We first saw Samsung’s new 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ at its Unpacked event a few weeks ago. During the event, we saw demos of its new virtual assistant, Bixby, and its DeX docking station, which allows the Galaxy S8 to provide a desktop-like experience by connecting to an external monitor and peripherals, but we didn’t have much time with the phones to do much more than take some pictures and try a couple of the new features. After receiving a Galaxy S8 earlier this week, we wanted to give you some feedback about its design and biometric features, as well as, an initial performance and battery life assessment before we dive into our usual in-depth testing.

My biggest complaint about the design is the location of the fingerprint sensor, which I discuss in the video above. It has been relocated to the back next to the camera, making it difficult to reach and use. The new face unlock feature, the second of the S8’s three biometric authentication options, is flawed too. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to get face unlock to work, not even once. The feature, which relies solely on the front-facing camera for identification, also is not very secure, assuming it works at all. It has already been shown that simply holding a picture in front of the camera is enough to fool it into unlocking the phone. The camera really needs to be augmented with an infrared camera to detect a face’s heat signature as a liveness test, or a second, depth-sensing camera to at least detect a face in three dimensions. So far the iris scanner, which I also demo in the video above, has proven to be the easiest and most reliable biometric option. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Series
  Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S8+
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US, China, Japan)
4x Kryo 280 Performance @ 2.35GHz
4x Kryo 280 Efficiency @ 1.90GHz
Adreno 540

Samsung Exynos 8895 (rest of world)
4x Exynos M2 @ 2.30GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.70GHz
ARM Mali-G71
Display 5.8-inch 2960x1440 (18.5:9)
SAMOLED (curved edges)
6.2-inch 2960x1440 (18.5:9)
SAMOLED (curved edges)
Dimensions 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm
155 grams
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
173 grams
+ microSD
Battery 3000 mAh (11.55 Wh)
3500 mAh (13.48 Wh)
Front Camera 8MP, f/1.7, Contrast AF
Rear Camera 12MP, 1.4µm pixels, f/1.7, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS, auto HDR, LED flash
Modem Snapdragon X16 LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 16/13)

Samsung LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 16/13)
SIM Size NanoSIM
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MU-MIMO, BT 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
Connectivity USB Type-C, 3.5mm headset
Features fingerprint sensor, heart-rate sensor, iris scanner, face unlock, fast charging (Qualcomm QC 2.0 or Adaptive Fast Charging), wireless charging (WPC & PMA), IP68, Mobile HDR Premium
Launch OS Android 7.0 with TouchWiz

Inside the redesigned Galaxy S8 and S8+ is either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC. The US and other regions that require CDMA capability will get the Snapdragon 835, while the rest of the world will get Samsung’s SoC. The new 10nm SoCs are paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of UFS 2.1 NAND. The Galaxy S8 comes with a 3000mAh battery, the same size as the Galaxy S7, while the S8+ comes with a 3500mAh battery, slightly less than the S7 edge’s 3600mAh capacity.

PCMark - Work 2.0 Performance Overall

PCMark - Web Browsing 2.0

PCMark - Writing 2.0

PCMark - Data Manipulation 2.0

PCMark - Video Editing 2.0

PCMark - Photo Editing 2.0

In PCMark, which is our best indicator of general system performance, the Galaxy S8 with Snapdragon 835 performs quite well, besting even the Mate 9 overall. Because this is the first S835 retail device we’ve tested, I’ve also included Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 MDP/S, which the company uses internally for hardware testing and software development, as a reference point. In most of these tests, the Galaxy S8 performs about the same as the Snapdragon 835 MDP/S, which is certainly a good sign.

The Galaxy S8 does particularly well in the Writing test, outscoring the Mate 9 by 13% and the Galaxy S7 (Snapdragon 820) by 85%. The Writing test, which previous Galaxy phones struggle with, uses a fairly bursty workload, frequently migrating threads between the little and big cores. Perhaps this is an indication that Samsung is utilizing the big cores more aggressively than in the past. The Galaxy S8 is also 9% faster than the Mate 9 in the Web Browsing test and 37% faster than the S7 (S820).

PCMark - Work 2.0 Battery Life

The Galaxy S8 achieves over 8 hours of screen-on-time while continuously crunching through the PCMark workloads, 46% longer than the Galaxy S7 that has the same 3000mAh battery, which suggests some nice efficiency gains from the new SoC, display, or other components. While the Galaxy S7 can struggle to last a full day on a single charge depending on how it’s used, these initial results suggest the Galaxy S8 will encounter fewer scenarios where it will need to use its fast charging or wireless charging abilities to stretch battery life till the end of the day.

While we’ve only had the Galaxy S8 for a couple of days, our first impression is generally positive. It’s packed with features, TouchWiz is more refined, and it performed well in our first performance and battery life tests. A few issues are already apparent, however. Your face probably will not be smiling if you try to rely on it to unlock the phone, and the fingerprint sensor is located in just about the worst possible place. Samsung’s Bixby assistant also is not yet fully functional; fortunately, you can still use Google Assistant while you’re waiting for Bixby to mature.

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  • hassaninc - Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - link

    Brand new Original Samsung Galaxy s8 and s8+ New Edition RED Apple iphone 7 and 7 128GB plus cost 550usd with 1year warranty.

    Serious buyer should contact us.

    Skype: faisa.hassan102
  • jamalinc - Thursday, May 11, 2017 - link

    Brand new Original Samsung Galaxy s8 and s8+ New Edition RED Apple iphone 7 and 7 128GB plus cost 550usd with 1year warranty.

    Serious buyer should contact us.

    skype: faisa.hassan102
  • bptrades - Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - link

    Guys when it the 2nd part coming out? The first part was April 21st it's now June 6th. I realize you try to be thorough etc, and there was the red tint issue, but otherwise it seems like this is a reoccurring theme with your review of Galaxy phones, they are always much later than iPhone reviews, the last review remember it took over 2 months for part 2 for the Galaxy. I've seen a lot of complaints in past comments about how there's a bias here for AAPL and one against Samsung, and I try to ignore that, however you can see why people think that. It just seems that you have less ambition or interest to finish these reviews on the Samsung phones, where as the Iphone reviews are much more timely. thanks
  • bptrades - Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - link

    actually that last Galaxy phone update was worse than I thought!

    - Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Review Part 1: 3/8/16

    - Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Review Part 2: 7/5/16!!

    Wowsa! last time it took for 4 months for the part 2 review of the Galaxy S7 to come out!

    If there was a part 1 review of the iphone, would they wait 4 months? Seriously ask yourself.

    Anandtech - I think you try to be non- biased but seriously you can see why a bunch of commentators think you have a bias. Get the non iphone reviews out faster please. Part 2 of Galaxy S8 is already getting late thx
  • Lau_Tech - Sunday, July 16, 2017 - link

    Bpttrades stupidly late android phone reviews are an endemic part of anandtech. It doesn't matter who they get (or don't get) to write the reviews.

    It is more helpful to think of anandtech as a technology commentary site, where you can go indepth into the state of the art for that year. Never ever think of anandtech as a site which can help inform any urgent, time-sensitive purchasing decision
  • az060693 - Thursday, July 20, 2017 - link

    Are we ever going to get a review?
  • Lau_Tech - Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - link

    Unless its an Iphone....nope
  • Iswara - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    The Samsung Galaxy S8 Is A Phone That Should Be One Of The Very First You Look At When Deciding Which New Phone You Buy. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Has A Boundary Breaking Design, With A 5.8- Inch Rounded Corner Infinity Display That Gives You More Screen In Your Hand. Choose From The Very Latest Mobile Phones And Tablets; Find Great Deals On Mobile Phones, Mobile Broadband And Pocket Wifi. The Samsung Galaxy S8 And Samsung Galaxy S8+ Are Android Smartphones Produced By Samsung Electronics As Part Of The Samsung Galaxy S Series. When Technology Never Seems To Be Able To Keep Up With Your Needs, The Samsung Galaxy S8 Comes To The Rescue. http://www.savebee.in/best-smartphones-under-12000...
  • pubg - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    I am impressed, the software does look pretty damn polished when compared to years ago. However until both Samsung and the United States carriers agree to a guaranteed monthly software patch schedule which includes not only security patches but core Android updates I won't buy an Android phone.

    Windows, Linux, Google Chrome, and Firefox can all do monthly software updates and patches. Why the hell can't Samsung?!?!


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