Tech Guide went hands on with Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ and from the minute we got hold of them we quickly realized they are a huge improvement over last year’s models.
The S8 and S8+ have bigger screens than ever before – 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch respectively – yet they don’t feel like huge devices in your hand.
The display goes nearly to the top and bottom edges of the device – the home button is gone and there’s not even room to fit the Samsung name on the front panel. The branding is now on the back.
There is now a virtual home button that offers haptic feedback when you press it.
But without a physical home button where is the fingerprint reader? It’s now located on the back to the right of the camera lens.
It is easy to locate with your finger – that is if you don’t use the iris scanner or facial recognition to unlock the device.
The curved edges of the Infinity Display on the S8 and S8+ are not as pronounced as the S7 Edge but closer to what we saw on the Note7.
And that edgeless appearance helps fit all that screen in that smaller space.
There’s also a slight curve on the back edges as well so it fits the shape of your hand nicely.
It has an excellent build quality and the colours have a nice gloss like a billiard ball.
One thing that will impress users is how easy the devices are to use with one hand. We could reach most of the apps on the home screen with our thumb even on the S8+.
That’s because of the screen’s shape – it is 18.5:9 which makes it look narrower and taller like a cinema screen when it’s turned on its side.
When you are watching a video it almost fills the entire screen instead of leaving black bars top and bottom.
And with so much screen you can fit so much more on the screen so there’s less scrolling when you’re browsing websites, looking at documents and reading emails and ebooks.
There’s also enough room to multitask. You can run a video in the top half of the screen and browse a website or compose a text message in the bottom half.
A further inspection of the S8 and S8+ reveals there is a headphone jack as well as a USB-C port that enables fast charging.
The new Bixby intelligent user interface takes the idea of the digital assistant to another level.
You can do things like turn down your brightness and browse the recent pictures you took just by asking it.
And because it can understand natural language, it will understand what you’re trying to say and work it out.
It has been programmed with literally millions of possibilities so it will always understand what you’re asking for.
And it can see and understand things as well. We scanned a pot plant on a shelf and it identified the type of plant it was and gave us the option to find information about how to care for it, where to buy and the ideal growing conditions.
We also scanned the novel The Martian by Andy Weir and the screen was immediately filled with places to buy the physical book or the ebook.
The power of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ was dramatically demonstrated with Samsung DeX which allows users to connect the device to a dock which transforms the product into a desktop computer.
The dock we saw was connected to a monitor and a keyboard and mouse and up on the screen appears a clean desktop version of Android.
And to show off how powerful the 64-bit octa-core 10 nanometer processor onboard, we were able to run two browsers at once, a YouTube video plus a Word, Excel and Powerpoint document.
Now that’s impressive. This is a great feature if you want to stay productive and connected on the move without having to carry around a laptop.
You can even make and receive calls and send and receive messages on Samsung DeX.
And there’s no security risk because when you disconnect the device you’re leaving nothing behind – it’s all still onboard the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Samsung has made quite a statement with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ especially when you consider what the company went through with the Note7 issues.
At that time, I wrote that Samsung had to prove what Rocky said in the film Rocky Balboa: “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ shows that Samsung is well and truly moving forward.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to New York as a guest of Samsung