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Five reasons not to buy the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+

samsung galaxy s8
© nextpit

Samsung's new S series flagships have captured the heart and attention of many smartphone enthusiasts. But, before you get too enthusiastic, it has some serious weaknesses. After trying the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ for myself, here are the reasons why I believe you should think twice before buying either device.

Glass backs are easily cracked fingerprint magnets

There's no denying that the Galaxy S8 is a beautiful looking device with superior build quality. The curved design of the S8 is striking and modern, and the choice to put glass on both sides certainly adds to the elegant effect. However, there are three problems with this, in my opinion. First and foremost, glass is fragile, even Gorilla Glass 5. 

In the drop test below, you'll see how the S8+ holds up against the iPhone 7 Plus. Early in the drop test, at just two minutes into the video, the glass on the back of the S8+ cracks, while the iPhone 7 Plus' back looks almost completely unscathed. While the phone is still functional, you can say good bye to Samsung's perfect aesthetic.

If you think you can just repair the phone easily when it cracks and your problems will be solved, you're dead wrong. Repair website iFixit just published the results of their teardown, and the S8 and S8+ got a very poor repairability score. They found that both glass panels are held in place by strong adhesive, making it difficult to replace internal parts (like the non-removable battery) and the glass (especially on the front, which could destroy the display).

There are a couple of other reasons why a glass-backed S8 may not have been the best choice. The S8 gets covered in fingerprints the moment you take it out of the box. This draws attention away from the beautiful design, especially on the back of the black model. I don't know about you, but I don't want my phone looking constantly smudged and dirty.

And there's one last reason I don't think the glass back was a great idea: the phone case. The vast majority of people I know use phone cases. Whether they're silicone or leather, cover a little or a lot, at least 90 percent of the phones I see are covered by cases. Samsung has made a beautiful device, but it's fragile and expensive - and anyone who cares about their phone will opt to cover it with a case to protect it. So, why make a glass back that people will hardly ever see and appreciate the beauty of? The trade off of making it more fragile just isn't worth it to me, even if you get wireless charging capability, especially given that these phones are hard to repair. To make things worse, Samsung even made these horrendously, shamefully ugly official S8 cases

Samsung's attempt at AI falls short

Samsung seems to enjoy duplicating Google's efforts when it comes to apps, and the results aren't superior. Creating things like Samsung Internet and S Voice, the manufacturer has been offering pointless and even less useful alternatives to stock Android apps for a long while. And now, in addition to all the other Samsung bloatware, the company is trying to force Bixby onto its users. 

Bixby the latest in a crowded market of AI assistants already dominated by Google Assistant, Siri and Amazon Alexa. It does little to differentiate itself feature-wise, and even worse, voice activation won't be available in the US until sometime "later this Spring". That means you can get the Bixby equivalent of the classic Google Now cards, but you won't be able to use voice commands, a central feature, until a while after the device is made available on April 21.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 2032
Google Assistant is harder to access than Bixby, but it's still an option on the S8. / © NextPit

Luckily, you can still summon Google Assistant by holding down the virtual home button, but it's not as convenient to launch as Bixby - and this was clearly intentional. To get to Bixby, you can use the dedicated hardware button just under the volume rocker - which Samsung has gone out of their way to prevent users from remapping to activate Google Assistant or any other functions. Heaven forbid that users want to use the hardware button to access the only fully functional AI assistant installed on their phone instead of Samsung's own as yet incomplete one.

Almost all smartphones on the market come with at least some bloatware, but Bixby was particularly poorly executed for a high-end device. Customers are left with a dedicated button meant to encourage them to use an AI assistant that doesn't even work fully yet. Since Bixby has been promoted as such a central selling point of the S8, it's sure to be a let down in its current state.

You can find better value elsewhere

Why get the new Samsung flagship when you could get a better value? With the new Xiaomi Mi 6, you get the same beauty (and fragility) as the S8+, but with better specs for half the price.

xiaomi mi 6 official 04
The Xiaomi Mi 6 features the style of the Xiaomi Mi 5 merged with that of the Samsung Galaxy S7. / © Xiaomi

The just announced Xiaomi Mi 6 has the same Snapdragon 835 processor as the S8 and S8+, and it comes in a version with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage - just like the South Korean-exclusive version of the S8+ with 6 GB of RAM. Still, the Mi 6 offers even more: 12 MP dual cameras, a larger 3,350 mAh battery and a significantly lower price tag - around half the price. It is only $420 compared to $1,017 (converted to US Dollars). The only drawback in my mind is that it offers less screen real estate: 5.15 inches, compared to the 6 GB S8+ display's 6.2 inches. In any case, the Mi 6 is a great looking device, with curved glass on the front and back like the S8, combining the style of its Mi 5 predecessor with that of the Galaxy S7.

Same old camera

The Galaxy S8 may be helping to solidify a new curved glass design trend, but the device isn't setting the bar when it comes to smartphone photography. The trend of late has been dual cameras. LG's latest flagship has a dual 13 MP rear camera, the iPhone 7 Plus has one, the aforementioned Xiaomi Mi 6 has one, and plenty of others do as well. But, not only do the S8 and S8+ not feature a dual camera, these devices use the camera of their predecessors! The S8 features the same 12 MP sensor and dual pixel technology that the Galaxy S7 has. The camera of the S7 was one of the best when it was released, but by standing still, the S8 is falling behind the crowd already.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6 2466
The S8 and G6: not having a dual camera is a set back since the competition has one. / © NextPit

To Samsung's credit, there have been some small improvements to the software and front camera. The front camera was upgraded from 5 to 8 MP, and the camera software now uses multi-frame processing - automatically taking multiple shots and combining them into one, hopefully improved, result.

Awkward fingerprint scanner placement

One of the most common knocks against the Galaxy S8 is the placement of the fingerprint scanner. If you're used to swiping your finger on the home button, you're in for a change - for the worse. Since the physical home button of the S7 has disappeared, the fingerprint scanner has migrated to the back of the device.

Instead of placing the button more toward the middle on the back (like on the LG G6), where it could be easily reached, Samsung has placed it just beside the camera. If you're using your phone with your right hand like most people do, you'll have to reach your index finger over the camera to use it - meaning you'll be smudging your camera lens constantly while feeling around for the fingerprint scanner. On the larger S8+, you practically can't reach the scanner without employing both hands.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6 2450
Galaxy S8 (left), LG G6 (right). / © NextPit

The best placement option, which Samsung may not have been able to scramble together before the launch of the S8, would be to put the scanner under the glass on the front. There were rumors of sourcing from Synaptics for this, but hopefully, it may still happen on the Note 8.

In summary: the lovely glass back could crack, the placement of the fingerprint scanner is sure to get on your nerves, the Bixby experience falls short and Samsung has sadly decided to hang onto the camera of the previous generation. If you're considering getting the Galaxy S8 or S8+, make sure that you are aware of its weaknesses and adjust your expectations accordingly before you spend your hard earned cash, or consider a better value phone like the Xiaomi Mi 6.

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Brittany McGhee

Brittany McGhee

Brittany loves to keep up with the latest technology and innovation, so she is excited to have the opportunity to write about the wonderful world of Android. She thinks spreadsheets and numbers are fun, in addition to reading books and volunteering.

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  • Kevin Dunagan 1
    Kevin Dunagan Oct 8, 2018 Link to comment

    I'm not bothered by the glass back, the awkwardly placed fingerprint scanner, or the short battery life. My issue is with matters like all the bloatware that is forced on users, Bixby most notably, which like Michael Myers keeps coming back no matter how many times you kill it. Not only does it keep butting in when I'm using other apps, esp. Google PA and Maps, but it interferes with their proper functioning. I've had too many occasions where, by its interference, Bixby almost got me lost and even at times almost got me into an accident as I tried to straighten out the problem as I headed to a meeting or some other appointment in a place I did not know (yes, I know I should pull over and TCB, but there are lots of times that isn't possible). My biggest issue, however, is not with Bixby but with transferring files between my PC and my phone. It can be done, but it's never simple. Like music playlists. I have as yet found no way to sync the Google music app Samsung now uses so that the playlist transfers with the songs to the player. Or like Samsung Notes. If you try to share a file with your computer, all you get is a lot of code and no notes no matter what program you use to open it, which includes Google Docs (really? isn't this an android phone, designed to work with everything and anything Google?). And I am not technologically illiterate. One shouldn't have to need or to be a CTA to do something that with other phones (notably, the iPhone) is a no-brainer.

  • 1
    hnajee May 5, 2018 Link to comment

    To start with it is expensive when one can get an excellent mobile for 1/4 the price. The screen broke 3 months after I had; $275 to replace. An iPhone screen replacement costs $30.
    Buying a SAMSUNG galaxy is like throwing away money. The S8+ is the first n last SAMSUNG I will have.

  • Daniel Ganesh 1
    Daniel Ganesh Nov 15, 2017 Link to comment

    Funny how people comment about glass backing is the bane of creation. OMG! Look ma... IPhone X has a glass back as well! Shame on you too iPhone for going glass! In all seriousness, how many user use their phone without some sort of cover? I like my Samsung simply because I like the look as well as it's build quality. I live a rugged life due to my job. I shoot documentaries in the craziest of places. 1 Day in a dust filled zones and another day in a waist-deep-water-logged swamp. In all that places I have ventured, my phone is always in my side cargo pants pocket. Soaking wet, dust covered at times and my Samsung works like a charm! My S7 was my first Samsung phone while my S8 an annual upgrade and I swear by it every single day! The point is there are always going to be the next big or best thing around the corner, that's how tech works... it evolve to something better. Just be happy with what you have.

    • Francesco V. 20
      Francesco V. Nov 15, 2017 Link to comment

      The points is, why bothers having a good looking back if it's so fragile you have to cover it?

  • Steves Web 2
    Steves Web Nov 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I've been contemplating at my next purchase from my front shattered (short drop, with $50 case) S7 edge. I keep asking myself the same question: if over 90% of users cover their device with a case, why don't phone manufacturer's just make the phone in a case. Get rid of the useless curved edges, glass backs and make it useful and practical? What's next, glass chassis? Make it flat housed in a non-destructive frame and spend the money to build it on the internal hardware and I'll buy it. Until then this is my last Samsung device after 7 generations of buying Galaxies (Which all still function). By the way...Note 3 was the best, they should have continued building on that design. So I guess this is it, Samsung. It's over, I've filed the paperwork, the divorce will be final soon. -Single Male looking.

  • Quin Webster 2
    Quin Webster Aug 18, 2017 Link to comment

    Save yourself the money and don't buy this phone, it isn't worth the headaches. I have had mine for 4 months now and am on my way to phone number three because of the screen cracking. The first time I dropped it onto pavement from 3 feet. Ok, my fault, I'll accept it. I had a S5 for two years and a S7 for 2 years before I switched to the S8 and never cracked a screen till this phone which I am currently on cracked screen number 2...after 4 months. This time I can't even tell you what caused it to crack. Happened between a walk to my car, a five minute drive back to my house, and up the stairs to my room. it was in my pocket the whole time, cracked top to bottom. 225 dollars for insurance claim number two puts me now at 1250 dollars for this cell phone I have had for 4 months. It is a beautiful phone, fast, and works well, but it is not worth how fragile it is. I do not think I will be purchasing Samsung again. I have an otterbox defender case and an invisibleshield screen protector (the non glass one) the 50 dollar glass one I bought didn't respond to my touches on the screen, so we will just call this S8 1300 wasted dollars.

    Francesco V.

  • Madars G 10
    Madars G May 2, 2017 Link to comment

    Actually camera isn't 100% the same, there is some improvements, just a little bit, but anyway. Actually very stupid reasons. I can mention so many reasons why to upgrade from s7/s7 edge to s8/s8+

  • 6
    nick jones Apr 26, 2017 Link to comment

    due to recent malfunction in samsung people didn't trust in samsung brand anymore.

  • 54
    Deactivated Account Apr 25, 2017 Link to comment

    Is it a innovation to create something unpractical? Samsung things so or believing it is practical, the screenratio is maybe a new standard in future, but at the moment it is not that useful. The fingerprint reader is set on a stupid place and it is slippery even with dry palms. Curved screens are no problem for me, but there is no practical use beneath of design. We will see what the future shows us regarding this unpractical parts of this smartphone.

    Francesco V.

  • 21
    Peter Harwood Apr 25, 2017 Link to comment

    why were apple number one for years? not because they were better it's just because people thought they were better? same goes for Samsung.

    Shankar Prasad Nandi

    • Shankar Prasad Nandi 18
      Shankar Prasad Nandi Apr 27, 2017 Link to comment

      That's a pretty incisive observation, Peter. Some companies have mastered the art of appearing hip and stylish without offering anything more substantial than the rest. I have to agree with you that Apple and Samsung are both examples.

  • 28
    itprolonden Apr 25, 2017 Link to comment

    Well, Samsung is still outselling all competitors so.......

    Deactivated Account

  • 21
    Peter Harwood Apr 24, 2017 Link to comment

    l know someone who's just got one and is drooling all over it i asked him is it any better than your previous S7? Then comes the silence?

    • 28
      itprolonden Apr 25, 2017 Link to comment

      It's much faster for one thing. Better antenna's too

      Deactivated Account

      • Derek Wade 2
        Derek Wade May 1, 2017 Link to comment

        Not even a little bit, dude. My Samsung Galaxy S6 blows the Samsung Galaxy S8 out of the water. I've had this new phone for about a week and I am taking it back to T-Mobile tomorrow for a refund. I can't even get cell service in my driveway, where I never had a problem with the S6. Voice to text is almost impossible to use because it takes forever to parse my speech. I have run speed test with both phones connected to the same Wi-Fi and had them opening up different web pages simultaneously and the S6 is faster all the way around than the S8.

        This thing is absolute junk.

        Francesco V.

  • 31
    Deactivated Account Apr 24, 2017 Link to comment

    i can think of 680 reasons not to buy something so insanely impractical..
    nothing epitomises the ridiculous nature of fashion driven design more than a smartphone covered front to back in glass ...

    Shankar Prasad NandiDavid BerkMarc WilsonFrancesco V.Deactivated Account

    • 28
      itprolonden Apr 25, 2017 Link to comment

      Care to list them?

      Deactivated AccountShankar Prasad Nandi

  • 4
    David Berk Apr 24, 2017 Link to comment

    They position it as a multimedia device in commercials but watching movies on it is less than stellar.
    Curved glass serves one purpose, to look nice and it can't even do that because of the faded edges and unwanted glare. Add to that, it's a ergonomic nightmare and you just have a fragile, hard to use, glass bar.
    I won't even get into Sammy's software as most know its always poor already.

    Deactivated AccountDeactivated Account

    • 28
      itprolonden Apr 25, 2017 Link to comment

      I love watching youtube on mine. No stutter and the picture is incredible

  • bojan radovanovic 12
    bojan radovanovic Apr 24, 2017 Link to comment

    XIomi Mi6 is not a half of S8 price!!!!
    maybe it is in china...but, once available it will cost at least 100$ more (i some countries and 200, since you will add shipping and reseller cost, plus 20-25% of VAT on chinese price of 400$ to have it in EU or US...and that is, to have it without warranty and service support).

    in same time, i have bought s8 for 500€ with one year contract with my that Samsung is even cheaper than Mi6 for me (which can't go under 550€ right now)

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