The Samsung Galaxy S8 has finally launched, and the reviews for it have been nothing short of stellar. I can very easily echo those, as the Galaxy S8 looks to be just what Samsung needs to help people forget about the disaster with the Note 7. However, is it a great enough phone to be the best Android phone we’ve seen to date?
2017 is in no way a bad year for Android, and every major company out there is pushing out a flagship that’s trying to compete for a share of the market. If this were any other year, like with the Galaxy S6, I’d say the S8 would be the best phone without a doubt, but with Samsung’s problems last year, and all the new phones this year, what sets the S8 apart?
What the Samsung Galaxy S8 Brings to the Table
Having middle of the road specs isn’t enough to be the best, so let’s take a look at what’s underneath the S8’s gorgeous screen to get a handle on what it’s working with.
Before I breakdown what all of this means for the phone, let’s just look at the important pieces at work here:
A Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 processor.
4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, and expandable storage up to 256GB.
Both a fingerprint and iris scanner.
A non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery.
A 12MP camera on the back, with an 8MP camera on the front.
New AI assistant named Bixby.
A 5.8 inch, 1440 x 2960, super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen.
That’s a lot to go over, but let’s look at them one at a time and see what exactly each feature means for the Samsung Galaxy S8, and if they really prove it’s the best Android phone to date.
The S8’s Processing Power
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the few phones this year to be sporting the new Snapdragon 835. This marks a new leap for Android processing potential, even if it isn’t a catastrophic change in power. What the Snapdragon 835 mostly focuses on is making VR on the Galaxy S8 a better experience, if not the best.
The new Snapdragon 835 is highly compatible with Google’s Daydream platform, and makes use of a better Signal-to-Noise ratio, superior 3D positional audio to make the experience more immersive, and plenty of other tweaks to make it one of the best, if not the best, Android phone to use for VR and AR experiences.
Taking the tech talk off the table, it’s just an objectively better processor than its predecessor, for battery life, your camera, general tasks, and most importantly VR.
The S8’s Storage Capacity
4GB isn’t the most RAM I’ve seen on Android phone before, especially one with such VR potential, but it’s more than enough to get the job done. The Samsung Galaxy S8 starts with 64GB of internal storage, but you can bump that up easily with a microSD card, so you don’t have anything to worry about with storage space.
When it comes to space for data, the S8 is pretty average for a flagship, but as long as you manage space and RAM effectively, you’ll hardly notice a difference from any other major Android phone this year. One thing that helps manage your RAM more effectively is the Snapdragon 835 under the shockingly beautiful screen.
The S8’s Different Scanners
A fingerprint scanner is slowly becoming a standard for smartphones in general, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 also has the best iris scanner currently on the market. This iris scanner has a few different uses, but it’s most attractive, and most interesting is using facial recognition to unlock your phone.
I know this sounds like it could be easily fooled, but most attempts to crack it with either a picture of the owner, or other methods don’t get by the lock so easily. The new iris scanner quickly recognizes its set owner, and isn’t about to be tricked by a printout of your face to get into your safely stored files.
This may not be a mind blowing feature to everyone, but I really feel like the future is here when we start opening locks with your faces. We’re one step closer to the holodeck of my dreams.
The S8’s Battery Life and Expectancy
Samsung swears this one won’t explode, and so far, I’m willing to believe them. The battery inside of the Galaxy S8 is 500mAh less than the Note 7, but it still packs a punch thanks to the Snapdragon 835’s effective use of its available power.
Because of this, with light use, and the occasional games or videos, you can expect this phone to last over a day before it starts to hit low battery levels. If you’re using it constantly for VR, expect it to get through the whole session without you needing to charge it, but then you’ll only need around half an hour to get the phone back up to full.
To put it simply, if you’re worried that the phone with some of the best features on the market won’t have the best batter to back them up, you can rest easy.
The S8’s Camera on the Front and the Back
If you’ve used or seen the Galaxy S7’s camera, then you aren’t going to see anything new from the Galaxy S8’s camera since they’re essentially the same. The only differences between the two come from the new Snapdragon 835, and Samsung’s new digital assistant, Bixby.
The S8’s Take on the Newest Android Operating System
The Galaxy S8 comes with Android 7.0 out of the box, and has the latest version of Touchwiz on top of it. I know some people will groan when they hear the word Touchwiz, but this is the best iteration of it so far, and it isn’t the bloated mess that it used to be with older versions.
The new Touchwiz interface at a glance already looks better, but that doesn’t count the changes that have gone on inside of the system. Take a look at the video above to see what I’m talking about in full, from AnandTech, and see that the new Touchwiz almost looks as sleek as the S8’s new screen.
The S8’s New Digital Assistant
Bixby is Samsung trying their hand at crafting a digital assistant of their own to compete with existing things like Google’s own, Alexa, and Siri, but how does it stack up to those already established systems?
First let’s see what Bixby can do for you and your phone:
Voice support and touch commands.
Bixby vision to add more features to your camera.
Bixby Home for more information.
Bixby integration with other apps.
One of the most touted features of Bixby is that it takes care of almost every command within its own app, not by opening another one. If you ask Bixby a question, or give it a simple command, the Bixby app will take care of it for you, instead of offloading the work to another app.
This doesn’t mean that Bixby doesn’t play nice with other apps, because it does still have integrations with apps like your Gallery, Camera, or your Phone and Messenger. Alongside that, Bixby has special interactions with your camera, like Bixby vision.
What Bixby vision does is open a little viewfinder on your camera screen, and then Bixby can tell, and search for what’s in the viewfinder when you ask about it. If Bixby can find it on Amazon or even Google, it’ll pull up a page with all the information you’d need, or the option to buy it for yourself.
Bixby’s features don’t end here. With the new Bixby Home you can access a home page at any time that’s slowly tailored to your own personal use, and has features related to your actual home.
Bixby doesn’t have its full feature list just yet, since Samsung hopes to continue and build on the AI as time moves on. Soon it should have integrated features like Samsung Pay into the service, and move Bixby to even more devices than the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
It’s a promising looking AI so far, and I’m sure some people, including myself, think it’s the most interesting Android based one on that market.
The S8’s Insanely Beautiful Screen
I could spend years talking about how much of a breathtaking sight the Galaxy S8’s screen is, and the S8+ has an even bigger one, but from how much I want to gush you can already tell the S8 has the best screen on the market.
Thanks to what Samsung calls the Infinity display, the Galaxy S8 has almost no bezel to speak of, letting the 5.8 inch screen shine in all of its glory, without making the phone uncomfortable to hold. It’s a full HD screen that takes up as much of the phone as possible without compromising any other functionality.
Along with the Snapdragon 835, the full HD screen is absolutely wonderful for VR and AR experiences. The screen is one of the best, if not the best, features of the Samsung Galaxy S8, and I think it’s impossible to find a better looking screen on an Android phone right now.
Does the S8 Outperform the Competition?
It’s no secret that I think the Galaxy S8 is an amazing Android phone by now, but how does all of its glowing features stack up to other competing flagships? It weighs slightly more than a Google Pixel, has a smaller battery than a LG G6, and is on par with Xperia XZ Premium in terms of processing power.
I could go on and on about slight edges the competition has over the Galaxy S8, or their shortcomings when compared against it, but the complete package for the S8 blows everything else away.
You don’t buy one or two features when you buy an Android, you buy the whole device, and the entirety of the Samsung Galaxy S8 really is the best Android phone to date.
When is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Coming Out?
While many consumers are weary of the Note line now, thanks to its explosive past, the Note 8 will still release later this year, most likely in the final quarter. Expect to see if the Note 8 will see the same reaction its predecessor did in the coming months, until then, we just have to wait, and enjoy the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ to the fullest.
What are the Differences Between the S8 and S8+?
Besides an increase in price, the biggest difference between the S8 and the S8+ is the size. The S8+ is a little bigger, so you’ll get to enjoy almost a half inch more of that gorgeous screen.
If screen size is important to you, buying the S8+ over the S8 wouldn’t be a bad idea if you don’t mind paying a little extra for the privilege.
Even with a few phones on the Android market doing one or even two things better than the Galaxy S8, I still think the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best Android phone to date. It combines enough new features, promising old ones, and wraps them all up under the best Android screen I’ve ever seen.