CNET First Look
Samsung Galaxy S8: The good, the bad, the beautifulA stunning, curved display and excellent camera meet an awkward fingerprint reader and work-in-progress digital assistant.
[MUSIC] This is the Galaxy S8, Samsung's latest top shelf phone. I wanted to see how the S8's tall, narrow build, beautifully curved sides, battery life, 12 megapixel camera, big speed digital assistant, and waterproofing. So basically everything. Held up at one of my favorite spots in California. [MUSIC] Verdict, it's a damn nice phone to hold and use. That 5.8 inc edge to edge screen, those curved sides. They draw you in no matter what you're doing. The narrow body fits my hand better than most phones, even those with smaller displays. And sending texts and updates went smoothly. I didn't miss the physical home button you find in the S7. And I did the SE's new custom interface that rides on top of the Android NuGet. Everything just feels really clean and easy to use. But the all glass phone felt so slick and glossy I was worried I'd drop it. Rounded edges, plus glass equals breakage anxiety. And the S8 is too pretty and too pricey to leave to chance. I think a case is really a good idea. [MUSIC] Also the fingerprint reader on the back was easy to set up. It's off center and fighting and blind with heat and meant. Which was a problem when using Samsung. Sorry I gotta. I'm having an issue here. I often hit the camera or didn't land my finger there on the first time. [MUSIC] There you go. Iris scanning is a so-so backup but face unlock can't be used with Samsung Pay. [MUSIC] The 12 megapixel camera is solid. I love double clicking the power button to launch the app. It just feels really natural. There's no dual camera mount but you can dig into a mountain of effects and settings. Make a kind of portrait mode and really fine-tune those shots. I just wish that the portrait tool was a little less severe. Playing around with the snapchat like features was also fun for a minute but I got more out of the other filter. Selfies are easier with the S8's autofocus, which is great and low light photos come out looking fairly bright and detailed for what they are without being harsh and over exposed. [MUSIC] Let's talk about Bixby Voice, Samsung's new Siri-like digital assistant. It has its own button, and no, you can't remap it to another app. Bixby Voice will control some settings, like screen brightness and toggling on WiFi. Then there's Bixby Home, which can surface information like the weather and headline news. And Bixby vision can tell you about a thing or place. It's a place, okay so now Bixby is trying to identify the ride and I got it number two giant zipper. Plus there's always Google assistant its on here from the get go. What time is sunset? Sun will set at 7:42 pm. The S8 is totally okay to get wet. Look, I wouldn't dunk it on purpose, but I could easily use it with wet hands and rinse off stray beach sand. It survived a soaking on the other ride and other random splashes. Aah! [MUSIC] So the S8 has a cutting edge processor, and it's definitely faster than last years Galaxy S7. Everything ran quickly and smoothly from navigation to image processing. After the Note 7 battery disaster, Samsung has a lot to prove. The S8 battery underwent a new eight point safety check. No problems with the inverse overheating so far, it did however, feel warm while charging, which a lot of other phones do, too. It survived a day of heavy use. [BLANK_AUDIO] Just in time to charge overnight or wirelessly charge if you buy the accessory. [MUSIC] The good news is that the Galaxy SA Plus is almost exactly the same but with a larger screen and build, slightly bigger battery, and yeah, a higher price for that extra screen real estate. [MUSIC] I'm really happy with the Galaxy S8. It's gorgeous and it works well, but I do think that the phone could be a little bit better, especially when it comes to the fingerprint reader. Also, [INAUDIBLE] people start off with limitations which is disappointing because it is such a key feature. And it isn't like Samsung to trail behind a dual camera trend but I have a feeling we might see two rear cameras in the Note 8. Once again the Samsung Galaxy s eight is a stunning all a rounder but there is still room for competitors to elbow their way in. [MUSIC]