Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?
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Review The Galaxy S8+ is like a nine course meal of desserts – tiramisus, trifles, ice creams, one after another – that you have to eat with chopsticks and a straw.

As you should expect from a phone that’s almost £800, much of the technology is sensational. The edge-to-edge display is not just pretty, it’s practical too, and the phone feels great to hold. But Samsung puts two serious hindrances in the way of the owner.

One is a finger print sensor that is hard to reach and whose profile and positioning will seriously muck up your photos. The other is Bixby – purportedly an “artificial intelligence assistant” but which turns out to be the maddest example of buzzword-induced corporate self-delusion since Tronc.

Last year’s Galaxy S7 was so far ahead of the pack it seemed pointless to recommend another Android in the same premium price category.

The Galaxy S8+ should be even better, an exemplar of good design and well implemented new technology. The Note 7 left a vaccum for the shopper who wants a premium phone and knows and trusts Samsung from past experience.

But, but… Bixby! And that flaming sensor placement. It really defies belief. Samsung admits that with Bixby, which isn’t even half finished, you have to change. Have a look:

Samsung acknowledges the pain is on purpose. Click to enlarge

Samsung acknowledges the pain is on purpose. Click to enlarge

Taking it for a spin…

Here I’ll provide some subjective impressions; the phone has been used as a daily driver for over a week. Samsung’s curved edge glass was introduced a couple of years ago, in the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Nice to look at, nice to fondle, but of any practical use? Well the S8 answers that question definitively. The curved glass is used to pack a lot more pixels into your hand. The picture, rather than frame, comes to the fore.

This results in a much slimmer design. As one reviewer noted, the S8+ is just 3mm wider than the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, a phone sold (as the name implies) on it being er, compact. Yet almost all that surface is being used for pixels, and the side bezel has entirely disappeared.

For the past few years we’ve used the length of the diagonal across the display as a proxy for the size of the phone, but the disappearance of capacitive buttons, and ever-shrinking side bezels made this much less meaningful. Edge-to-edge displays mean we can probably dispense with this rule-of-thumb entirely.

The S8s both go tall. The S8+ here uses an unconventional 18.5:9 ratio, rather than the 18:9 (or 2:1 if you prefer) ratio LG used for the G6. Both the smaller and larger S8s incorporate a 1440 x 2960 resolution display, (c.570ppi s8+) on either a 6.2inch or 5.8inch diagonal.

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