Last year around this time, Samsung released their flagships the S7 and the S7 Edge, in which case I released an article talking about my hatred of the S7 Edge. I couldn’t even write a full review due to me not liking the device, so in my article I talked about 5 major annoyances I had with the phone including the build, fingerprint sensor, palm detection, speaker, and software. The new Galaxy S8+ fixed a lot of this while remaining a very similar device, so let’s take a closer look. Before that though, If you want to have a more in-depth look at the Galaxy S8+, check out our review!
The S7 Edge was a super thin and slippery device that also had a sharp, uncomfortable edge. The S8+ is a lot smoother on the sides and the back doesn’t slip out of my hands as often as the S7 did. There’s also a lot more heft to the device that helps when you hold it. The main thing here is that Samsung has learned a lot from the Note 7 and implemented its build into the S8.
Now for a point in the S8 that I don’t necessarily love, the fingerprint sensor. It’s definitely better as far as performance goes than the S7 Edge, but the location is a bit weird. My hands are bigger, so it’s not out of reach, but I don’t like how close it is to the camera. I prefer this sensor compared to the one on the S7 Edge by far, but the sensor on the Google Pixel and plenty of other phones is so much better.
The palm detection of the S8+ is miles better than the S7 Edge, which Samsung learned from the Note 7. I can comfortably use it without getting typos or having phantom touches and whatnot due to the curved edges. That simply improves the overall experience when you’re using this phone on a daily basis.
Speaker & Audio
Generally, I never look at Samsung for advances in mobile audio, but the S8+ has opened my eyes. It still has a mono bottom facing speaker like it’s predecessor, but what Samsung has done in other audio departments is major. I’d still like to see companies improve speaker technology for phones like we saw when the era of Boomsound was around, but the S8’s speaker is actually quite good, all things considered.
Better yet, Samsung gives audio more focus through the software as well as through wired and wireless audio. The software offers up an extremely easy tuner for adjusting the sound of your audio, headphones or not. As for wired audio, an excellent set of earbuds is included in the box, and wireless headphones run through Bluetooth 5.0, enabling the ability to connect two wireless audio sources at once.
Lastly, software, which has always been Samsung’s biggest downfall. Honestly, it’s much better. A lot of my own grievances from last year’s S7 Edge have been fixed or at least changed. Samsung has totally charged the home screen UX so that we have the option of slide up app drawers, persistent app drawer settings, and better app/folder management. Honestly, with all the new updates, the only thing that annoys me is Bixby.
Bixby, Samsung’s new half-baked assistant that they’ll be shoving down our throats in the new few flagships, is not only a less intuitive version of Google Assistant, but also is just in the way of other applications. Especially in the camera app, there’s a persistent teddy bear icon that opens the (once again, half-baked) Bixby identifier mode.
Besides that I have only one other nitpick in the UI, pulling down from the home screen also brings up the app drawer, I’d wish for it to bring the notification panel, but since the fingerprint sensor can do that, I’m not too jaded.
All in all, the S8+ is miles ahead of what the S7 Edge was. I can, and have been, using this confidently as my daily driver for a while without missing my Pixel too much — though I always end up going back to it — something about that flat display probably. If you’re looking for a heavily feature packed phone with great hardware and constantly improving software, the Galaxy S8+ will be hard to beat.