Samsung Galaxy S8 Review69
Galaxy S8. There may be just a bit of getting used to, due to the earpiece being situated on such a thin piece of bezel, but it’s by no means an issue.
Voices through the earpiece tend to sound OK, but not pleasing.
Solid performance in the battery department is hindered by Always-on display
A reasonable 3000 mAh battery is powering the Samsung Galaxy S8. The phone holds up quite well, although not quite as well as the S8+. Stand by times don’t seem to be superb, which is probably due to the Always-on display feature. Given its limited use, we’d recommend disabling Always-on display, and in turn enjoying the benefits of a very real battery life boost.
Samsung gives us some interesting statistics for this wirelessly chargeable battery: it can deliver up to 16 hours of continuous video playback, or the cool 67 hours of music playback. Web browsing on Wi-Fi and LTE can last for 14 and 12 hours, respectively. These browsing times mimic what the iPhone 7 is supposed to allow, but the iPhone’s continuous video and music playback times are slightly lower.
Interestingly, the Galaxy S8 scored slightly better than the S8+ on our custom battery benchmark, lasting for 8 hours 22 mins. This is considerably more than last year’s S7 (6 h 37 min), and also better than the Pixel's 7h 45 min and iPhone 7's 7h 46 min.
Recharging the battery from 0 to 100% happens in 1 hour and 40 minutes. While last year's S7 charged slightly faster, in 1h 28 mins, the S8's result is still perfectly acceptablwe, considering the rest of the landscape. The Google Pixel takes 1h 42 minutes to charge, and the iPhone 7 takes 2 hours and 21 minutes.
Despite the stark new appearance and display aspect ratio, it is yet to be decided if this new, almost bezel-less design trend of the Galaxy S8 is going to lead to a meaningful change in how we experience the smartphone as a tool. Having the bezels reduced is perfectly OK when it comes to aesthetics, but introducing an extra tall display is a change of practical meaning. Throughout this review, we saw that the taller display could be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it does allow for more content to be shown without increasing the width of the phone, which is always good, but on the other, it can lead to usability discomfort in case the user interface and the content viewed are not optimized well enough for the extravagant aspect ratio. And in the case of the Galaxy S8, we can’t say that all has been executed flawlessly.
However, if we stop looking for revolutionary improvements where they are unlikely to be found, and examine the device in itself, we quickly realize that the Galaxy S8 is a truly remarkable smartphone. Samsung has been focusing its efforts in exactly the right areas, which is evident in the Galaxy S8’s excellent performance across almost all essential fields. For most consumers out there, this is the best Android smartphone there is: an elegant and premium design, combined with a powerful but thoughtfully conceived software experience, with exemplary performance where it counts the most. In the end, the Galaxy S8 proves that it’s well worth the asking price, despite being surrounded by tempting low-cost alternatives.
Update: You can now read our Galaxy S9 and S9+ review!