by Swapnil Bhartiya

What makes Samsung Galaxy S8 the best phone you can buy

Apr 26, 2017
AndroidConsumer ElectronicsMobile

This is the phone that will tempt even hardcore iPhone users to switch.rn

galaxy s8 primary
Credit: Jason Cross/IDG

I pre-ordered the Samsung Galaxy S8 as soon as Samsung started taking orders. The phone arrived last week. For purposes of comparison, I have been using it alongside my iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL.

This review is based on my own experience and how the phone could help me in my personal and professional life.

Beauty lies in the…

First things first, the hardware. Samsung Galaxy S8 is powered by MSM 8998 Octa Core 2.35Ghz (Quad Core) + 1.9Ghz (Quad) processor and 4GB of RAM. But beyond that, it’s a beautiful phone — from tip to toe. If I can paraphrase a dialogue from the movie The Matrix, I would say, ‘there is no phone, it’s just the screen.’

Samsung Galaxy S8 Swapnil Bhartiya

The Galaxy S8 is a bit thinner than the iPhone, thanks to almost no bezel on the sides. Samsung managed to make this phone comfortable to hold, without compromising on the screen size.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Swapnil Bhartiya

Seeing is believing

The display is the most incredible part of the Samsung Galaxy S8. It’s 6.2″ of pure AMOLED beauty.

While my iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung S8 Plus are the same size, the S8 has 6.2″ of screen real estate whereas the iPhone 7 Plus has a mere 5.5″.  Samsung makes the best displays and S8 blows everything else out of the water. It’s native 2960×1440 resolution makes everything crisper and more realistic than the 1920×1080 ‘retina’ LCD display of the iPhone. And like my 4K TV, Samsung also allows me to change the color temperature of the display to optimize it for movies or images. Not only that, you can also scale the resolution down to save battery if you are not consuming rich content such as VR.

Pure awesomeness.

Replacing the physical home button with a soft button as seen on Android devices,  allowed Samsung to put a bigger screen on the phone. Although, to be fair, my Pixel XL also doesn’t have a physical button, but it still has that eyesore of a  bezel at the bottom.

The edge-to-edge curved screen with 18.5:9 aspect ratio provides more real estate than any other phone on the market. Thanks to the edge-to-edge display, when I open a web-page all I see is the content, not the bezel or home button. It’s immersive.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Swapnil Bhartiya

An extra edge

Galaxy S8 runs on Android 7.0 with Touchwiz on top of it. I won’t get into the openness of Android vs. closed iOS, but there is a huge difference between the iOS experience and the Touchwiz experience. I still don’t love Touchwiz, but it has come a long way. It does add some nice improvements to the stock Android experience, without slowing it down.

Here are some of the features that I love on Samsung Galaxy S8 and wish were on the iPhone:

Edge Screen: It allows you to add panels to the right edge of the phone to quickly access not only applications, but additional content such as news, contacts and much more with one swipe at the right edge of the phone. Quite a handy and user-focused feature.

Samsung Connect:  It allows you to quickly switch the audio output device. It’s quite useful if you are using AirPod-like devices. Yes. Apple AirPods do work fine with Galaxy S8.

Easy to use camera: A top-to-bottom swipe on the screen switches between the front and main camera, no more fiddling with that tiny on-screen button. Additionally, both video and still photography buttons are available in the camera view. And yes, you can take still shots while shooting videos.

Virtual shot: Virtual shot allows you to take a ‘3D’ image of an object.  

Built-in Chromecast support: This allows you to cast not only the entire screen of your phone, but also the content of apps to either Chromecast devices or supported Smart TVs.

Useable NFC:  Not only can contact details be shared easily with other people just by tapping our phones, I can also share content like images, etc. securely.

Customized look and feel:  Samsung S8 offers more user-friendly system settings where you can fine tune every aspect of your device if desired. You can even change the default themes and icons of your phone.

The VR experience

As someone who is fond of Sony PlayStation VR (PSVR) and Google DayDream, Galaxy S8 is a dream machine. While I love everything about the PSVR, it’s not portable.

Samsung Gear VR with Galaxy S8 solves that problem. Galaxy S8 also offers a higher resolution display than PSVR. And it’s officially supported by Oculus Rift, so I also get the Oculus experience on my devices. There are many third-party apps, like SkyBox, that can play any video formats in 3D or Cinema mode, which allows me to watch real 4K videos on the 300+ inch screen of the Samsung Gear VR.

Those 4K videos and games can be space consuming, but storage isn’t a problem on the Galaxy S8. All Galaxy S8 models come with 64GB of onboard storage, and it supports up to 256GB of external storage. I have a 256GB micro SD card that I use to store all my videos and images.

Didn’t I say pure awesomeness?

Ever since I got my Galaxy S8 with the new Gear VR headset, I have not watched anything on my 4K TV or PlayStation VR, and my iPhone 7 is practically out of the picture.

It’s for business users

Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a secure folder where sensitive files can be stored without worrying about them being accessed by someone other than you or lost if you lose your phone. When you throw into the mix Samsung Knox security and Dex that both allow you to plug your phone into a monitor and use it as a PC, the result is a perfect device for consumers and professionals alike. And Samsung also offers an ‘enterprise’ version of the phone designed for professionals.

What’s not so good

There are only two things about the Galazy S8 that I really don’t like. First is the placemeant of the fingerprint scanner. I don’t mind that it’s at the back of the phone, but it’s impossible to reach if you are holding the phone in your left hand.

Second,  I wish Samsung would stop wasting their time duplicating Google’s work. Instead of leveraging the machine learning capabilities of Google Assistant, Samsung is trying to build yet another clone of a Google service. They are calling it Bixby and wasted a physical button on it. Bixby is ruining the entire Galaxy S8 experience and I wouldn’t mind if Samsung killed the project immediately, just the way they killed the Milk Music service and used Google Assistant as the default virtual assistant for the device.

Beyond these two issues, I don’t have any problems with my device. I think the Galaxy S8 is the best smartphone I have used to date.