Phones

Three ways the Samsung Galaxy S8 let us down

There are many reasons to love Samsung's new phone. But these three things might make you think twice before upgrading.

Josh Miller/CNET
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The Galaxy S8 delivered on some great new features: edge to edge HDR display, an iris scanner and a faster, Gigabit LTE-ready processor. But gorgeous infinity display aside, it seemed like the S8 was holding out on some key features. (Perhaps for an even more dazzling Note 8?)

Here's our list of letdowns.

1. The camera

If you were expecting the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus to get a big camera update, you'll be disappointed. The new phones include nearly the exact same camera hardware as the Galaxy S7: a 12-megapixel sensor with a f/1.7 aperture.

Sure, Samsung added better image processing (we'll have to test that out), but that may not be enough to compete with Google's Pixel and other dual-camera phones like the iPhone 7 Plus and LG G6.

2. The battery

Don't expect extra hours of usage from these new phones. The batteries on the S8 and S8 Plus are about the same size (or slightly smaller) than their predecessors, leaving us wondering if battery will once again be disappointing. After all, those beautiful HDR infinity screens aren't going to power themselves.

It's possible we'll find out during testing that the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor makes up for the lackluster battery, but until then, it's a letdown.

3. That personal assistant, Bixby

Microsoft has Cortana, Google has Assistant, Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, and now Samsung has Bixby. The Galaxy S8 includes its own dedicated Bixby button, visual translations and image recognition. But in reality it could end up being another Samsung feature you'll want to deactivate.

It only works with a handful of Samsung apps at launch, it can't find information online and it overlaps with a lot of the things Google Assistant already does. Right now, it still seems like Bixby has some growing up to do before it can complete with the more established assistants of 2017.