After a troubled 2016 when the Note 7 fiasco hit the company, all eyes were on what its next flagship device would be. With Samsung Galaxy S8 — and S8+ — the South Korean giant has introduced a phone that will push Apple to work twice as hard on its upcoming premium devices.
Samsung introduced Galaxy S8 and S8+ in the US (with the Qualcomm processor) in March and in other countries (with the new Exynos processor) in April.
The devices use new-age concepts like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) to its optimum.
Let’s find out what the Rs 64,900 S8+ has to offer.
The company has delivered a large and curved “Infinity Display” in Galaxy S8+ — a device with “the biggest screen in a smallest space possible”.
While the physical design is fresh, the hardware complements the display, camera and things you expect a premium device should do.
With only four physical buttons — power, volume up/volume down and for AI assistant “Bixby” — Samsung omitted the home button, claiming that it has been pushed under the display. Once you press the button on the screen, it gives a haptic feedback.
The slim-built device with 6.2-inch display allows a user with small hands grip it firmly.
Samsung claims that the re-engineered design with rounded edges, symmetrical sides and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 makes the S8+ 40 per cent tougher than its predecessor, the S7 Edge.
The waterproof and dustproof S8+ has a 12MP rear camera and fingerprint scanner on the back and an 8MP auto-focus front shooter.
With the best-in-class camera, the device clicks flawless photos in both day and night. The problem of having grainy photos at night is solved in S8+. The colours are almost similar to what our eyes see.
While comparing photos clicked by S8+ with iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, we found Pixel’s photos a little brighter and iPhone 7 a shade darker.
The front shooter took delightful photos in low-light conditions.
As far as the software is concerned, Galaxy S8+ runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and has “Bixby” that will make your life easy (It is yet to have voice support like Siri or Google Assistant).
However, one can still use “Bixby” by pressing a dedicated button and find most recently taken photos, reminders, weather and news feed.
The whole game for Samsung is in the display. Watch a movie or play a game, the display gives an immersive experience with stunning colours.
It also asks the user to run the app in the normal mode or full screen. Select full screen for a better experience.
Almost every function can be done by display itself — from swiping right to activate “Bixby” or to just glance at the display to unlock the device.
The company has made it easier for users to open the app drawer as well. A swipe upward or downward opens the app drawer and you can close it by the same gesture.
Other features include the all-new edge experience with editable edge menus. You can choose from a range of apps to show on the edge menus.
When your phone is kept upside down and in the silent mode, S8+ tells you that your device is ringing by flashing a green light around the edges. The device also has an “always on display” that keeps the user notified at all times.
For security, the device has five options: Pin lock, pattern lock, retina scan, face unlock and fingerprint scanner — choose your pick.
In India, the device has 10nm thin Exynos 9 (8895) Octa core (2.35 GHz Quad + 1.9 GHZ Quad) processor and houses 4GB RAM with 64GB onboard memory that is expandable up to 256GB.
We played graphic-heavy games like “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and it worked like a charm.
Got an important call while watching a video’ Just spilt the screen and don’t pause/miss the shots and read the messages.
The device has a Type-C connector that charges the smartphone in approximately 45 minutes.
With a heavy usage that includes always-on internet, heavy app usage and one-two hours of gaming, the device returned a backup of 14 hour 26 minutes.
Samsung S8+ comes with AKG Acoustics earplugs that deliver hi-resolution audio.
What does not work’
Owing to its glass finish, it’s somewhat slippery. The “always on display” consumes too much battery.
Another put-off is the cinemascopic black strips when opening low-resolution games and movies.
Conclusion: The best premium smartphone till date. If you are a premium-device lover, go buy it as this device is not going to lose out to rivals like Apple for quite some time.
(Sourabh Kulesh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Sourabh Kulesh