The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is ‘the next big thing’ that takes Samsung’s favorite slogan very literally. It has a ridiculously sized screen, top-of-the-line specs and an equally outsized price.
Just how big is this thing? You’re looking at a 6.2-inch display that far and away makes it the best big Android phone you can buy – if you can handle it. The ‘smaller’ 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 exists if you can’t.
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What’s remarkable is that the elegantly curved screen has dramatically grown half an inch from last year’s 5.7-inch Galaxy S7 Edge, yet the phone is nearly the same size. It’s just a bit taller thanks to the elimination of needless bezel and Samsung’s familiar oval-shaped home button.
Moreover, owning this new Android means you’re upgrading to the most cutting-edge, VR-ready smartphone available. Having the absolute best camera and best display matter to you.
It’s a glimpse of the future and, in a twist of fate for Samsung vs Apple, a lot of what we expect from the iPhone 8 based on recent leaks and speculation. In 2017, Samsung continues to be the smartphone trendsetter.
Obviously, the Galaxy S8 Plus isn’t the perfect phone for everyone, and for more reasons than ‘it’s too tall for people with small hands.’ Having no physical home button is going to be a deal-breaker for some Samsung fans and their muscle memory.
Ironically for such a futuristic phone, the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on the S8 Plus is stuck in the past. Accessing this off-center scanner is impractical, and Samsung’s new face-recognition unlock feature just doesn’t work well. Meanwhile the company’s much-touted, but ultimately delayed Bixby voice assistant is no-show.
In addition to investing lot of money in the Galaxy S8 Plus you’re also going to have to invest a little trust into Samsung following all of those Galaxy Note 7 battery fires. This big phone sees a big price increase, and the Samsung brand requires you to make a leap of faith.
Check out our Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review video
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus price and release date
You won’t find many Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals because this phone just launched in the US and isn’t even out in the UK yet – it’s incredibly expensive, in line with its specs and features. You will find accessories bonuses, though.
In the US it’s now available at about $35 a month with a 24-month contract through carriers. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are all selling the new phone on-contract. It launched on Friday, April 21.
Looking for that elusive unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus in the US? It costs $824.99 and pre-orders began on May 9 via Samsung and Best Buy, but you’ll have to wait until May 31 for the phone to ship. Sorry, early adopters who want the absolute best right now.
The SIM-free Samsung Galaxy S8 UA price is $312, or you can get it on-contract through a carrier for £45-£50 a month with £0 cost upfront. In Australia it tops out at AU$1,349. It launched on April 28 in both regions.
- ‘Infinity Display’ maximizes the nearly bezel-less screen
- Its dimensions remain relatively reasonable for a big phone
- Dust- and water-resistant with a stellar IP68 rating
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus design is exactly what we’ve wanted for several years – almost. We’ve been asking for a bigger screen, but on a phone that’s still small enough to be easy to hold.
Samsung nails that balance with its nearly bezel-less front face. It once again eliminates the left and right borders with a gently curved screen, and now nearly erases the top and bottom bezels too.
It’s a neat trick. You’re getting an ‘all-screen’ phone – or what Samsung calls its ‘Infinity Display’ – that gives you more screen real estate without significantly increasing the size of the device.
It measures 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and weighs 173g. That’s taller than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and even the Note 7, but not by much. And get this: the iPhone 7 Plus with its smaller 5.5-inch screen is just a millimeter shorter and actually wider and heavier than the S8 Plus.
Touching the top corners of the display requires two hands, or extreme juggling with one hand. This phone isn’t going to be easy for anyone moving from a 4.7-inch or 5.1-inch screen.
Everything about the Galaxy S8 Plus design seems to highlight the real star attraction, the 6.2-inch screen. This includes the rather muted Galaxy S8 colors of Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, and Arctic Silver (we’re not getting Maple Gold or Coral Blue in the West).
The same goes for the now-understated rear camera design, and the S-A-M-S-U-N-G logo no longer adorning the top of the screen and staring back at you every single second you use your phone; the logo is now on the back, and everything is a lot cleaner that way.
Samsung has eliminated the ugly rear camera bump, and simply outlines the flat lens with a tiny lip. We’re in favor of this decision – a protective camera lip may save your camera if you do happen to drop it and crack the back glass. We’ve found out the hard way that the bump-free, unprotected Google Pixel XL will spiderweb when just about any part of the back glass shatters, rendering your main camera useless.
You’re once again protected against the elements, too. Samsung’s phone has an IP68 rating to make it dust- and water-resistant. It can survive 1.5m underwater for 30 minutes – you can probably take it deeper, although we don’t suggest testing your luck or your warranty.
What’s ancient is the single speaker at the bottom, and we’re disappointed to see it. It’s easy to accidentally cover up the grille when watching YouTube videos in landscape mode, and really, when Apple is beating you to something with the iPhone 7, you know there’s a problem.
About that fingerprint scanner
- Fingerprint sensor is awkwardly in the back now, and off-center
- It’s right next to the camera lens, so expect a lot of smudges
- Face unlock is wildly inaccurate, while the iris scanner is okay
The biggest shift for long-time Samsung users is the home button. Gone is the physical oval-shaped button, along with the capacitive ‘recent’ and ‘back’ keys that flanked it. Samsung has finally switched to on-screen bottom buttons, including a pressure-sensitive home button.
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