As if that was not enough, the narrow design and taller screen let the S8 Plus sits comfortably in one hand, resulting in a feel that is just right – like it was made to pair with your hands.
My first thought on glancing at Samsung’s latest smartphone was it seemed a little too long. But, after spending the past two weeks using this device as my main smartphone, that thought quickly eroded. The size, design, look and feel were meticulously designed, crafted and tested to meet the ever-growing expectations of smartphone users today. By looking at this device, one gets the impression that Samsung has put a whole lot of effort to steal the thunder of next-gen iPhone that is expected later this year.
Design and Display
With the dimensions of 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 millimetres and weighing just 173 grammes, the nearly all-glass Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is lighter than the iPhone 7 Plus by 15 grammes and just a fraction taller and narrower. What I like about the size is that it feels more like an actual phone when placed over my ear to make calls.
The S8 Plus has a brilliant 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2960×1440 and 529 ppi which even though is a bigger screen than most phones on the market today, the bezel-less design makes it small enough to hold.
The S8 Plus is a nearly all-screen phone which Samsung calls its “Infinity Display” that gives a better view and more screen real estate to view content. Images and videos look absolutely amazing and vibrant on the S8 Plus. I watched a few 4K videos on YouTube which were crisp and clear. The brightness and clarity of the screen produce really sharp images that adds so much more details to photos and videos.
Watching 4K video on YouTube
Due to the almost all glass material, I would recommend that you get a case that can protect your new shiny S8 Plus from accidental drops and from scratches in your bag or pocket.
The Home Button
Looking at the S8 Plus, you will quickly notice that there is no physical home button, this is now available on-screen and remains on once the always on option is selected. On the right side is the on/off button and on the left, are the volume and Bixby buttons. Bixby is Samsung’s virtual assistant. This button doesn’t do much yet, other than providing your schedule, reminders, weather, news and other details, but, Samsung is working to bring Bixby voice feature in the near future.
On top is a single slot that holds a nano-SIM card and a microSD card up to 256GB. The bottom is a USB type-C connector, speaker and 3.5 mm headphone port.
The S8 Plus has on the front an 8MP camera and at the back, a 12MP camera that takes really nice pictures and Samsung removed the hump around the back camera and replaced it with a slightly raised edge around it, which has a nicer feel. The phone has the ability to capture 4K video recording at 30 fps and 1080p HD videos at 30 fps or 60 fps.
Camera without hump
The phone comes in five different colour options – Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Coral Blue, Arctic Silver and Maple Gold – which is quite enough to satisfy almost everyone’s colour taste.
Overall the appearance of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is simpler and cleaner with the near bezel-less design and absence of the SAMSUNG logo on the front adds to a fresher look.
Performance and Software
This latest phone from Samsung comes with a Octa-core 2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad, 64 bit, 10nm processor with 4GB RAM (LPDDR4) and 64GB of storage with an external storage option of up to 256GB. It works on LTE Cat.16 network and has Bluetooth v 5.0 connectivity with “Dual Audio” which connects to two Bluetooth devices to play audio through the two devices simultaneously.
Due to its narrow size, it is fairly easy to unlock the phone, view contents and scroll with just one hand and using the on-screen home button. By being accustomed to a physical home button over the years resulted in a little getting used to the new on-screen button, but it was not a huge transition. But I can see for those who really like the physical home button, they will find it difficult to get acclimatize to this change.
The S8 Plus comes out of the box with Android 7.0 Nougat operating system, apps run smoothly and opens fair quickly. With the on-screen home button, you can access Google Assistant by holding down for about 2 seconds. The always on display feature comes with 6 options ranging from clock, calendar to image and can be changed in the settings.
Using the apps edge feature is a neat way to access your “most used” apps on the edge of the screen. A second swipe at the edge gives you the “people edge” where you can add your frequent or close contacts that you call often.
Browsing the Internet was smooth and fluid flowing. Web pages and apps load fairly fast. Texting and making calls work fairly well but due to the narrow size, the keys are cramped which makes it difficult to type on. One morning I noticed that while making calls I wasn’t able to hear the person on the other end of the line nor the ring tone. I was told later that they answered my calls. This happened for a few calls until I decided to restart the phone which rectified that issue. I’m not sure if this was an issue with the smartphone or my phone provider but I just thought I should mention it.
For security, the options to lock the phone includes PIN, Face Recognition, Fingerprint, Iris and Smart Lock. The fingerprint scanner and face recognition didn’t work that well. I set up the face recognition and had difficulties in unlocking the phone on numerous occasions.
The phone has an IP68 rating that makes it dust- and water-resistance so it can be used in the rain or when you’re out swimming. According to tests done by Samsung, the phone can be submerged in fresh water up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.
Sitting in the Rain
The S8 Plus is powered by a 3500mAh battery that can last over a day of normal usage. During my review period, I charged it once every 30 hours or so after moderate use like listening to music, making calls, checking my emails, and watching some videos. Charging is done through the USB type-C cable and adapter and can get to about 15 per cent in about 20 minutes.
- Beautiful design and really comfortable to hold
- Smooth performance
- Good battery life
- Bixby is incomplete
- Fingerprint scanner and face recognition don’t work well
The bottom line, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a highly competitive smartphone, packed with lots of features and specs that make it a top-performing phone in the market today. The beautiful design, vibrant screen and curved edges add to the overall style and comfort of this device.
If you are not too big on Bixby, the issues with the fingerprint scanner and face recognition to unlock your phone, then this is a phone you need to get your hands on.
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