It has been a little over a month since I “upgraded” from my Samsung Galaxy S6 to last year’s flag ship Galaxy S8. I can sum up my feelings and experiences in the following the sentence…
The battery life is better.
Honestly, the S8 is “different for the sake of being different” and it manages to do this in ways that are annoying steps backwards in terms of usability. Truly, I wish I didn’t get it, but I am stuck with it for two years (I had to give my S6 to my daughter, because her phone got broken). Yay…
Things that were fine on the S6, but suck on the S8:
- Earbuds: They’re intrusive ear plugs that jam into one’s head such that one can hear themselves chew or touch things. What’s worse is that the wire is braided and when combined with the body-sound travel problem, the wire makes a horrible “nails on a chalk board” type sound when it rubs on anything.
- The placement of the fingerprint sensor is fucking stupid! Constantly touching the camera lens, because some idiot put the fingerprint sensor beside it is annoying, but so is trying to press the sensor back there in general. On the S6, I could use my thumb or finger on the device easily, even when it was sitting on the desk, but with the S8 I MUST pick it up to unlock it.
- The fingerprint sensor doesn’t work worth a damn and it nags much more frequently to use the password instead for security reasons. Really? Seriously? If the fingerprint sensor isn’t secure enough, why the hell is it an option???
- The on screen buttons are annoying compared to the capacitive/real buttons on the S6. It’s amazing how obnoxious it is to have to DO SOMETHING to just to make a button available to be pressed – the damned thing should just be there already!
- The camera is 12MP, not 16MP, and it defaults to portrait 4×3 photos, zooms too much when choosing the taller option, and is all around an annoying amount of “change for the sake of change”…
- The rounded screen is a boring gimmick that adds absolutely nothing at all to the enjoyment of using the device, but it does make it such that one can’t purchase a case that properly protects the screen from frontal drops. As much as I didn’t like the Otterbox on my S6, at least it actually protected the whole device. S8 Otterboxes and other cases can’t, because they must accommodate the “edge” feature, which itself is a useless gimmick (software launcher).
Speaking of buttons, what’s up with the Bixby button? At least there is third party software that allows it to be bound (in a hacky way) to some other function. I bound it to Messenger, making it similar to the “Convenience Key” on my first smart phone, the Blackberry Curve 8520.
And… other than that, the Galaxy S8 is basically a taller, slightly thinner Galaxy S6 with rounded screen corners. Oh, I suppose it also has as USB-C port rather than the older style USB port. Woo… The internet is full of reviews for both phones, so if you’re interested have at’r with your favourite search engine.
To be clear, I don’t hate the Galaxy S8, there’s just a lot about it that annoys every time I use it where my Galaxy S6 never actively annoyed me at all in the two+ years I used it every day. My ONLY complaint about the S6 was that its battery life sucked. Everything on the S6 was awesome – Screen, camera, UI, build quality, sound, all that is very good on the S6. Apart from the camera software differences, the camera on the S8 is just as good as the S6’s, as is the screen, build quality, and UI.
Do I recommend buying the Samsung Galaxy S8 (or getting it for $0 on contract)?
No, if you can buy something else that doesn’t have the above annoyances.
Yes, if those things won’t bother you or all your other options are worse.
There are plenty of worse devices out there. Plenty.
Ps. It should be noted that I use the Square Home launcher and have thus used very little of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI outside of the settings menu, phone app, and text message app. I’ve read mixed reviews about TouchWiz, but it generally doesn’t bother me. I just happen to find that the Windows Phone 7 style UI offered by Square Home is vastly superior in terms of ease of use (especially with one hand), simplicity, and customisation.