The Galaxy S8 is a phone that catches the eye. The star of the show is its tall, bezel-less display that looks mesmerizing. Complemented with the slight curves and the edge functionality that give the phone a character, the S8 is a looker.
The thing is that it comes just a year after the Galaxy S7, an impressive phone in its own right, and the price of the S7 has now dropped significantly.
So is it worth upgrading from the S7 to the Galaxy S8, and what are the deeper differences between the new S8 and its predecessor?
On paper, you have the latest generation Snapdragon 835 system chip, a new Bixby assistant, an improved interface and camera, but how does this all work out in real life? That is what we are about to find out in this here detailed comparison, so let’s waste no time and get started right away.
The S8 is surprisingly comfortable in the hand, despite the large screen. In fact, the level of comfort is comparable to the S7.
By now, we have all cheerfully forgotten about plastic Samsung phones of the past. In fact, in 2017 Samsung seems to have successfully undergone a transition and is now universally seen as a design leader rather than a follower. You understand why when you see the Galaxy S8. As hard as it is to innovate the design of a modern smartphone (it’s a rectangle with a screen, after all), Samsung has done an incredible job with the S8.
The bezel-less display is the big revelation (more on it in a few paragraphs), the slight curves that make the phone fit better in the hand, the size that makes the phone very comfortable to hold, the beautiful amalgamation of glass and metal, all of this comes together nicely. And yes, just like the S7, the Galaxy S8 and its glass back is still an absolute fingerprint magnet. In terms of styling, though, the Galaxy S8 is clearly an evolution over the Galaxy S7. The S7 has similar style, even similar flaws such as the off-center charging port at the bottom of the phone (come on, Samsung, is it really so hard to get this right?).
There are a few things you should know about the Galaxy S8. First, its size is very comparable to the S7, and despite the much larger screen diagonal, the phone is just as comfortable to hold and use. Secondly, the fingerprint scanner. It must have been a last-minute decision, but the Galaxy S8 ditches the front fingerprint scanner and places it on the back, right next to the camera in what is an extremely weird position. You get used to it after a while and on the S8 you can reach it without too much effort (unlike the larger S8+ where it is much harder to reach), but it is still weird and unnecessarily inconvenient. The front positioned finger scanner on the Galaxy S7 is much more convenient.
The Galaxy S8 is the first Samsung flagship with a USB-C port rather than the old microUSB used on the S7, and that is one advantage of the newer phone. The reversible USB-C is just more effortless. And yes, both phones have a 3.5mm headset jack (thank god!), but the S8 has the nice bonus of featuring a pair of higher quality AKG earbuds in the box. Nice!
A cool feature that both the S8 and S7 share is water resistance: both can be submerged in water up to 5 feet deep for as long as 30 minutes without suffering any damage.
5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches
148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)
5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)
An immersive, full-screen display is the big difference between the two.
The big difference between the Galaxy S8 and the S7 is the display. The gorgeous, bezel-less curved screen on the S8 is an absolute joy to look at and it makes the phone look futuristic, noticeably different than all other phones from the past with their big chins on the top and bottom.
It’s a taller screen, yet it’s not wider. Put technically, it has a new aspect ratio, so comparing screen diagonals (5.8 inches on the S8 vs 5.1 inches on the S7) is not a correct way to measure because of that difference in proportions. That’s why to see how much bigger the screen on the S8 compared to the S7 is we look at screen area. The 18.5:9 screen on the S8 has an area of around 13.26 in2, while the Galaxy S7 has approximately 11.12 in2, which works out to a difference of some 19%, which is how much bigger the S8 display really is.
When it comes to sharpness, there is no change in the S8: it still uses a Quad HD resolution and a Super AMOLED Diamond Pixel Pentile technology like the S7, and the two have the same density of pixels. You can actually downgrade the resolution (Settings > Display > Screen resolution) from Quad HD to Full HD, and even regular HD, in a move that should have a positive effect on battery life.
The curved screen of the S8, however, also hides a danger: it means that it is more susceptible to shattering when dropped on the floor and repairs tend to cost a fortune. You are free to use it without a case as well, but the smudges it easily accumulates and the need for extra protection definitely mean that you’d better not and that a case is highly recommended with the S8.
On a positive note, the S8 features the newer Gorilla Glass 5 screen protective glass while the S7 uses the older Gorilla Glass 4. The newer type of glass is more durable and has been tested to break less, even when you drop your phone from a higher distance.
The actual colors on these two displays are impressive. Samsung keeps on improving its AMOLED screens, and the S8 is a showcase of excellent quality. You can have lush colors in the default Adaptive AMOLED mode, you can have more down-to-earth sRGB colors when you switch to Basic mode, and you can also use the built-in Cinema and Photo modes with their own color specifics. Since many people would use the phone in the default Adaptive Display mode, the S8 also allows users to control the color balance. By default, it’s a bit on the blue side, but you can go into settings and fine tune this.