Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus hands-on review, UK price and release date: Is Samsung’s giant 6.2in phone too big?
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus doesn’t really deserve its own review. It’s much the same as the Samsung Galaxy S8, which you can read a full hands-on review of here; it has the same features, same internals, camera, storage options, and screen aspect ratio and resolution.
What makes it different is the sheer size of the thing. The screen measures 6.2in across the diagonal, which would make a regular phone practically unusable. The last super-sized phone I used for any length of time was the Huawei Mate 8, and that was stretching the boundaries at 6in.
However, as I’ve explained in my hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy S8, you can’t compare the S8 Plus to other phones on screen size alone. As Samsung has adopted a taller and narrower profile screen than most of its rivals, the Galaxy S8 Plus actually feels quite comfortable to hold in one hand. That’s mainly because the 18.5:9 aspect ratio allows Samsung to add extra screen real estate without expanding the physical width of the phone too much.
In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a mere 73.4mm wide, which is only 0.8mm broader than last year’s S7 Edge. It is noticeably taller at 159.5mm, but thanks to incredibly narrow top and bottom screen bezels, it isn’t as unwieldy as it could have been.
Nonetheless, although the S8 Plus is reasonably practical to wield one-handed, it isn’t a particularly pocketable phone. As you can see from the photo below, it’s a little taller than the Google Pixel XL (by nearly half a centimetre) and it’s pretty hefty at 173g, so you’ll need to plan on keeping it in a jacket pocket – or make sure your trouser pockets are up to the task.
Aside from the size of the phone itself and the screen, the only difference between the two phones is that the battery inside the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is bigger by 500mAh, at 3,500mAh.
It’s available in silver, blue and black, and looks just as as swanky as the regular S8, but it also means the fingerprint reader is also in the same slightly weird place: off-centre, beside the rear camera.[gallery:11]
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review: UK specifications and release date
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S8
|18.5:9 aspect ratio 1,440 x 2,960 OLED, HDR-capable display||18.5:9 aspect ratio 1,440 x 2,960 OLED, HDR-capable display|
|73.4 x 159.5 x 8.1mm (WDH)||68.1 x 148.9 x 8mm (WDH)|
|Octa-core, 10nm Samsung Exynos CPU (comprises 2.3GHz quad-core and 1.7GHz quad-core CPUs)||Octa-core, 10nm Samsung Exynos CPU (comprises 2.3GHz quad-core and 1.7GHz quad-core CPUs)|
|4GB RAM||4GB RAM|
|64GB UFS 2.1 storage||64GB UFS 2.1 storage|
|microSD slot||microSD slot|
|3,500mAh battery||3,000mAh battery|
|USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|IP68 dust and water resistance||IP68 dust and water resistance|
|12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture and multiframe image processor||12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture and multiframe image processor|
|8MP front camera with f/1.7 aperture||8MP front camera with f/1.7 aperture|
|Gigabit LTE/4G capable||Gigabit LTE/4G capable|
|Android 7 Nougat||Android 7 Nougat|
|UK release date: 28 April||UK release date: 28 April|
|UK price: £779||UK price: £689|
|Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus best deals in the UK: Pre-order Samsung’s new flagship with these hot deals|
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review: Key features – performance, screen and Bixby
I won’t go into too much depth here about the Samsung Galaxy S8’s key feature, because I’ve already covered that ground in some depth in my review of the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Suffice to say, though, that this is not a huge upgrade. There’s a faster processor here – the 10nm Samsung Exynos 8895 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, depending on which territory you live in – 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a microSD slot.
The 6.2in, 18.5:1-aspect AMOLED display is mobile HDR-compatible, just like the LG G6, and there’s also IP68 dust and water resistance so you can submerge the phone temporarily in up to 1.5 metres of water without catastrophic consequences.[gallery:9]
The rear camera hasn’t seen much of an upgrade, remaining at 12 megapixels, but it does now take three frames every time you shoot, combining them together in a bid to create sharper images. The front camera is better than the S7 Edge’s, though, at 8 megapixels and with an aperture of f/1.7.
Samsung’s Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri rival, called Bixby, looks impressive, but won’t be arriving on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus until later in the year, after Korea and the US get it.
You will also be able to run DeX from the phone – a desktop, Android-based operating environment similar to Microsoft Continuum – but there’s currently no word on the pricing of the DeX dock you need to do this.[gallery:13]
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review: Early verdict, release date and price
In essence, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is the same phone as the S8, just with a bigger screen, a bigger battery and a larger, more unwieldy profile.
Which is better, though? In my view, the 6.2in Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a step too far in terms of its size. It’s just too big, and although I’d be happy to carry around the regular Samsung Galaxy S8 in my pocket day to day, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus’ height would soon outweigh the utility and wonder of that larger screen.
We’ve been here before with big phones, of course. I remember reviewing my first 4.5in smartphone and thinking that ludicrously big at the time, so my opinion might change (as long as my pockets do, at the same time).
But, given the choice, and considering the price differential (it costs a hefty £779), the Samsung Galaxy S8 looks to be the phone to choose from this pair. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will be available alongside its smaller sibling from the 28th of April, 2017.