Lets get the cards straight on the table,
I’m a I’ve been an Apple fanboy since the incarnation of the original Apple iPhone and as such have developed a collection of fruit based products ever since. However over the past 2 contract upgrades, (4 years) I’ve been increasingly tempted, (mainly down to Apple’s lack of advancement in comparison to Samsung) to go to the ‘dark side’ as it were but have never been ‘brave’ enough to take the jump just in case it proved to be wrong. However thanks to Three, I was recently given the chance to review the brand new Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus to see if it really could prove me wrong.
Ever since it was announced in March, I had been tracking the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and their specs. Having recently decided against upgrading to the Apple iPhone 7, an almost certain bet given my history, instead I took the unprecedented step of taking out one of Three’s Sim only packages for 12 months, giving me a little bit of breathing space before I commit again for the next two years.
Currently I have the iPhone 6 Plus so its worth noting that any comparisons will be against this, as well as Mrs F’s iPhone 6S. I’ve also, as mentioned, always been an iPhone user so have only really experienced iOS (the Apple operating system) as opposed to the Android which Samsung uses.
It could be easy for me to spout off all the listed tech specs but the reality is, despite my techiness, for me a phone needs to be able to do four key things…
- Take great photo’s / Videos – being primarily a family man as well as a blogger, I love capturing memories and even though we own a mirrorless camera, I still enjoy being able to use a phone for its ability of snapping those moments quickly.
- The ability to enjoy my favourite apps – I’ve gone through the phase of downloading everything and anything but nowadays, I’m pretty much happy with my usual social media apps, a couple of home automation ones and on the whole mainstream ones.
- Fast – All too often as you fill up your phone with 1. and 2. your phone becomes sluggish and speed in switching apps, texting and taking pictures at pace is important.
- Enough space – I’ve been stung on this several times thanks to Apple’s clever pricing plans but nowadays rather than just having the latest phone, I also want more space thats going to see me through 2 years.
What I’m not interested in
- Battery life – yes I want it to last but equally if it lasts a day, thats fine, my phone is regularly charged at night when I’m not using it so I’m not bothered if it lasts 1 or 10 days as it’ll still get charged whilst I sleep.
On a simple comparison any reasonably switched on mobile phone fan would say the Samsung S8 Plus would easily fit the above and you are right, they do, however do they do it enough that I can move away from the tangled web which is the iCloud.
You see, having multiple devices with Apple means I’m locked into their “it just works” iCloud, meaning that photos, contacts, calendars and more all seamlessly link between devices. Throw into that my Apple Watch, which conveniently DOESN’T work with any non-Apple phone and if I’m going to make the jump, what Samsung provide need to be enough for me to feel I’m getting more than before.
Lets have a look….
I could go into several long winded reasons but I will just say, the camera’s are amazing! Packing a fab 8 megapixel front facing and a 12 megapixel dual pixel rear both produce epic photo qualities in both day and night lighting, as well as having several functions such as; Slow motion, selective focus, hyper lapse, food and more. It even has the ability to go “Pro” (manual) and amend several settings like ISO, white balance, shutter speed and more.
The video is also pretty impressive with 4K output producing great quality videos. Why not check out Darren @ Photalife.com and his super in-depth review of the camera for more information as he’s spot on. Just for reference, in the 2 weeks I had the phone, I clocked up 575 photo’s and struggled to delete anymore than around 40 of those, mainly due to the fact the quality really was that good.
The 6.2 inch “infinity display with curved edges makes it feel surprisingly small in your hands but amazingly big when watching the latest video on Netflix / Youtube or viewing your photo’s. I initially though not having a physical button would be tricky to manage but you just know where the digital button is and it vibrates with touch so you know when you are pressing the screen. It really does make using this phone “sexy” if I can be geeky enough to use it in that context. 😉
Although having the fingerprint scanning on the rear of the phone is a little cumbersome initially (being an Apple user) you soon get used to it however the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with no less than 5 different security methods of unlocking ranging from pins, to patterns but also facial and iris recognition. Whilst the latter is a little bit troublesome for me, a user of glasses, the facial recognition worked well at automatically unlocking within milliseconds of me picking up the phone, saving and shaving off that little bit of time to speed up the things you really want to do.
As well as my top three above I am also impressed with the ability to increase the storage capacity by a further 256gb (this is new ground for me), meaning you really won’t run out of space.
The AKG earphones are certainly in line with the premium phone that is the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus both feeling incredibly comfortable in my ears, as well as producing a cracking sound and being noise cancelling too meaning I can drift away on some of my long train commutes and enjoy a Spotify playlist or podcast…
The fact its water resistant up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, although I obviously didn’t try this given the phone was just on loan, but its great to know that if I accidentally drop it into the bath whilst catching up on my latest Netflix box set, I won’t be looking at an insurance claim involving an ever increasing excess.
Split screen meaning you can do two things at once like continue reading the internet whilst replying to Mrs F’s “instant response required’ Whats App about the latest bargain she’s seen in Home Bargains…
I would also be silly for not mentioning the fact that although I had the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, unlike its direct competition, Samsung kindly don’t make any hefty distinctions between its slightly smaller model, the S8, and the S8 Plus other than its size… everything else, from camera, to screen to functions, its ALL the same. So someone like Mrs F, who prefers a smaller phone wouldn’t have to compromise on its ability, something which I know she’s feeling the strain of now, even against my older 6 plus in comparison to her 6S.
Things I wasn’t keen on
I did find it slightly annoying that despite the setup of the phone being pretty easy, you are taken along the “google” route which although was fine, it did download all my old contacts from when I used to use Google during University days so had to amend and delete multiple contacts before I could start setting up contacts.
I also found figuring out how to transfer photo’s and videos to my MacBook a little frustrating, after several attempts at trying to navigate through the Samsung website, I reverted back to asking google which thankfully told me how and where to download the software needed.
Finally, although Samsung comes with its version of personal assistant “Bixby”, so far only a summary page and photo integration is included on launch with us still waiting for the voice recognition part to be launched soon.
All in all though, only minor frustrations with the first two now being known and the latter due to be launched they would soon be forgotten.
THE BIG QUESTION … Would I swap?
Its such a tough question… If I was just looking at just phones, I would definitely swap in a heartbeat. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is an amazing phone, I love the camera, the infinity screen and all the stuff mentioned above and even if I upgraded and lasted the two years before being tempted back, I know I’d get an awesome phone for that period.
My only sticking point is my Apple Watch, I know Samsung have the Gear S3 Watch and I think I’m going to have to seriously look at this now as despite being locked into the whole ‘iCloud / replication with ease’ that Apple brings with it,
I believe I can make it work, its worth making it work in order to enjoy the beauty that is that Samsung Galaxy S8 plus.
Do you have any experience with the Samsung Gear, know anyone who have? How do they feel it works? I’d love to hear in the comments
For more information on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, check out Three for their latest offers now.
Until next time
NB: I was provided with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus from Three as a loan for two weeks in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own