Latest posts by Ahmad Imran (see all)
- 60 Days With S8+ [Strengths, Weaknesses and Forgettables] - January 24, 2018
- Galaxy S8+ Still Image Quality [With 12 Sample Shots] - January 4, 2018
- How to Improve Your Chromebook Experience? [in 2018] - December 19, 2017
I have been using the Samsung’s S8+ for over 2 months now.
I know I am reviewing this phone a bit late in the day and the S9 series is already planned to be released in the first quarter of 2018.
However, I am assuming that you want to know more about this phone or you are in the market looking for your next Android device.
Hang around with me for next few minutes and you will have my take on this flagship by Samsung in this article.
Its strengths, weaknesses and average performing areas.
Let us dive straight in and have a look at the details. The model (SM-G955F) being reviewed is my personal phone in midnight black and bought in the UK, running the Android version 7.0.
Bold and Beautiful Screen with Small Bezels
Like it or not, the 6.2 inch, 529 ppi super AMOLED screen is beautiful – no matter if it saturates the colours a bit.
I prefer LCD panels over AMOLED ones but this doesn’t mean that the S8 plus’s screen is not in the competition. The brightness, crispiness and colours are rich and pleasing to watch. The sheer size of 6.2 inches makes this phone one of the best available Androids for multimedia and watching videos etc.
The slender 18.5:9 ratio is good and it took me no time to get used to it. Plenty of space if you are into multi-windows and running two apps side by side.
Finally, don’t forget the thin bezels. Absolutely beautiful and a relatively newer trend in Android flagships. This helps to keep the overall footprint of the phone manageable and not feeling overly difficult to use in a day to day situation.
Robust Camera Quality
I have written about the S8+ camera in detail a few days back. Have a read if you want full details.
My casual use of the main camera (mostly in auto mode) confirmed that it is one of the best cameras I came across in 2017. Still going strong in 2018 as well. The pictures came out consistently well and rich in detail. The 12 megapixels sensor was quick (f/1.7) to focus and image processing was above average.
Samsung has not dived into gimmicks and low-importance fancies here. One solid camera sensor and plenty of optimisation and post image processing to create stunning results. Full marks to Samsung here for the right approach.
It is not as good as the Google’s Pixel 2 camera perhaps but it is still in among the top few in the industry on camera performance at the time of writing this review.
Has it got any?
I doubt it.
People might have their individual niggles or dislikes about certain features of this phone but for me, there was nothing significant that I could call a weakness of this flagship.
I had a similar opinion about S7 Edge as well and I am singing the same story again. This shows the strength of the Samsung’s flaghsip devices and perhaps an answer to why Samsung is leading the Android high-end market at the moment.
Well done Samsung.
Not weaknesses but there are some average performers in the S8 range.
I call them forgettables.
Let us have a look one by one.
Design of the Phone
I am not a huge fan of a full glass design.
S8+ comes with a glass front and back. My main concerns are two fold. Faint marks and scratches if you don’t protect it on both sides and secondly, heaven for fingerprints. It never feels tidy. It is quite a slippery phone if you are not attaching any skin or plastic screen protector to it.
I am still a believer in the metal construction which in my opinion feels superior and gives the device a better texture to hold and grip.
Having said that, S8+ is a decent phone on ergonomics, design and aesthetics. Keeping the footprint manageable with a 6.2 inch display is commendable – thanks to thin bezels and more screen coverage. The curved edges and metal frame (Aluminium) add to the premium feel of the device.
The weight of the device and its 8.1 mm thickness are complimentary to each other and provide an easy to use experience on a day to day basis.
The buttons and ports are pretty much standard including a downward facing speaker (mediocre) and a standard 3.5 mm audio jack port.
All in all, I have got no major complaints about the design but there is nothing much to write home about either. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ are evolution of their S7 and S7 Edge designs from previous year. it would have been nice to have a couple of extra colour options as variants in the S8 range.
I am not into complicated battery tests.
I don’t feel that they provide a real-life picture of how we tend to use our phones and what are our battery consumption habits are. I broadly categorise the battery use into the following categories.
- Light use
- Light to moderate use
- Moderate use
- Moderate to high use
- High use
I class myself as falling in the second category, my general use is low to medium and I found the S8’s battery to be lasting for about a day. Needing me to charge the device overnight regularly. I find it to be on par (or a touch above average) with the rest of the competition.
It would have been great to have a phone which gives a solid 1.5 to 2 days of battery life. I think the industry is heading towards this goal and we will see some technical advancements and developments in this sector.
Price to Specs Ratio
This section contains Amazon affiliate links – full disclosure here.
I am writing this article quite late in relation to the release date of the S8+.
At the time of writing, the S8+ is selling for approximately £575 on Amazon UK for a 64 GB SIM free version. In the US, the Amazon price is approximately $800 (US version) at the time of writing this review.
S8+ is not a cheap phone. With all its shine and attractiveness, it is something that will force you to think about your budget and affordability. Having used this phone for 2 months, I feel that the price tag is just about justifiable.
A touch cheaper would have been excellent. I have OnePlus 5T to look at and compare the things here.
It would have been nice if I could pick up an S8+ for between £400 and £450 in the UK for a phone which is nearly an year old now.
Samsung has come a long way to improve its user interface (UI) – the TouchWiz.
In the S8/S8+, it is a further refinement of the same UI by Samsung. A step in the right direction but could do with more. Bixby is half-baked and should not be there in my opinion. The number of Samsung’s own apps could have been reduced by a further 2 or 3 but never mind.
I found the transitions, theme effects and overall interface to be (very) slightly lagging and stuttering. A mild niggle which you may encounter if you are having a few apps running on your smartphone.
Other than that, I feel that Samsung is working on their UI and their Android Experience is getting better on a progressive basis. I have seen this improvement from their S6 to S7 and now in the S8 range.
A solid phone.
Big, bold, reliable and strong in two main areas – screen and camera.
A phone with no major issues and a phone which you would like to have in your pocket. It all comes down to your pocket and how much you want to spend for your next phone. If you can afford it, go and get it, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are like me and a fan of “value for money”, you have some other options to look at as well.
S8+ will get my 8.5 out of 10 for overall user experience – feels extremely good.
What about you?
Where are you in your buying cycle?
Do you think that S8 or S8+ are tempting options in your circumstances?