First look review: Samsung's Galaxy S8

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S8 phone at a glitzy event in Lincoln Center, New York, Wednesday, with the tech giant eager to draw a line under last year’s Note 7 fiasco.

DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile communications business, kicked off Wednesday’s event by explaining that the company has “humbly” learned from its mistakes. “This is how new doors are opened,” he added.

Koh moved quickly to introduce the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones, adding that the devices are “inspired by dreams of a world where you are always connected to the people you care about.”


I took a look at the S8 and S8+ after the event. With curved glass OLED displays that cover the front of the devices, the phones are both sleek and stylish. Samsung has also moved its home button beneath the display with the new smartphones, using a so-called “invisible home button." Now appearing as an icon at the bottom the display, the pressure sensitive “button” was easy to use.

The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch screen, while the S8+ has a 6.2-inch screen. The screens are larger than the 5.1-inch and 5.8-inch displays, respectively, on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

The S8’s camera technology also caught my attention. Samsung has upgraded its camera technology with the S8 and S8+, which now offer an 8MP front camera, compared to the 5MP front camera on the Galaxy S7. Additionally, users can now record and watch 4K video on their phones, whereas, it was only possible to record in 4K on the S7 – users had to find a 4K capable device on which to watch the content.


Additionally, I appreciated that the S8 and S8+ have a standard headphone jack, unlike arch-rival Apple’s iPhone 7.

Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson was also at the New York launch event and was impressed by the S8’s display technology. “The Samsung approach is particularly clever, with its curved screen now less sharp on the edges, offering a more symmetrical and therefore more comfortable device,” he wrote, in a statement emailed to Fox News. “Its display looks fantastic too, though the longer, thinner aspect ratio may be problematic for some apps and consuming video.”

Dawson, however, was more guarded in his praise of Samsung’s strangely titled Bixby digital assistant technology. Touted by the tech giant as a highly sophisticated rival to Apple’s Siri, Bixby featured prominently during Samsung’s launch event. “The Bixby assistant looks limited but potentially powerful if it works as advertised,” he wrote.

Despite some cool features, price could be an issue for some users. There may not be enough whistles and bells on the S8 and S8+ to justify their respective price tags of $750 and $850. Pricing for Apple’s iPhone 7 starts at $649.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers