We can all agree that the Galaxy S8 Plus is currently the best smartphone in the world. Reviewers have said that. Tests have shown that, and so have users. It is also the most beautiful device currently. So, there’s that.
To be a really good phone, any device needs to be able to get some things right: Good performance, good battery, good design, good software, and a good display.
The Galaxy S8 Plus offers all the above, plus much more, incredibly well. It is stunning in all aspects even-though it isn’t perfect. Perfection can’t yet be achieved, but the Galaxy S8 Plus has really pushed the boundaries.
You already know the phone specs. You’ve seen it in pictures, in videos, or even experienced it at stores. So I will focus directly on the things I liked about the phone:
A QHD bezel-less infinity display. There’s nothing else that comes close. It is super bright, super-clear, super colourful, super amazing. It doesn’t scratch easily, and you’re comfortable having it in a bag with keys and coins. But that doesn’t mean the phone isn’t super delicate and that you won’t be having mini heart attacks any time it slips a little.
I previously thought I had seen true black using other devices, until when I was watching a movie on the S8 Plus and in one of those dramatic pauses the screen went black and I thought the phone had gone off.
Samsung did a good job in utilising this incredible display with things like:
- Always ON – an amazing feature I am still not comfortable with even though it doesn’t eat up battery life.
- Wallpapers – endless and amazing
- Icons – you can change your icons and customise your phone with many different theme packs. So no need for third party icon packs.
- Edge Apps: when the screen is on, you pull from the right to left to access quick apps, and quick settings like music app, torch, ruler, compass, clipboard etc.
- Edge Lighting:The image below sums it up. The edges of the phone light up when there’s a notification. And it is a sight! Of course there are other colour options.
This is where many devices fall short. You get a really good phone, but the battery is mediocre. I expected poor battery life on the S8 Plus. It is too slim and I’m used to 4500mAh batteries anyway. So I was skeptical. But I was surprised. I have never hit 8hrs screen-on time on a phone, but the S8 Plus did that! Here’s a post I wrote on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Battery life.
Apart from being incredible in battery life, the S8 Plus also features incredible software optimisation for battery saving. Yes it has a QHD display. But there are powernsaving techniques to reduce it to FHD or HD.
There are two Power Saving Modes on the Galaxy S8 Plus;
- Max Saving: – mad! This will push 20% battery to even 6/7hrs. And you can still enjoy a couple of apps and access WiFi.
- Mid Saving – this will reduce phone processes and push say 20% battery to 3/4hrs.
Power saving is done right on the S8 Plus. You don’t get a brick to call and text when you enable power saving. You still get to enjoy using your phone.
Another reason to love this phone is that it supports quick charging, wireless charging and quick wireless charging. When you’re in a hurry, and your battery is say 15%, you can charge it up and in a few minutes it’ll be 60% which can comfortably last you a day.
The back camera is a 12MP shooter. And Samsung didn’t go dual just yet. But it is one of, if not the best cameras in the world. Colours are accurate. Focus is mad! The best way to know this is to test the camera out yourself. Check out this post on the back camera of the S8 Plus.
The front camera is the one Samsung really upgraded. It has autofocus. It is bright, and amazing even in low light. It shoots awesome videos and the stability is amazing. Vloggers where are you….?
Samsung did a good job with the camera app. Though there’s a learning curve if you’re new to the Samsung UI. You get different modes including:
- Pro – back camera allows you to shoot like a pro.
- Slow Mo – performs so well in good natural lighting
- Food mode – for capturing food. And it is amazing with saturation and blurring. Rejoice food bloggers…
- Selective Focus – like the iPhone’s portrait mode. But this is available for both front and back cameras. And it is pretty accurate in creating good bokeh effect.
- Hyperlapse and Wide Selfie modes
Software Done Right:
Samsung got software right with this new light skin. Among the things I love most are:
- GIFs – you can, from Edge apps, quickly select a screen area and create a GIF from any app or video on your screen.
- Multi-window – The ability to be able to resize multi-window apps is a good bonus. I know Samsung have been doing that.
- Snap-window – here you can select the area of an app you want to remain while you’re using another app.
- Smart Stay: This feature allows your phone display to stay on as long as you’re looking at it.
- Performance Modes – So yeah there’s battery saving modes, all cool. But there’s also performance modes. Here you can choose different modes depending on what you’re doing. There’s a gaming mode, an optimised mode, an entertainment mode and a high performance mode. Each mode sets the phone in a particular way to make you enjoy the most of what you’re doing. For example entertainment mode bumps up colours and makes the display “inviting” to give you the best experience.
There are many other things that could be written about the S8 software. A phone is about experience. And Samsung has got that right with this phone. You are constantly experiencing and that’s what the last one month with the device has been about.
An argument that many people share is that Android isn’t as secure as iOS. Arguable, yes. Fact, somehow.
With the S8 and S8 Plus, there’s built in Device Maintenance that constantly checks up the battery, device performance, the files, and the apps. There’s built-in Malware Protection and one can freely opt in to Samsung Knox Secure Folder to have their files, apps and images locked and protected.
Also, this phone has the following bio-metric security features:
- a Fingerprint scanner – it is fast, and accurate and weirdly placed. But it works
- an Iris Scanner – this thing amazed me. Yes it scans my eyes to unlock the device. Yes it is really really really really fast. Instant! Yes it works even in a dark room!
- Face Recognition – this one is also wild. It scans my face to unlock the phone. It is also very very very fast.
Which is better; Iris scanner, Face recognition or fingerprint?
To be clear, you can set all the following up. But you can’t use both Iris scanner and Face Recognition at the same time. You can use either of the two with the fingerprint scanner.
I love having the Iris scanner and the fingerprint scanner. I wake up and look at the phone and it unlocks whether the lights are on or not.
With the face recognition, it would fail to unlock when the room isn’t that well lit even though it amazed me sometimes in darker conditions.
I noticed that the Iris scanner doesn’t do too well in bright sunlight. But that is what I use most. So for me, the Iris scanner and the Fingerprint scanner team up pretty well.
What would you do if your phone is water resistant? Shower with it? Dunk it in water to amaze people every time? Go swimming with it? Use it in the rain without worries? Wash it when you feel it looks dirty?
All that and it still works fine.
There’s a heart rate scanner at the back of the phone next to the camera flash. And there’s also the Samsung Health App.
The app automatically records your activity throughout the day. It knows when you are walking, it knows when you’re running. It counts the steps and breaks down the speed, the distance and the calories burned.
I have been a Google Fit user but the Samsung Health app blew my mind. The accuracy is on point! I can have the phone in my pocket, on my hands, in backpack and it would still get the steps and distance right!
The heart-rate scanner is also amazingly accurate. And it keeps that data when you feed it in so that you can share that with a doctor or have it in future to know more about yourself.
There are many tiny extra things about the S8 Plus. I can’t put everything down. But the following are nice additions:
- Hearing – the device, under accessibility, can have hearing set on where you will be notified when the phone detects an alarm or hears a baby crying
- Flash notifications – setting this on makes your phone or LED Flash light blink rapidly in case of a notification or a call.
- One-handed mode – yes, it is a tall display and if you want to use it on one hand you can
- Finger print sensor shortcuts – you can make the fingerprint more useful with pulling down the notifications bar
- Gestures – there are a couple of gestures for taking screenshots, silencing the phone etc.
- Easy Calling – I just gave this a name. But when you’re on a contact’s profile, instead of hitting call, you can just bring the phone to your ear and it’ll call the contact.
Everything looks good, so what’s bad heh?
It can’t be a perfect phone like that, can it now? Well it isn’t.
- There’s something called Bixby that I think no one uses. I don’t. But it has a dedicated button. And I sometimes accidentally hit that button. But there’s a way to re-map that Bixby button.
- It is also a highly delicate phone. And you have to be extra careful with it. All the damn time! You can’t sit pretty because you fear it’ll break or scratch. A constant fear given it is a pricey phone. Also, you can’t get good phone cases for it without destroying that amazingly beautiful look.
- Fingerprint placement is a no no no. Better luck next time Samsung.
- Home button – yes, there’s a home button. It doesn’t physically exist though, it is just that you get some feedback when you press that area. I use it when exiting full screen apps or videos, but it needs more functionality.
That’s it! Samsung got it right!