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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

We review the new Samsung Galaxy S8, with a stylish new screen, and design, how does the camera stack up?

|  Samsung Galaxy S8 in Camera Phones
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Samsung Galaxy S8 In Hand

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are Samsung's flagship mobile phones, announced in March 2017. They both feature a new curved edge "Infinity Display" which is designed to give maximum screen size, whilst maintaining a small phone size, with a 5.8inch screen on the S8 and a 6.2inch on the S8+. Both smartphones feature a 12 megapixel rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture, and optical image stabilisation (OIS). The front camera has been updated to an 8 megapixel camera, with a bright f/1.7 aperture. A second front camera has been added for face recognition which can be used to unlock the phone. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Features

Samsung Galaxy S8 Black (2)

The Samsung Galaxy S8 camera remains very similar to the excellent camera found in the Samsung Galaxy S7, with a 12-megapixel dual pixel sensor, and a f/1.7 aperture on both the front and rear cameras. There have been updates made to the software, with the camera app now featuring "Bixby Vision" built-in - letting you search the internet for similar items to what you've taken a photo of. 

The Galaxy S8 has the latest SnapDragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There is the capability to insert a microSD card into the phone, allowing for much greater storage when you're taking lots of pictures, although most people probably won't need it.

The S8 is also dust resistant and water resistant, with Samsung claiming it can withstand a half - hour dunking up to 1.5m down. It's also got protection if you drop it - Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is used on both the screen and the back panel, making it tough. 

The 12 megapixel back camera has 1.4um pixels, which are quite large for a smartphone, and allow the sensor to gather more light, and the camera also has optical image stabilisation. Touch focus can be used and 4K video can be recorded whilst simultaneously capturing 9-megapixel images. It's said to have incredibly fast autofocus, thanks to every pixel on the dual pixel sensor being used for phase detection. This means that the autofocus of the phone is blisteringly fast, capturing sudden movements. 

There is a built-in LED flash on the rear, and the front screen can be used as a selfie flash when using the front camera, in low-light conditions.

Shooting modes include Auto, pro, panorama, selective focus, slow-motion, hyper lapse, food and virtual shot. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 (4)

The front "selfie" camera has been updated to an 8-megapixel camera, with a bright f/1.7 aperture, and auto-focus. Next to this, you can see an additional front camera, which is used for face recognition which can be used to unlock the phone. You can also use Iris recognition to unlock the phone or the fingerprint sensor on the back. There are additional sensors on the front as well (on the left). The front camera features Auto HDR and can record video up to QHD resolution (2560x1440), and FullHD with HDR.

As with all smart devices these days, it's simple to share your images via Wi-Fi or on social media through the various apps available. 

There is no longer a dedicated home button, instead, the button is on the screen. On the left-hand side are volume buttons, and a new "Bixby" button, and on the right-hand side is the power button. 

Key Features

  • 12-megapixel Dual Pixel rear camera, 1.4micron pixels
  • f/1.7 aperture, 26mm equivalent lens with Optical Image Stabilisation
  • 8-megapixel front camera with f/1.7, and AF, 25mm equivalent. 
  • Auto HDR (front and rear cameras), Raw shooting possible in Pro mode
  • 4K UHD video capability whilst capturing 9-megapixel stills
  • Dustproof and waterproof to 1.5m for up to 30 mins
  • 5.8inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960x1440) with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (S8+: 6.2inch)
  • 3000mAh battery (S8+: 3500mAh)
  • MicroSD slot, Fingerprint Sensor
  • Available in a number of colours

Samsung Galaxy S8 Handling

Samsung Galaxy S8 Camera
Samsung Galaxy S8 Camera

Unlike the upgrade from the S6 to the S7, the difference between the S7 and S8 is visible at first glance, with the screen dominating the phone, in a good way! You can see this, in this photo below, showing the HTC U Play (left), Samsung Galaxy S8 (middle), and Sony Xperia XZ (right). The Galaxy S8 is very similar in size to the other phones but features a 5.8inch screen compared to a 5.2-inch screen on the other phones (look at all that wasted space above and below the screen). The S8 is also narrower, making it easier to reach from one side of the screen to the other - although the height of the screen can make it a stretch at times from top to bottom. 

HTC U Play Samsung Galaxy S8 Sony Xperia XZ (1)

The Samsung Galaxy S8 looks rather nice, and photos don't particularly do it justice, as often it just looks like a flat black soap like object. However, the curved front and back of the smartphone, as well as the large screen with thin edges, makes the smartphone almost feel like all you're holding is a screen. One issue with the design of the S8 is the position of the fingerprint sensor, which is likely to cause you to put your finger over the camera lens, causing smudges, and lowering image quality. You can avoid this, however, by using one of the other methods for unlocking the phone. 

HTC U Play Samsung Galaxy S8 Sony Xperia XZ (2)

HTC U Play, Samsung Galaxy S8, Sony Xperia XZ rear.

The only smartphone out there that really gives it a run for its money in design and style is the HTC U (Play and Ultra), but only on the back. However, the design of the S8 is likely to look better in other colours, other than black. The design is also going to be spoilt (on all phones) once you put the now mandatory protective case on it, due to the glass rear. There's also the problem of trying to find a suitable case that will protect a curved screen, without blocking parts of the screen.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 performs extremely well, with the latest processor and plenty of memory. Like the S7, the camera focuses very quickly.

Geekbench v4.1.0 results are single core: 2011, multi-core score 6477, beating the HTC U Play (by a long way), and also beating the Xperia XZ quite noticeably (XZ scores 1656, and 3737). Thanks to the new SnapDragon 835 chip, with 8 cores, it also outperforms the Samsung Galaxy S7. The AnTuTu Benchmark (v6.2.7) score is 171384. 

The screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which means it should survive being in a pocket with keys without scratching. The back is also protected by the same glass, but for anyone who's ever dropped a phone and seen the screen break, having a glass back could make you quite nervous, so a case is definitely recommended. The rear glass is also quite prone to fingerprints and smudges, so if you like your phone to stay clean this might soon become annoying.

Like the S7, there's no dedicated camera shutter release button on the S8, but the camera app opens up extremely quickly and responds almost instantly to presses of the on-screen shutter button. You can also use the volume control as a shutter release button. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 (7)

There are a number of shooting modes available including Auto, Pro, Panorama, Selective Focus, Slow motion, Hyperlapse, Food, and Virtual shot. You can even download additional (free) shooting modes from Samsung, including Animated GIF, Beauty Face, Sports Shot, Dual Camera, and more. To view the modes available you simply slide your finger from the left to right. Sliding your finger from the right to left will bring up the effects available within the camera app. When using the selfie camera, there are a number of built-in effects available 

Samsung Galaxy S8 (6)

The camera app is easy to use and it's quick and easy to find options and change settings. The screen looks good whether used inside or outside, and it has an impressive resolution.

Bixby Vision requires the creation of a Samsung account and can help you find Wine, Text, Images or Shopping products similar to what you've pointed the camera at. The results are fairly disappointing, however, it's possible the translation feature may be useful for text. 

Battery life - The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 3000mAh battery, which is not removable. The phone should last at least a day, and the battery life appeared good even though the smartphone has an always on display that shows the time on screen. There are options to optimise battery life with different power saving modes. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Black (1)

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Samsung Galaxy S8 SEARCH

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