Surprise, surprise, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is officially a thing and again, it comes in two flavours. There’s the bog-standard Galaxy S8 (which is pricey in and of itself) and the hardly surprising Plus alternative. I spent a decent chunk of time with the latter and I’m remaining cautiously optimistic ahead of launch. Here’s why.
The thing is, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus hardly warrants a separate hands-on review. It’s exactly the same phone, aside from one crucial difference. And I’m sure you can spot this one a mile off.
READ NEXT: Best smartphones 2017
Yep, it has a bigger screen. That’s it. Coming in at 6.2in, the Plus’ screen is absolutely monstrous. It’s awe-inspiring to hold in your hand and will be well suited for the odd bout of Netflix viewing on the train. That 18:9 aspect ratio holds plenty of potential.
Aside from the obvious size difference, the display is exactly the same as the regular S8. It keeps the Quad HD+ 1,440 x 2.960 resolution, complete with HDR. Oh, and that extra 0.4in of screen real estate? You’re paying an extra £90 for. It looks nice, but boy is it pricey.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review: Specifications, release date and price
The S8 Plus is a looker, then, but what’s inside? Below, you’ll find the S8 Plus’ full specs including the UK release date and price. Keep reading for my initial impressions and early verdict, below.
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895|
|Display||6.2in QHD+ (1,440 x 2,880) AMOLED|
You’ve guessed it, the S8 Plus has exactly the same internals as its smaller sibling. Both packing either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (in the US) or Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 (in Europe), expect speedy performance come launch. Samsung says there’ll be a 10% boost in processing speeds and a 20% bump in graphical performance, too.
READ NEXT: Best smartphone battery life 2017
This 10nm chip, which Samsung says is a first for smartphones, should be wonderfully power-efficient too, so expect at least a marginal battery-life boost. Especially considering that battery has seen a size increase to 3,500mAh, compared to the 3,000mAh offering in the regular S8.
Take a look at those camera specs again. No change from last year’s Galaxy S7, right? Correct – it still packs the same 12-megapixel rear facing snapper as last year’s model, but there is a bit of a change in terms of software.
For starters, every time you press the shutter button, three pictures are taken and merged into one, which should – theoretically – create a sharper image. Second, the one-handed-friendly camera UI with simple swipe gestures from Samsung’s A-series lineup makes its first welcome appearance.
There’s also Bixby, Samsung’s own personal digital assistant. Taking on Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, Bixby responds to every beck and call, from calendar management to shopping, and looks to be super helpful. But, you’ll have to wait until later in the year for a UK launch.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review: Early verdict
Why the Galaxy S8 Plus exists is beyond me. In many ways, it just feels like Samsung felt they had to push out a bigger version, despite the bog-standard S8’s ample 5.8in display. It’s a strange move, and that 0.4in display difference just isn’t worth the added £90.
Regardless, like its smaller brother, it’s a marvellous smartphone. If you decide to fork out the hefty £779 for one (lucky you), you won’t be disappointed. The thing is, I can’t yet see myself recommending the S8 Plus over its cheaper sibling, there just aren’t enough improvements to warrant that extra price. I just hope I’m wrong come launch.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 launches in the UK on 28 April for £779. Expect my full review in due course.