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Samsung Galaxy S8 Factory Unlocked Smart Phone 64GB Dual SIM - International Version (Silver)
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- Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2
- Android (7.0)
- Water, Dust resistant - IP certified: IP 68
- 12MP Dual LED Camera
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Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S8 on March 29, 2017. As the brand's new flagship, the smartphone will surely pack a variety of exciting features, including an iris scanner for user recognition, a smart AI assistant, and a flashy new design to top it all off. No less importantly, the upgraded hardware will make the device faster than its predecessor, with a fast and efficient Snapdragon 835 in charge. Numerous leaks suggest that the Galaxy S8 will stick to the metal-and-glass design principle of its predecessors, paired with IP-certified resistance against the elements.
Top Customer Reviews
The second thing is the design. I mean, visually it looks amazing but it's more than that. This is the first phone that I've used where the curved screen felt really comfortable in my hand. When it comes to phones, I don't care too much about millimetres and grammes and stuff like that I just want to feel comfortable my hand and most curved screens just don't feel good in the hand. But this one does and that's because of the frame. The transition from the front glass to the frame and then to the back glass feels almost seamless, there's just nothing with texture. It's really nice to hold but it's also really slippery. I would strongly recommend getting a skin for S8, or even a case.
The other things I like are the wireless charging, the headphone jack and Bluetooth 5.0. I love the micro SD slot, the USB-C port and the performance feels really quick so far.
The camera hardware is similar to the Galaxy S7 Edge. But, let's be honest, the camera on the S7 was awesome, so it's not too big of a deal to me that they didn't upgrade the camera. The front-facing camera has improved quite a bit and considering how many selfies I take every day I think this was a good call.
So this device has a large screen that is super bright and has high resolution so there's a lot of pixels to process and the battery size isn't huge, so I wasn't expecting amazing battery life. The first full day of use I end up the day with thirty-one percent left. Relatively heavy use over the course of the day. At night I charged it back up, watched some YouTube videos with maximum volume and maximum screen brightness, highest resolution (WQHD+) and when I checked it eight hours later it was at thirty-six percent. The screen on time was basically the same. I think that's not bad I mean on iPhone 7+ I'd probably got some very similar numbers.
The facial recognition is awesome - it works fast and it's reliable. I tried it with sunglasses and it didn't work very well.
The fingerprint scanner isn't in the best location. I have to stretch for it but since the facial recognition is so good I'm totally fine with it being on the back.
The Galaxy S8 is packed with a lot of cool techs. But hardware specs aren't everything. For me, the user experience is by far the most important thing when it comes to any kind of device. And with this, there are a couple things that kind of detract from the user experience.
The first is that on-screen home button. I think it could or should be a little bigger. And the haptic feedback isn't good, it feels like a regular phone vibration.
The speakers are also not stereo and I know a lot of people don't care about this. But I consume most of my media on my phone and it's so weird watching a super high-res video that looks gorgeous on the screen while having tinny audio that just comes out from one side of the phone. It just feels off.
The screen is also difficult to use one-handed. So a wide phone like the Google Pixel XL is already wide and a little bit uncomfortable to use but it's okay - I manage. The S8, because of the tall screen, the vertical stretch is crazy.
The last thing is, probably, my most personal opinion I know a lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I don't love where they're going with Bixby. And this time it comes with a dedicated hardware button which you cannot reassign to some other function.
So if you're interested in this phone and you enjoyed the S7 Edge user experience (as I did) you're going to love the S8. It's just a basically an elevated version of this phone. Truly next level hardware, you're going to love it.
A quick prologue: I had been laying low since buying two Samsung Galaxy S6 Edges in early 2015 (one gold, one white - yes, I loved it that much). I knew that it was the perfect phone for me at that time, and that based on how the cell phone evolution was going on then (early 2015), I knew the S7 Edge would be an iterative succession, and not a big leap forward. So I bought my S6 Edges with the thought in mind that I would have it for at least 2-3 years. My analysis was that Samsung at that point in time had plateaued their curved screen technology and philosophy, and would move on next to foldable screens by 2020. I gave them a couple of buffer years in case they didn't feel like introducing us to such drastic technology too early, as Samsung has a habit of forward thinking, yet holding back a year or two so they can milk the most money out of their current technologies. Fast forward to this year, and I have not been wrong - Samsung has indeed matured and plateaued its curved screen plans, but their foldable screen technology has not been up to speed, so it would be delayed for another year or two (they are still on track for 2020). With the introduction and quick adoption/popularity of HDR technology, they can afford to stay on their curved screen plan for another year or two until they lower the costs of their foldable screen technology down enough for mass production.
I loved my S6 Edges, but I got bored of the gold one quickly, and sold it to buy a Rose Gold iPhone 6S last year, while keeping the white S6 Edge. I loved everything about it - mainly the beautiful curved screen design, but even more so, the awesome camera, which was the best for its time, and still holds up today as one of the very best in bright light. If you go through my reviews, 99% of the photos from 2015 on are from my S6 Edge. It is so good I have replaced my travel DSLR with it (I still use my Canon 5D Mark III for my serious projects), and all my Instagram photos are also from my S6 Edge (you can find the link to my IG on my Amazon profile).
Sorry for the long intro, but it ties to my review that the camera on the S8 is even better. Do not be fooled by early hands-on articles that the rear camera is the same as the S7 Edge. It is NOT the same. It is a new camera system developed by Sony, and it is a dual-pixel system which takes two photos each time you press the shutter button, and quickly and deftly combines the two to give you an awesome final photo, which contains HDR and selective focus elements/photo modes. It excels in low light conditions, with its f1.7 aperature, and it even exceeds the S7 Edge's camera. It might not compete in fast action with the ridiculous 960 fps Sony camera in its new Xperia X phones, but for everyday use, I feel this is the best phone camera so far. It has electronic image stabilization (EIS), even up to 4K video recording, which is a first for phone cameras. The front (selfie) camera is also vastly improved, but not as good as the 13MP camera of the LG G6.
This is a photography geek's review, leading in with the camera, but I know most of you are more concerned with the big beautiful screen, which it is exactly that. The resolution is 2960 x 1440 pixels, or a pixel density of 570 ppi. The technology is Samsung's very own OLED, called sAMOLED. It is the same basic technology that makes the best TV screens in LG's OLED TVs. Samsung's 2017 version is so good, it is apparently the best screen ever. You can read more technical specs from Display Mate:
displaymate. com/Galaxy_S8_ShootOut_01.htm (erase the space between the dot com)
How Samsung has managed to squeeze all that goodness into a phone this size is quite a technological marvel, and quite a gamble as well. Instead of the 16:9 ratio 95% of the phones out there today have, they have chosen on a 18:5.9 ratio, which just sounds really weird. This is pretty much a 3:1 ratio, which is quite unheard of. Even LG's unique G6 phone has a different 18:9 (or 2:1) ratio. So this is Samsung's way of truly trying to stand out from the crowd for this generation (year). I really don't know why they chose this ratio, as even cinema (movie theatre) ratio is 21:9, so there truly is no video/film format that perfectly fits this screen's ratio. So there will be empty spaces around the videos and movies you watch, but the black bezels will help eliminate that disparity - note that all S8's, regardless of what color scheme, have black front bezels.
This phone is actually more narrow than the S6/S6 Edge. The S8 measures 68.1mm wide by 8.1mm thick by 148.9mm tall, and weighs 155 grams, while the S6 Edge is 70.1 x 7 x 142.1 mm, and weighs 132 g. But as you can see it is a tick thicker, and noticeable taller and heavier. So although the S8 has a total footprint that is larger than the S6 Edge, or is actually easier and more comfortable to hold in one hand. For further comparisons, the iPhone 7 is 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (138 g), the iPhone 7 Plus is 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm (188 g), and the LG G6 is 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm (163 g). So it actually is easier to grasp in the hand than most other phones of similar size, only bested by the (much smaller) iPhone 7 (4.7-inch screen vs. 5.8-inch for the S8).
The sound systems are also improved, as the speaker is louder and more clear, and the audio processing is much much better for listening to music with your earphones/headphones. However, it is still a mono speaker, not even stereo-immersive sound, and of course nowhere near as good as HTC's usual dual-speakers. Speaking of earphones, a pair of premium AKG earphones are included, which is the best factory-bundled earphones I have witnessed. It cannot compare to my Velodynes and Sennheisers, but it beats all other cheap generic bundled earphones. That reminds me, you should spend the extra $100 on the extra bundle, which in addition to the included VR headset, also includes a Samsun 256GB microSD card, and a pair of AKG Bluetooth headphones. Each sells for over $100, so you are actually saving a bunch: AKG Bluetooth Headphone Black (Y50BTBLK) Samsung EVO+ 256GB UHS-I microSDXC U3 Memory Card with Adapter (MB-MC256DA/AM).
My S6 Edge worked fluidly and flawlessly in the first few month. But even with the top processor of the time, and 3GB of RAM, it slowed down as the memory neared the capacity, especially after the hundreds of photos began to pile up. The camera, once near instantaneous to turn on, now takes about a second. The S8, with its 4GB of RAM and either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor or Samsung's own Exynos 8895 so far is doing an impeccable job. The Snapdragon 821, and even the 820, is fast enough for 2017, so having the 835 and the Exynos 8895 future-proofs it for another 2-3 years at least, since I feel with each successive processor, we are getting to the point where the hardware requirements for software is plateauing, and you would only need the latest processors for video games which keeps getting better and better and continually needs the fastest processor. I think once we reach 6GB of RAM, any processor beyond the 835/8895 should be fast enough for every day apps of the next 10 years.
In totality, this is the first phone since the S6 Edge that I got really excited about, and with the rumored OLED iPhone coming out this year, 2017 should be a great year for fans of both sides to upgrade. If you don't mind the $750+ price, you can't go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S8. It is an investment that should last a few years, or at least until those foldable screen phones come out....