn’t really a problem. It’s amazing how Samsung has managed to squeeze in more screen by eliminating the Samsung logo at the front and creating a virtual home screen instead of a physical one. It comes with a slightly curved front and back, which feels amazing when you hold it in your hand.
The Sides and Top:
While most of what Samsung has done has been done before, including going virtual with their keys and doing away with logos, one thing they did do differently is adding a dedicated key at the sides for Bixby – Samsung’s voice assistant. I’m not sure if this was a good move since I don’t think Bixby deserves its own key just yet, but it is something different compared to what competitors are doing. Also on the sides are the volume and standby buttons while the SIM and MicroSD slots are found at the top of the phone. Samsung has also kept their headphone jack and USB Type-C port and mono speaker at the bottom part.
The Samsung S8+ is water resistant with an IP68 rating, which means it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The front features Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5, making the front and the back portion more scratch and shatter resistant.
If there’s one thing the Samsung S8+ can proudly and definitely tout against its competitors, it’s the fact that the battery life is impressive. Testing out the phone, I managed to squeeze in close to 30 hours of usage with videos on QHD, four hours of talk time, browsing and push notifications, gaming, listening to music for about 5 hours using a Bluetooth speaker and absolutely no power-saving option turned on. Imagine turning on the power saving modes and you can easily squeeze a full two days heavy use out of the S8+.
TouchWiz, Bixby and the One Handed Mode;
For those travailing over the large screen making it difficult to use the phone one handed, Samsung has come up with an ingenious option with their one-handed mode. This was available in previous phones but it makes more sense with the S8+. What it does is it shrinks the screen into the left or right side of the phone. To activate, simply triple tap the home button or swipe from the corner if you need to use it.
As for Bixby, it still lacks a lot of capabilities that Siri or other rivals offer. There are no voice features yet but you do get personalized feeds, widgets and other reminders. Bixby Vision also needs some improvement.
Another feature that makes more sense with this bigger screen is the TouchWiz. Using two windows on this screen size is convenient and is perfect if you need to open two apps side by side.
Fingerprint Scanning and Biometrics:
My gripe with the S8+ is the awkward positioning of the scanner. Because it’s a taller phone, it’s hard to conveniently access the fingerprint scanner placed at the back of the phone next to the camera. This was a bit disorienting but after a while, you do end up adjusting and making sure to grab the phone in the middle part instead of at the bottom so your finger falls naturally close to the scanner.
There’s still the traditional passcode for purists but the iris scanner, using the front camera, can also be a good contender when it comes to unlocking your phone and providing extra security. However, it might be problematic when you’re wearing contacts or even glasses.
The camera for the S8+ is the same one you get with the S8. The back is a 12-megapixel camera while the front is an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Both provide excellent results especially in low-lighting conditions.
The front camera now includes a Smart Autofocus System, which is unusual because you don’t see it often. However, selfie lovers will adore this and it makes taking those selfie shots so convenient. The back camera provides dual pixels, image stabilization and an f/1.7 aperture. There’s also an LED flash and phase detection. As for videos, it can shoot at 1080P at 60 frames per second. Manual controls in Pro mode during video shoots offer more control for those who want it. Of course, Samsung cameras do produce already wonderful images and it’s no different with the S8+. There’s greater saturation, albeit it’s not the most accurate camera, still, it makes for a visually pleasing image each time.
So is the Samsung S8+ worth considering if you’re in the market for a new smartphone? The answer is a definite yes! If you love extra large screens, this one wins hands down. It’s not too bulky but taller instead, the screen resolution is wonderful and will make you wonder why you even need a tablet at all. The aesthetics is sleek and beautiful without compromising on the quality or the function of the piece. I also love the iris scanner and camera quality. I just wish they had found a better placement for the fingerprint scanner because really, it renders a good scanner useless because of its awkward positioning.
However, if there’s one thing to rave about with the S8+, it’s the battery life. I’ve never seen a phone last this long and I’m sure in the future, this is just going to get better.
Screen Size: 6.2 inches Quad HD+ AMOLED (529ppi)
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 GB with microSD card slot
Camera: 12 Megapixel rear camera with OIS, 8 Megapixel front camera
Battery Life: 30+ hours