If you thought Samsung’s next smartphone will be a ‘revolutionary’ new device, you will have to be disappointed with what the company unveiled at the New York event. Following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, which led to perhaps the worst year for the company, Samsung rolled out the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus on March 29. But is it a great new smartphone? Does it change the smartphone market in any way? Will it make people forget the Note 7 disaster? Yes. No. And No. It is a decent smartphone, and as a matter of fact, there are some reasons to even love the device. Yet, there are features which will make you think twice before buying it. However, this phone will be available worldwide and the reviews and reactions are purely based on the first reactions in the tech world. While there are some great new features in the smartphone, like the HDR screen, faster processor, IRIS scanner and the beautiful Infinity display. But Samsung has not provided the smartphone with upgradations in many ways. Maybe because it wants you to wait for an even better Galaxy Note 8. Additionally, it did not help that the company avoided mentioning the name of the Note 7 even once during the event. According to Mashable, “The Note 7 was going to be a tricky topic no matter what and Samsung has reportedly learned from its mistakes. But mentioning it specifically was important because the phone’s failure refuses to leave the news cycle.”
Samsung has played it safe, especially when it comes to the battery, after the explosion-prone Note 7 smartphone. These phones come in two sizes, S8 and S8 Plus. The display size is comparatively bigger, and the physical home button is gone. The S8 has also unboxed Bixby, a voice assistant, in a bid to take on Siri and Google Assistant. The ‘jinxed’ Galaxy Note 7 device had pushed many buttons when it comes to newer technologies, which proved to be fatal and cost the company more than $5 billion. Perhaps Samsung wants to be absolutely safe this time, but will it be enough to sell these new devices? These phones, at $750 and $850, are already $100 more than the relative Apple iPhone models. However, according to The Observer, “….Samsung won’t be poaching many customers from Apple, their users probably aren’t going anywhere either.” It added, “According to the study, 58 percent of Samsung owners say they are likely to purchase another Samsung as their next phone. Apple users, however, are even more loyal, with 89 percent responding they are likely to buy another iPhone.”
Samsung has been blaming manufacturing defects in its batteries ever since the Note 7 problem. Investigations had revealed that there was too small for their own capacity which put enough on it to burst. Samsung now, despite claiming to make its phones go through many inspections like stress tests etc, could not put much power into the new devices. The Galaxy S8 Plus also has 3 percent less battery power that the Galaxy S7 Edge itself. Also, the phone is 12 percent bigger in size. How then with the beautiful display panels power themselves? Yet, the company has claimed that software and processors will ensure a better battery life.
When it comes to the screen, the Infinity Display is amazing, but it is nothing new. Samsung has been well-known for producing curved display phones since long. This essentially means that only the ‘Edge’ distinction is gone for now. The camera is another let down in the new devices. While there is a boost in the selfie shooter (from 5MP to 8MP), the rear camera remains the same, at 12 MP, as it was in the Samsung Galaxy S7. If nothing, one had been expecting some amazing new changes at least in the camera department. In the times of great camera phones from Apple and Chinese companies, Samsung’s effort seems quite naive in the department. TheIndianExpress.com said, “It’s not that this is a bad phone, but it didn’t offer much surprise, that aha moment you would expect at a smartphone launch. Of course, the Infinity Display is great, but then Samsung has had curved edge displays for a few years now.”
And then comes Bixby. While there are other voice assistants like SIRI, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana, it is not a bad thing that Samsung too wanted to jump on the bandwagon. While the image recognition and visual translations are decent, this might be another Samsung feature which you might now want on your phone.
This is mainly because the great Google Assistant is already available for many Android smartphones. Bixby gives you the beta feels, which does not work with many applications as of now, nor can it search things online. It will take a lot of effort for Samsung to make this reach the masses, even though in a few ways it is better than Siri and Assistant.
With so many top-end models vying to capture the premium market, Samsung does not really offer something novel. At the same time, many mid-range smartphones are already offering what the flagships are, and that too at half the price. In that case, Samsung’s new device, though decent, is flawed enough to not leave a mark.