Samsung Galaxy S8 Long Term Review: 5 months on, is it still capable?
This is how the Samsung Galaxy S8 fares after five months.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are among the best flagship smartphones launched this year. Samsung has done a really good job with these two – right from the edge-to-edge near bezel-less design, to top-of-the-line hardware and more. We reviewed both smartphones earlier this year in May, and were completely pleased with the performance, cameras and software features. Now, five months later, it is time to look again at how the smartphone holds up.
The Galaxy S8 was launched for Rs 57,990, however, after the recent price cut, you can now get one for just Rs 53,900. I had reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S8 earlier, and after being pleased with the performance, I instantly made my purchase. And now, after using it as a daily driver since May, here’s my long-term review to look back and see how well it fares. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8 review: A combination of beauty, beast and near-perfection!
Cosmetics: You better put a cover on it
Sure, the front and back curved glass design looks appealing. Even after the launch of LG V30, Huawei Mate 10 and Apple iPhone X to name a few, the Galaxy S8 looks stunning. However, that comes at a cost. Firstly, the smooth front and back glass make the smartphone very slippery. There were a number of moments when it was close to slipping out of my hands. Luckily, my reflexes always saved the fall. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: The beast unleashed!
Now, even though Corning claims that Gorilla Glass 5 is stronger and more resistant to scratches, the truth is completely the opposite. A friend who owns a Galaxy S8+, happened to drop the phone from knee level and the screen was left shattered. In my case, even though I didn’t drop it, the front and the back managed to attract a couple of nasty scuffs. This is despite taking proper care, and ensuring I don’t keep the phone on hard surfaces or keep anything else in the pocket, such as keys.
The scuffs are not easily visible, but are noticeable from an angle. While I am completely against applying a screen guard and using a case, getting one might be a good idea to safeguard your device. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Review: When a smartphone becomes an experience
Performance on par, but…
During the initial review period, even a budget Android device performs well, but it is the test of time that tells how capable the device really is. Android smartphones, whether budget or top-end, tend to slow down and lag after a few months. This is mostly the result of the number of apps you install, cache among others.
Most of the time that I’ve had the Galaxy S8, it has lived up to expectations. However, there were moments where it struggled. At times, when you really need it the most, there used to be a lag of 2-3 seconds – right from unlocking the device to opening an app. In fact, sometimes the apps force-closed too. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: The iPad Pro alternative worth considering
Lets take an example of the camera; I see something interesting I want to capture, I pull the phone out of my pocket, and start the camera app. Between me pressing the shutter and the photo saving in the gallery, there was a delay of four seconds. And the photo turned out to be blurry. So, if you want to quickly capture a fast-moving object, you can’t really rely on it every time. ALSO READ: HTC U11 review: Utopia in the making
At such times, I go to the Device Maintenance app, clear some memory and cache in the storage settings, and then things come back to normal – fast and smooth. Now, while it could be a TouchWiz problem due to heavy customization, I won’t completely blame Samsung, as the problem of slowing down is persistent with Android OS, especially after three-four months.
Fingerprint sensor issue: Extends beyond being wrongly placed
A lot of people have already complained about the odd placement of the fingerprint scanner at the back. Even after getting used to the phone, there are moments when you accidentally touch the camera lens (leaving grime on it), rather than touching the fingerprint sensor. I for once, hardly use it, as the iris scanner has been good enough for me – it is fast, secure, works in complete darkness, and also works when I’m wearing spectacles or sunglasses.
However, when travelling in a crowded bus, metro, or even in an elevator, holding the phone at a certain distance for Iris unlocking is difficult. Those are the only times when I use the fingerprint scanner. And well, there are those embarrassing moments when a colleague is standing right beside you, looking at what you are doing from the corner of the eye. ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 Review: Feel the power
When the unlocking fails for 2-3 times and you manually put the 4-digit pin to unlock, then he takes out his phone, unlocks in a fraction of a second and boasts about how his phone has a better fingerprint sensor that mine, and it costs close to half the price. While these are one-off cases and don’t happen that often, the times they do happen have been embarrassing for me, and those are rare points where the Samsung Galaxy S8 hasn’t lived up to its reputation. ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 Long Term Review: Still feeling the power
Cameras: The ones you can count on!
At the time of buying the Galaxy S8, I was clear that I wanted the smartphone with the best camera. And sure enough, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S8 with one of the best cameras on a smartphone this year. I had gone on a vacation to Malaysia and Singapore for 10 days. This time, I completely ditched my DSLR and went ahead with my Galaxy S8, and the Galaxy Note 8 that I was reviewing. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8 camera review: A closer look at the front and rear camera on the newest flagship out there
I clicked a lot of pictures and videos during my entire trip, in all sorts of lighting conditions including low-light. I was able to able to capture photos with adequate details, using both the front and rear cameras. I must say, one can easily do away with the DSLR, unless you want to use those super zoom lenses to capture far away scenes. Below are some sample shots I clicked using the Galaxy S8. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8: How dual cameras work, enhance photo quality and more
Still worth buying?
Absolutely! The smartphone comes with a powerful chipset and 4GB of RAM that is good enough for smooth performance. The issues that I talked about, with the occasional lag and fingerprint scanner failing, are not concurrent, but appears once in a while. I found that restarting the phone once every couple of days keeps these issues away for the most part.
The Galaxy S8 is also water and dust resistant, and I’ve taken it for a swim and also inside a Jacuzzi, and it’s survived. The addition of Samsung Pay feature is a blessing; where ever possible, I use my Galaxy S8 to tap-and-pay, and it also eliminates the need for carrying your credit and debit cards around. Samsung also rolled out Bixby voice, AI-based virtual assistant which is not only promising, but also has advanced features, compared to Google Assistant and Siri. You may not use it often, but it’s good to know you have the option. So, at the current price tag of Rs 53,900, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is still a worthy purchase if you are looking for an all-rounder of a smartphone with a very capable camera.