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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ review: The future is here

By James Lu - 14 May 2017
Launch SRP: S$1148

Conclusion

Conclusion

The S8 and S8+ are exactly what Samsung needed right now. Their gorgeous, all-display designs are a breath of fresh air in a stagnating smartphone industry that makes me feel like the future has finally arrived.

While Samsung wasn't the first to do a nearly bezel-less phone, its execution on the S8 and S8+ are far superior to its rivals, with the curved edges keeping the phones small enough to easily use one-handed,  and without sacrificing important features like an IP68 build and expandable storage. I rarely get excited about new smartphones anymore, but I can honestly say it's been a joy to use the S8+ for the past week. Once you've used the S8 or S8+ for a few days, all other phones just seem boring in comparison.

The display, camera, and benchmark performance are all top-notch too and, while battery life has taken a slight hit compared to last year's models, the S8 and S8+ are still ahead of most of its competition. And while Samsung's new Bixby assistant isn't all that great right now, there's plenty of potential there, and I'm excited to see what updates Samsung rolls out for it within the next few months. 

Really, the only negative to the S8 is a poorly positioned fingerprint scanner, and even that can be avoided if you just use the superior Iris scanner or the more convenient facial recognition all the time.
 

Choosing between the Galaxy S8 and S8+

As mentioned before, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ differ only in display size and battery life, so which one should you choose? In the US, the S8+ seems to be drawing more interest, but based on the chatter on our own forums, Singaporeans seem to be more excited by the more compact S8. Having tried both phones, the Galaxy S8 is a more natural fit for one-handed use and it's our recommended choice.

It's also worth noting that the the Galaxy S8 models cost up to S$200 more than their predecessors, which is a significant step up in cost. While we fully appreciate the amazing design of the device that could warrant the extra cost, it's also a little concerning that the larger Galaxy S8+ model costs S$1,298, which is a fair bit more than what the Galaxy S7 Edge  (S$1,098) and Note7 (S$1,168). The Galaxy S8 costs S$1,148, which is also a little pricier than the standard S7 (S$998).

Not only is the Galaxy S8+ much more expensive and is very similar to the Galaxy S8, but it also lost an opportunity to distinguish itself and perhaps pander towards the Note based series with the gap left by the missing Note7 model. Perhaps with some form of 'lite' variant of the S Pen/stylus functions? That's up to Samsung to figure things out, but with the limited differentiation and steeper price, the S8+ would only be appreciated by users with large hands and those looking for a tablet-like screen size to perform more multi-tasking or simply to better enjoy the Infinity Display in all its glory.

For the above reasons combined, we feel the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a better option for most people and all things considered from our review, we bestow it our Editor's Choice recommendation. If you need a high-end Android smartphone at this point of time with an immediately appreciable wow-factor, and one that excels all around, there's really no other phone like the Galaxy S8.
 

The complete Galaxy S8 ecosystem

Let's not forget that the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone is just part of a bigger lifestyle equation and Samsung has more complimentary devices to go with your phone:-

  • Gear VR with Controller: This is an updated Gear VR kit designed for the newer generation devices to appreciate the expanding VR content ecosystem that Samsung has championed with its ecosystem partners.
  • Samsung DeX: Transforms your phone into a light workstation of sorts - after self-provisioning a screen and input devices.
  • Gear 360 (2017): A re-designed Gear 360 that can better fit in your pocket for 360-videos/stills anytime

Gear VR with Controller.Samsung DeX in action.Gear 360 (2017).

Ready to buy a Galaxy S8+ or S8 device?

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9.0
  • Design 9.5
  • Features 9
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 7.5
The Good
Gorgeous design with huge dual curved display in a small body
Excellent camera
Great benchmark performance
IP68 build
Iris scanning
Edge panel functions on both S8 and S8+
The Bad
Awkwardly positioned fingerprint scanner
Bixby is still a work in progress
Pretty expensive
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