29 March 2017
- From the section Technology
Samsung Galaxy S8 – but is it art? The internet reacts
Samsung would have you believe it has redefined smartphone design with its latest top-end handsets, the Galaxy S8 and the S8+.
It’s true they appear sleeker than before thanks to a decision to elongate their screens, make the home buttons “invisible” and put the fingerprint sensors on the back.
But for all the talk of “infinity displays” and “works of art”, they remain oblong mobiles that are hard to mistake for anything else.
More evolution than revolution, perhaps.
Potentially more groundbreaking is the inclusion of a new virtual assistant – Bixby – that can see as well as hear. Samsung now plans to roll it out to its TVs and other electronics.
And critically, the firm must now avoid another exploding battery debacle or some other misstep if it is to retain consumer confidence.
So, what did internet pundits and the public make of the launch?
The screen monopolises around 80% of the phone’s front, by Samsung’s count… Like the Note before it, it’s pretty impressive how much phone the company has managed to cram into a relatively thin piece of real estate that’s 1.5mm slimmer than its predecessor.
These phones are incredibly well-designed. There are no seams, only the barest of camera bumps, and everything seems milled down to sub-millimetre tolerances. They feel inevitable in a way that almost becomes boring.
The device comes with a glaring omission: a physical home button… In forsaking the button, Samsung has beat its major competitor to the punch. Journalists and analysts have long speculated that Apple’s next iPhone will also remove the home button.
I’m not upset the fingerprint sensor is on the back. I’m annoyed at precisely where Samsung decided to put it: off-centre, next to the 12-megapixel camera… The biggest problem is, of course, how smudged up the rear camera lens will get from your finger if you miss and touch it instead.
When Bixby does eventually launch, you’ll get a similar experience to Google Assistant but Bixby aims to go that little bit further, helping you control your device and find other information. Based on what we saw, Bixby seems to be very capable and worth the wait.
In a controlled demo of an early version of Bixby that Samsung showed me last week, I didn’t see much promise… I’m also not convinced that talking to your phone is always better than using the controls on the screen, and I’m definitely not convinced this is the solution to Samsung’s confusing user-interface problems.
Samsung faces gigantic competition in getting other apps, services and devices to join in. Bixby competes with Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. There just won’t be enough space on the island for all of them – and Bixby is last to arrive.
Fail and Bixby will be a laughing stock. Succeed and Samsung can wiggle a little more from Google’s Android grasp.
- Galaxy S8 hides home button and adds AI
- First look at Samsung’s S8 phones
- Is the S8 Samsung’s most important phone yet?
- Samsung mulls ‘exploding’ Note 7 relaunch
I should have waited a year. Iris scanner and Bixby are the standout features. @DJXeidy21
Samsung and LG must [have] had the same meeting about their new phones. Look almost the same, and expensive. @Tevosilverfox
Wow the new #Samsung #GalaxyS8 is £689!! That’s ridiculously expensive. @Capt_tuBBymAN
As a Galaxy Edge user, I love the Infinity Display on the #GalaxyS8. Bigger screen, longer battery life, and waterproof? Yes, please. @jcnyc_
Nice Galaxy S8 but I’m more interested in a phone that doesn’t crack when I drop it, wasn’t looking for more sides to smash. @Lou_LouD
Bixby sounds like a butler from a stately manor. Fetch the car Bixby I am heading to the city. @WendyWings
First one that makes an app to remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 to Google Assistant wins my $$$ @MKBHD
Headphone jack! Headphone jack! Sorry Apple, trading in my 6S for this beauty. _EventHorizon_
Looks highly incremental spec wise. Would have preferred an edge-less model. bukithd
The battery capacity especially is a let down. I get that the physical dimensions aren’t very big, but a 6in+ screen should have a bigger battery than what this has. dyyni
The software didn’t look horrific, like in the past. It might not be so bad. CelestialWarrior
Will these burn your house down too? McMeaty
Shots fired!!! Let’s see how Apple answers. I’m not a Samsung fan but good job! Let’s just hope they don’t have battery issues like the last one. Javier Lopez
Disappointed! Specs are nothing like I was hoping for. No 4K screen, no improvement on camera/video quality. Same amount of RAM. There’s very little difference between this and the S7 Edge. I’ll stick to my theory of always skip a generation of phones. Jim Jackson
Me: Bixby, trade in my S7 Edge to S8+. Bixby: Sell your kidneys to me… Henry Dazo Jr
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