Written by Maarten

Expert review of the Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a milestone in the history of smartphones. Whereas we saw a lack of innovation when it came to smartphone design in recent years, the Samsung Galaxy S8 sets a new standard. From now on, smartphones with minimal screen bezels are the new norm. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S8 looks good, but is it a good smartphone? I tried it for a week.

In short

  • The phone is very comfortable to hold.
  • The screen is beautiful; the colors pop right off the screen.
  • The camera takes good photos.
  • The phone is waterproof.
  • 'Samsung Experience' is a piece of software that not everyone loves.
  • The larger (particularly longer) screen and rounded edges don't add much yet.

Out of the box

When you open the box, you'll be greeted by an attractive, slim combination of glass and metal. That first impression is reinforced when you take the Samsung Galaxy S8 out of the box. The corners and edges feel comfortable, not sharp at all. It almost feels like holding a pebble that's been polished smooth by years of erosion. In terms of design, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is very progressive and a joy to behold.

Specifications at a glance

Samsung Galaxy S8 design

Samsung Galaxy S8 design: the most beautiful smartphone yet

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the most beautiful and most comfortable smartphone I've ever held in my hands. That's not something people would've said about Samsung 3 years ago, but since the Galaxy S6, Samsung has been more conscious about smartphone design and ditched ugly plastic in favor of glass and metal. That now pays off with the Samsung Galaxy S8: the most beautiful smartphone ever.

Samsung Galaxy S8 screen

Samsung Galaxy S8 screen: beautiful, but has its downsides

I'm not a fan of the aspect ratio and the curved edges. The screen is bigger than the screen on my own OnePlus 3T (5.5-inch), but when I open Twitter on both phones, I don't see any more tweets on the Samsung. That bothers me. The other thing are those curved edges. They make me feel like the screen is cut off, that I'm not seeing everything without "looking around the corner." The edges sometimes also have a certain glow that's very distracting.

More specifications highlighted

Samsung Experience

Samsung Experience: sometimes useful, sometimes slow

"Samsung Experience" is the name of the software shell that Samsung has put over Android. Despite having a few useful additions (adjustable do-not-disturb mode and blue light filter), it does make the phone's responses slow at times. On top of that, Samsung's current design isn't at all to my taste. Luckily, I can change that with a different theme. Unfortunately, I can't change the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S8 responds slowly sometimes.

Samsung Galaxy S8 camera

Samsung Galaxy S8 camera: don't change a thing, except the zoom

The camera is one of the highlights of the Samsung Galaxy S8. If you don't feel like fiddling with shutter speeds, white balance, and those types of things, it's good to know that the automatic mode produces excellent photos. In fact, few current smartphone cameras can do any batter. The photos look detailed and clear. Less impressive is the zoom. The S8 is still a bit lacking in that department.

Sample photos

Conclusion

You won't easily find a better smartphone than the Samsung Galaxy S8. The device is beautiful, has good specs, and is easy to use. Unfortunately, not all apps and videos are suitable for the 18.5:9 aspect ratio. In addition, I prefer to use a 'pure' version of Android, without any additions from Samsung, as that always works most smoothly. If that's not an issue for you, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the best phones you can buy right now.


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