Galaxy S8 Review: Samsung’s Back on Top

Samsung Electronics (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) faced a make-or-break moment with the release of its new flagship smartphone, and our Galaxy S8 review puts the results to the test.

Galaxy S8 Review: Samsung’s Back on Top

Source: Samsung

The company’s reputation was in tatters after the Galaxy Note 7’s exploding batteries. Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) was coming after it with the Google Pixel, a very competitive Android flagship smartphone. Arch rival Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), too, had surpassed Samsung’s sales and taken the global sales crown with the iPhone 7, with a 10th anniversary iPhone 8 on the horizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the biggest, most anticipated smartphone releases of 2017. The question is, does it live up to the hype?

Galaxy S8 Review: Beating Apple to the Punch

Samsung has traditionally launched its flagship Galaxy smartphones in the spring, while Apple waits until fall for new iPhone releases. This year, that order is going to have a very big impact.

Samsung is springing an all-new, futuristic design on the smartphone world. The Galaxy S8 is virtually bezel-free. It’s Amoled display stretches from side to side, and the Home button is banished to the back of the device, minimizing the top and bottom bezels.

This lets Samsung squeeze a 5.8-inch Infinity display in the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8+ features a whopping 6.2-inch display in a form factor roughly the size of Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.

The Galaxy s8 also features a glass back design and ups the biometric security ante by adding an iris scanner.

All of this puts Samsung in the position of raining on Apple’s parade this fall. 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple is expected to make a big splash with an iPhone 8 with an all-new design featuring a near bezel-free Amoled display, glass back, iris scanner and no physical Home button. Sound familiar?

While Apple is rumored to be plotting a $1,000-plus price tag for the iPhone 8, Samsung also took the risk of pricing the Galaxy S8 at a premium. At $749 (and $849 for the galaxy S8+), the Galaxy S8 costs $100 more than last year’s Galaxy S7.

Galaxy S8 Review: Two Flaws, But One Will Get Better With Time

The Galaxy S8 is big –without feeling too large– speedy, and its display absolutely pops. The camera is the same as the Galaxy S7’s and remains one of the best in the business. Unlike the iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S8 retains a headphone jack and it doesn’t just come with a pair of disposable buds, Samsung is offering $99 custom tuned pack-ins.

But Samsung didn’t get everything quite right.

The fingerprint sensor is banished from the front. Unable to incorporate a scanner beneath the display, Samsung banished it to the back. But in an unfortunate design choice, the scanner is located right beside the camera lens. This has led to numerous complaints about smudgy photos.

The second problem is Bixby, Samsung’s new AI-powered virtual assistant. The Galaxy S8 comes with a dedicated Bixby button, but for the moment, voice functionality is disabled. That puts Bixby at a huge disadvantage compared to Siri or Google Assistant. However, in this case, the flaw will get better with time. Samsung is aiming to offer Bixby voice support later this spring.

Galaxy S8 Review: Specifications

  • 5.8-inch quad-HD Super Amoled Infinity Display (5.8-inches on Galaxy S8+)
  • Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 835 CPU with 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage (expandable to with microSD cards up to 256GB capacity)
  • 12 MP f/1.7 rear camera with Dual Pixel sensor and optical image stabilization
  • Iris and fingerprint scanners
  • 3000mAh or 3500mAh battery with fast charging and support for wireless charging
  • 802.11ac Dual band MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, ANT+
  • Includes Bixby personal assistant with dedicated Bixby button
  • IP 68 water and dust resistant
  • Samsung Pay support
  • Runs Android 7 Nougat
  • 0.31 or 0.32-inches thick, weighs 5.47 ounces or 6.10 ounces
  • MSRP $649 and $749

Galaxy S8 Review: Conclusion

With the Samsung Galaxy S8 to deal with, Apple and Google have their work cut out when they release their own new flagship smartphones this fall.

Samsung has beaten them to the punch with a new design statement that’s expected to become the industry standard much the way the iPhone 6 inspired several years worth of aluminum-backed, rounded-corner clones. The 10th anniversary iPhone 8 in particular, appears to have lost some bragging rights.

More importantly for Samsung, the Galaxy S8 gets a big monkey off its back. The new flagships shows that it can still build a beautiful, powerful smartphone. And the flood of positive Galaxy S8 reviews are a good sign that it’s finally been able to put the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco in the rear view mirror.

At the moment, there’s no real question about which smartphone is the best in the world. The next big question for Samsung is one we should know the answer for as launch sales numbers come in: are customers willing to pay a $100 premium over last year’s Galaxy S7?

As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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