David Court thinks Samsung’s latest phone is brilliant, if you can ignore a few foibles and the eye-watering price
Samsung has always been the Android phone manufacturer to watch, taking Apple on at the most expensive end of the scale and offering the pinnacle of smartphone technology. The S8 is beautiful and fast, has a brilliant camera and fantastic display, and offers a ton of extra features – some good, some not so good.
The S8 comes with curved edges, so there’s no separate Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge model, and it’s the best looking phone on the market. Samsung has created an 1.85:9 “Infinity Display” which looks amazing. The front of the phone is 100% glass with a barely-there bezel nestled above and below.
It feels great in your hand – slim, smooth and light – but it’s a bit too long: hold the phone in your hand to unlock it using the rear fingerprint sensor and you’ll struggle to reach the Home button without readjusting your grip: hold the phone so you can reach the Home button, however, and icons at the top of the screen become unreachable.
The screen’s colours are bright and vivid, and it’s easy to read in all conditions. We measured superb peak brightness of 569cd/m2; impressive 99.9% coverage of the sRGB colour standard; and perfect contrast.
The camera is exactly the same 12-megapixel specification as that of the S7, but it has a new tool that snaps three pictures simultaneously and merges them to create the sharpest possible image. You have to look hard to tell the difference when comparing it with S7 snaps in daylight, but we saw a significant improvement in low light, with less smearing and more contrast and detail.
Where the S7 brought biometric unlocking, the S8 introduces face recognition. However, neither is particularly convenient in this device, involving some manipulation to get your iris, face or fingerprints into the correct position.
The S8’s battery didn’t perform as well in our tests as the S7’s. It lasted 16 hours and 45 minutes in our looping video test, which is still impressive, but the S7 Edge was able to squeeze out another two hours.
Some of the extra toll may be due to the improved performance. The S8 feels super-slick and proved to be the fastest phone we’ve tested yet, beating rivals, such as the iPhone 7 and the more recent Huawei PIO, both in processor and graphics tests.
Samsung has also included Bixby, its own answer to Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. Disappointingly, voice control over Bixby has not been deemed good enough to launch yet, but you can ask it to recognize a photo of something and tell you what it is. We found that it was flummoxed by a Nike trainer, but it recognized Heinz Tomato Ketchup and, oddly, the cloisters of Durham Cathedral.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is undoubtedly the best Android phone available at the moment, with the most power and the highest specification. However, the best things about the device are its 5.8in 1.85:9 curved-edged display, its beautifully sleek finish and its fantastic built-in camera.
On the downside, though, one-handed usability (especially when unlocking the device) and battery life aren’t as good as its S7 predecessor.
It’s also very, very expensive. So you may be getting the best phone around but you’ll certainly be paying a high price.
■ Exynos 8895 Octa processor
■ Mali-G71 MP20 GPU
■ 64GB memory
■ 5.8in Super AMOLED touchscreen
■ 1,440 x 2,960 pixels resolution
■ 570ppl pixel density
■ IP68 certified (dustproof and waterproof to 1.5m for 30 mins)
■ Android 7 (Nougat)
■ 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm ■155g
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is undoubtedly the best Android phone available at the moment, with the most power and the highest specification. However, the best things about the device are its 5.8in 1.85:9 curved-edged display, its beautifully sleek finish and its fantastic built-in camera.On the downside, though, one-handed usability (especially when unlocking the device) and battery life aren’t as good as its S7 predecessor.It’s also very, very expensive. So you may be getting the best phone around but you’ll certainly be paying a high price.
- Great camera
- Brilliant display
- Excellent design
- Difficult to unlock
- Battery Isn’t as good asS7