Tested: the new Samsung Galaxy S8

by PhilippeDid you know...05/05/2017

Tested: the new Samsung Galaxy S8


The Koreans are pulling out all the stops to make the Samsung Galaxy S8 the must-have gadget of 2017.

After an initial test run, they seem to be succeeding. Mainly thanks to the superior touch screen and the world’s fastest chipset.

After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung can’t afford another setback.


The extra-large 5.8-inch touch screen is the showpiece of the S8. At 6.2-inches, the S8+ goes even further. By way of comparison: the screen on the S7 measures ‘only’ 5.1 inches.

Samsung itself calls the S8 screen ‘The Infinite Display”: it covers practically the whole front of the smartphone and with the curved sides, it seems to run seamlessly into the back of the device.

The internal apps in particular make good use of this. To adapt your standard apps to the large screen, you have to change some of the settings yourself. The result is that everything is just that bit bigger and easier to operate.

The screen resolution is no less than 2,960 x 1,440 pixels — and even a little more thanks to the curved edge. That’s four times more than the standard HD resolution (720p). To enjoy the full pixel splendor, you first have to enable it in the settings menu.

And just like the LG G6 and the Sony Xperia XZ, the screen supports HDR or High Dynamic Range. This technology produces extra bright colors, a superior color range and sharper contrasts than ordinary screens. To make the most of these visual novelties, you need special content. So Samsung is working with Netflix and Amazon who have films and series in HDR in their portfolio.


The S8 is not much bigger than its predecessor, despite the 5.8-inch screen. To make room, the home button has been replaced by a pressure-sensitive part of the touch screen. The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back of the device, just next to the camera. One small point: it is not geared to left-handed use.

The S8 is a little narrower than the S7, so it sits better in the hand and you can operate it with the thumb of the same hand. However, it is still difficult to cover the whole of the touch screen. If you have small hands, it has this nifty feature: with “One Hand Operation” you can reduce the screen with a diagonal swipe.


The 12 megapixel camera at the back is identical to the one on the S7 Edge. Although Samsung previously hinted that they were going to use a more recent camera, it’s not dramatic; a lot of their rivals don’t succeed in producing great shots in poor light. The S8 — and therefore the S7 Edge too — does so in an instant. How come? The large F1.7 aperture that lets a lot of light into the lens.

The difference with the S7 is in the front camera. This now has 8 megapixels and the same aperture as the back camera. What is more, it has autofocus and face recognition: ideal for taking selfies in your business. The main upgrade is the “multi-frame image” feature. Each time you press to take a photo, the S8 takes three shots at once and selects the best one for you.


Thanks to the smaller, economical chipset and the large 3,000 mAh battery — rising to as much as 3,500 mAh with the more expensive S8+ — you can easily get through the day browsing and calling. You can also charge the S8 wirelessly and the fast-charge function will give you enough to keep working for another five hours in just 15 minutes.

Multimedia and games

The processing power is provided either by Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 chip or by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip. It is not yet clear how these two versions will be distributed across the sales markets. In any case, with the Snapdragon 835 Samsung has the fastest chip there is, putting them ahead of most of their competitors.

Rumor even has it that Samsung has bought up the entire Snapdragon 835 stock for the next few months. Only Sony was able to get hold of a supply for its top model, the Xperia Premium XZ. The Snapdragon 835 is over a third smaller and more economical than its predecessor and is supported by 4 gigabytes of main memory and 64 gigabytes of storage capacity. That is more than enough to run the most demanding apps and graphic programs easily and, if need be, simultaneously.

Extra features

In comparison with the S7, there are two new security methods to protect data on the S8 against prying eyes: an iris scanner and face recognition. Both work quickly and impeccably. You simply have to pick up the device and look at it. Unfortunately, the methods cannot be combined.

Samsung’s biggest surprise is Bixby, the little brother of Siri on iPhone and Microsoft’s Cortana. According to Samsung, Bixby goes a step further and is said to be able to learn from what you ask it to do and how you use the S8. For instance, if you check the traffic on your way to work and back every morning and evening, then after a while Bixby will start do so for you.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to test how intelligent Bixby is, because for the time being it only understands Korean. English will follow in mid-May.

Another fun thing from the Koreans is that with every S8 you get free Harman’s AKG earphones. They are a lot better than the earphones supplied by a good many other manufacturers. In addition, the S8 is water- and dustproof. You can hold it under water for half an hour at a depth of up to 1.5 meter without a second thought. Good for underwater shots and filming in the swimming pool on holiday.

In brief…

With the Galaxy S8, Samsung is successfully focusing on innovation and the changing use we are making of our smartphones in 2017. The device stands out from the competition both through its design and due to the super-fast processing power.

Do you want just that little bit more? Then you can always think about buying the Samsung Galaxy S8+ for an extra €100. It has the same cameras, but you get an even bigger screen and an even more powerful battery.

Time will tell whether Bixby — which Samsung says is the more developed version of ‘little sister’ Siri — meets up to expectations.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 stands out from the competition both through its design and due to the super-fast processing power.


  • Large screen
  • Great camera, particularly for photos in poor light
  • Long battery life
  • Iris scanner and face recognition
  • Includes good-quality earphones
  • Fingerprint scanner poorly located

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