Introduction


Such a tense moment, isn't it? Up until last year, Samsung was experiencing considerable setbacks due to rising competition from lower-cost Chinese phone vendors, and the fact the Galaxy S5 and S6 weren't exactly the most memorable products ever. The company managed to recover with the successful launch of the Galaxy S7 line, only to be hit again later in 2016 by the blunder the Note 7 turned out to be.

Such cataclysms are sometimes enough to knock even big companies down for good, but not Samsung. The tech empire is showing enviable resilience, now being ready to deliver 'the next Galaxy' to your doorstep, and boy is it quite the package! It comes in two sizes: the standard-sized Galaxy S8, and the super-sized Galaxy S8+. The difference in screen and battery size is the only thing that separates the two. And if you've been eyeing the big one, it's your lucky day: welcome to our Samsung Galaxy S8+ review!

Low-cost phone makers like Xiaomi or Meizu managed to narrow the gap a couple of years back, putting pressure on premium device manufacturers like Samsung. In this new environment, it is of paramount importance for the Korean company to step up its game and prove to consumers that its products are worth the extra investment.

Design

Bezel-less done right


This here is a new breed of Android smartphone. Samsung calls it 'infinity phone', due to the super-slim bezels, but there’s more to it than this. It's not only about the thin bezels, or the elegantly curved screen. It's also about the mature and diverse colors, the way it feels in the hand, and the fresh new software experience. All of this, together, makes the Galaxy S8+’s design stand out from the crowd.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 family comes in 5 wonderful colors: 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.

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! The GS8+ is, of course, a rather big smartphone, but it impresses us with just how seamless it feels. 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.

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 Plus right now.


Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Dimensions

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL

Dimensions

6.09 x 2.98 x 0.34 inches

154.72 x 75.74 x 8.6 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Dimensions

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL

Dimensions

6.09 x 2.98 x 0.34 inches

154.72 x 75.74 x 8.6 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

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



Display

Undoubtedly a quality AMOLED screen, but do we really need the extra-tall aspect ratio?


For a device this big, obviously the display is of gigantic importance. And hold onto your seats as we tell you that the Samsung Galaxy S8+ comes with a 6.2” panel! However, there's an important note to make here: the new screen has an aspect ratio of 9:18.5. Up until now, phone screens came in the more widespread 9:16 ratio. The Galaxy S8 Plus' 9:18.5 ratio means its screen is taller than usual. Not necessarily much wider, but considerably taller.

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, say, the S7 edge, 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 529 ppi (pixels per inch) – incredible pixel density that makes even tiny fonts appear 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.

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.



FEATURED VIDEO

49 Comments

1. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

iPhone 7 Plus - 9.3 GS8+ - 9.0 iPhone 7 Plus wins. GS8+ =/= Phone of the year....and it's not even close. Let's sum this up real quick. A nearly year old iPhone 7 plus beats the S8+ in performance and battery life?

4. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Let's see how many scores on Note 8 review. Note: They using Geekbench 4 as their "own" battery test, you may try it yourself and compare on your iPhone or other phones.

8. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

Since the iPhone 7 plus beats the S8+, there is absolutely no way the Note 8 is beating the iPhone 8 plus.

13. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

I mean the review score on Note 8, not battery test.

24. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

Note 7 got 8.7 . so note 8 will get 8.7 too. It is pattern of phonearena. IPhone 6s and 7 - 9.3 S7 and s8 - 9

35. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

samsung beat iPhone in iPhoneArena's review score? not a chance.. btw, S8+ beat iPhone7plus with ~40% battery lefthttps://youtu.be/yMC_zo_Ge3w

22. Youngquenga41

Posts: 82; Member since: Apr 03, 2017

Beats the s8 plus in what? I've seen real world comparisons of both speed tests and battery test and the only thing the iPhone is good at is launching and relaunching games. Why because games are much more optimize for iOS than Android. When it comes to launching regular apps there's no contest! S8 hands down. The screen on time on the s8 is also way more than what you'd get on the iPhone plus. I really don't know where PA gets its stats from but I'm pretty sure it's not real world scenerios.

23. kumar1234 unregistered

iPhone 7 plus is all the best all rounder phone. Other than big bazel iPhone 7/7plus beat this mediocre faceless looking phone easily. S8 plus has mediocre battery life, a weird aspect display, a faceless design. atrocious placement for a fingerprint scanner, useless bixby and bixby button, #hit loads of crapware and bloatware, very slow and buggy update policy camera is hardy a upgrade, last year pixel has better camera High chance of explosion This phone shouldn't get more than 6.5. PA is very generous to samsung phone as usual. Be glad that they gave them 9.

44. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Such a child! Why would one compare an iPhone to an Android phone? They are really an Apple to Orange comparison. Can I buy a iOS device from Samsung, Sony or LG? There really only one choice for iOS device and that is Apple regardless.

45. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

On second thought, I know why, Lumbergh has a need to feel justified for getting an iPhone 7. Such child like behaviour. Shame...Shame...Shame.

19. Tarox

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 17, 2015

Just check out real life comparisons to see the actual battery life of these two with the exact same tasks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMC_zo_Ge3w iphonearena, shame on you again

28. osterrich21

Posts: 187; Member since: Apr 14, 2017

Remember, you are in iPhonearena

38. tedkord

Posts: 17469; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The iPhone 7 Plus does not beat the S8+ (or even the S7 Edge) in any battery test except PhoneArena's. And their test has been suspect for years. The S8 won't be phone of the year only because the Note 8 will. The only reason the S7 Edge won last year (yes, it did win, like it is not) it's because the Note 7 was recalled.

47. Koozini

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

iPhone 7 Plus - Bezels GS8+ - no bezels

2. maherk

Posts: 7017; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Fingerprint placement should've been added as a con, and I would've also put the fact that we cannot remap nor disable the Bixby button.

3. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

60fps with a Qhd+ screen.if xiaomi's mi6 and the pixel 2 come with 1080p displays the s835 which usually has the slightly better GPU is going to be crazy on those

5. Tech_fan

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 28, 2017

Ray S,Ray S, Ray S..i think every one here knows you...i expected these numbers from you!!! imagine this phone had a FRUIT logo...9.5??? 9.8??? 9.999???

9. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

The iPhone is simply better. Stop crying. Better yet, have a nice warm Note 7 dry your tears lol

12. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

You dont deserve such good display in iphone 8 ....

14. fyah_king unregistered

Better? Ahahahaha!!

17. Tech_fan

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 28, 2017

here we come.. an ikid came back from school..do your homework ikid, this place is not for you..call your elder, maybe i argue with him...

21. Youngquenga41

Posts: 82; Member since: Apr 03, 2017

Why is it better? Because you're here preaching it? Go have a seat in the dumb corner kid.

27. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Member since barely over a year ago & only 23 posts. Your opinion means nothing.

40. tedkord

Posts: 17469; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's not, but maybe one day you'll convince yourself.

36. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

I won't expect less than 11/10

6. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

What a beauty. And that with IP68, a superb screen, superb camera and great battery life. I would give it a 10/10 if it only had FM radio and either a fingerprint scanner under the glass or under the camera on the back like the G6.

7. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Had a chance to finally hold this phone and give it a spin. Looks way better in person and the feel of the phone is great. Looking forward to the real world usage and reviews.

10. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Best Smartphone to date, until september 2017 Bravo sammy

11. nikhil23

Posts: 502; Member since: Dec 07, 2016

is there a possibility of fixing your battery test procedures PA ? cz every youtube video or review tells that s8+ and s7edge has better battery life than iphone 7 plus. can't post liniks as PA blocks me for having less than 30 posts

15. fyah_king unregistered

I knew the speaker was loud when i heard it at bestbuy.
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(24h 3G talk time)

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