Samsung Galaxy s8 - Still a Champ in 2019?
Still Beautiful After Two Years...
...Still a Beast in 2019
Remember in late 2016 when smartphone design was getting rather...stagnant? Every phone looked almost the same. Many Android phones were beginning to resemble each other, Apple's iPhone design hadn't changed since 2014 with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, every smartphone was a simple slate with a camera, and very little to differentiate each phone from their competition. Smartphone diehards were ready for something new.
Then, in April of 2017, Samsung swooped in and changed the game with a radical redesign of its iconic "Galaxy S" line. These phones were already some of the best sellers in the game, competing with Apple to sell the most phones on the planet. This was not the first time that Samsung had switched the game up a bit, either. They had already reimagined what a phone user could do with their screen with the "Edge" screens found on the Galaxy s6 Edge, Note Edge, and Galaxy s7 Edge.
At the time the Galaxy s8 and s8+ came out, full-screen phones were still practically unheard of. Sure, they are everywhere now, as the s8 and iPhone X helped popularize them. When the s8 and s8+ were released, the only other 18:9 screen phone model you could find was the LG G6, which was a solid phone, but was blown away by the specs of the Galaxy s8. Full-screen phones with little to no bezels are now everywhere, being found in everything from the newest iPhone XS and XS Maxx, the Moto Z3, and even in budget handsets like the Blu Vivo XL, Moto G7, Pocophone, and countless other lower-priced devices. None of them came close to the beauty and power of the Galaxy s8.
Is the Galaxy s8 worth your hard-earned money in 2019 when newer phones like the Galaxy s10, Google Pixel 3, OnePlus 7, and the current iPhone line are out? The answer is a resounding "yes." Especially when you consider these phones are currently priced at $500 and above. The Galaxy s8, which is still a great device with amazing specs, a brilliant display, and now running Android 9 Pie with Samsung's new "One UI" overlay, can be found for $400 and below.
I've been using my Galaxy s8 exclusively since launch day, and I still use it to this day. I would definitely still recommend it to anyone looking for a great flagship device without spending enough money to buy a used car. Let's jump into all the things that still make the Galaxy s8 an amazing phone.
Blazing Fast, Desktop Class, and a Slice of Pie
The Samsung Galaxy s8 still has specs that make it a great buy in 2019. Mine is still chugging along, with no lag, amazing battery life, an updated operating system, and a great camera that still keeps up with even the newest devices on the market today.
Let's see what kind of specs are aboard the Galaxy s8:
- 18:9 full screen, virtually bezeless display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, Exynos 8895 in global market
- Octa-core CPU
- Mali G71 MP20 GPU on Exynos model, Adreno 540 GPU on Snapdragon
- 4GB or 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM
- 64GB or 128GB base storage
- microSD storage up to 256GB
- Super AMOLED 18:9 display
- Fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, password or PIN for unlocking
- 12MP rear camera, 8MP selfie camera
- USB-C for charging and data transfer, wireless charging
- Shipped with Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung Experience overlay, can update to Android 9.0 Pie with One UI
- Features Samsung DeX for using your phone as a desktop computer
- Uses Bixby or Google Assistant for voice commands
As you can see, the Galaxy s8 has quite a lot going on under the hood. It is still blazing fast, featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. The phone can now update to Android Pie with the new One UI overlay. The Galaxy s8 also features Samsung's first stab at a voice assistant, called Bixby. Interestingly, you can use one of two voice assistants--Bixby, by pressing the "Bixby Button" on the left side of the device under the volume rocker, or Google Assistant by holding down the home button.
Android Pie almost made the Galaxy s8 feel like a new phone when I updated. The new overlay, One UI, features some of Samsung's best visual aesthetics to date. The navigation bar can now be replaced with gesture controls, the notification shade and settings area are redesigned to allow better reachability for certain onscreen buttons, and with Google's new Adaptive Battery running under the hood of Android 9 Pie, the battery lasts even longer than it did on Android 8. Battery will, of course, change based on your use case, but I have been able to achieve around 5 hours of screen on time with my phone since the update to Pie, which is no small feat for a power user.
The Galaxy s8 and every Galaxy phone after it also features one of the coolest things about the phones to me--Samsung DeX. It is a wonderful feature that allows you to virtually turn your phone into a desktop computer. By using one of Samsung's DeX docks or a cheaper device called the NexJack, you can plug a monitor, keyboard, and mouse into your Galaxy and use it as a desktop. The interface is reminiscent of Chrome OS, and allows you to work, browse the web, and use all of your apps in a desktop environment. It is a nifty feature and comes in handy if you need to get some work done, but don't have access to a "real" computer.
The Galaxy s8 has withstood the test of time so well, I don't see myself upgrading for another year or so at least. I'm going to be using my s8 until it finally dies, and it seems like it's going to be quite awhile before that happens. My battery still lasts about as long as it used to when I first purchased it, but I'm willing to credit some of that to the new Adaptive Battery features.
Behold--The Galaxy s8 in DeX Mode!
That Camera, Though!
Sure, Google's Pixel line may be well-lauded for its amazing camera, but the Galaxy s8 is no slouch in the photography department. Even two years on, my s8 shoots pictures that, to my eye at least, are almost indistinguishable from its younger siblings like the Galaxy s9 and s10.
The back of the phone sports a 12MP rear camera that shoots beautiful photos. With Optical Image Stabilization, auto-HDR, bokeh, and so many more different effects, the camera is snappy and takes great shots, even in low light. The camera app is responsive, has all the usual filters, and even has a "Pro" mode, but honestly, the auto mode is so good I have barely messed with the "Pro" features. All of this is through one good-old fashioned camera lens. You won't find any fancy dual-camera setups here.
The 8MP selfie camera isn't playing around, either. I don't take a lot of selfies, but the ones I have taken look just fine. Detail is crisp and the colors look accurate, and as a nice surprise in a selfie camera, it also has autofocus. Video works amazingly on the s8's camera, recording up to UHD quality footage.
A Few Shots Taken With My Galaxy s8...
If you're looking for a top of the line flagship device without breaking the bank, the Galaxy s8 is one of your best choices. While most phones of this caliber are selling currently in the sub $1000 range (with some even exceeding that price, for example the iPhone XS Maxx and the Galaxy Fold), you can get yourself a nice Galaxy s8 with all of the great specs discussed above, with DeX, and one of the most beautiful displays every assembled, for under $400. If I didn't currently have my s8 and was in the market for a new device, it would be at the top of my list to purchase. The Galaxy s8 has just about everything you need and more in a top-of-the-line, beautiful package.
If you're ready to grab yourself a phone with an immersive display that you can almost lose yourself in, Samsung's best ever take on Android, a great camera, fast processor, and all the benefits of DeX, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy s8. Premium hardware and a smooth software experience and a blazingly fast processor, the Galaxy s8 has withstood the test of time better than any other phone I have ever had, and will probably keep on trucking for quite awhile to come!