Samsung s latest flagship smartphones, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, have launched in India. The latest flagship smartphones arrive after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco that dented Samsung s reputation in the market. The Galaxy Note 7 is now history, and Samsung has concentrated all its focus on the latest flagship smartphones. Going by the reports of high pre-order figures in the Western market, Samsung s new flagship smartphones seem on course to revive the company s glory. In India, Samsung has lost a major ground to Apple in the premium segment, and this is why Samsung again needs to go all out in what probably is one of its biggest markets in the world. Also Read - India vs Pakistan ICC T20 World Cup 2021 match today: How to watch online for freeAlso Read - Best smartphones under Rs 20,000 with AMOLED display October 2021: Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, Realme X7 5G, more
Needless to say, but there s also massive expectations from consumers for the Galaxy S8 lineup not only to be good, but better than the previous generation. Samsung is expected to at least deliver a solid smartphone, and better experience than the premium phones it has thus far. Ahead of today s official launch, I spent some time with the new Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8 smartphones, and here are my first impressions. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Buds 2 Maison Kitsuné Edition launched: Here’s the first look
The Samsung Galaxy S8 series retains the premium-ness benchmark it had set with the Galaxy S7. But after the S7 series, the market is flooded with much more affordable smartphones that replicate the same premium feel. Smartphones like the Xiaomi MI MIX have set a new trend of ultra-slim bezels, and from what we are hearing from rumors the MI MIX 2 will have much slimmer bezels than the last one. The Galaxy S8 too has that slim bezel covered with dual-curved display and very slim top and bottom bezels. With the removal of the home button from the front, the given real estate is much more generous. Just from the front, the Samsung Galaxy S8 looks quite neat.
Elaborating the design, the Galaxy S8 has gently curved corners, and an overall slim and light profile. The Galaxy S8 easily fits in your palm whereas the Galaxy S8+, which has bigger 6.2-inch display, feels slightly bigger, taller to be precise. The volume rocker along with the dedicated button to trigger Bixby AI is on the left-hand side, whereas the right side houses the power button. The base has the 3.5mm audio jack, and the USB type C port along with speaker grilles.
The rear, however, gets little interesting with a peculiar set up for the camera and fingerprint scanner. Since the two are set horizontally, the finger does come in the way of camera view. Though most probably you will never use the fingerprint scanner when the camera is open. On the compact Galaxy S8, accessing the fingerprint scanner isn t much of a problem but it gets tricky on the bigger Galaxy S8+ as the only partial fingerprint is reachable unless you decide to stretch your palms. For a person like me who has relatively bigger palms, I can get used to this setup, but people with smaller hands could have a hard time adjusting to it. Samsung already has faced criticism for this, and even I feel the fingerprint scanner would have made more sense if placed below the camera setup. I think this is pretty common, and I always believe in don t try to fix anything that ain t broken.
Besides the design element, I spent some time with the camera as well. Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ come with an 8-megapixel front facing camera with f/1.7 and smart auto-focus. Given the light conditions, the front camera does take pretty decent selfies. To spice things up, you can choose between different modes like taking a wide-angle photo or add preloaded Snapchat-like filters — something that will interest millennials.
Samsung has marginally improved the rear camera with 12-megapixel sensor, f/1.7 aperture, and video recording support up to 4K resolution. The camera also has different modes like selective focus, allowing to change focus after the image has been processed. Using any other mode other than normal makes the image processing slow. But since it s a demo unit, I d like to give Samsung the benefit of the doubt.
There has been a lot of buzz around Bixby AI. The AI is supposed to be integrated within the Samsung apps. I could see the Bixby integration within the camera and a few apps. But since it doesn t work properly without signing into Samsung account (which I don t have and didn t sign up), all I could experience is Google Now cards-like aggregator by swiping right on the display. The Bixby shows a snippet from the gallery, and the cards appeared to be based on the location you are with custom information. ALSO READ: From Samsung Bixby to Apple Siri, is Artificial Intelligence ready for primetime?
Another highlight of the smartphone is preloaded Samsung Pay, which lets you make payment at the traditional PoS terminals without you needing to carry your debit or credit card. Though you need to store credit and debit cards on the device. We have covered Samsung Pay in length in the past. One of the things Samsung did point out that Samsung Pay also supports iris scanner authentication, which it thinks is going to be huge going forward. ALSO READ: Samsung Pay: A payment service with immense opportunity, but challenges exist
Performance wise, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ felt fluid, and close to what you can expect from a premium smartphone. The smartphones feature an Exynos 8895 octa-core processor under the hood paired with 4GB of RAM. While I am very optimistic about the performance capabilities of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, I will like to reserve my verdict until our reviewers have put the devices through a barrage of tests.
Samsung s latest Galaxy S8 series appears to be more focused on the set of experience with features like iris scanner, Bixby AI and Samsung Pay while delivering top-of-the-line specifications. In my opinion, Samsung is looking at other aspects of the so-called innovation in a smartphone. Just on the basis of specifications, the Galaxy S8 perhaps won t overwhelm you, but toss in additional hardware like DeX station and VR with motion controllers, the smartphone appears to be an epicenter of the Samsung ecosystem. Even without the additional hardware, which not all of us may need at all, I am more than looking forward to seeing how Samsung s Bixby evolves, how do Indians adapt to Samsung Pay, and will the iris scanner take off in India?
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