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Samsung Galaxy S8+ Review: The New Flagship

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction and Specifications

The Galaxy S8 Plus is Samsung's first ‘big’ phone since the Note7 fiasco, and just looking at it the design and engineering process seems to have paid off. Simply put, the GS8/GS8+ might just be the most striking handheld devices ever made. The U.S. version sports the newest and fastest Qualcomm platform with the Snapdragon 835, and the international version of the handset uses Samsung’s Exynos 8895 Octa SoC. We have the former on hand, and it was this MSM8998-powered version of the 6.2-inch GS8+ that I spent some quality time with over the past two weeks.

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There is more to a phone than its looks, and even in that department the Galaxy S8+ raises questions about durability with that large, curved glass screen. With the front and back panels wrapping around as they do the phone has a very slim, elegant look that feels fantastic in hand. And while one drop could easily ruin your day with any smartphone, this design is particularly unforgiving - and screen replacement costs with these new S8 phones are particularly high due to the difficulty in repairing the screen, and need to replace the AMOLED display along with the laminated glass.

Forgetting the fragility for a moment and just embracing the case-free lifestyle I was so tempted to adopt, lest I change the best in-hand feel I've had from a handset (and I didn't want to hide its knockout design, either), I got down to actually objectively assessing the phone's performance. This is the first production phone we have had on hand with the new Snapdragon 835 platform, and we will be able to draw some definitive performance conclusions compared to SoCs in other shipping phones.

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Samsung Galaxy S8+ Specifications (US Version)
Display 6.2-inch 1440x2960 AMOLED
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (MSM8998)
CPU Cores 4x 2.45 GHz Kryo
4x 1.90 GHz Kryo
GPU Cores Adreno 540
RAM 4 / 6 GB LPDDR4 (6 GB with 128 GB storage option)
Storage 64 / 128 GB
Network Snapdragon X16 LTE
Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi
2x2 MU-MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0; A2DP, aptX
USB 3.1 (Type-C)
NFC
Battery 3500 mAh Li-Ion
Dimensions 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173 g
OS Android 7.0

Continue reading our review of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ smartphone!

The Galaxy S8+ offers a smooth, sleek exterior, which is comprised entirely of glass (front and back) with a metal band around the perimeter of the phone. This glass sandwiched construction was the basis of the iPhone 4, and like that design this one does trade some durability for aesthetics.

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The fingerprint reader to the right of the camera sensor might be the one design flaw

However, the GS8+ is lightyears ahead of that 2010 iPhone design, with a level of fit and finish above any other current phone that I have seen - though the position of the fingerprint reader (next to the camera sensor on the back) looks like a last-minute decision after there were (reportedly) problems with an embedded fingerprint reader in the display.

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There are no visible screws to this design, but they are not hidden: there are no external screws at all! The entire exterior of the phone is glued together (yikes!), making it an involved process to get it open for repairs (iFixit gives this phone a 4/10 rating for repairability).

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Still, fear of damage aside (I generally use a case with all phones, so this is not a concern to me) from the curved glass screen and glass back, the smooth lines and slim feel of the phone make it easily the friendliest 6.2-inch phone you are likely to hold. I just wish I was brave enough to use it without a case. (If a phone can be "sexy", this one is!)

On the next page we will take a closer look at that stunning 6.2-inch display.


June 28, 2017 | 11:59 AM - Posted by edwinjamesmiller36

Apparently the 128 Gb phone is only being sold in Asia. They will have to pry my 128 Gb nexus 6P from my cold dead hands to go back to 64 Gbs.

June 28, 2017 | 06:03 PM - Posted by JSL

I own this phone, the sim card holder also has a slot for a micro sd and mine currently is housing a Kingston SDCA3/128GB.

So have fun being stuck with 64gb?

June 28, 2017 | 08:21 PM - Posted by Shambles

He literally just told you he has a 128GB phone. Was his two sentences too verbose for you?

July 1, 2017 | 09:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous1 (not verified)

Hurr Durr, reading is hard.

July 21, 2017 | 01:55 AM - Posted by Roge Arias (not verified)

Still loving this one! really affordable; Sadly is no more convenient anymore Right now there is some models with waaay better specs on the market for a little extra... the agm a8; as example ( the guy below inspired me xD ) the x1 is my next target, tho.

June 28, 2017 | 12:30 PM - Posted by willmore

14400x2960 AMOLED

Really? These 5:1 aspect ratio phones are getting insane.

June 28, 2017 | 04:09 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

:D

Fixed!

June 28, 2017 | 12:46 PM - Posted by willmore

What's an "occational test"?

June 28, 2017 | 04:09 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Fixed!

June 29, 2017 | 10:14 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I occasionally proof-read my reviews...

June 28, 2017 | 02:52 PM - Posted by Moneylinesnip (not verified)

Phones are the biggest waste of money make them faster just to overheat quicker. Make a phone that can sustain performance for prolong periods then ill be interested.

June 28, 2017 | 05:57 PM - Posted by JSL

unlike previous phones I've had, my S8+ is the least hot to the touch after extensive use.

Take it for what you will.

June 29, 2017 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Moneylinesnip (not verified)

Not about being hot to touch its about thermal throttle. You cant play demanding game on these for more than min or two without thermal throttling kicking in you go from smooth 60fps down to 30 its really annoying.

June 29, 2017 | 11:14 PM - Posted by remc86007

I know what you mean. Devices that throttle are annoying, but do that many people play demanding games on their phones? I haven't played a game on my phone in over a year. I guess I just never "got" phone gaming.

July 1, 2017 | 01:49 AM - Posted by Exascale

http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2015/0...

Samsung should license that tech and put it in their phones.

They could also brag about their phones' liquid cooling!

June 28, 2017 | 05:30 PM - Posted by pdjblum

"offers a fantastic larger phone experience with my favorite"

i must be misreading it because it seems to me "large" would be more correct

thanks for the great review as usual

June 28, 2017 | 08:23 PM - Posted by Dingus_McRangus (not verified)

i'm very happy they compared this phone to the last generation S7/S7 edge in every test.......oh wait....do i have to go back and look at the S7 review from last year to see how it actually compares? good job, guys.

June 28, 2017 | 08:25 PM - Posted by Shambles

"The Galaxy S8+ offers a smooth, sleek exterior, which is comprised entirely of glass (front and back) with a metal band around the perimeter of the phone. This glass sandwiched construction was the basis of the iPhone 4, and like that design this one does trade some durability for aesthetics."

Is it possible for someone to review a phone without bringing up the iPhone for no reason other to mention the iPhone? The Nexus 4 had front/back glass 2 years before the iphone 4 did. Not to say you should mention in the review because it's irrelevant.

June 29, 2017 | 01:42 AM - Posted by Bill (not verified)

Well said. And note the part where the reviewer stated Samsung did a good job making the menus look "iOS like." Please. This is not an iPhone. Stop giving compliments to Samsung for butchering Android to make iphone users feel more at home.

Ask anyone who owns a Samsung phone how they like it after 6 months and it's usually the same "it got slow" response. Meanwhile a year old Nexus with plain old unmolested Android runs great. The bloated Touchwiz UI ALWAYS stuns the phone's performance months down the road, and yes, that will include the S8 too even with it's super fast release day performance. This is quite unfortunate too, as this phone is a real beauty.

June 29, 2017 | 10:25 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

The parenthetical "iOS like" remark was a jab at unoriginal UI design. I dislike the trend to emulate Apple design, and if you read my recent Google Pixel review you will find a similar negative tone for the very iPhone-inspired design of that handset from HTC. I like originality, and have previously scorned Android makers for "emulating even Apple's mistakes".

For the record, every Nexus I've owned feels slower over time. I think it must be the storage, but who knows. I experienced this with my Nexus 4, 5, and 6. Even when I go back now and manually install the lowest version of Android on these they feel so much slower than I remember. It's a strange phenomenon. Perhaps I'm imagining things. In any case, as UI skins go, this version of Samsung's is pretty light - and looks ok (even if they did just copy the look of iOS).

June 29, 2017 | 10:31 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

"The Nexus 4 had front/back glass 2 years before the iphone 4 did."

  • Apple iPhone 4: Released June 24, 2010
  • Google Nexus 4: Released November 13, 2012

I mentioned the glass sandwiched construction in historical context, largely due to the amount of negative attention focused on that design choice (and the iPhone 4's durability) back in 2010.

"Is it possible for someone to review a phone without bringing up the iPhone for no reason other to mention the iPhone"

Is it possible to be objective, and mention things of historical significance even if that involves the iPhone? Why, yes! It is. So I do.

June 28, 2017 | 11:00 PM - Posted by Buyers

I'm actually in the market for a new phone 'cause my iPhone 5S is ready to finally kick the bucket. With my line of work i wanna hold out and see what the S8 active variant is like.

June 29, 2017 | 11:20 PM - Posted by remc86007

950XL here, and I'm up for switching to the iPhone or android. I've tried both, and I'm not thrilled with either. There are way too many people that complain about the long-term android experience for me to feel comfortable with it, but at the same time, I really don't like the IOS UI...The S8 is a beautiful phone, but the android experience frustrates me.

June 30, 2017 | 09:29 PM - Posted by Anonymou (not verified)

Hate that curved screen.

July 21, 2017 | 01:56 AM - Posted by Roge Arias (not verified)

The rugged phones: falls, waterproof, dust, etc, are becoming increasingly frequent devices: and the agm are the best ones fir the PPR ( at least to me) ,,, and the quality in specs too is becaming something really to count on .. No more "dumbphones" apparently. Btw: have you seen the x1 18k gold edition?

July 1, 2017 | 01:49 AM - Posted by Exascale

I have that same kind of begonia in my yard. Cant remember its name.

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