Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 2nd 2017 Contents most important
Samsung may still be trying
to make up for its debilitating
hardware nightmare, but it
has one distinct advantage:
it's launching its new flagship
phone, the Galaxy S8, early
enough in the year that it gets
to help establish a new stand-
ard for what a 2017 premium
smartphone should be.
One analyst even went as far as
calling the March 29 S8 event the
launch of the "smartphone inno-
vation Super Cycle". If you believe
that to be true, then that means the
features of the new phone are some
of the most innovative and impor-
tant ones to date.
Below are some of the key fea-
tures of the Galaxy S8 phone that
are likely to be the most talked-
about, tested, and even copied
over the next several months. We
can't say for sure whether these are
the best features of the phone, be-
cause we haven't had the chance to
use it for an extended time period.
But these are definitely the ones
that make it stand out. Your move,
Sunday, April 2, 2017 guardian.co.tt
The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display
crammed into what feels like a nor-
mal-sized phone, with a barely-there
bezel. That alone is a feat of engineer-
ing, but the phone is also a thing of
beauty to look at.
It has a clean, unbranded face; a
bright, fluid-looking display; and a
mirror-like glass back. So far, the one
bad thing we've noted about the dis-
play is its bizarre aspect ratio, which
might result in pillarboxed 16:9 videos.
Otherwise, Samsung has pulled off an
optical magic trick. By the way, if you
still want an actual phablet: there's a
version with a 6.2-inch display, too.
Okay, Samsung isn't calling it "Force
Touch"; that's Apple's jam. But this
new Galaxy S8 phone does incorpo-
rate a similar mechanism into the
bottom half of it, which means that
when you press on the (now entirely
virtual) home button, it gives haptic
feedback in response.
Also! This phone doesn't have a
physical home button. It does have
a fingerprint scanner, as well as
face-scanning capabilities. The fin-
gerprint scanner is now on the back
of the phone, right next to the camera
lens. It's too soon to tell whether this
placement is ill-advised.
BETTER SELFIE CAMERA
Samsung was uncharacteristically...
subdued when it came to the Galaxy
S8's photo-snapping capabilities, but
that might be because the biggest
change was made to the front-facing
camera, not the rear camera. The sel-
fie camera now captures 8-megapixel
photos with an f/1.7 lens, and also
has autofocus capabilities. In our brief
tests of the front-facing camera, aut-
ofocus worked well and fast. Selfie
lovers, you are welcome.
FAST FACE SCANNING
The face unlock feature is fast---so
fast that maybe you should be wor-
Authentication through facial recog-
nition has been a feature on Android
phones and laptops for years now, but
this is the first implementation made
by Samsung itself. And, according to
The Verge's Dieter Bohn, who test-
ed it during his brief hands-on with
the S8: it's fast. (So blink-of-an-eye
quick, in fact, that he had to do mul-
tiple takes to try to show it on video.)
The obvious upside: consider-
ing that the fingerprint sensor has
been moved to the back, this kind
of face-scanning tech could easily
become the default mechanism for
unlocking your phone.
The downside: in the age of erod-
ing privacy regulations and random
airport searches, do you really want
your phone to unlock that easily?
It's 2017, and Samsung has finally
introduced its own virtual assistant:
Bixby. Samsung is positioning it as a
virtual assistant that's largely focused
on helping you get stuff done on the
phone itself: you can set reminders,
search through photo galleries, and
cast your phone screen to your
Wi-Fi-connected TV, all by pressing
a dedicated Bixby button and talking
to it. It's also able to identify physical
objects out in the wild (well, some of
them at least).
Less clear is how helpful Bixby will
be at pulling in information from
the web. The big question, then, is
whether Bixby will simply play nice
with the Google Assistant that's al-
ready running on Android phones, or
whether this is going to turn into a
death match at the expense of your
access to helpful information.
HOW WILL BIXBY
FROM GOOGLE ASSISTANT?
Using only your phone to power an
entire desktop experience has long
been the dream of business people
who at some point in their lives had
to carry big boxy ThinkPads around,
but most attempts at that so far have
been iffy. That's where Samsung's
DeX comes in, short for "Desktop
Experience." DeX is a plastic bowl-like
stand with a USB-C prong, a couple
of ports, and a fan. It supports the
Galaxy S8 and effectively gives you
a PC-like mobile desktop on a display.
Some apps are even optimized for
the experience; although, the only
browser it runs right now is Sam-
sung's own "Internet" browser. Is
this the Road Warrior dream finally
realised? We'll see, but at first glance,
it looked cool.
3.5MM HEADPHONE JACK
I'm not being hyperbolic when I say
that the lack of 3.5mm headphone
jack is still one of the only reasons I
haven't upgraded to another phone.
So I appreciate that a manufacturer
like Samsung can try to move the
needle forward in all kinds of ways
(No more bezels! Face scanning! Bye,
home button!), and yet still keep that
little hole in the bottom of its phone.
Okay, arguably, the fact that the
phone supports Bluetooth 5 is more
notable. But in my humble opinion,
the 3.5mm headphone jack is still one
of the most welcome features of the
Galaxy S8. Well, that and...
A NON-EXPLODING BATTERY
It's the elephant in the room: can
Samsung recover from the Note 7?
Samsung says it has learned from
its fiery phone saga, and that it has
implemented an eight-step bat-
tery-check process. And for what
it's worth, the S8 it appears to have
taken a more conservative approach,
based on milliamps alone.
This is another one of those things
we can't fully assess until we've
used the phone for a good period of
time, but if it just performs like it's
supposed to and doesn't burst into
flames, then it's a win for Samsung.
And if it doesn't? Nothing short of
catastrophic for the company.
Links Archive April 1st 2017 April 3rd 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page