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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

Samsung Galaxy S8 9
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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

Introduction


It hasn’t exactly been easy for Samsung these last few years. Sure, the S7 family turned out to be pretty successful, but the previous two generations weren’t met with top marks, while 2017 ended pretty badly with the Note 7 fiasco. To make matters worse, this was a period of intense expansion for low-cost phone makers, primarily those from China, who fiercely attacked Samsung’s positions in key growing markets.

But we have to give it to Samsung – the company didn’t bend under all that pressure. Instead, it toughened up and got back to work, determined to create a new flagship product that would once again prove the point that Samsung is the undisputed leader on the Android market. This product is the Galaxy S8.

While most smartphones, especially those that try to offer good experience at a low price, involve some kind of specific trade-off, the Galaxy S8 doesn’t have this problem – it’s designed to be the ultimate product in Samsung’s portfolio: a top phone at a top price, and the results can be seen from afar: a snazzy, new 5.8” AMOLED screen, cutting-edge octa-core chipset, state-of-the-art camera, premium aesthetics with high-quality materials… the list goes on and on. The Galaxy S8 is here to both recover Samsung’s image after the Note 7 flop, as well as to fend off all the smaller players trying to snatch pieces of the company’s vast market share.

Design

Eye-catchy and forward-looking

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review
Samsung Galaxy S8 Review
Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

Samsung is trying to label the GS8 as a completely new type of smartphone, called 'infinity phone', due to the super-slim bezels. We don’t know about that infinity thing, but there’s obviously more to the Galaxy S8’s design than the skinny bezels. There is an elegantly curved screen, for example, as well as a diverse set of beautiful color options. The Samsung Galaxy S8 family comes in 5 hues: Midnight Black (black), Arctic Silver (gray), Coral Blue (blue), Maple Gold (gold), and Orchid Grey (light violet). All variants feature a black front, and honestly, they all look striking. Previous Galaxy S iterations came in some dazzling hues that were interesting to look at, but kind of eccentric. This new 5-color line-up is fresh, yet mature and easy on the eyes – it's surprisingly well selected. Unfortunately, only the black, gray, and orchid colors will be officially available in the US.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

OK, so the Galaxy S8 is a real eye-catcher, but to be honest, looks are just half of the story here. Equally important is the way the phone feels in the hand, and here it can be described with one word: fantastic! Thanks to the compact dimensions of the phone, as well as the precisely curved sides, it’s impressive just how seamless this device feels in the hand. There are no sharp edges, no nasty materials used here: only smooth glass and a polished aluminum frame. The latter is a great design choice by Samsung, as the shiny metal goes well with the glass, and it further enhances the feel and grip in the hand. Speaking of grip, the smooth, glossy surfaces mean the phone literally sticks to your fingers, which is great. Of course, it'll usually be smudgier than its matte phone counterparts, but that's not much of a problem.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review
Samsung Galaxy S8 Review
Samsung Galaxy S8 Review
Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

The physical buttons (power, volume, and Bixby) don't have legendary level of feel or clickiness, but they seem perfectly serviceable. There's no longer a dedicated home button – it's been replaced by an on-screen one, but you can still use it to wake the phone up, thanks to the pressure sensitive sensor in the home button area beneath the screen. Just press firmly in the bottom center area of the S8, and you'll feel a slight vibration, followed by the screen lighting up. Unfortunately, the pressure sensitive pad doesn’t seem to serve any useful purpose beyond this.

The Galaxy S8 is IP68 certified for a strong level of dust- and water-resistance – not only is it beautiful, it's also tough! If we had a giant “APPROVED” stamp, we'd plaster it all over the Galaxy S8 right now.

Samsung Galaxy S8
5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches
148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S7
5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Apple iPhone 7
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Apple iPhone 7

LG G6
5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches
148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G6


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Display

It's a quality AMOLED panel, but do we really need the extra-tall/wide aspect ratio?

The unusual new screen is understandably among the major points of interest with the Galaxy S8. After all, the phone has relatively compact dimensions, all the while it’s equipped with an impressive 5.8” display! However, there's a catch here: the new screen has an aspect ratio of 9:18.5. Up until now, phone screens came (and still come) in the way more widespread 9:16 ratio. The Galaxy S8's 9:18.5 ratio means its screen is taller than usual. Not necessarily much wider than that of the 5.1” Galaxy S7, for example, but considerably taller.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

How does that change the user experience? Well, it's actually a double-edged sword. This display format allows software developers to show more content on screen, such as additional information, or some kind of contextual app controls, for example. On the other hand, if this screen format isn't used efficiently, it may lead to inconvenient UI, with some important elements ending up in a very hard to reach corner of the screen. It also means most video content will have black bars on the sides, as it's distributed in 16:9 aspect ratio. The same goes for some games and apps out there.

For the most part, though, the extra-tall display doesn't stand in the way, it doesn't make things look bad or inconvenient. But does it really enhance the experience?

If we're looking for some magical way in which this 9:18.5 display is supposed to improve everything, the answer is no. Software still works the same exact way it used to, so between the Galaxy S8 and the S7, there isn't really that much of a difference in the way you'll be doing or viewing things. With the push to reduce bezels, however, and Samsung's reluctance to just make the phone itself smaller/shorter, something has to fill this newly vacated space, and 'more screen' is the obvious answer. There is one major benefit to this tall screen we can think of, and that's the ability to see more content in applications whose purpose is to show you content. Think the web browser, where you read articles and browse through long web pages, or the Kindle app, where you read books (it'll fit more on each page, meaning fewer page turns), or the calendar, where more events will be visible at a time in agenda view. This is where the main benefit of this screen is found.

Tech-wise, it's a Super AMOLED panel with resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. That's more than enough pixels, resulting in 570 ppi (pixels per inch) – incredible pixel density that makes even tiny fonts appear super fine. Other than that, this is an AMOLED display not much different from those of previous top Samsung phones: it gets plenty bright when outdoors, as well as very dim when viewed in the dark, which is all great. Viewing angles are still wonky, meaning brightness is retained, but colors quickly shift to colder ones even when viewed at slight angles. To add some context here: IPS LCD screens usually behave in the opposite way, where we observe reduced brightness or contrast, but retained color characteristics at angles.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

Once again, the default color mode is ‘Adaptive’, which characterizes with a slightly cold temperature (bluish cast) and unnecessarily oversaturated colors. It feels a bit excessive, which is why we recommend switching to some of the other available modes. Traditionally, we’d suggest using the ‘Basic’ mode, as it happens to be closest to the standard sRGB colorspace, but it doesn’t look good at all on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. In addition to a slightly lacking red, color intensity on Basic is weak across the board, causing the screen to look desaturated and lifeless. Because of that, we recommend using the AMOLED Photo mode, where colors aren’t exactly true to life, but are at least pleasantly vivid, with natural enough balance.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S8 570
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6784
(Excellent)
2.11
5.79
(Average)
5.26
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy S7 484
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6852
(Excellent)
2.07
1.26
(Excellent)
2.09
(Good)
Apple iPhone 7 632
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:1254
(Excellent)
6692
(Excellent)
1.84
2.96
(Good)
5.44
(Average)
LG G6 506
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:2164
(Excellent)
8639
(Poor)
2.12
5.68
(Average)
7.55
(Average)
View all

103 Comments
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posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:14 6

6. ithehappy (Posts: 42; Member since: 24 Apr 2014)


So best android phone? But it lags when Samsung's own live wallpaper is used? Hmm. Then heavy games can't deliver 60 frames constantly? Even at 720p you say? Hmm. Not bad for TouchWi....umm Grace sorry.

Camera samples look really nice though. Will wait for Dpreview's review.

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 10:33 3

83. kumar1234 (unregistered)


Yeah, Samsung phone is infamous for their extremely laggy performance. Their new "Grace" UI is nothing but the good old touchwiz with the same laggy and bloated experience. Camera is a very minor improvement over S7 family. S8 is overall a very boring phone.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 12:33 1

88. dazed1 (Posts: 516; Member since: 28 Jul 2015)


1. It lags only via bixby an non finished software

2. Its S835 version, so its irrelevant.

3. Samsung phones with exynos are only topped or equal to OP3T, they destroy any other android phones, get your head out of your ass, and do a reserach before spewing BS

posted on 23 Apr 2017, 10:56 1

94. SCell (Posts: 15; Member since: 23 Apr 2017)


No lags. It's not iPhone 7 thats madly lags.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:21 9

8. abdoualgeria (Posts: 653; Member since: 27 Jul 2015)


Best smartphone on the planet
Bravo dama

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:23 8

9. Lumbergh (Posts: 26; Member since: 14 Feb 2016)


The best smartphone on the planet, yet bad performance while playing games?

Nope.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:25 5

11. John-Knotts (Posts: 336; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


It doesn't. Try using one instead of trolling.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:32 4

16. Lumbergh (Posts: 26; Member since: 14 Feb 2016)


It does. From the PhoneArena review:

"frames per second in some of the more intensive ones (NOVA, Heroes of Order and Chaos, Asphalt Xtreme) just don’t reach the comfortable 60 fps, which is a shame."

Maybe you should learn how to read.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 11:38 2

31. adi90 (Posts: 367; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


This is shocking. I did not expect this from sd835. But we need at least one more credible review to prove that s8 is struggling with intensive games.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 12:09

43. adi90 (Posts: 367; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


It is the best ANDROID smartphone on planet.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 12:12 1

44. omnitech (Posts: 643; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


This is Apple shill talk. I don't know how it is like now but before most PlayStation and xbox games don't hit 60fps. 30fps is fine,

Definitely beats a super low res s**t 750p display,at at 60fps....

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 12:33 1

50. adi90 (Posts: 367; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


You have stopped taking your medication . so you are not able to comprehend anything.

You cannot claim any one mobile device , operating on two different os platforms , as best . whether s8 is the best mobile is debatable.
But yes it is the best android device. And it is a compliment.

posted on 19 Apr 2017, 12:38

84. bucky (Posts: 3033; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Id take a clean 60fps over a higher res screen that cant- especially for games.

posted on 21 Apr 2017, 12:35 1

89. dazed1 (Posts: 516; Member since: 28 Jul 2015)


WOW a total idiot, phone drop frames in games? how shocking!

posted on 22 Apr 2017, 18:17

91. DareDevil01 (Posts: 39; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


There was an update that tightens up performance. Also most games run great. The S8 scored better than all phones with gaming except the iPhone in the Manhatten bench.

posted on 23 Apr 2017, 10:58

95. SCell (Posts: 15; Member since: 23 Apr 2017)


iPhoneArena fake review? :)
Arena that sad that old LCD display is better than OLED??? LOL.

posted on 26 Apr 2017, 23:18

101. stallionmoves (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Apr 2017)


"Maybe you should learn how to read."

nice block there hahaha

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:28 4

13. Zylam (Posts: 1014; Member since: 20 Oct 2010)


Not worth the money. If you pay more than 400-500 for an Android phone, you got ripped off.

The One Plus 5 will destroy this and cost half as much and receive software updates twice as fast.

The Snapdragon 835 turned out to be nothing special in terms of performance, but a massive leap in terms of battery efficiency. For once it actually feels like the OEM's listened to people.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:40 1

17. abdoualgeria (Posts: 653; Member since: 27 Jul 2015)


Still not efficient like the esynos 8895

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 11:35

29. adi90 (Posts: 367; Member since: 21 Dec 2015)


OP5 will be a great device probably. But It does not mean s8 is less desirable.
It is about choosing the best or the best VFM.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 12:14 4

45. omnitech (Posts: 643; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


No interest in the one plus 5 but preordered the GS8.

If you want to talk about being overpriced, look no further than the iPhone which will unfortunately get an automatic 9.3-10 from Ray S.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:18

70. Zylam (Posts: 1014; Member since: 20 Oct 2010)


Can you point me to a 400-500 dollar iPhone with 2017 flagship specs? Such a thing doesn't exist.

What you Samsung people don't understand is that Apple makes the software, hardware and the eco system (the services), which is why they can charge whatever they want, it's their technology. It's also why iOS isn't fragmented like Android and why iOS gets software updates and support far above Android. Some can argue it's not worth the price and that's fair enough, but there is no choice for an iPhone, either dish out for the latest spec iPhone or don't.

When it comes to Android, there's a plethora of choices, I used a 50 dollar Android phone for a year before getting an iPhone, a phone I still keep near by and use every so often. Even with my iPhone being my main phone, which I need because of the software support it receives, but that 50 dollar phone, now that's value for money.

A 500 dollar flagship such as the One Plus 5 might not have the infinity display of the S8, but it can do 99% of the stuff the S8 does for half the price and will come with non bloated software, along with better support. That makes this phone a pointless ripp off.

If you invented something, you can sell it for whatever price you want. When Samsung makes it own OS, eco system and hardware, they can charge whatever they like because there will be no choice if you want to join their system.

Weather it's worth it or not is dependent on person, however when you have a phone that can do pretty much everything the S8 does, minus a few things, that makes this thing a ripp off.

Do you really think grace Ui and that screen is worth an extra 400?

But either way, Death to Apple right? What else is there to do here. It's so ironic how the Samsung fans are the biggest sheep or all time.

I don't even like iOS or Apple products, I prefer stock Android phones and Windows PC's far above anything else, but I don't get butt hurt when a rival has good merits, I call them out and I don't have any problems admitting problems that Android has either. Unlike Samsung fans who iconically are the exact same brainless sheep they call Apple users.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 19:50 2

71. omnitech (Posts: 643; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


Lol I don't know what kind of crack you are on but I don't have micro mange value like you are doing. All I have to do is look at hard data to see what is a rip off or not.

Apple iPhones are the cheapest to manufacture yet are the most expensive phones to the tune of 250 billion profit from idiot sheep like you.

Samsung phones are about par after factoring in their research costs and manufacturing expenses. Everything about Samsung devices are expensive s**t.$99 AKG earphones that they bought a company to include. Gorilla glass 5 manufacturing the SD835 for Qualcomm, and yes the Infiniti display.

The truth is the design and Infiniti display might not be worth the $400 to you, but the extra costs to justify charging that extra $400 isn't unreasonable unless you have a beef with Samsung and their fans like you seem to have.

Think about it this way, Samsung had to give Qualcomm a good deal and Qualcomm had to give oppo and one plus a good deal in order for Oneplus to achieve that kind of pricing. So don't be an idiot isheep and give Apple a pass for a $1000 phone that is worth nowhere near a $1000 to manufacture vs not giving a pass to Samsung for a $1000 phone that would be pretty close to a $1000 if any non Android OEM tried to manufacture it.

Think about it this way mr Zylam sheep. If HTC U ultra is a $750 phone and HTC bleeds money instead of making a profit from it, that means that's pretty much how much is costs including marketing and packaging etc.

If Apple makes $250 billion in liquid profits it means their products are extremely overpriced. Simple math sheep. Lol baaaa

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 23:03 5

77. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 13501; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)


What hardware does Apple make? Please enlighten us? You a stupid ass!

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:42 4

18. Tech_fan (Posts: 92; Member since: 28 Mar 2017)


DISPALY is a con????WOOOW, SHOOK!!!!!

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 10:43 7

19. nebula (Posts: 821; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


There is lag. I can't believe there is still lag. It seems lag is simply a common thing with samsung. For f**k sake how hard is to make it lag-free phone with so powerful hardware ? Ah?

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 11:18

23. AmashAziz (Posts: 986; Member since: 30 Jun 2014)


Lag is due to software, not hardware.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 11:26 3

27. nebula (Posts: 821; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


I was implying software given so powerful hardware.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 12:17 2

46. omnitech (Posts: 643; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


There's no more lag than other phones. Look at the speed tests. It smoke the Pixel which has no lag.

To be fair, the pixel seems so smooth despite it losing speed tests big time. I think animation consistency is what Samsung needs to concentrate on rather than raw speed.

Us humans are easy to fool and Samsung needs to utilize what Apple and Google seem to know quite well.

posted on 18 Apr 2017, 12:34 2

51. nebula (Posts: 821; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)


There two type of people who care about tests and benchmarks and who make purchase based solely on that. Which is minority. While majority buy phone at the shop. The difference in the real world is virtually non-existing. What matters is consistency in my opinion, appearance of fluidity and minimal latency.
That's were Pixel exceeds over any other Android phone despite last year chip.

Anyway that will hardly at all matter. It only matters for you, me and tech nerds like us.

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Display5.8 inches, 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera12 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz, Kryo 280 processor
4 GB RAM
Size5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches
(148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm)
5.36 oz  (152 g)
Battery3000 mAh, 29 hours talk time

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