The Samsung Galaxy S8 was one thing fairly particular when it launched. It was a telephone that was in contrast to something you’d have seen available on the market. And even now, greater than a yr on, it is nonetheless gorgeous.
The display screen is simply sensible – clear, sharp and provides pretty colour copy to make film watching a dream, and that is earlier than you have even obtained to the actual fact it has a display screen bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus in a chassis that feels extra just like the iPhone 7.
The Galaxy S8 is not good – within the search to squeeze the display screen in so fully, different components had been ignored: particularly, the location of the fingerprint reader. If you need this telephone, you may have to reply this query: are you OK utilizing an iris scanner?
And in the event you’re searching for one thing even greater, and with a much-improved battery life besides, then the Galaxy S8 Plus is the way in which to go – though each have now been changed by the brand new Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus.
These are iterative upgrades over the S8, so if you wish to noticed some cash the now-cheaper S8 continues to be a fantastic shout, however if you would like the easiest Samsung has to supply then it is the S9 duo it is advisable to be listening to.
Samsung Galaxy S8 value
- Launch value: £639 ($724.99, AU$ 1,200)
- Present value: £440 ($499, AU$721)
The Samsung Galaxy S8 carried a hefty price ticket when it arrived in April 2017, however greater than a yr on the associated fee has lowered considerably making the telephone a gorgeous proposition for many who discover the S9 a bit of on the steep facet.
At launch, the SIM-free Samsung Galaxy S8 value was £639 ($724.99, AU$ 1,200), however now it may be discovered for simply £440 ($499, AU$721).
Within the UK, the contract value has dropped. Some offers supply the telephone for lower than £25 per 30 days with a considerable quantity of web included. To seek out the very best deal for you, try our collection of the greatest Samsung Galaxy S8 offers within the UK.
We spent per week totally testing the Samsung Galaxy S8 when it first got here out – watch our video under to see how we obtained on.
Not seeing eye to eye
- Biometrics add time to unlocking the telephone
- Fingerprint scanner in a poor place
- Facial recognition infuriating
Proper, let’s get all the way down to enterprise – and we’ll begin with the factor that’s regarding us most in regards to the Galaxy S8.
The primary challenge we’ve got with this telephone facilities round the way you’ll get into it – most smartphones customers now count on to make use of a fingerprint to unlock their machine, making it safe and that means you don’t need to peck in your PIN a billion occasions a day.
It’s a good suggestion, it’s secure sufficient for most individuals, and it simply works – we’re all in settlement there.
With the Galaxy S6, Samsung obtained biometric unlocking proper, however annoyingly with the Galaxy S8 issues have turn out to be tough and complicated.
You possibly can unlock this telephone together with your face, a fingerprint or an iris scan, in rising order of safety degree, making the S8 one of the crucial safe telephones round (assuming no person is aware of your PIN, in fact, which is the backup technique of entry).
Nonetheless, in creating the large display screen on the entrance of the Galaxy S8, Samsung has moved the fingerprint scanner to the rear of the telephone – and positioned it out of the attain of most fingers when holding your telephone naturally.
In consequence, you’ll have to shift the handset to an unnatural place in your palm to succeed in the scanner together with your digit, and due to the elongated lozenge-like form of the fingerprint sensor it might probably take a few makes an attempt to register.
It additionally makes it much less steady within the hand and susceptible to being dropped. And when it comes to it being uncomfortable within the hand, the Galaxy S8 Plus takes it to the following degree, with a good more durable time of reaching the scanner on the high.
You can see over a couple of months’ use that you will get used to this – we have discovered after intensive testing it isn’t horrible… but it surely’s definitely not optimum.
The fingerprint scanner, then, is simply too far-off to make use of naturally. So how about iris scanning? Effectively, it’s the very best implementation we’ve seen from Samsung (far higher than we’ve seen on the flammable Word 7) but it surely’s nonetheless not good.
There are occasions when it’s flawless, the place you’ll simply flip the telephone on and be immediately unlocked because the S8 has noticed your eyes and confirmed your id. (Or simply thinks you’ve obtained pretty irises and needs to impress you… both means, it’s fast).
On the events when it really works like this you’ll expertise a real sense of residing sooner or later.
Different occasions, whenever you’re strolling or in decrease mild, the iris scanner simply failed repeatedly (though weirdly it really works advantageous within the pitch-dark).
This meant we generally ended up gurning (by the way in which, we urge you to look YouTube for the gurning world championships) on the S8, making an attempt to pressure the problem by opening our eyes actually extensive and transferring the telephone round with a purpose to unlock it.
On the practice, this isn’t acceptable habits – and after a few days, it truly made our eyes harm, pushing them out on stalks so usually.
There have been additionally occasions when the iris scanner wouldn’t work even in optimum circumstances (sitting nonetheless in vivid mild), and solely a restart sorted this challenge out.
Not good, Samsung. For those who’re going to make folks change to an iris scanner by placing the fingerprint sensor out of attain, then make it flawless, not brilliant-most-of-the-time-but-sometimes-not.
Over per week or so we did get used to the nuances of the iris scanner; it’s advantageous – it’s simply mildly irritating to have to carry your telephone in a sure means, and it’s ineffective whereas strolling or carrying sun shades (though it did work via common glasses).
Facial recognition – regardless of being the default out of the field – is a non-starter for us. The telephone fails to recognise your face far too usually, it doesn’t work in low mild, and it may be spoofed by a photograph. Nope, not taking place.
There’s nothing extra infuriating about this function than the actual fact you may’t see in the event you’re ‘positioning’ your face accurately. There’s positively an angle to carry it at that is optimum… however you haven’t any concept what it’s, or why.
This challenge has been elevated now that Apple has invested seemingly billions in creating invisible dots that fireplace into your face to confirm your id the identical means… the iPhone X is large competitors to the Galaxy S8 consequently.
What customers now count on from flagship telephones – and what Samsung had executed completely earlier than – is a straightforward, muscle reminiscence motion that opens your telephone. No additional urgent, no having to work together with the telephone to open it up – only one single press to be securely into your handset.
The workaround we ended up with (as we’re not leaving our telephones unlocked, which is what some may be tempted to do) is to make use of Good Lock, the place you may arrange trusted locations or linked units to verify your id.
Which means that in the event you depart your telephone mendacity round at work or at residence somebody can bounce proper into it although, so that you’re mainly simply stopping a thief from with the ability to entry knowledge in the event you lose the Galaxy S8 on the practice.
Briefly, Samsung seems to have screwed this one up. We’d heard rumors that the model was making an attempt so as to add in a brand new function the place the fingerprint was in the identical place as on the S7 (on the base of the telephone) however truly below the display screen.
That might have been good, because it’s the way in which most individuals hearth up the display screen anyway.
However clearly Samsung couldn’t make this work successfully, so determined to shove the fingerprint scanner means up the again of the S8, as that was the one place left to place it that didn’t require some last-minute retooling of the telephone.
That is the one logical rationalization, as in any other case why wouldn’t the fingerprint scanner be above the Samsung brand, which might be an ideal place for it?
A sluggish begin for Bixby
- Bixby nonetheless fails to impress
- Very a lot a future function
- Bixby Imaginative and prescient provides pointless bloat to the digital camera
The opposite large function that’s launched with the Samsung Galaxy S8 is Bixby, the model’s voice assistant rival to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s less-interestingly-named Assistant.
Those that’ve used the Galaxy S3 and S4 will do not forget that Samsung already tried to match Siri with S Voice, but it surely was a bit pointless, particularly when Google’s voice chops obtained so gosh-darn good.
Effectively, Bixby is Samsung’s large play in its bid to compete within the enviornment of artificially clever assistants, and it clearly thinks it might probably succeed regardless of being so late to the sport.
The goal right here is to make Bixby an indispensable accompaniment to your day by day life, reminding you of issues whenever you want them, letting you already know what you are , and being a single-button one-stop store for all the knowledge you want.
In reality Samsung is so assured that Bixby goes to be sensible that it is popped a button devoted solely to this operate on the facet of the telephone.
Yep, a telephone that is so tightly designed that it might probably’t even have the fingerprint scanner in an accessible place has a complete key devoted to Bixby… and it’s extremely arduous to see why proper now.
Bixby is fairly mundane although, regardless of having voice performance added in now. It is presently solely South Korean and US English and it is inherently inaccurate for voice.
We examined for some time, however as it might probably’t assist many third occasion apps or correctly perceive what’s being stated – even to a US speaker – it appears a bit futile. It should most likely get higher over time, however most individuals will not care about that.
Within the UK, one would assume it would not be too lengthy – however then once more, that area was anticipating Samsung Pay some time in the past, and it is solely simply turning up.
So what does Bixby imply to you, the brand new telephone purchaser? Effectively, nothing. It is common at greatest, and just about ineffective at worst.
Bixby Imaginative and prescient, a bit of icon that lives within the nook of the digital camera, will be capable of analyze what’s being proven via the digital camera’s viewfinder (each reside and from a taken pic) and allow you to know whether or not you should buy it, acknowledge the picture and given info or let you already know about a spot you are testing.
Besides the outcomes of picture recognition simply present you issues on Pinterest, the purchasing component appears to acknowledge virtually nothing at launch and the locations choice is fairly patchy. It is gradual to work out what it’s and, general, it’s only a waste of display screen proper now.
Bixby Dwelling, the display screen that lives to the facet of the house display screen, is significantly better.
It is contextual and fascinating, and you’ll pin your favourite parts (like Spotify, as an illustration) to the highest for simple entry from wherever within the telephone.
It is nothing earth-shattering, but it surely’s fairly neat – though there’s a maddening pause each time you open it for the primary time, as if Bixby is making an attempt to recollect the place it left its residence web page.
The excellent news is you may disable the Bixby button from opening the Dwelling display screen, which is nice as so many occasions we hit it as an alternative of the amount key. It is a poor placement.
After which there’s Bixby Reminders, the place you may be alerted to belongings you’ve made a notice of previously. You possibly can set a location set off to remind you to purchase fruit whenever you move a location, or ping you at a sure time to remind you to name somebody.
None of that is precisely new although, and there is completely no motive why you’d purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8 for Bixby.
Samsung is fairly jazzed about Bixby, and the truth that it’s going to be capable of perceive issues contextually sooner or later. Proper now it solely can work with a handful of native apps (not even all of them…) and there’s no interplay with third-party choices. However from this acorn, Samsung insists, a mighty oak will develop.
Think about not simply with the ability to set a location to purchase fruit, however being pinged when someplace close by sells it. Or taking an image of one thing and discovering it far cheaper on-line immediately, or with the ability to ask your telephone to do issues contextually (as an illustration: ‘Bixby, can you turn on the heating when I’m twenty minutes from residence?’ ‘Bixby, upload those pictures from my run today to Facebook with the caption ‘#blessed #squadgoals #ImsorryforwhoI’vebecome).
That is the world Samsung is promising, and if you are going to buy the S8 you may be shopping for into that promise. Nonetheless, proper now, that is all it’s… and there’s no means we are able to suggest a telephone primarily based on a promise, as Samsung may simply pull the plug on a function like Bixby if it actually cannot get it to work correctly, and some months on we have seen nothing that means it should conquer the world of AI.