We don’t hide the fact that, around here, we’re big fans of the Samsung line of Galaxy phones. If I’m not mistaken, we’ve sold every Galaxy mainline phone since the Galaxy 2, because they tend to be of excellent build quality and fantastically well-designed.
Our new offering, the Galaxy S8, is no different with regards to quality and design. But it’s also a pretty wild divergence from the standard Samsung line of phones, in some very interesting ways. Let’s break down the the hardware, and let you know what you can expect from the S8.
All Screen, All The Time
The Samsung S6 Edge was the first indication that Samsung is apparently in a war against bezels, and the S8 design takes that to a new extreme. On first glance, the phone works almost like an optical illusion, as it seems to be made entirely of a screen. That’s not quite true, but it’s pretty close.
It’s a little hard to tell from this picture, but long-time Samsung users will instantly notice a few things: no more Samsung logo on the top, and no physical home button on the bottom. In fact, that little square button on the bottom of the screen (shown in the picture to the left) is a software button, because the screen goes almost down to the bottom of the phone. In fact, aside from a tiny strip at the bottom, and another strip at the top containing the front-facing camera and sensors, the rest of it is all screen.
Not only that, but it’s a longer screen. By, like, a lot. A normal smartphone screen has a a 16:9 ratio, meaning the screen’s dimensions work out to 16 units across and 9 units down. (That’s the same shape as almost every modern television, aka “widescreen”.) The Galaxy S8 on the other hand has a noticeably wider screen with a ratio of 18.5:9, at a sizeable 5.8″ across in diameter. That means if you’re into watching movies or playing games on your phone, the extra screen real estate allows for smaller black bars for widescreen movies and room for on-screen buttons on games that don’t block your playing view.
None of that would matter if the screen itself wasn’t good, but again Samsung’s design team comes through. The screen isn’t just good — it’s astounding. If you want the actual specifications, it’s a Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors, 1440 x 2960 pixels with approximately a 570 ppi density. What that means in English is that it’s real bright, real sharp, and with pixels so small you can’t actually see them with the human eye. I would stack this screen up against any other screen in the smartphone world — and that includes Apple.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Of course, one of the main things you’ll be seeing on that screen are pictures and videos, and here again Samsung comes through with flying, errrrrr, colors. The days of the iPhone having total camera dominance in the smartphone market are really and truly dead — Samsung took a page from the iPhone and bundled a really excellent camera with some powerful software to allow you to take ridiculously good photos pretty much anywhere. It’s especially impressive in low-light, something traditionally done very poorly by smartphone camera, but works like magic on the S8.
The 12-megapixel camera itself is great on it’s own, but the bundled software is next-level. Samsung has an auto-HDR setting (HDR stands for “high dynamic range”, which adjusts the contrast and brightness of your image to provide a deeper, richer picture) that makes taking a professional-looking picture as easy as pushing a button. Dig a little deeper into the settings and you’ll find options for taking slow-motion videos, panoramic pictures, time-lapse videos, selective (aka “tilt focus”) pictures, and a “virtual shot” mode. (Don’t ask me about that last one, as I couldn’t figure it out.)
Bezels, Buttons, and USB
The pretty extreme reinvention of the S8 design means that a lot of the standard placement of buttons and ports found on previous Galaxy models are out the window (screen?) for the S8.
Like I mentioned above, the removal of the physical home button from the bottom of the screen was a little hard to get used to at first, seeing as I am very used to how my S7 operates. It also means that my preferred method of signing into my phone using the home button’s fingerprint reader is completely different — without a home button, the fingerprint scanner is now on the back of the device. They smartly put the fingerprint scanner at approximately where your finger would be if you were holding the phone in your left hand, but it’s still a weird adjustment.
The other major thing you’ll notice is a dedicated button on the left-hand side, just underneath the volume controls. That button brings up Bixby, the Samsung personal assistant — aka, Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant. I haven’t messed around with Bixby too much, but I can tell you that I’ve hit that button by mistake a LOT, aiming for the volume-down button. Luckily, you can mess with the settings to change what the button launches — I suggest using it to launch your camera, personally, but you do you.
While long-time users of the Samsung Galaxy models of smartphone might be surprised by the design decisions Samsung made, you’ll for sure quickly get used to the excellent screen, camera, and quality of the S8. Get it from TextNow today!