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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review. A worthy competitor to the Phone of the Year

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review. A worthy competitor to the Phone of the Year

Galaxy S8 Review in Spanish: Everything you need to know about this new high-end phone from Samsung.

Last year was difficult for Samsung. They had the best Android phone of 2016, in my opinion, with the Galaxy S7 Edge. And it seemed that only Samsung would outdo itself with the Note 7, but as you will remember, nothing went as planned. Explosion issues that led to a second overhaul of the team that again failed, Murphy's Law was strongly enforced with Note 7.

Wisely, Samsung decided to let a little time pass before announcing the S8. And I also decided to delay the review, in case something like the Note 7 was repeated and again models of the S8 and S8 + would start to cause problems.

This, fortunately, has not been the case, and with the S8 we have a Samsung phone that plays it safe, but nevertheless offers justified improvements over the S7 and S7 Edge. And yes, we also have improvements over the Note 7, which I could test briefly in different events.

A beautiful, modern phone with a comfortable, ergonomic design.

Beautiful; Hardly took it out of its packaging, the phone shows a confidence in its design, a mastery of the art of smartphone manufacturing that few (almost nobody) can achieve. From moving to making functional but ugly phones (like the S4, S5), to becoming a mold, an ideal of what many of us imagined, a phone will be seen in the future, the S8 is, without a doubt, the phone most attractive i have seen so far. There are few smartphones that I consider to be true examples of an excellent design, such as the iPhone 4, the Motorola Razr (the original flip phone). The S8 is definitely among them. It is the clear evolution of what we saw with the S6, where Samsung radically changed the design of the phone for the better.

How amazing? That despite the fact that there is only one generation that separates them, the S8 than the S7, the most attractive phone of 2016, looks outdated. It is a true achievement in design matters.

Hand in hand, there is also improved ergonomics. The S7 Edge had too curved edges and a flat back that ended up making it rather uncomfortable. The Note 7 improved this considerably by slightly reducing the curvature of the screen, but above all, giving us a slightly rounded, more ergonomic backside, which made it much easier to hold. The S8 + maintains the improvements of the Note 7 and despite the fact that we have a bigger screen (6.2 with a more elongated screen, than the 5.5 of the S7 Edge), the thickness of the phone remains almost identical. Yes, despite having a 6.2 screen with the S8 Plus (equivalent in area to a 5.7 screen, the phone is even thinner than an iPhone 7 Plus, 5.5).

And is that now Samsung has practically got rid of edges and elements on the front, which are dominated by the beautiful AMOLED screen of the team. The Home button that brought me so many problems the S7 Edge has been replaced by virtual buttons.

The result? A shocking impression that we are holding only the content. The perfect smartphone to arrive when we feel that the equipment, the hardware itself, disappears completely to give us access to content. The perfect smartphone is a pure screen, and the S8 is the closest to this ideal.

Galaxy S8 Review in Spanish: The best screen

Samsung has had an absolute mastery of this issue for several years now. And with the S8 and S8 +, they manage to increase this advantage over their competitors. The S8 and S8 + panel is brighter, with higher color accuracy, extremely high resolution, and more. He has broken several records as you can see in the Displaymate article – display specialists – to be crowned as the absolute champion. If what they value most in a smartphone is the screen, the only true option is the S8 and S8 +.

Something I consider a step back is that we don't have a flat screen phone now. Yes, I am one of those who appreciates the curvature of the screen, because I love the effect it gives the team. But this comes with a high cost: the inability to adequately protect the screen. Tempered glass and screen protectors do not work well on the S8 (nor the S7 Edge, for that matter), because many times we only have adhesive on the edges, leaving a vacuum of air in the medium that worsens the experience considerably. If they decide to buy the S8 or S8 +, they will have to resign themselves to using the equipment without a screen protector. So get yourself a case that has some relief on the edges so you can protect the screen from drops, at least.

That said, my S7 Edge, which was without a screen protector all year, only has a large scratch due to it falling on top of concrete, face. But apart from this rayon, the phone, which I did not care at all, is kept in very good condition.

By giving all the possible front space to the screen, Samsung has managed to emphasize the effect that the screen has. And this combination of such a spectacular display, coupled with such an impeccable design, are the S8's strongest points, which really sets it apart from the previous model.

Solid camera, but without innovation.

The photographic theme is my great disappointment with the team. After testing a wide variety of dual cameras since last year, I have been convinced not only of their usefulness – by giving us an entirely different perspective, as with the LG G6 and iPhone 7 Plus – but also of how both sensors can be used in set for a superior end result, as with the iPhone 7 Plus and Huawei phones, such as the Mate 9 / P10.

Samsung? Samsung has done virtually nothing with its rear camera. We have a sensor that is slightly better, but in my tests, the photo quality and noise reduction in night photos remains almost identical to the S7 Edge.

The curious thing, however, is that the S7 Edge (and therefore the S8), is still the best casual camera, the best camera to take photos in automatic. The image quality that I can get consistently with the S8 is remarkable. Samsung has tuned its photographic software to the maximum, achieving wonderful results in most cases, even in low light situations.

That is, the camera is still excellent; one of the best on Android, I would say. But perhaps because Samsung made such an important jump, so significant with the design and screen, is that not seeing a jump of the same magnitude on the camera, left me a little disappointed. That Samsung still does not venture into the subject of dual cameras, clearly the future of cameras in smartphones due to the restrictions in thickness and sensor size that we have in the team, it is a shame. Especially because of the huge steps that the competition has been taking in this regard.

Despite this, however, the S8's camera remains extremely solid, which helps them capture memorable photos.

Uncomfortable fingerprint sensor (which improves with time and with a case)

On my first impressions I clearly noted my displeasure with the S8 + 's fingerprint reader / sensor. I am a fan of the fingerprint sensors on the front of the equipment, so seeing it displaced to the rear, and also in such an uncomfortable place (right next to the camera), made their use somewhat complicated.

However, with the passing of the weeks I got used to it. And when I put a case in it (a cheap and simple one, extremely thin), the experience is considerably better. Samsung should, as is the custom of other manufacturers, include a case with the S8, since the experience of locating the fingerprint sensor once there is a certain indentation to find it, is much easier.

Today, more than a month after constant use, it is no longer a problem. And this, combined with other unlock modes like Face Unlock, and Iris Scanner, have made the process easy and quick. In fact, Face Unlock works as or better than Windows Hello that I have tested on laptops; It is an excellent alternative when we want to unlock the phone. As long as we are in a lighted place, that is. At night or in dark rooms, the Iris fingerprint sensor or scanner is better.

However, it is something that I hope Samsung improves in the future. You can get used to it and it goes from being a nuisance to something insignificant, but it is a problem that should not have existed in the first place. Perhaps moving the camera to one end (as all other manufacturers do) instead of leaving it in the middle and leaving the central part only for the fingerprint reader – and by the way, changing it for a circular one – will considerably improve the experience.

Very good battery, but not the best.

Another aspect where Samsung does not improve much, is in the matter of battery. We have an autonomous improvement in the S8 and S8 + if we compare it to the S7 and S7 Edge. We also have better consumption in stand-by. But between the departure of this previous generation and the new team, the picture has changed considerably.

We've had really impressive battery packs, like the Moto Z Play and the Huawei Nova Plus. In high-end, we have phones with excellent autonomy like the Mate 9, so what they want is to have a phone that can last them a day and a half, or two, with heavy use, the S8 may not be the right equipment.

That said, the phone (the S8 +) gave me about 5 to 6 hours of Screen on Time, beating the LG G6 and the P10 once the phone got used to my type of use, so we are not dealing with a phone with poor autonomy. This, combined with the Adaptive Fast Charging of the S8 + which quickly recharges the phone, gave me equipment that I was able to use quietly, without major battery concerns.

Excellent performance, more storage.

Where I have no complaints, is in the performance of the team. This new processor offers modest improvements over the previous generation, but the S7 Edge itself had no major problems in running heavy applications. Where if I could notice a noticeable improvement, it is in sustained performance. The S7 Edge offers excellent performance, but it slows down as the minutes of performing a heavy task (such as games) pass. Why Well, because demanding more of the phone results in more heat generation, which ends up forcing the phone to lower performance.

On the S8 + I didn't notice this drop in performance even after half an hour of gaming. The new S8 + processor is created under a 10-nanometer manufacturing process (compared to 14 for the S7 Edge), which explains this higher sustained performance.

In common uses such as jumping between multiple apps and multi-tasking they will not notice it because here the processor is little demanded. But if they process video (with Powerdirector, for example), or play a heavy game, there is a difference in performance compared to last year. The S8 + is superior, and is an excellent alternative if you use your phone for more than the typical ones; if they also use their phones to produce video, record audio, take and edit photos, and more.

Another point where I must congratulate Samsung, is in the decision to include 64 GBs of storage in their phones. One of my problems with the S7 Edge was that despite so much power, we were limited to just 32 GBs of storage. With my eighties Apps usually take up almost 75% of all the storage on a 32GB phone, leaving me very little time to try other apps, or install games (without requiring a microSD). With the S8, all phones come with 64GB of storage. This is something that I hope more high-end phone manufacturers will adopt and implement. 32 GBs for current phones is no longer enough, especially because the apps have grown a lot, and because we are now producing more content in 4K.

Stumbling Software

The S8 and S8 + is a pretty solid phone, one of my favorites so far this year. However, where it stumbles, is on the Software issue. Yes, Touchwiz (or Grace UI, or whatever it's called now) has improved considerably.

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But Samsung decided to work on its own personal assistant to compete against Google Assistant / Siri, called Bixby. The problem? It is incomplete, and it does not work well. And yes, it has a dedicated button. In this month of use the times I invoked Bixby was accidentally, and every time I did, I regretted it. Bixby takes a couple of seconds to appear, occupies the entire screen, replacing the app we are using, and is generally quite useless. Tip: disable Bixby with the Adhell ​​app (removing all processes named Bixby) and you will see how the experience improves considerably. Hopefully Samsung will reconsider and let us replace this button to invoke any other function, but launching the S8 with an incomplete wizard, which does not provide anything, and on top of it has a dedicated button, it has been a serious error.

The downside is that Bixby is also found as a process on camera; Supposedly we can detect what the camera sees, and then Bixby gives us purchase suggestions, or similar photos. In my tests, Bixby failed to recognize the object 4 times out of 5, so it was also quite useless.

Leaving Bixby aside, the rest of Samsung Software continues to offer the useful improvements over Android that Samsung has been making for years. Yes, it is a heavier version of Android, but personally I have always appreciated the modifications that Samsung has applied. After all, it was on Touchwiz where we first saw several of the improvements that Google has implemented on Android, such as multi-tasking, for example. That is, if they are fans of Samsung software, they will find the same repertoire of utilities and tools. If you are more fans of a pure Android experience, with its advantages and shortcomings, you will not feel comfortable with the S8 + software. Personally, since I use and test Galaxies from the first one, I have no problems with the software. Only with Bixby. Death to Bixby.


The S8 and S8 + are exceptional phones. The S8 has managed to overcome my first impressions and, in this month of use, it has become my favorite phone with Android, which I end up resorting to every time I have to go out. However, despite the progress that Samsung has made in the performance and, above all, design section, the competition has not stood still.

Last year was an easy and quick victory for S7 Edge in the first half. But this year? With excellent proposals by LG with the LG G6 (with a more fun and versatile camera), with the Huawei Mate 9 / P10, the race is much more difficult. And while it still seems to me that the S8 manages to place itself at the head of this first half of 2017, unlike last year, I have no problem recommending any of the three major releases, the LG G6, the Huawei P10 (or even the Mate 9), as viable alternatives if you are looking for a solid high-end phone.

But yes, the S8 + is still the superior alternative.

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