Review: Samsung Galaxy S8, Gear VR 2017 & Gear 360 2017

Review: Samsung Galaxy S8

By Will Goodbody, Science Technology Correspondent

After a debate and predicament surrounding a bursting and eventually scrapped Samsung Galaxy Note 7, it is no deceit to contend a launch of a Samsung Galaxy S8 was among a many expected smartphone launches ever.

Not usually did a device have to not explode.

But it also had to be good, unequivocally good in fact, in sequence to retrieve some of a mislaid marketplace share, certainty and interest that Samsung had lost.

Well that vigour appears to have paid off, with a association producing a tip device.


Out of a box, a Samsung Galaxy S8 is a overwhelming looking handset.

That’s mostly since of a huge hang around shade that creates it mount out significantly from a crowd.

The winding edges of that arrangement join seamlessly with a steel rim, that in spin blends into a behind of a phone.

It feels light and gentle to hold. And notwithstanding a fibre of a finish, it doesn’t feel like it is going to trip out of your palm all a time.

That’s positively a good thing, since yet a protecting cover a S8 would be intensely exposed to eventuality if forsaken on a tough surface.

On a right side there’s a energy symbol and on a left a volume rocker and a dedicated yet not overly indispensable symbol to launch a Bixby practical partner – some-more on that later.

Because of a changes to a display, a fingerprint sensor has altered to a behind – right beside a categorical camera lens, that lies flush.

The bottom of a handset still has a 3.5mm audio jack – something many will acquire – and charging is around USB-C .

The SIM label and memory label tray is on a tip of a device.


Samsung has finished something new and unequivocally effective with a shade on a S8.

Aside from jacket a shade totally around a edges, it has altered a aspect ratio to 18:5:9.

It creates it unequivocally prolonged – 5.8 inches from dilemma to corner.

But a outcome of a changes total with a nearby bezel-less pattern is that roughly a whole front of a phone is enveloped in what Samsung calls an Infinity Display.

It does make reaching a full length of a phone a bit of a widen for a normal finger or thumb.

But a trade off is a splendidly immersive knowledge when examination video or looking during images.

The peculiarity of a Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen’s outlay is glorious too.

Vivid splendid colours jump out during you, low blacks and pointy whites make for good contrariety and sharpness.

The shade is also intensely hold sensitive, so there’s no mixed drumming required to open apps, etc.

The edges, like on a prior “Edge” models, have expandable trays for discerning rising sold applications.

The changes to a shade meant a earthy home symbol has been transposed by a practical one.

That’s not such a large understanding , and a haptic feedback we get when we pull it creates it feel like we aren’t only dire glass.

One thing to note is that notwithstanding a Quad HD+ spec, a device comes preset on Full HD+.

That could be a battery saving move, or maybe it is only a taciturn confirmation that many of us can’t unequivocally tell a difference.

But in any event, if we wish a full experience, we contingency change a settings.


The device is driven by a absolute engine.

On house is possibly a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung’s possess Exynos 8895 chip.

Both are octa-core processors (one has somewhat reduction energy in a second chip) and joined with a 4GB of RAM, propel it along during lightning speed yet any struggles.

It also has 64GB of memory pre-loaded and that can be stretched to 256GB regulating a MicroSD card.

The S8 has a 3,000mAh battery (the S8+ has a 3,500mAh energy pack).

It is adequate to see we by a day with assuage to high levels of use, nonetheless anything heavier and we competence have to strech for a charging pack.

It does make we consternation if a Note 7 battery hadn’t been such a disaster, would a battery on a S8 have been bigger?


One of a areas where there has been singular changes from a Galaxy S7 is a camera department.

The 8MP front confronting camera has been upgraded as a concentration on selfies becomes some-more and some-more important.

However a 12MP categorical camera is a same one as could be found in a S7.

That’s for a good reason that a S7 camera was unequivocally good – among a best around.

The interface has, however, altered and is easy to navigate and use.

There are a few some-more bells and whistles, like protracted existence masks for example, yet all told it stays and glorious camera, quite in low-light conditions.

There’s a pro-mode too for camera aficionados.

Clever shortcuts also make opening and banishment a camera unequivocally discerning – critical when we wish to constraint that moment.

The one large emanate with a camera is a conditions of a lens beside a fingerprint sensor.

It is approach too easy to brew a dual up, a outcome being a smeared camera only when we are racing to squeeze a ideal shot.


Every high-end smartphone contingency currently have some form of intelligent partner formed on synthetic intelligence.

Samsung’s big-play answer is Bixby.

The devise is that Bixby will turn Samsung’s answer to Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, assisting with all sorts of daily activities and chores.

I contend “will” since so distant it is not nonetheless accessible in a loyal form here in Ireland.

You can get a ambience of what it can do by Bixby Vision – a camera environment that recognises what’s in a shot and afterwards allows we to hunt or emporium for it.

There’s also a Bixby Home page, accessed around a symbol on a side of a handset, that offers adult personalised news, etc.

But all told Bixby is a work in swell that may, or competence not be, value watchful for.

The device runs on Android Nougat with a new chronicle of Samsung’s possess user interface on tip of it.

It’s flattering nice, easy to use and has some combined facilities – like long-pressing certain icons divulgence sub-menus for example.

Other changes embody carrying to appropriate down to entrance a app drawer – there is no button.

They aren’t large or indispensably bad alterations, nonetheless they do need a bit of removing used to if we are used prior versions of a phone.

There’s also a customisable always-on display, that is handy.

The finger-print sensor relocating to a behind is reduction so, however.

Its position right beside a camera lens means we are expected to spasmodic incidentally blemish it.

It also isn’t in a many gentle position.

The other options for entrance and security, aside from a common PIN/pattern, are biometrics.

Both facial approval and iris scanning are accessible – yet conjunction is quite brilliant.

They both work, yet take a small while to close onto their aim and need a face or eyes to be good positioned to activate.


In tandem with a launch of a Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, Samsung also expelled an upgraded chronicle of a Gear VR headset and a Gear 360 camera.

Both paint incremental yet suggestive adequate iterations of a strange products.

The Gear VR includes new facilities like a USB-C block that S8 connects into and it is also noticeably lighter.

The symbol blueprint is also a bit different, with a dedicated home symbol now beside a hold pad.

The torpedo further yet is a new wireless controller, that creates navigating a VR space intensely easier.

It has a round touchpad, a trigger button, volume switches, home symbol and behind button.

I like a Gear VR a lot – it is gentle to wear, easy to navigate, there’s copiousness of calm and for €100 (controller is extra) it’s an inexpensive entrance to VR if we have a concordant phone.

It can, however, be a bit glitchy and perplexing to explain what to do to children or adult novices who are regulating it for a initial time is tricky.

If we are meddlesome in creation calm for your Gear VR afterwards the Gear 360 has had an ascent too.

Its pattern has been totally revamped, it now shoots in 4k and there’s now an iOS concordant app for it.

The categorical Android app is flattering good, and has lots of features, including a live 360 promote mode.

The video peculiarity is good, not fantastic, and it takes reasonable peculiarity photos.

One downside is that a smaller battery isn’t replaceable on a new version, yet was on a original.

However, as an entrance turn offering, this camera is fun and easy to use.

The final appendage for a S8 is a DeX advancing station, that enables we to bond your S8 or S8 Plus to a guard and keyboard.

When it is connected we see a desktop chronicle of Android on a shade that is some-more same to Windows than a normal Google mobile OS.

As good as a HDMI-out port, DeX has an ethernet jack, and dual full-size USB ports.

It won’t reinstate a full workstation or laptop, yet it is an engaging and organic accessory for a plcae where we competence not have a full complement yet competence wish to work for brief durations on a full-screen and keyboard.


The Galaxy S8 isn’t perfect.

There’s a badly placed fingerprint sensor, a deficient Bixby and a deficiency of an ascent on a camera.

It is also unequivocally costly – starting during around €800 on prepay for a S8 and €900 for a S8 Plus.

That puts it in a same cost joint as a iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and above a shortly to be expelled Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Huawei P10/Plus.

But it is an intensely good smartphone, with substantially a best shade on a marketplace right now and copiousness of facilities to assistance clear most of that unequivocally reward cost tag.

Comments acquire around Twitter around @willgoodbody

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