Most of what I review gets very little attention from the people I meet on a day to day basis. Everyone seems to have gotten used to a revolving door of bags, phones and gadgets so when my hairdresser saw the phone I had and asked if she could get a closer look it was something out of the ordinary. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a good looking phone. It’s glass on both sides and the screen curves around the edges making it look and feel like a solid hunk of glass. This is so big an effect I’ve been picking it up, pressing the button and wondering why it isn’t working – when looking at the back!

Samsung has been marketing the S8 on the curved screen and I was skeptical. The marketing picture’s don’t show it particularly well but when you actually see it you can tell why they’ve been so enthusiastic about it.

So what do you get inside? In short probably the best specced phone on the market right now. The fastest CPU, 4GB of RAM, storage starting from 64GB with a microSD for expansion and a great camera.

From a software perspective the S8 also scores well. Samsung puts their own Touchwiz UI on top of Android and they’ve been smart enough to make it less and less invasive. The phone is currently running Android 7.0 with April’s security patch. Android 8.0 is currently in beta and going on the experience with the S7 the S8 is likely to get it towards the beginning of 2018.

The Ergohacks Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is an amazing phone. It’s beautiful, highly specced and a pleasure to use. As Samsung’s 2017 superphone that’s not really a shock. The all glass body with near zero bezels is impressive and works better than I expected it could.

The only big drawback for the S8 is the price. At £675 its’ among the most expensive phones you can buy direct. There are starting to be some pay monthly deals that might be worth looking at but it’s a premium device with a premium price. If you need the best – you’ve found it but it might be overkill for some. Recomended if you want the best Android phone available.

Ergohacks Essential

Buy it from Amazon + 

Price: ± £675
Included: Fast charge wall charger, USB to USB-C Charge cable, wired headphone, USB-C to microUSB converter, USB-C to USB converter for OTG
I’d recommend investing in a decent case with a cost from £10 to £40 depending on manufacturer and style.

About Samsung

Samsung is a giant Korean conglomerate formed in 1938. It manufactures a wide range of items from washing machines to computer chips to PCs but is probably most well known for its Android smart phones. It has slipped slightly from its position of dominance in that market but is still one of the major players. The company has almost half a million employees and annual revenue of over $300 billion. They had a bad year in 2016 with the Samsung Galaxy Note being recalled for exploding and their chairman being arrested for bribing Korea’s president.

Design

The S8 is a deceivingly simply designed phone. Take a solid seeming solid piece of glass about a centimetre thick and curve off the edges, while adding a couple of buttons, to make it easy to hold. Put in USB-C and headphone jack and cluster some camera’s in the middle of the back. When it’s turned off the S8 looks very simple. Hit the power button and one side of the phone lights up and once you’ve logged in the whole side of the phone turns into a screen.

Perhaps the most important question is how does it feel in the hand? The answer is good; solid, smooth without being easily droppable and well sized.

Features

  • Biometric security – Samsung has a built in fingerprint reader next to the main camera and also builds in retina scanning and facial recognition. Both of these new options have their own problems and if you’re really worried about security I’d steer clear of the facial recognition as it’s easily fooled by a picture but if you’re comfortable with that then it works seamlessly.
  • Screen wrap. The screen on the S8 is impressive. Not just for the resolution but because it also reaches the edges of the phone where there would normally be bezels. I’d worried that this would mean mis-taps on the side of the screen but interestingly this never happened. Samsung have also included a quick launch program that lets you swipe from app to app or access widgets that works well once you adjust to it.
  • Camera. The S8’s camera is one of the best – if not the best – on the market and are particularly impressive in low light. Samsung have paired the excellent hardware with a decent camera app that’s intuitive and quick but has a pro mode that gives you much more control over the settings.
  • Bixby. This is an integrated assistant with its own hardware button. Unfortunately it’s only in limited preview in the US and Korea and here in the UK all we get is a basic Samsung news feed. This might be a selling point in the future but for now it’s more annoying than helpful. There are some slightly hacky ways to remap the button to other uses such as a camera button and this will probably expand in the future.
  • Water Resistant: Rated at IP68 which means it can handle conditions of submersion in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.

Specification

Phone dimensions: 14.8 x 6.8 x .8 cm
Item Weight: 155g
Colour: Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold
Waterproof: IP68 certified – dust/water proof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
Release date: April 2017
Made in China
Materials: Corning Gorilla Glass 5 front and back

Technical Specification
Operating System: Android 7.0, April Security update (as of 26 May  2017)
Processor: Exynos 8895 Octacore
Network: GSM, HSPA and LTE covering all UK bands
Memory: 4GB RAM
MicroSD: Yes, up to 256Gb
Display Type: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen,
Display Size: 5.8 inches (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)
Display Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels (~570 ppi pixel density)
Main Camera:12 MP, f/1.7, 26mm, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, check quality
Secondary Selfie Camera: 8 MP, f/1.7, autofocus, [email protected], dual video call, Auto HDR
Connectivity: USB-C 3.0
Wi-Fi:Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: 5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX
NFC (Near Field Communication): Yes
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
Headset: 3.5mm headset jack and included headset
Battery:Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0
Sensors Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2
Power and plug description: USB-C 3.1 reversible

Warranty: Limited 24 month warranty from manufacturer defect.

Requirements

Electric plugs or hook-upinternet accesswifi access
To get the most out of a Android phone you need to have a Google account and the S8 also prompts you to open a Samsung account. Without this the phone is useable but you cannot access the store, update apps or do a number of other things. A sim with a data contract is a requirement if you want to use the S8 on the go but it is possible to use it as a wifi only device.

ergonomicBuild quality

 We based our Ergohacks Verdict on 2 weeks of tinkering, testing and using a Jet Black Samsung Galaxy S8. This article was first published on 29 May 2017.