It may seem like high praise calling the Samsung Galaxy S8 the best smartphone on the market. But that praise doesn’t come from any form of sponsorship or even from a brand bias. The truth is, the praise of the device is warranted. I’m going to take you through my experience of using the Galaxy S8 for the first 24 hours and you can be the judge.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a lot to prove for Samsung – it’s the first device to officially use the new 8 point battery quality assurance process from Samsung, it’s their first flagship after the Note 7, it’s the first time that Samsung has done away with a physical home button, it’s the first Samsung device to feature a bezel-less display and it’s the first Samsung device to have the fingerprint scanner on the back. That’s a whole lot of firsts for the Galaxy S8 and a whole lot of pressure for Samsung. How do these firsts measure up to what we’re so used to seeing from Samsung? The simplest answer – quite well.
The New Face of the Samsung Galaxy (S8)
The first thing that will get your attention with the Galaxy S8 is the smartphone’s new “face”. Samsung’s new approach to the display and the front design of the Galaxy S8 strikes you – in a really good way. The new design really puts the screen front and centre when you look at the Galaxy S8. The WQHD+ display of the Galaxy S8 truly allows the screen to pop even in the Always On Display mode. The slim top and bottom bezels of the S8 frame the display in such a way that the experience is more immersive compared to other devices on the market. That and the WQHD+ resolution bring an amazing experience when consuming media with a graphical crispness which not only bring more detail to the display, it brings a more enjoyable overall experience when gaming or consuming media.
Perhaps one of the most iconic items on any Samsung device is the home button and fingerprint sensor. Veteran Samsung users will definitely vouch for how iconic the home button has become. That said, Samsung has chosen to differentiate itself from the competition this round by placing the home button behind the display. What does this mean? It means that there’s no longer a defined button that is on the face of the Samsung Galaxy S8, instead, there’s a square icon which appears even on the Always On Display, which indicates where a pressure sensor has been placed. This sensor allows the same functionality we’re used to seeing with the home button, without the physical button. But, there’s still a satisfying tactility to it thanks to the haptic feedback.
Gone are the days of a flat Galaxy S series device and an edge variant; the defining dual curved edges are now the norm. While that may be a sore spot for people with experience with the Galaxy S6 edge or s7 edge, the experience of the Galaxy S8 and its plus variant has truly been refined. The edges make the facade of the Galaxy S8 that much more appealing melting the display into the sides seamlessly. In addition, the new “Unboxed” design of the screen is complimented with these curves giving a fluidity to the screen that we’ve yet to see in any other device.
Refined Software Bringing Better User Experience
While the screen and display leave a lasting impression, it isn’t the main driver of the user experience on any device. In any smartphone, the user experience is heavily influenced by the software of the device. If you’ve been following tech for a while, you’d be more than aware that this has been a sore point for Samsung in the past. So, what about the Galaxy S8? In one word: “refined”. Samsung has always been touting their smartphones as premium, but the software has left many users with a less than enjoyable experience. Slow, sluggish, bloatware and uninspiring were words used by many reviewers to describe their experience in the past. I doubt they will now.
The new User Experience the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ bring to the table feels like it’s been rethought and rebuilt from the bottom up. The fluid design of the device is complemented by an equally fluid user interface. Samsung has opted to do away with the app drawer button for a more natural gesture-based toggle. Sound familiar? Yep, we saw this in the Google Pixel. To be frank, I’m wondering what took them so long to figure this out! It makes so much more sense. It’s not just the app drawer toggle that’s been rethought, even the quick toggle shade feels and looks so much better.
Speaking of looks, the new icon design of the S8 is refreshingly familiar. Doesn’t really make sense right? But, it’s undeniable, Samsung has managed to keep a sense of familiarity while updating their icons for a more edgy and futuristic look. The new designs breathe a new life into a design language that was growing stale. It made the Galaxy S8 feel like a really new device overall. Not like other devices which an old device in a new body.
Well, that’s all for this 24-hour article. Stay tuned for our full review of the Galaxy S8. Not to be a tease, but it’s looking like we might have our first ever Editor’s choice. Let’s see how it fairs in our full review.