It hasn't been the easiest year for Samsung. The company is still recovering from the PR nightmare after phones exploded and they had to recall every single Note 7. Needless to say, the pressure is on for their newest smartphone release, the Galaxy S8. I've had both a Verizon and AT&T wireless version of the S8 to test for the past 24 hours.
The first thing you'll notice on the S8 is the massive screen! It takes up almost the entire face of the phone even pushing out the classic home button for an on-screen solution. The screen also wraps around the edge on both sides. Previous that was an option reserved for the most expensive "edge" version of the phone but now it's part of every S8.
After 24 hours I don't mind the loss of the home button. The on-button screens function exactly the same as the hardware buttons on the S7 and seem just as responsive.
The wrap around screen is SUPER COOL. It's not a new option but it's the first time Samsung has used it on all of their new models. It's not a game changer but it just makes the phone feel so cool.
The best part is that you feel like you're getting a giant screen without holding a phablet in your hand. Big screen without the big phone. I like it.
The cameras are good but Samsung seemed to leave well enough alone. The rear camera is 12 Megapixels, basically (minus some software goodness) the same camera from the S7. The did up the Megapixels on the front-facing camera to 8 Megapixels. Samsung knows how to take a good picture and shoot HD video and the S8 continues that tradition.
Samsung switched the charging port to a USB-C but saved the headphone jack! Proof that you CAN make a thin phone and still keep the headphone jack. Apple, take note! They also include a set of AKG earbuds that would cost you $99 if you bought them separately. They're great earbuds. Personally I probably would never spend that money for a set of buds but it's nice to get them in the box for free!
Another new edition to the S8 is an iris scanner. This was first introduced on their short-lived Note 7. It similar in functionality to face recognition but uses your actual iris instead. The impressive part is how fast it works. It's almost instant. I'd say it's almost as fast as unlocking your phone using your fingerprint. There is word that it can be hacked and Samsung, likely for that reason, doesn't use it for unlocking the Samsung Pay app.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is easily the best Samsung phone yet. Thing is, phones are getting to the point where they're not throwing features at every new model like they used to. Now, they're just refining what is already working. I think that's what we're seeing here. The S8 is fast, sleek, slim and downright cool!
I tested the S8 on Verizon and on AT&T. The phones are identical minus carrier software and, of course, network performance. Both worked great in my tests but you'll need to decide which network works best for you.