I was shooting a picture from rooftop bar in Hong Kong this week during a quick business trip, when I got a real live consumer reaction to the new Samsung S8+, and if the reaction I got is anything to go by this device is set to be a smash hit.
In fact, I had only had the device in my hands for a few minutes when a male guest, asked me “What phone is that” when I told him that it was the new S8+ running Android he said “Wow” can I have a look, within minutes he said, “This looks and feels very nice, it’s very stylish”.
An investment banker with HSBC in Hong Kong he then showed the device to several his friends sitting round a table, there reaction was equally impressive, then came the punchline, they were all Apple iPhone users.
“Now I know why I need to give up my iPhone” said one female while another asked how easy was it to use Android, after pointing out a few differences including the camera they unanimously agreed that the new S8+ was a “seriously “cool phone”.
When I pointed out that the camera was like the previous Galaxy S7 one male in the group said that they never thought “an Android” phone was “that good” I always thought they were just an ordinary” smartphone.
I then pointed out the features that Android had over the Apple iPhone and then I realised that this group were serious contenders to switch to the new S8+ especially when one female asked whether it came in a smaller size.
When it comes to the Galaxy S8+, Samsung’s over-sized version of the S8, is one seriously good piece of engineering though it is not without its faults.
These are faults that one can work around especially if you have small hands but still want to own a smartphone that boasts a giant 6.2in screen, the tiniest of bezels and specs that seriously kick arse. Size wise it is seriously bigger than the 5.7in LG G6.
One big grip I have, is the location of the fingerprint scanner, unlike the G6 the S8 scanner is located at the top right of the rear right next to the camera and I have already had two warnings that my camera lens was greasy.
Unlike the G6 scanner which is easy to reach, one must reach up and feel for the scanner with the S8+ so, if you have super long fingers you should be okay, but if you are like me and you fall short of an easy contact, it quickly becomes irritating.
The fall back is the pattern security feature following a click of the right-side button.
The first thing you notice about the S8+ is also its key feature It’s what Samsung calls the “infinity screen”, it used to be called the Edge screen but what you get with the S8 is a big improvement on past models, it’s smoother more stylish and fits right into one’s hand, it delivers a massive point of difference to any other smartphone out there.
With the typical 16:9 aspect ratio stretched out to 18.5:9, Samsung has managed to fit 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch OLED screens into a seriously together design with the S8 and S8+.
They have taken over where Steve Jobs left off, driving sales with cutting edge technology that dares to be different.
10 years ago, Samsung was blowing in the wind when it came to smartphones, in fact they weren’t in the race, today they are a class act both from a design and technology prospective, because tucked under the bonnet of this S8+ are Samsung made components that most other smartphone Companies must buy in, in Apples case, from Samsung.
As one observer said of the new S8+ design “It feels as if, this smartphone fits you”.
Samsung claims that one of the key differences with this phone is their new Bixby artificial intelligence engine. I have already had my say on this engine which still has a long way to go.
What you will notice, is that Samsung has removed the home button, this has allowed them to deliver better screen to bezel ratio than any other mainstream device by 84 per cent.
At 8.1mm thin, with curved Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, combined with a metal frame, the Galaxy S8+ is up there when it comes to durability.
Combine this with IP68-standard water and dust resistance as well as the usual array of ports, including a USB-C and an all-important 3.5mm headphone jack, and its clear Samsung hasn’t had to make any major sacrifices.
The main OS is Android 7.0, on top of this Samsung has added their own toppings.
For example, there’s no apps tray button, Instead, to cycle between the apps tray and home screens, you simply need to swipe up or down. It took me a few goes to get into the practise of using this feature because my finger often wen to the bottom of the screen instead of to the light grey flickering arrow.
The Galaxy S8+ has the same rear camera specs as the Galaxy S7, a 12MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture.
Video recorded on the Galaxy S8+ is also above average especially when shooting in 4K.
The use of image stabilisation makes a big difference when shooting working different all resolutions, gone are the wobbles often associated with a long video shoot.
Low light performance is where this camera really kick in especially in a low light restaurant.
It’s also no performance slouch due in part to the use of a Samsung Exynos 8895 processor that’s paired with 4GB RAM, the 64GB of memory also comes in handy.
The front camera, however, has been bumped up from 5M to 8MP, sharing the same wide f/1.7 aperture as the rear camera.
You will see by the below Panoramic night shot of Hong Kong that this camera seriously delivers both from a sharpness and contrast prospective.
Pictures taken on the rear camera look excellent on the S8+’s display, in these shots of the famous Peninsular Hotel in Hong Kong the colours are extremely accurate.
The excellent clarity as seen in the panoramic shot is excellent owing to extremly good optical image-stabilisation and some very smart imaging algorithms.
The S8+ takes three stills for every picture taken and then extracts information from all three to finetune the final image.
This is not just a great smartphone it’s a classic piece of design that could one day be up there with the classic.
Even now it could easily sit next to a Barcelona Chair Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929 and not be out of place, it would also be at home with the famous Kitchen Aid Mixer that was invented in 1918 and is today an all-time design classic.
Maybe in 50 years’ time our next generation, with their inbuilt communication implants, will look back and say that the Samsung Galaxy S8+ was a real classic back in 2017.
Four key things make this device an absolute standout. Design, physical functionality, performance and simplicity.
What Samsung have done is take a leaf out of the top automotive brands in the world, Mercedes, Audi, BMW and the likes of Aston Martin where evolution to the next generation of technology is far more important than flash bang gimmick that eventually fails, the last two LG G4 and G5 are testimony to gimmick failures.
Consumers love evolution and I am confident that The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are set to break records.
The $1,350 S8+, arrives in stores next week and today for those who pre-ordered, I strongly advise that if you have the cash to splash out on this device it will not let you down, I hope, .I said that about the Note 7 and we all know what happened with that device.