I got the Samsung Galaxy S8 shortly after it was released and purchased it for about USD900 or so. I probably should’ve waited for the price to come down but was desperately in need of a phone (my Nexus 5 was stuck in a boot loop). I had used an iPhone before but was looking forward to trying a high-end Android phone. The S8 seemed like a natural choice. It looked terrific, had good specs and the reviews seemed great. After using it for over a year, here’s my S8 review.
Samsung Galaxy S8
I use my Galaxy S8 a LOT. I’m not big into games but I have tried a few simple ones – Temple Run 2, Relic Run etc – and it does well. I don’t know how it holds up under games with high graphics but I’m guessing it won’t disappoint. By and large, I’m on my phone editing Google Docs, accessing Drive, watching Netflix, taking loads of photos, using social media etc. So far, I’ve hardly experienced lag. It’s been over a year since I’ve used it and the battery is also almost as good as it was.
The 12 MP rear camera is excellent. It works well in low light and is terrific in daylight. It has several functions that you’ll find in other phones such as panorama and slow motion. In addition, it offers a hyperlapse function to create time-lapse videos and a pro mode where you can adjust settings for long exposure photos. It also has a virtual shot mode (the Galaxy S7 has it too) where you can capture a wide image and see it from different angles. There’s a food mode too although I haven’t tried it yet. If you’re someone who loves taking shots of their food, it’ll probably come in useful. The 8MP front camera is also one of the best, in my opinion. It works well in dim conditions which is great when you’re on a night out and need to take those all-important Insta-worthy selfies. The colors are pretty accurate in daylight although they could be a tad richer. Still, I’m not complaining. The camera has some nifty features that make taking photos a lot of fun. A long press on the shutter button lets you take a burst shot while holding and dragging the same button lets you zoom in and out without having to use both hands. You can also take a selfie by holding out your palm, which sets off a timer. If you want to be fancy, you can enable voice control and say ‘smile’, ‘cheese’ or ‘record video’ and it’ll do the needful.
The first thing that stood out for me was the S8’s infinity display. It’s big at 5.8 inches and is the largest phone I’ve owned. I don’t have the biggest hands and dislike using phones that are too huge. But the S8 feels small relative to its size. Maybe it’s the sleekness that makes it such a joy to handle. It doesn’t feel clumsy and I don’t really have to use both hands. I love that the home button is on the screen. Not only does it make the display look even bigger, it eliminates the problem of a tactile button being overused (something that always worries me). Just swipe up from the bottom and it appears along with a back button and another for multi-window mode.
The battery, I feel, is pretty decent. A full charge lasts me a day with Wi-Fi turned on and some 4G usage. Like I said, I use my S8 a lot so I don’t expect it to get me through more than a day.
This thing is sleek! Samsung has really outdone itself with this. You forget you’re using a phone that’s almost 6 inches. It feels so comfortable in the hands even with a cover on. I’m using a flexible Spigen cover that actually makes me feel more confident about using the phone. If you’re like me, super-sleek phones make me a little nervous to handle because they sometimes feel like they’ll slip out. The fingerprint sensor is right near the rear camera – which I love – because it’s just so convenient. I know some people might find that a little weird especially if they’re used to sensors being centered at the back or at the bottom of the screen. It functions beautifully, though; I’ve even unlocked it when my finger was wet.
Bixby Button Placement
It’s not that I hate Bixby. Don’t get me wrong. I just find the button placement incredibly annoying because it’s right below the volume control. I keep hitting it accidentally when trying to lower or increase the volume or when I’m trying to take a screenshot.
Faulty Calendar Notifications
The calendar started acting up a few months back and I can’t pin it to an update or a settings change. Sometimes the notifications for daily events that I’ve set work and sometimes they don’t. It’s more than an annoyance especially if those notifications prevent forgetful folks like me from remembering important things. What I’ve had to resort to is using the alarm clock as a backup reminder in case the calendar notifications don’t work.
Some people seem to like the stock keyboard but I find it inaccurate. It gets my swipes wrong and sometimes brings out the weirdest predictions. I’m currently using a third party app and it works fine.
If you’re looking for a high-end Android phone but aren’t ready to shell out bigger bucks for the likes of the Note 8 or 9, go for the Galaxy S8. It’s beautiful, sexy and performs terrifically. With support for wireless charging (of course) and a host of add-ons like DeX Station, Gear 360, Gear VR etc, it’s quite the phone you hope and expect it to be.