For the discerning
With better camera functions, biometric technologies, an intelligent interface and a host of other innovative features, Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ should hold its own in the competitive smartphone market, writes Izwan Ismail.
THE Samsung top-of-the-line Galaxy S8 phones — the S8 and S8+ — will be launched this Thursday.
Being the biggest Android player in the market, much is expected of the Korean company's latest flagship phones, and like the years before, it still managed to come out with some innovative tech in its new offering.
We managed to get hold of the S8+ for review.
Samsung has brought a new dimension in smartphone design by doing away with the bezel display, giving it a clean, infinity screen look.
It's the first of its kind with borderless design, and the sleek and thin phones are comfortable to hold and use.
The S8+ comes with a whopping 6.2-inch plus screen (compared to 5.8-inch in the S8, and 5.5-inch in the previous S7 edge), giving it 36 per cent more viewing area.
In comparison with the S7 edge, the S8+ is slightly smaller width-wise. Despite its bigger screen, the S8+ doesn't look big in the hand and can still be operated comfortably with one hand.
The phone's 18.5:9 screen ratio maximises immersion and gives users new viewing experiences. Also, its HD+ Super AMOLED screen is an ideal platform for viewing content from videos, social media feeds, gaming applications and more.
However, I feel the phone's thin design with borderless screen and rounded corners with a glossy back makes it quite slippery to hold, especially if your hand is wet or sweaty.
Despite using Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back, you may not want to drop the phone on a hard surface, unless it is fully protected with a good, tough casing.
Another bold innovation that Samsung has brought to the S8+ is the exclusion of the physical Home button. This is to utilise its technical space.
Tapping gently on the Home button icon twice will lead users to the Home menu.
The fingerprint sensor which used to be at the front Home button is now moved to the back, next to the camera.
But some features have been maintained, such as the phone's water and dust resistance attributes. The Galaxy S8+ is IP68 certified, which means it is submersible up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. So if you accidentally drop it in water, don't worry, it will still work!
The Galaxy S8+ continues to deliver the legacy of the S series camera capability.
Despite the popularity and trendy dual-camera features in other premium phones, Samsung has decided to go its own way by utilising the dual pixel technology.
The phone is equipped with an advanced 8MP F1.7 Smart autofocus front camera and 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera designed for low-light, zoom and anti-blur photos with enhanced image processing.
When tested in various shooting modes, especially low light, the camera performs very well.
For those who are more advanced, the pro mode is also available where you can adjust shooting parameters like ISO, aperture, white balance and a few other features.
The auto-focus also works well with tracking capability to let you lock on moving targets easily.
Samsung has also made available some fancy and interesting stickers and photo effects to make the photos you take more interesting. This is a cool feature to have especially among the younger generation.
The Galaxy S8+ is equipped with the industry’s first 10nm application processor that allows for faster and more efficient processing performance with lower power consumption.
This feature will be able to support up to 1Gbps for quick download speeds, regardless of the file size.
Vivid and better graphics technology, as well as a Game Pack, featuring top game titles, including select titles supported by the Vulkan API is a plus for users.
Security-wise, Samsung has included a wide selection of biometric technologies, including iris and fingerprint scanners, as well as the new facial recognition functionality, to make logging into your device, apps and services more convenient.
For proper iris recognition, you need to hold the device 25 to 35 cm from your face. Iris recognition may be affected when the device is used in direct sunlight, or when the user is wearing certain types of glasses or contact lenses.
Samsung has also included Bixby, which is a new way to interact with your phone. It’s an intelligent interface that lets you weave together various modes of interaction including touch or voice to make interacting with your device, services and apps more instinctive and seamless.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is also IP68 water and dust resistant, and has MicroSD support up to 256GB, always-on display and fast and wireless charging capabilities.
The phone also connects with Samsung's new peripherals such as the new Gear VR with controller, the Gear 360, Samsung DeX, Samsung Health, Samsung Pay and mySamsung support programme.
The S8+ will be available at RM3,699 (RM3,299 for S8) in midnight black, orchid grey and maple gold.