Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review
The next Galaxy devices have finally arrived from Samsung and there's a slightly different strategy for the 2017 flagship phones. Now in simply different sizes rather than offering varying tech, here we go in-depth for our Galaxy S8 Plus review to see if you should buy the larger handset.
Galaxy S8 Plus Price and Availability
The S8 Plus is now available in the UK.
It's not a shock that the Galaxy S8 Plus is an expensive smartphone, although not as much as some feared. The flagship price is £779 which isn't a huge amount more than the regular Galaxy S8 which is £689.
You can buy the S8 Plus from Carphone Warehouse or directly from Samsung. You can also get it on contract from as little as £40.99 per month from EE, Vodafone and O2 (through Carphone Warehouse) or from Three.
For more detailed info, you should read our full guide on where to buy the Galaxy S8 Plus.
Galaxy S8 Plus Design and Build
This year there's not a huge difference between Samsung's two flagship phones. As they both offer the edge screen display, the handsets are simply different sizes when it comes to design – hence the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus naming system with no 'edge' element.
The Plus model isn't a vastly bigger than the regular Galaxy S8. It's around 10mm taller and 5mm wider which isn't much to jump from a 5.8- to 6.2in screen. It's astonishing how normal these phones feel in the hand considering those figures. Also see: Galaxy S8 Active latest rumours
Bear in mind that the Galaxy S8 Plus is heavier at 173g compared to 155g, even though that's an impressive weight for a phone with a 6.2in screen. The 6.4in Xperia Z Ultra is 212g. Also see: Samsung Pay is now available in the UK!
You'll notice that a big difference in this year's Galaxy phone is the impressive screen-to-bezel ratio and the rounded corners of the display which match the metal frame. To make this happen, Samsung has ditched the traditional section below the screen for home button.
The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back and there's also a pressure sensitive home button built into the display.
Although moving the fingerprint scanner enables that awesome display, it makes it incredible tricky to use. It's hard enough on the regular S8 and the S8 Plus really does require a shimmy in order to reach it.
You'll probably end up smudging the camera lens with your finger, especially if you're right handed, and put a case on the phone and the fingerprint scanner gets even harder to use - albeit slightly easier to find without looking.
Putting a case on the S8 Plus is almost a necessity due to how slippery the design is. Although the glossy finish feels nice it makes pulling the phone out of a pocket a nerve-wracking experience. It's a real shame because adding a case means you lose a lot of the premium feel and they tend to get in the way of using the edge screen.
You get all the same design features as the smaller model including a headphone jack, Gorilla Glass 5 rear cover and IP68 rated waterproofing. A new button sits on the left for launching Bixby – more on this in the software section.
In the UK, Samsung is offering the Galaxy S8 Plus in three colours: Midnight Black, Orchid Grey and Arctic Silver. The blue and gold options will launch in other markets such as China but may well come to Blighty at a later date.
We like all the colours but be warned that the Arctic Silver option is very shiny, almost mirrored like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Samsung has said this colour will be available 'in due course' so the black and grey options will be the choices to start with.
Galaxy S8 Plus Specs and Hardware
Samsung likes packing as much tech into its phones as humanly possible and the Galaxy S8 Plus ticks almost every box you could think of for a flagship phone.
As you've gathered already, the screen size is the big difference between the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. Both phones now have Samsung's edge screen technology so there's no longer the need to buy the larger option to get this.
Samsung has tweaked the edge display though, so it's not as exaggerated this time. You still get the edge panels but you can't use the edge to show the clock at night and show other information like previously.
Your decision then, is whether to go for the smaller 5.8in model or the Galaxy S8 Plus' 6.2in. These sizes sound a bit ridiculous but the S8 Plus isn't actually too much bigger.
That said, it's enough to make it a two-handed phone and stretching for things that traditionally appear towards the top like search boxes and other buttons can get quite annoying.
It's best to try both in the hand before you commit but we feel the regular Galaxy S8 will be enough for most consumers.
In terms of specs the Galaxy S8 Plus uses the same Super AMOLED technology as the smaller model and has the same Quad HD (2960x1440) resolution. This means a lower but insignificant drop in pixel density from 570- to 529ppi.
It's worth noting that the screen runs at FHD+ (2220x1080) by default but it still looks great like this and you probably won't feel the need to jump to Quad HD but you can do in the settings if you wish - or even drop it to 720p.
Similar to the LG G6, the Galaxy S8 Plus has an unusual aspect ratio. Instead of the typical 16:9, it's 18.5:9 so the screen is very tall. This makes things like watching video much better as you don't get annoying black bars if you format to the screen.
When things like video go full screen is when you'll need the pressure sensitive home button.
Like the regular model, the Galaxy S8 Plus will come with two different processors for different markets.
The UK model will come with Samsung's Exynos Series 9 8895 chip, an octa-core processor with 4x 2.3GHz and 4x 1.7GHz clock speeds. Some other markets will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 that Samsung co-produced.
It's no surprise that the S8 Plus benchmarks almost identically to the smaller one considering it has the same core specs. The slightly larger screen size doesn't make any difference to graphics results and note that we tested at the default FHD+ resolution (2220x1080).
As you can see both Galaxy S8 models perform extremely well putting out some of the best numbers we've seen. Remember these are just figures but in real life, the S8 Plus is also a top performer and we can't say we've noticed it lag or slow down at all.
Memory and Storage
Samsung has kept things simple this year so the Galaxy S8 Plus matches the smaller model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. As usual, there's expandable storage so it's easy to add a further 256GB with the Micro-SD card slot.
Samsung has detailed a 128GB option that comes with 6GB of RAM which we're sure some of you would be interested in. However, this is for the Asian market only and there's no work on whether it will be released anywhere else.