Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ Hands On and First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ Hands On and First Impressions

Video transcript provided below...

The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are here and we go hands on with both devices and compare it to the new LG G6.


So about a week ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Samsung Unpacked event and was able to check out the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. I was pumped to be able to check out the phones but only had about a half hour with the devices and my testing was limited. Today, I was able to check out the S8+ in this Orchid Gray color for about 24hrs. Shoutout to T-Mobile for letting us take a deeper dive into this phone. These are my S8 First Impressions in the Real World.

So my intial impressions on the S8+ at the Unpacked event was that it was super comfortable in the hands, very lightweight for its size and that it really wasn't that big. Most of that remains true but I must say the S8+ is actually a very big device. Using the S8+ one handed is not going to be easy at all. We can also get the cat out of the bag right now and just call it what it is. This Fingerprint Sensor is useless. Not because its a bad sensor but because it's in an AWFUL spot. I rarely, if ever can locate it using one hand on the first try, I smudge the hell out of the camera and I always overshoot the sensor and it doesn't read properly. A case definitely helps with figuring out where your finger is at on the back but it doesn't fix the issue.

Overall, I am still incredibly pleased with the design and feel of the device. This Orchid Gray color is probably the second best color option available next to the Midnight Black, in my opinion. Of course, you're still going to get those greasy fingerprints all over the back of the device and the front is definitely going to be hard to fully prevent from scratches or cracks but its the price we pay for an incredible looking phone. If you're looking for a great case though, I recommend going with Samsung's Official Bikini case.

Jokes aside, although I am unhappy with the fingerprint sensor, the Iris Scanner and Facial recognition is definitely on point and very accurate. Now the facial recognition doesn't offer any real security because it could be easily tampered with but the Iris Scanner seems a lot faster than last years Note 7 version. You can basically have all these biometrics on for security and of course have a PIN or pattern available as backup so a useless fingerprint sensor won't hold you back too much.

The next thing I did with the device that I wasn't really able to do at the event was mess around with Bixby more. Unfortunately, Bixby was pretty limited on this unit as well. I am going to be honest, for me, virtual assitants are pretty useless. I use my Google Home every now and again to control my lights or TV but I almost always forget it's available on my phone. Now I am a pretty big fan of the design of the Bixby Card layout, which is located to the left of your homescreen. This is pretty much a replica of Google Now Cards, which Google implemented about 5 years ago. Bixby, like Google Now, is contextually aware, and organizes your cards with releveant data based on how you use your phone and what apps or places you visit. You can of course pin or remove any card that you see fit.

Now although this is something that I am visually a fan of and in thoery, a fan of how useful these cards can be, I also feel I will forget they are even there after a few days of using the device. Hopefully when I get my retail unit, I can mess around with Bixby even more.

Now I did find a Bixby feature that is pretty cool within the camera, and that's the ability to take a picture and use Bixby to either do a google search on what you took a picture of or find that product on Amazon. Now, as you can see here, this rarely worked but I did get it to work at least one time, with the Gear Icon X earbuds. This is a really cool idea and its definitely something I can see myself using when shopping around at a store and I am about to pull out my phone to do the standard see if Amazon has it cheaper dance. I hope Samsung continues to improve the accuracy with this Bixby feature as I can see it being one of the more useful features to average consumers.

Some other controversial topics that have been circulating around the internet is that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ do not come out of the box at its highest resolution. Now there are a myriad of reasons as to why Samsung might have done this but one can only assume they want consumers to have the best battery life available, right? Well, personally, I think they are still a little afraid of their batteries exploding, and worried the battery and the phones overall performance with a higher resolution display might push the battery a little far. I also assume they think average consumers who purchase the phone wont notice that the display is in FHD+ and not QHD+ and to be quite honest, the display is so good, it was really hard to notice a difference.

There are few different performance modes, each with different settings and reasons as to why you would choose them. To me, I would like max performance but it might be interesting to see just how much battery life the optimized mode might get you over higher performance.

The rest of the phones software and launcher have been redesigned, unless of course you had a Note 7 or an S7/S7 Edge with Nougat, then a lot of this will look familiar. Either way, the launcher is a bit different along with the overall design concept of the UI. The fonts and colors have been changed to a more modern looking skin. You can swipe up or down to access the app drawer and of course swiping to the right will bring you to Bixby. I did notice out of the box that the app drawer icon is still in your dock even with the swipe up functionality. I definitely thought this was stupid and was desperately hoping for a way to remove it. After digging around, I did find a way to remove it in the settings menu.

In fact, there are a BUNCH of little tweaks or custom options hidden in the settings menu that I did my best to scour. Since the navigation buttons are on screen for the first time, you can finally change the wierd menu home and back button order that Samsung has tried to force on us in recent years. You can also change the sensitivity of the home button, which I am still not sure if I totally like or not. You can even customize the navigation bars color to whatever you want but it only shows up in certain apps and can make it a bit weird depending on the color you pick.

Features like double tap the power button to launch into the camera still exist as well as Multi Window and a new feature called Snap Window. Now if someone could explain the difference to me, that would be great because I am just not seeing it. Maybe I need to use this more but Multi Window acts like it should and Snap Window is where you can pick a very specific portion of the screen and snap it to the top of your display and then you can run another app underneath. I suppose its the selection of a specifc portion thats different but with a few tweaks, you can get Multi Window to do the same. Either way, this is one of those features that is super useful if you remember to use it.

Overall, this phone is definitely going to do well and barring anything changing during my testing when I actually have the device and can use it everyday for at least a month, I can see it being a phone that I will recommend. It’s definitely not a perfect phone but Samsung seemingly did a great job with pushing their creative boundaries and trying to innovate without making too many drastic changes that might push away their fanbase.

Now I will definitly have some more coverage on the S8 and S8+ over the next few weeks and will have different videos on cases, accessories like the new Gear VR, Gear 360 2 and the DeX dock. Also be sure to let me know in the comments section what phone you want to see go up against the S8 in a comparison video.

That's it for now guys, be sure to like and subscribe if you haven't already done so and I will see you all in the next one.