|Samsung Galaxy S8|
It's hard to choose your next phone because there are so many good options today, and potentially good phones coming later this year (2017). By now you've probably seen a million reviews on the S8, but it doesn't make the decision easier. Here's my suggestion, in two quick steps. Make sure none of the cons below are deal-breakers for you. Then, look over the list of unique advantages, and see if they get you excited enough to pay the hefty $750. If you're still here after that, then welcome to the club! Be sure to check out my final tips for maximizing your S8 experience.
1. Edge screen is beautiful, but annoying in two situations. It creates visual distortions a little (less than S7 Edge though). It is also difficult to hold the phone up in the air, face down (e.g. before sleep), as the phone is prone to accidentally registering side touches. A case remedies the latter problem, but I dislike putting a case on such a beautiful phone (see pro tip #1).
2. Samsung is not very good with software updates. If you take great pleasure from trying new Android in a timely manner, this isn't for you -- the only two options are iPhones and Pixels. That said, keep in mind that new software updates typically slow down the phone.
3. Fingerprint scanner location has been mentioned a gazillion times. Yes, I wish it was on the front. No, it really isn't that bad on an S8 (S8+ is a different story). You know, we have this thing called "muscle memory".. It took me two days to adjust to the new location, and now I have no problems. If you really hate it, try facial recognition or iris scanner, they're very good (see pro tip #8)
4. The phone has glass back that’s prone to cracking, so watch out if you’re clumsy. But see pro tip #1
5. S8 doesn’t have monster battery life, and it needs to be charged once a day. If you need to go past a day, look elsewhere.
6. Some are disappointed about a lack of dual-camera. Personally, the rear camera is wide enough that I am rarely in a situation where I feel the need for a wide-angle lens (like in LG). An optical zoom would have been nice (like in Iphone 7+), but not really an issue for me (see pro tip #6)
1. Futuristic aesthetics of a bezelless all-screen phone. This doesn’t really improve the functionality of the phone, but there’s just something satisfying about this futuristic experience.
2. The screen is just so damn beautiful, no contest here. Always-on display is useful.
3. As of today, it’s the only phone that checks ALL of my needs: Excellent rear camera, excellent front camera (reviewers too often ignore this), water proof, dust proof, wireless (fast) charging, full-day battery life, a headphone jack, a micro SD card slot, fingerprint scanner, and after using the S8, Bluetooth 5.0!
4. Bluetooth 5.0 is amazing. S8 is a first phone to come with this, and it’s awesome. I frequently use the ability to connect to two different speakers at once, for a surround-sound like experience in my room. You can also listen to the same music with your friend in a library, by connecting to two different headphones.
5. S8 is also the first phone to come with Gigabit LTE, which is nice for future-proofing the phone, but it doesn't quite help us yet.
1. Consider getting a tempered-glass screen protector (they’re better on S8 than on S7 Edge) and a Slickwraps/dbrand skin for the back. The skins make your phone look unique, improves grip, and it also helps cover up cracks if you’ve dropped your phone. Slickwraps frequently has discount promotions on their website, so watch out for that. Don’t use a case, enjoy the beautiful phone!
2. Bixby is useless, and if you’re like me, most “Smart” assistants are still generally not helpful and just raises privacy concerns. You can remap the Bixby button (as of April 2017): See https://www.xda-developers.com/3-applications-bypass-bixby-restriction/
3. General Android tip: Go to Settings, Developer Options, set Window/Transition/Animator animation scales to x0.5 to speed things up (Google this if you don’t know what I mean)
4. General AMOLED tip: Take advantage of black wallpapers to save battery life
5. Set screen resolution up to QHD. In my experience it barely affects battery life in everyday use. Going HD will significantly improve battery life if you are a heavy gamer, or use CPU intensive apps a lot.
6. If you really miss dual-camera set-ups in other phones, consider getting a separate smartphone camera lens kit that sells for ~$20. They’re less convenient than a built-in dual lens, but on the upside they’re much more versatile and fun.
7. If you are still not convinced whether to buy S8, then wait. Most phones (except iPhones and Pixels) drop prices relatively quickly, and you may be able to snatch one up cheap refurbished in auction sites.
8. Contrary to some reviews, the facial recognition and the iris scanner are reliable and fast. In my experience, how you register your face/iris determines how effective it will be. If you wear glasses, register with glasses on. Also, register under medium lighting conditions and not in extreme conditions. You want the phone to be able to recognize you under different environments.
Gorgeous & futuristic phone, industry-leading screen, excellent and reliable (rear AND front) camera, full-day battery, water and dust proof, wireless (fast) charging, and Bluetooth 5.0! On the downside, it won't receive timely software updates, and fingerprint scanner location is a minor setback.
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