2016 will be a year to forget for Samsung and its phone products.
The Galaxy 7 Note was a disaster as its battery blow ups became somewhat legendary, and not in a good way. The phone was even banned by the airlines. It was a manufacturing and a public relations nightmare.
Samsung is hoping its new phone, the Galaxy S8, will cure past evils and move the brand into the good graces of the Android World.
Newly released, first looks indicate the phone has what it takes to put Samsung at or near the top of the smart phone heap.
The phone is a handsome devil. It boasts a tall and narrow shape. The physical home button has been removed with a new practically “bezel-less” design. It looks classy and can easily fit into the palm of your hand. Even iPhone fans will appreciate the aesthetics of the new device.
The phone comes in two sizes. The S8 measures 5.8 inches and the S8 Plus comes in at 6.2 inches. Images are distinct, bright and extremely colorful. Photo quality is excellent.
Samsung is also counting on its new Bixby digital assistant to create some positive vibes. It is meant to compete with Apple’s Siri, Google’s assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.
You can access Bixby by pressing a button on the side of the phone instead of shouting at the device. It will detail your appointments, the weather and other supported apps.
Samsung has also empowered Bixby to search by vision. This will take a click through the phone’s camera app. It can provide you with an exact item you are looking for or other search options.
Security is solid with an iris scanner and a fingerprint sensor. However many will find the fingerprint sensor a bit awkward. It has been positioned on the back of the phone near the rear camera. It is hard to reach and will cause you to smudge across the rear lens.
Another issue is the aspect ratio for videos. The 18.5:9 screen means many videos and apps won’t fit. Black bars are visible on the sides.
Still good things abound such as a headphone jack at the bottom and a MicroSD slot. There’s even a USB Type C plug-in and the IP68 waterproofing.
Inside, the hardware is leading edge with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM. It will breeze through any game on the Play Store.
All types of apps are included with the phone. Some 40 in all including Skype and the Microsoft Office Suite.
The 12 megapixel camera is first rate. Samsung has improved the image processing. The front facing camera has been upgraded to an 8MP module from a 5MP with a faster aperture. Even low light photos are better. The camera quality is within spitting distance of the Google Pixel.
Many of the camera filters seemed to be modeled after those on Snapchat. You can add glasses, moustaches and more.
Tests indicate the phone will take about 80 minutes to recharge. Samsung learned its lesson the hard way and the battery now goes through a heavy checklist before installation. It is perhaps the safest on the market. Still it could be faster but will provide quicker wireless charging than an iPhone.
Overall the phone is extremely high quality and demands a high quality price. The S8 will set you back $750 and the S8 Plus $850. Each phone though has 64 GB of native storage, up from 32 in the S7. Samsung also throws in AKG headphones valued at $100.
Colors include article silver, midnight black and orchid grey.
Beauty comes at a price and the new Samsung Galaxy 8 certainly has both.