Samsung Galaxy S8 First Impressions: The Next Level of Displays

If the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are Samsung’s way of saying "sorry" for the Note 7 fiasco, to Samsung we say "apology accepted".

Samsung has really outdone itself this time with its new portfolio, the S8 and S8+. The S8 and S8+ have been launched in India at a price tag of Rs 57,900 and Rs 64,900 respectively. While we think this is the right price for the devices, there are a number of factors that make the new Galaxy phones stand out.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We were all praise for the Note 7, but look where that got us! So for now, let’s just have a quick look at Samsung’s latest offering for the Indian smartphone market.

The new Samsung phones come with Infinity Display ( Photo: The Quint)

Revamped Form

The first thing that caught our attention was the design. The jaw-dropping combination of glass and metal makes the phone look like we’re holding a pebble in our hands.

But does more glass mean less security? Samsung has adopted the form over function mantra here but it makes the device vulnerable in many ways as far as sturdiness is concerned. The device is also slippery. These factors raise some important questions: will the Gorilla Glass 5 survive a small drop? How ergonomic are these phones?

This isn’t something we can say right now, but we’ll be sure to highlight it in our complete review.

Something that left us scratching our heads momentarily when we saw the devices is that it’s very difficult to tell these phones apart despite the size difference. Somehow, when it is in your hand, you feel the extra bulk of the S8+, but as soon as you keep both phones down, it is tough to call which is which. Although, we don’t think that one might feel cheated if they buy the smaller S8 purely because Samsung has maintained a feature parity between the two phones, unlike what we see in the Apple 7 devices.

Samsung has said goodbye to the physical home button (finally) and has integrated a touch-sensitive home button on the display. It comes with a pressure sensor that interacts according to how you press down on it. Something like Apple’s 3D touch displays.

A Display to Infinity and Beyond!

A first look at the Samsung S8 display makes you go WOW!

The 5.8-inch and the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 and S8+ come with what Samsung is calling ‘Infinity Display’. In a way, you are getting more screen and less bulk. With a display ratio of 18.5:9, these displays are touted by Samsung to be the biggest and the most immersive displays on a phone. We’ll dig deeper into that with our review later.

Both sport Quad HD Super AMOLED screens with a resolution of 1440x2960 pixels and are good displays. They are the first Mobile HDR Premium certified phones. This is big! Oh yes, they also come with the Always-On feature.

The Samsung S8 and S8+ come with Android Nougat ( Photo: The Quint)

A Premium Workhorse

Both devices com bundled with the latest Exynos 8895 octa-core chipset coupled with 4GB RAM. This combination speaks volumes of the processing capabilities of this phone. The phone offers the world’s first 10nm (nanometer) chipset which Samsung says bolsters the performance by a lot and saves battery.

There are a lot of extras that come with the new Samsung Galaxy phones – like the advanced Multi-window and Snap-window features for multi-tasking. Also, they come with Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby, which does a lot, from managing your daily calendar to translating a Chinese menu card. Nothing radical with the Apps edge this time, the same as before.

The S8 and S8+ come with Dual Pixel 12 megapixel rear camera. (Photo: The Quint)

A Camera Worth Posing For

Both devices sport Dual Pixel 12-megapixel rear cameras with f/1.7 aperture, thereby inviting more light and delivering better images in low light. It also comes with 4k recording with 8x digital zoom.

The front features an 8-megapixel snapper with an 80-degree field of view for wider selfies. There are also a lot of filters and modes to play with.

To test how good the camera really is, we’ll pit it against one of the best in the industry; the iPhone 7 Plus. A detailed camera shootout is right around the corner.

Could Have Added More Juice

We all know now that phone batteries and Samsung aren’t best friends anymore but Samsung is playing a very risky hand keeping the battery capacity to a minimum on the new Galaxy devices.

Where the S8 comes with just a 3000mAh battery, the S8+ sports a 3500mAh battery inside. With bigger displays and a much more powerful chipset driving the phones, we feel that the battery capacity of these phone is seriously underwhelming.

So, we won’t make a call on how good or bad the battery is until we test the devices for a couple of days.

Big displays on the new Samsung phones mean heavy load on battery. ( Photo: The Quint)

And Then There Is...

Samsung has added a whole lot extra to their portfolio this time. The new phones comes boxed with Harman’s AKG headphones that are priced at 99 dollars in the US market. Sound quality is good and matches what other phones like LG and HTC are offering with their device headphones. The phones also offer Dual Audio where you can connect multiple bluetooth devices at once. Samsung is banking big on the biometrics security on these phones with an Iris scanner and face recognition technology. Although, we are a bit upset that the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back. Very ‘Un-Samsung’ like.

The S8 comes with a glass and metal combination (Photo: The Quint)

The phones are dust/water resistant with an IP68 certification and come with the Samsung DeX feature, which transforms your phone into a desktop computer.

So at first look, this offering from Samsung comes to us as a big improvement over its previous iterations. But again, we’ll reserve all our final judgements and verdicts when we come out with the full reviews of both the S8 and the S8+.

With inputs from Tushar Kanwar.