REVIEW: Samsung S8+ wins with bigger, slim screen

YOU had me at hello.

Not so much hello Bixby, just hello.

My search for the perfect smartphone is over with the Samsung Galaxy S8+.

I can forgive that Bixby, an intelligent interface and voice assistant to rival Siri, is not ready for the Australian market.

I'm a bit more glass half full and believe there is promise for Bixby in the future, but nothing I'm too hung up about.

It's perfect by my definition with two major factors - screen size and screen quality - that I've been looking for in a smartphone and which the South Korean engineers have delivered in a stunning looking device.

Firstly, a larger screen but comfortable in the hand and not too big for your pocket (or handbag).

In the past few years consumers have embraced bigger phones - phablets - because do you really want a phone and tablet when you can just have one device?

Size does matter, at least when it comes to the screen but not the body. Samsung's latest flagship phones, with an evolutionary near bezel-less design, deliver large screen-to-body ratio that takes up more than 80% of the front of the device.  

Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8 Greg Dawkins

The display can be used for so much more including a split screen that enables multi-tasking. I particularly like the additional vertical real estate when the keyboard pops up for emails and social media.  

The Galaxy smartphones will be available in two sizes - the S8 with a 5.8-inch screen and the S8+ with a 6.2-inch screen.

In comparison the S7 and S7 Edge have screen sizes of 5.1 and 5.5 inches respectively. This makes the S8 (148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm) a smaller phone than the S7 Edge (150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm) despite the larger screen.   

In my review of the S8+, the same can be said of this phone (159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm) in comparison to phablets on the market including the iPhone 7 Plus (158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm) with its 5.5-inch display. The S8+ is also 15g lighter.  

Apple loyalists will have phone envy for now but there's no point comparing apples and oranges (androids) - there's not likely any switching camps for those entrenched on either side.


Samsung S8+ review
Samsung S8+ review Samsung


The good news is that these two tech giants will continue to push each other to be better. Already there are leaks indicating the next Apple phone will push for next-to-no bezels like the Galaxy phones.  

And then there's the S8 display itself - a Quad HD + Super AMOLED screen, featuring an 18.5:9 ratio, which delivers an immersive experience when viewing videos, streaming TV shows or movies and playing games.  

It has a wow factor you have to see for yourself.   



It's likely better than your TV, at least it's the mobile equivalent of the UHD Premium standard for 4K TVs.  

The S8 series display is the first to be certified with Ultra HD Premium, which means it meets certain standards for resolution, dynamic range and colour space.   

DisplayMate Technologies, one of the world's leading independent display analysts, graded the S8's a record A+ after extensive lab testing on the display.

Samsung has also given its front camera an upgrade with an advanced 8MP F1.7 smart autofocus.

The Snapchat generation will love the interactive face-tracking lenses and stickers built in. I too had fun taking a few selfies with my little bunnies, I mean kids. 

Greg Dawkins

The award-winning 12MP F1.7 dual pixel rear camera has enhanced image processing.    

There are other premium factors that will justify the price tag - enhanced processing power (an industry first 10nm processor), water and dust resistance, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back for durability and a high-quality finish, fast and wireless charging capabilities, MicroSD support up to 256GB, Bluetooth 5.0 and Harman AKG headphones.  

There has been negative reaction to the much-maligned fingerprint scanner, deemed too close to the rear camera. I haven't had an issue with the scanner but a good cleaning cloth will come in handy anyway. I'm also enjoying the iris scanner option over a pin or password.  

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ will go on sale in Australia on Friday, April 28, for $1199 and $1349 respectively - in midnight black, orchid grey and maple gold. A pre-order offer of bonus Gear VR ends on Thursday, April 27.



Operating System: Android 7.0

Dimensions: S8+ 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g; S8 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm, 155g

Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB

Display: S8+ 6.2" (158.1mm) Quad HD+ (2960x1440), (529ppi); S8 5.8" (146.5mm) Quad HD+ (2960x1440), (570ppi)

Camera Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7), Front: 8MP AF (F1.7)

Battery: S8+ 3500mAh; S8 3000mAh 

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11; Bluetooth v5.0

In The Box: Device; USB Cable; Earphone; Ejection pin; USB power adaptor; Quick start guide; USB Connector (USB Type-C); Micro USB Connector.