Samsung Galaxy S8+ First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S8+ First Impressions
Galaxy S8+ preorders come with Gear VR too

My Samsung Galaxy S8+ arrived this morning, and it’s going to take quite a while to get up and running with this new handset. But first impressions matter. And the Galaxy S8+ is stunning.

Leo observed yesterday on Windows Weekly that the tall, edge-to-edge display on the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ would make all previous smartphone designs—most of which feature fairly prominent “forehead” and “chin” bezels at the top and bottom—seem instantly obsolete and old-fashioned. He’s right: From the moment you pull this object of lust out of its packaging, you can feel it welling up inside of you: For the first time in a long time, especially for a non-Apple device, this new Galaxy triggers a Gollum-like sense of want. And you thought smartphones had gotten boring.

It’s OK, I did too. That feeling was driven by a number of factors—Apple choosing to use the same iPhone design for three generations in a row, for starters—but also by the sense that this device type had quickly matured to the point where we’d have to look at very specific, even niche, features to find any real differentiation. The ludicrous 2X optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus, for example. Or various quick charge schemes.

The default home screen

My renewed interest in lower-cost phones is a natural side effect of this maturation, though I have, of course, always cared very deeply about value. That is, if smartphones are basically all the same, why not save a ton of money by purchasing a low-end Moto 5G Plus or similar, or a mid-level OnePlus 3T, which outperforms the much more expensive Google Pixel XL?

Above-average in-ear headphones with different tips

The Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ do not collectively obviate this strategy: That OnePlus 3T, in particular, does indeed provide a viable alternative to other high-end, flagship-class handsets like the Pixel or even the iPhone. But that reality suggests that something needs to change in the premium segment, too. It’s not enough to have a brand or a logo. Those devices need to be much better too. They need to justify their price.

Today, I feel that the iPhone 7 Plus does not meet this bar. The camera is a step down from the camera in the iPhone 6 Plus and the design is basically identical to that of the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus. It’s a 6SS, if you will. (I likewise feel that iPhone still offers compelling advantages over any Android handset. That is a different conversation.) Likewise, the Pixel XL does not meet this bar: It is a step down from the Nexus 6P, especially the camera. And it’s so much more expensive, a vain money grab on Google’s part.

Apps screen

Whether last year’s Note 7 fiasco triggered a sense of need or even desperation at Samsung is unclear. To be fair to the company, it has been innovating in large handsets with curved screens for years, and going nearly bezel-less is a somewhat obvious strategy. It doesn’t matter. Whatever the reason, we’re seeing very real form factor innovation here, and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ in particular—I can’t speak to the slightly smaller S8—is proof positive that beauty and elegance still matter. This device makes the iPhone 7 Plus and derivative Pixel XL look pedestrian by comparison. In fact, this handset makes every other phone look pedestrian.

The Camera and, on the right, the terribly-positioned fingerprint reader

If you’re familiar with Samsung’s previous generation Galaxy handsets, in particular the S7 and S7 Edge, this look will be familiar but enhanced. For anyone who has stuck, lemming-like, to the iPhone, this device will be like a sharp, sudden slap to the face. It’s a wake-up call.

Unique to Samsung: Press and hold for this context menu and easier Home screen pinning

Where the iPhone 7 Plus is squat, thick, and heavy, the Galaxy S8+ is tall and thin, with no sharp edges anywhere. Every corner on this device is rounded, and elegant, from the corners of the device itself to the corners of that gorgeous wraparound screen. When you see it sitting inert in the box, you almost gasp out loud. But when you power it on, you won’t be able to help yourself. It’s that much better looking.

Now there are going to be goofy things to deal with there. The tall, oddly-proportioned, super-widescreen display will no doubt trigger some letterboxing effects with some apps. (I know there are software controls to help mitigate this.) The placement of the fingerprint reader, right next to the camera, is a crime against humanity, and will result in much smudging of that camera; I will investigate the device’s other sign-in capabilities (which include iris scanning). There are Samsung oddities all over this device, and it is still very busy compared to, say, the pristine iPhone experience.

This thing is a smudge magnet. You’ll want a case

It’s not perfect, in other words.

But my God. It is beautiful. And as any truly pretty person can tell you, that beauty really can make up for shortcomings in other areas. It can make you accept flaws that would be unbearable, shall we say, in one of those more pedestrian devices.

Bixby, Samsung’s very incomplete digital personal assistant

And to be fair to Samsung yet again, it’s not just gorgeous. The Galaxy S8+ is also a monster of a phone.

In the US, it’s powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, the same platform that Microsoft is pinning its Windows 10 on ARM hopes on. It comes configured with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage (bless you, Samsung), and a 6.2-inch curved display running at 2960 x 1440 pixels (though it is set to a lower resolution by default for battery life reasons). It has a 12 MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and a f/1.7 aperture and could very well be the best smartphone camera in the world.

Yes, it comes with dongles. I’m not sure why yet

There is a lot going on here, a lot to test. And of course, my ongoing testing of less expensive Android handsets too. So I’ll check in from time to time as these tests continue. But know this: Samsung absolutely just raised the bar. And the rest of the industry is going to have to rally to try and catch up.

More soon.


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  • martinp17

    Premium Member
    20 April, 2017 - 11:20 am

    <p>Microsoft provided me an S7Edge to test the MSStore experience they plan to roll out on S8. </p><p>They explained that one of the dongle allows direct USB bridge communication between an old and a new phone to xfer contacts and such.</p>

    • obarthelemy

      20 April, 2017 - 12:37 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99123"><em>In reply to martinp17:</em></a></blockquote><p>?? Apps and contacts and calendar and mails and message are backed up in the cloud anyway. My "new phone" transfers are 1- sign-up to my Google account 2- done !</p>

      • Mestiphal

        20 April, 2017 - 3:17 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#99171">In reply to obarthelemy:</a></em></blockquote><p>lol maybe they're making it easier to move from a different platform, like from windows phone to android?</p>

        • captobie

          21 April, 2017 - 10:11 am

          <blockquote><a href="#99212"><em>In reply to Mestiphal:</em></a></blockquote><p>That's exactly what it is. When I bought the S7 last year it allowed me to transfer data from my iPhone 6 directly to the S7. It more or less worked, it managed to copy contacts and photos, but it choked on iMessages. Not really necessary, but still a nice touch on Samsung's part I thought.</p>

    • David Mandery

      20 April, 2017 - 3:56 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#99123">In reply to martinp17:</a></em></blockquote><p>The dongle also moves photos. My wife used it when going from S6 to S7. Got her up and running faster. </p>

  • MikeGalos

    20 April, 2017 - 11:36 am

    <p> Sorry but "The ludicrous 2X optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus" is not only wrong but is an error Apple encourages.</p><p>An optical zoom has continuous optical lengths between its shortest and longest focal lengths. The two, fixed focal length lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus have 35mm equivalent focal lengths of 28mm and 56mm.</p><p>If the camera had actual optical zoom you'd be able to OPTICALLY set the length to not only 28 or 56 but anywhere in between, say at 35mm or 42mm. You can't.</p><p>The phone has DIGITAL zoom on one fixed length lens from 28 to 56mm</p><p>The phone has a second DIGITAL zoom on the other fixed lens from 56 to 280mm.</p><p>It has NO OPTICAL ZOOM at all.</p>

    • MikeGalos

      20 April, 2017 - 11:52 am

      <blockquote><a href="#99128"><em>In reply to MikeGalos:</em></a></blockquote><p>Oh, and as long as we're correcting rather than reinforcing manufacturer's deceptive marketing claims, the various iOS products come in Light Gray, Dark Gray, Matte Black, Glossy Black, Beige and Pink. </p><p>"Space Gray" is not a color it's a branding slogan. </p><p>"Retina" is not an industry term for high-resolution display that is magically different and only applies to one vendor. </p><p>Industry standards like IEEE 1394 do not get one name like "FireWire" when they're used on one vendor's products and a different name on every other vendor's thus implying different technology and making it harder to compare identical features.</p><p>Journalism is about clarity and calling out vendor deception rather than reinforcing them with repetition.</p>

    • cyloncat

      20 April, 2017 - 1:41 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99128"><em>In reply to MikeGalos:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Three things. First, advertising copywriters are generally tech-illiterate. This is not unique to Apple. Second, if you want optical zoom, dust off your DSLR. And digital zoom is not a substitute.</p><p><br></p><p>Third, the 56mm lens is the sole reason I upgraded from the 6 plus to the 7 plus. It is not a telephoto (see point 1 about tech literacy), and I don't care about the "portrait" software. It's barely long enough to qualify as a portrait lens. But it take gorgeous photos! And it is entirely free of the wide-angle perspective distortion that most phone owners have come to accept as "normal." 56mm is a normal lens!</p><p><br></p><p>For quality and versatility, though, the DSLR still rules.</p>

      • MikeGalos

        20 April, 2017 - 6:21 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#99190"><em>In reply to cyloncat:</em></a></blockquote><p>One: I don't care that ad copy writers use their own marketing slogans. Deception in favor of their client is their job. it's when supposed journalists use the incorrect and deceptive marketing names as though they were real that I have a problem</p><p>Two: There have been phones with optical zoom lenses. That Apple has never made one doesn't mean the term loses meaning. That said I shoot with a DSLR when I'm doing serious work, a waterproof ruggedized Point &amp; Shoot when I need decent shots in awful weather and my phone's camera (even my beloved old Nokia Lumia 1020) is relegated to "I wish I'd brought a camera with me" duty</p><p>Three: Right. At a 58mm equivalent it's not a telephoto despite Apple and bad journalists calling it one, it's a normal (just like Nikon's 58/1.2 Noct-Nikkor was) and not a telephoto. It's not a good portrait lens. A good portrait lens would be in the 75-150mm range (personally, I like an 85mm). It's just not as silly as using a wide angle lens as a portrait lens.</p>

        • Darmok N Jalad

          21 April, 2017 - 7:49 am

          <blockquote><a href="#99268"><em>In reply to MikeGalos:</em></a></blockquote><p>They aren't selling scientific equipment to astronauts, they are selling shiny phones to everyday consumers. Terminology is always exaggerated in advertising, but it is the simple messaging that is effective and helps Apple (and Samsung) be successful. You know who else has silly names for colors? Every car company on earth. What sounds better to a layperson, Retina or High-DPI? How do you describe a secondary camera array that changes the focal length so that objects appear closer? </p><p>This is what makes MS struggle so much. They don't get this when it comes to marketing. </p>

          • MikeGalos

            21 April, 2017 - 8:54 am

            <blockquote><a href="#99327"><em>In reply to Darmok N Jalad:</em></a></blockquote><p>This isn't exaggeration. This is flat out lying. Optical zoom has a meaning. This isn't it. Sorry if facts offend you.</p><p>As for colors and slapping brands on features, sure, marketiing people do that all the time to make their generic features sound special. What doesn't happen is journalists doing the same. Journalists have the job of clarifying the marketing-speak back into real terms so that "everyday consumers" know that the fancy name isn't anything special but is the same generic thing everybody has. They don't conspire with the manufacturer's marketing team to muddy the waters even further.</p><p><br></p>

            • Darmok N Jalad

              21 April, 2017 - 1:48 pm

              <blockquote><a href="#99341"><em>In reply to MikeGalos:</em></a></blockquote><p>It sure sounds like your real problem is with poor journalism, unless you are suggesting that Apple is somehow conspiring with the countless sites out there. Even if they did, Apple still needs to deliver on the marketing to maintain customers, which they seem to have no problem doing. </p>

              • MikeGalos

                22 April, 2017 - 12:12 am

                <blockquote><a href="#99419"><em>In reply to Darmok N Jalad:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yes. Note the sentence early in this discussion: Journalism is about clarity and calling out vendor deception rather than reinforcing them with repetition.</p>

  • nbplopes

    20 April, 2017 - 11:41 am

    <p>Samsung has been on my tech radar for quite sometime, more so since the advent of Galaxy S6.</p><p>One thing that I kind of knew and this Galaxy S8 confirms, is that when a OS reaches high maturity, the only way to move forward is to own both the software and the hardware skills to materialize innovation in convincing ways as the standard OS function becomes stale. I wait to see how robust this system works, even if Bisby is not there yet. But I see Samsung as a huge player in the future of mobile computing for the consumer.</p><p>I think MS got this realization at some point when it decided to have a hack at the hardware more seriously in the PC space. Unfortunately and unexpectedly the robustness was not there and for what I heard it is still not there. I find awkward that OEMs such as HP can come out with more robust implementations of Windows 10 PCs than Microsoft can, particularly in the most basic expectations of how PC should function in the high end space.</p><p>As for Apple, better roll up the sleeves. They will not be able to bank on design and robustness with minor improvements forever as other catch up on that aspect of the system. The pressure is already … finally. </p><p>PS: As another example of mismatch between hardware and software … slapping a Windows 10 experience on a device like this does nothing in terms of innovation. You need to design towards the form factor, otherwise it just lame. That is why UWP apps on XBOX One, fail.</p>

  • Nic

    Premium Member
    20 April, 2017 - 11:44 am

    <p>Dongles so that all the old micro-USB charging cables owned by most Android users aren't just garbage worthy?</p>

  • thechise

    20 April, 2017 - 11:51 am

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">This is more an OCD thing, but I still can't deal with the software experience. For every Google app, there is a corresponding Samsung app that does the same thing. I hate all the bloat. There is no denying the hardware though.</span></p>

  • david.thunderbird

    20 April, 2017 - 12:04 pm

    <p>O com'on Paul, the apple can't be that far behind. Oh wait, I sold the apple II in the 80's and never looked back.</p>

  • dcdevito

    20 April, 2017 - 12:11 pm

    <p>I just can't ever buy a Samsung phone, it just feels so phony to me. There are too many features shoved into the phone (see: Why the Note 7 had issues), their UI/UX home launcher has gotten better but it's still terrible (jank, lag) and their add-ons are the worst (Bixby, etc). To me it's like an over-tanned middle aged person with too much jewelry and a hairpiece. How you doin? </p>

  • obarthelemy

    20 April, 2017 - 12:35 pm

    <p>I've given up on premium smartphones. </p><ul><li>I don't need all the fancy features, and don't care about the precious looks</li><li>My last flagship got stolen – twice ! (once in the mail on the way, Amazon was gracious about that; once in the metro from the airport, I was out of it and was not gracious about it, way to feel welcomed home…)</li><li>I drowned my last phone slipping off a boat (don't ask). At $200, it was no biggie. At $800, I'd have been pissed.</li><li>midrangers, or last year's flagships, are 1/4 to 1/2 the price, and way more then Good Enough (except maybe for some niche needs, and pictures): TouchID, full-day battery, good screen and build and performance, OK sound and pictures. I feel the improvement from a $200 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro to a $800 GS8 are marginal. Sure, the screen is gorgeous… but frankly, the Xiaomi's is nice too.</li></ul>

    • wolters

      Premium Member
      20 April, 2017 - 3:37 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#99170">In reply to obarthelemy:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed. The OnePlus 3T&nbsp; and Moto G5 Plus are more than "Good Enough" and if my work didn't pay for my phone, I'd be going that route. I am a "camera snob" for sure but the mid-range cameras are more than able to get good shots over bad ones. </p>

  • beckerrt

    Premium Member
    20 April, 2017 - 12:44 pm

    <p>Two Samsung-related posts in one day! Paul, what has come over you? Is everything alright?</p>

  • Emmanuel Rannaud

    20 April, 2017 - 12:59 pm

    <p>How is the software experience? Still larded up with with Samsung useless bloatware?</p>

    • obarthelemy

      20 April, 2017 - 8:04 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99178"><em>In reply to Emmanuel Rannaud:</em></a></blockquote><p>I'm always wondering how that's an issue. Just put the unneeded apps away, even disable them in the app manager ? There's a mess in my garage, I still enjoy my living room….</p>

    • rameshthanikodi

      21 April, 2017 - 1:39 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#99178">In reply to Emmanuel Rannaud:</a></em></blockquote><p>It is Samsung's best software yet – and even better – it has some nice touches that you'd wish even stock Android would have.</p>

  • Darmok N Jalad

    20 April, 2017 - 1:10 pm

    <p>The iPhone 7 launched 7 months ago. I would hope that Samsung would do better than it. The question will be what the iPhone 8 or anniversary edition (or whatever it is called) looks like. It is rumored to have similar features, though I doubt Apple will put the fingerprint reader right next to the camera lens. How can Samsung do so much right and make that counter-intuitive design decision? </p><p>While I appreciate Samsungs efforts, I just can't get on board with the curved Edge display concept. It just seems like change for the sake of appearing innovative.</p>

  • Igor Engelen

    20 April, 2017 - 2:09 pm

    <p>This truly is a beautiful phone. Wish I could run iOS on it ?</p><p>Nah, let's wait what Apple has in store for us. Hopes are not too high though.</p>

    • Travis

      20 April, 2017 - 5:00 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99194"><em>In reply to Igor Engelen:</em></a></blockquote><p>I hope apple doesn't follow suit. IPhones are very usable right now. Making curved screen or minimal top and bottom bezels greatly reduces usability.</p>

      • Igor Engelen

        21 April, 2017 - 5:04 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#99245">In reply to Travis:</a></em></blockquote><p>could you elaborate on that please?</p>

        • dcdevito

          21 April, 2017 - 6:52 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#99314">In reply to Igor Engelen:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I think he's just waiting to see what Apple has in store for iOS 11 and the next iPhone</p>

        • Travis

          21 April, 2017 - 12:11 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#99314"><em>In reply to Igor Engelen:</em></a></blockquote><p>Top and bottom bezels give you something to hold when viewing in landscape. Curved screens are too easy to have accidental taps when reaching across the screen.</p>

          • Igor Engelen

            21 April, 2017 - 1:48 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#99393"><em>In reply to Travis:</em></a></blockquote><p>You might have a point there.</p>

  • Daekar

    20 April, 2017 - 2:28 pm

    <p>I'm a relatively loyal Samsung customer (have enjoyed my last two Galaxies), but I don't get the obsession with the screen. What am I getting out of their curved screens that compensates the durability and functionality hit that comes with them? </p><p><br></p><p>And why is everyone losing their minds over getting rid of physical buttons and filling that space with a screen that now has a screwy aspect ratio? I haven't yet heard any rational reason why this might be desirable.</p><p><br></p><p>Seriously – any sane person is going to put the phone in a case, so it doesn't matter what it looks like. This just seems silly to me.</p>

    • Narg

      20 April, 2017 - 3:58 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99199"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p>I'm an ex-Samsung loyalist 😉 Soon to be ex-Apple loyalist if they keep up their stupidity on hardware.</p><p>I do agree with you, looks are nothing but review fodder. And, prefer physical buttons. All this "improvement" is really not really improving my life at all.</p>

  • Narg

    20 April, 2017 - 2:48 pm

    <p>I don't get this lemming like "I don't like the chin" garbage on smart phones. I personally do like it. It allows for easier hand holding of the device in some situations. I hate having to hold a phone or tablet like it's fragile in some cases where I don't want to touch the screen in case it would have an adverse affect on what I was doing. That "chin" allows me to do that more than any excuse for it not to be there. Again, reviews are taking form over function to an extreme I just can't agree with. And, so many phone today screw up functionality, why is that not at the top of the article rather than trivial things like simple looks. Personally, I don't think this phone looks that much different than anything else on the market today. Serious, it doesn't.</p>

    • Darmok N Jalad

      21 April, 2017 - 7:39 am

      <blockquote><a href="#99203"><em>In reply to Narg:</em></a></blockquote><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">The Edge display makes what you describe even worse. A buddy of mine has an S7+, and the last time he tried to show me a video in landscape, he couldn't manage to hold the phone in a way that didn't trigger the screen and stop the video. He eventually gave up and we watched it in portrait. </span></p>

  • SaadElBoury

    20 April, 2017 - 3:33 pm

    <p>Nice phone, a worthy successor to the L1520. I just wish it ran Windows Mobile…</p>

  • mmcpher

    Premium Member
    20 April, 2017 - 4:15 pm

    <p>First pure Android phone I've ever been seriously tempted to try. I almost wish one of my kids begs me for an upgrade. Back in the fall, my head was turned by the <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Xiaomi Mi Mix announcement. The fingerprint/Iris/face recognition raises red flags to me. It seems like they threw everything at it. </span><span style="background-color: rgb(252, 250, 231);">That's foolish. You pick the one right tool. (apologies to Anton Chigurh). The fingerprint scanner in particular looks like its too small, the wrong place and too close to the camera. And the world needs still another digital personal assistant about as much as it needs another folk singer. Bixby will have to really bring something new to the table to justify itself. And I echo the concerns that some have, that the all-screen, chinless wonder aspect of the S8 might have a cost, if you can't comfortably and casually grab and use it without inadvertently launching or closing apps. Still, it looks gorgeous and I do have an upgrade or two available. . . . </span></p>

  • Travis

    20 April, 2017 - 4:58 pm

    <p>Samsung comes out with beautiful looking phones and then loads TouchWiz on them. I find that TouchWiz feels very dated compared to pure Android or ios. Will not buy one because of that. Even changing the launcher you still have to deal with TouchWiz.</p>

    • dcdevito

      21 April, 2017 - 6:53 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#99242">In reply to Travis:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Agreed. The only time I was tempted was when they released the Google Play Edition Galaxy S(4?/5?), Samsung hardware running pure Android.</p>

  • Peter Vassiliou

    20 April, 2017 - 5:13 pm

    <p>I had the chance today to hold one S8+ in the hand. My impressions are that the device is nothing really special. It doesn't change anything in the smartphone market. Yes, it has a great display, but the edge display is a gimmick. It also causes a lot of accidental taps on the edges of the screen..</p><p>The bixby assistant is half baked. Audio is mediocre at best. So, what is so revolutionary or amazing that other devices in the market lack? The design? Well, this is very subjective, but I know a lot of people that will say that it is not really symmetrical, especially compared to the iPhone. </p><p>As far as the software concerns, yes, it has improved compared to previous versions, but it is still TouchWiz..</p><p>On top of that add the fact that Samsung has its own ecosystem, actually competing against Apple and Google. This is not an Android phone, not really..</p><p>I understand that it will be very attractive to the mainstream, but technical people should avoid it. There are better choices out there that offer an overall better experience. Don't get fooled by the looks of this device..</p>

    • obarthelemy

      20 April, 2017 - 7:46 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99250"><em>In reply to Peter Vassiliou:</em></a></blockquote><p>"This is not an Android phone, not really.." ??? It runs all the Android apps, has all the Android features… It's a full Android phone, with Samsung trying to add value (and lock-in) with extra stuff on the side.</p><p>It will be very attractive to people looking for the best camera, the best screen, the best looks, the best assistant (hint: not Bixby ^^), the fastest or more convenient charging. VR (not a lot of those), etc…</p><p>The mainstream over-moneyed who care about brand will get iPhone. People who care about features will probably get that one.</p>

      • Peter Vassiliou

        21 April, 2017 - 12:47 am

        <blockquote><a href="#99274"><em>In reply to obarthelemy:</em></a></blockquote><p>Technically it runs Android, but the Samsung ecosystem is what you are investing into. The S8 has one of the best cameras (but not the best – many phones are on par). All major phones have fast charging. Most of the features of the S8 are found in other phones too. If Samsung preferred stock Android, then I would be inclined to get an S8. I don't like all the added stuff..</p>

        • obarthelemy

          21 April, 2017 - 2:28 am

          <blockquote><a href="#99293"><em>In reply to Peter Vassiliou:</em></a></blockquote><p>You can be the best with other bests, and most reviews do give it a slight… edge.</p><p>iPhone doesn't have fast charging. Nor wireless. Many phones don't have wireless in particular.</p><p>Depends on which features you're talking about. the GS8 does have the best screen, camera, looks, SoC and storage speed. Premium is about doing it better (and looks ^^), it mostly doesn't do anything more than cheaper phones or other flagships, but it does it better.</p><p>Stock vs non-stock is a red herring. You can put crapware away in a hidden corner, you can make your favorite everything default (launcher, keyboard ,mail, browser, dialer…). The only pain point is updates, and Samsung is rather good with them, or rather Nexus isn't much better (speedier, but no longer-lasting)</p>

  • Marco De Candia

    20 April, 2017 - 5:35 pm

    <p>It looks stunning, but honestly it's not unique: The LG G6 came out before it with the same bezel-less design and without that beautiful-but-weird edge screen. And the G6 has also a wide-angle camera which is not a gimmick.</p><p>IMHO.</p>

    • obarthelemy

      20 April, 2017 - 7:39 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99255"><em>In reply to Marco De Candia:</em></a></blockquote><p>My take is that phones are handbags. How they look is more important than what they do. The weird thing is, people with the most expensive phones tend to underuse their devices, especially brand-ultra-conscious teens who basically message all day. On the other hand, the nerds around me usually go for year-old or off-brand stuff.</p>

    • jbinaz

      21 April, 2017 - 6:46 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99255"><em>In reply to Marco De Candia:</em></a></blockquote><p>I was going to comment with the same thing about the tall/edge-to-edge displays. I'd actually like to see Paul compare a G6 to the S8. I'm guessing unless he gets a free review unit of the G6, he won't. I'm ready to upgrade my HTC 10 to something and I'm torn between the S8 and the G6. If it weren't for the fact there have been some reports of the G6 camera lens glass scratching, the G6 would win hands down because I'm not crazy about the curved display on the S8. Supposedly the G6's have a little more issue with motion in pictures, but I don't think that's enough to sway me away.</p><p>There's a <a href="; target="_blank">YouTube video comparing the LG G6 to the Pixel camera</a>. Surprisingly, the G6 won. Another reason I'd be curious to know what Paul thinks of the G6, given his high regard for the Pixel camera (although not the phone itself.)</p>

  • Waethorn

    20 April, 2017 - 5:41 pm

    <p>The Xiaomi Mi Mix is another gorgeous phone if you like baubles. The Mi6 looks like it'll have 6GB of RAM and a similar two-lens camera setup as the iPhone, but the price is also far less at about $360US for 64GB.</p><p><br></p><p>There are specs here: <a href="; target="_blank"></a></p&gt;

    • obarthelemy

      20 April, 2017 - 7:36 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99257"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>same dual-lens camera as the *Huawei* please, they're the ones who introduced the feature in a mass-market phone ;-p</p>

  • Skolvikings

    20 April, 2017 - 5:51 pm

    <p> In a few years, all the flagship phones will have been nearly bezel-less for… well… a few years. Then it will seem boring and non-innovative again. It's just a phone, running Android no less. It's the OS and the ecosystem that matter most to me, so I'll stick with my outdated iPhone 7 Plus.</p>

    • obarthelemy

      20 April, 2017 - 7:35 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99264"><em>In reply to Skolvikings:</em></a></blockquote><p>I always find it weird when "the OS and ecosystem matter most". Isn't what you can do with your phone and the price you pay for that the be-all and end-all ?</p><p><br></p><p>To me, that's a strike against premium phones in general, and Apple in particular. Apart from very high-quality pictures, there's nothing a $200 midranger can't do about just as well as a $800 flagship. There would be VR, except nobody around me is using that past the "wow !" 10 minute trial. And looking around me, users of premium phones mostly do FB and candy crush like the rest of the proles. But apparently they need an ego-boosting shiny to do it on ^^</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    20 April, 2017 - 10:45 pm

    <p>And then the beauty will get hidden by a case because of all the glass. Maybe I should wander into town and see one for myself, but I am not excited. </p><p><br></p><p>And look at that bloatware… Yellow Pages? Please tell me that can be deleted..</p>

    • rameshthanikodi

      21 April, 2017 - 1:41 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#99282">In reply to red.radar:</a></em></blockquote><p>Go watch scratch/bend tests of this phone on Youtube. The glass is incredibly strong. The phone has almost zero flex to it. It is built like a tank.</p>

  • 2ilent8cho

    21 April, 2017 - 3:49 am

    <p>I will stick with the iPhone, even the older iPhone 6S and iPhone SE have better performance than Samsungs latest flagship, never mind the iPhone 7 and what Apple will release later this year. </p><p><br></p><p>;</p&gt;

  • MightyGorath

    21 April, 2017 - 6:28 am

    <p>I feel like the only one on earth who just doesn't "get" the point of the curved display. I think it looks weird, it makes the edges of the screen look weird, and it makes it a PITA to handle.</p>

    • Rob_Wade

      23 April, 2017 - 7:52 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#99316"><em>In reply to MightyGorath:</em></a></blockquote><p>I have a friend with one of the Edge smartphones. I really couldn't stand it. It's far too thin and frail, to begin with, and I don't like the feel of it in my hand nor the annoying way the screen looks. I feel no differently about this S8. And, of course, it's an Android, so there's no way I'd throw my money away on it.</p>

  • Thayios

    21 April, 2017 - 9:06 am

    <p>The OS will always be the shower stopper for me, as I don't want to have to deal with rooting my phone to get a clean experience (the amount of bloat on that phone looks to be large); updates are the other issue, but that's been said a million times. </p><p>I'll stick with my lemming-like iPhone and hope that they come out with something new, and if they don't, whatever I'll just spend my money on a different toy because in the end, it still does the job I want it to do today.</p>

  • captobie

    21 April, 2017 - 10:06 am

    <p>Reading people's justifications for not liking Samsung/Android is a lot like reading people's justifications for not liking Windows 10. It's clear that they obviously haven't used either product for a long, long time and are projecting their biases based on previous bad experiences or observations on a much improved product that they haven't actually tried.</p>

  • Jeffrey Tschiltsch

    21 April, 2017 - 11:17 am

    <p>"…<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">the Pixel XL does not meet this bar: It is a step down from the Nexus 6P, </span><strong style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><em>especially the camera</em></strong><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">."</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Ah, nope.</span></p>

  • BrickPrinter

    21 April, 2017 - 6:04 pm

    <p>Ok Tuesday I pick up my crashed car and am heading to the MS store to buy one of these with the MS "modifications" to replace my Sprint iPhone 7. At least perhaps there is a chance that the sales personnel will be MS friendly. They said would configure it to work, with all Office 365 Business services, etc. I understand I can subscribe to Verizon, ATT, or buy unlocked. We will see how this goes. If anyone else goes through this process, would appreciate a review. This to me might be a good way for MS to stay relevant in mobile device market as a seller of other brands. Same as they do with other OEM computers. One question-never used an adroid phone–is there a way I can pin contacts, websites, documents, etc. to the home screen. I still miss my Windows phone. </p>

  • Spawn

    23 April, 2017 - 10:14 am

    <p>Yup agree Paul, just got an 8+ myself and sold my Elite x3. This thing is amazing. If only there was some way of putting Windows 10 on it. No pop3 with Outlook on Android is an inconvenience as well. </p>

  • Rob_Wade

    23 April, 2017 - 7:56 pm

    <p>What qualifies as "gorgeous" is, of course, extremely subjective. I don't find ANY of the latest phones to be nice look at in the least, and I find them to be even less impressive in the hand. They all look and feel thin and frail. And cookie-cutter in design. Nothing stand-out.</p>

  • chriswong13

    Premium Member
    24 April, 2017 - 12:24 am

    <p>I don't get it, I thought there were some negative comments a while back about Apple's older tall phones. Now that Samsung is doing it, it's innovative…?</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    24 April, 2017 - 9:42 am

    <p>The iPhones aren't really boring. I don't need the damn thing to completely change every year. In fact it would be nice if everyone else would get with the program and decide what their phone looks like and just stick with it.</p><p>I don't hear anyone complaining that the Rolex Submariner looks "too much like" older models.</p><p>Just get over it. These things are utilitarian devices. They're mature. We don't need constant polish jobs to keep us dazzled like morons.</p><p>Just stop changing them. At all.</p><p>Also this thing looks "okay" in my opinion. Not saying Paul is wrong, he's entitled to like what he likes. But Samsung to me has always made the fugly "Soviet version" of the iPhone and somehow this doesn't change that. It's simply a sleek, ugly MiG rather than a blocky, hideous Sukhoi.</p><p>PS I imagine that Russians think their planes look cool and American planes look like crap. :D</p>


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