Expert review of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
In short: the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Pros of the Galaxy S8 Plus
- The phone looks sleek: the screen covers almost the entire front of the device.
- The 12-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization lets you take sharp photos.
- The phone is waterproof.
- The smartphone is comfortable to hold.
- The photos you take with the phone are displayed just as sharply on the 6.2-inch Quad HD screen.
Cons of the Galaxy S8 Plus
- The fingerprint scanner is located next to the camera, instead of below it, making it hard to reach.
- Despite the relative compact size, the phone is too big for me to use it easily.
- The speaker is on the bottom of the smartphone. As a result, I often block it with my finger when I watch clips in the horizontal position.
Out of the box
It's not hard to fall for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus' looks. The home button and the Samsung logo on the front have been replaced by the screen. That means you're enjoying a large, beautiful 6.2-inch screen and sleekly designed phone. Thanks to its rounded shapes, the smartphone is comfortable to hold. The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back of the phone. In my opinion, placing it next to the camera instead of below it wasn't the best decision. Especially with a large device like the S8 Plus, this positioning makes it hard for me to easily reach the scanner with my finger.
Camera and screen
Samsung hasn't changed much about the Galaxy S7's camera for the S8 Plus. They didn't need to, since that camera was already better than that of the competition. During the days that I got to use the Galaxy S8 Plus, I enjoyed the 12-megapixel camera extensively. The photos it takes are sharp and display colors clearly. When it's dark, the contrast between the lighter and darker areas is also shown beautifully on the photos. The camera app has all kinds of fun effects and filters to enjoy yourself with. They did upgrade the selfie camera. It now has 8 megapixels and autofocus. That means you can take even sharper pictures of yourself.
The most notable thing about the Galaxy S8 Plus is its 6.2-inch screen. Because of the changed aspect ratio – 16:9 to 18.5:9 – the phone is longer than most other smartphones, but not wider. Unfortunately, a lot of content hasn't been adapted to this aspect ratio yet. I expect that more and more smartphones will start to use this ratio though, so photos and videos will eventually be adjusted to it as well. Despite its relatively compact size, the S8 Plus is too big for me. I often have to adjust my grip to operate the phone. Luckily, Samsung has built in a few handy features. You can for instance open the application menu by swiping vertically anywhere on the screen.
Bixby and Iris scanner
The introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus came at the same time that Bixby was introduced, Samsung's personal assistant. The idea of Bixby is that you'll be able to use voice controls for your phone, for instance when you want to send a photo to a contact. For now, Bixby's options are fairly limited, but fun. For example, Bixby Vision lets you look for related pictures on the Internet based on your photos. Bixby will be expanded further in the future, and I think it'll be a handy assistant.
Another fun function on the S8 Plus is the iris scanner for unlocking the phone with your eyes. Simply hold the phone in front of your face and the iris scanner will do the rest. I do notice that the scanner has trouble reading my eyes through my lenses, and the distance between my eyes and the device has to be pretty precise. This function still has room for improvement, but it's certainly useful. Especially for people who have difficulty reaching the fingerprint scanner, like me.
I can't deny that I'm excited about the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. The smartphone has an absolutely beautiful design and I can't argue with the specs. Specifically the camera that produces beautiful, sharp photos is a big plus. The only negative note for me is the size of the device. The big screen lets you comfortably watch high-quality videos, but it makes it difficult for me to reach the fingerprint scanner next to the camera for instance.