The release of Samsung Galaxy S8 has come with a lot of hype and all of a sudden, the Galaxy S7, the phone that has been making waves all throughout 2016, seems like an outdated device.
If you have owned a Galaxy S7, you’ll agree with me that the new Galaxy S8 hasn’t made such a huge leap forward, especially when it comes to the things that really matter on a smartphone. This isn’t to mean that you won’t find a bunch of new features on the S8 that aren’t on the S7. In fact, you’ll for sure love not only the new features but also the impressive design of the S8 and its bigger sibling S8+, however, I don’t think these additions are enough to make me jump ship from the proven Galaxy S7 to the new S8 – and here’s a closer look at my reasons.
If you are moving from an older device, say a Galaxy S6 or even Galaxy S5, you’d be put off by the asking price of the new Samsung Galaxy S8. The phone, here in Kenya, has a price tag of Ksh 85K, but you can get it at slightly cheaper prices via a number of local retailers. In the U.S., the unlocked Galaxy S8 starts at $726. This is much cheaper than the current price of the same phone in many other markets across the globe.
By grabbing the Galaxy S7 right now, you’ll be saving a whopping Ksh 42K as the phone is selling at just Ksh 42,999 on Jumia.
Cool design, but more fragile
The amount of glass material used to build the Galaxy S8 is much more than that used on the Galaxy S7. Yes, both phones are made of glass and metal, with the glass part being protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 and Glass 4, respectively. But the thinner bezels and missing physical button means the S8 has more glass than the S7. Regardless of the protection from Gorilla Glass technology, glass is still glass and it will break when “provoked.”
Due to the thinner bezels, the S8 also changes the way we are used to handling fingerprint scanners on Galaxy S series phones. This time it’s on the back, meaning you must pick up the phone in order to unlock it, unlike before where you could just do it when the phone is resting on a table. Lucky enough, the Galaxy S8 gets an iris scanner and facial recognition features that can help you forget this pain. Still, iris scanning and facial recognition technologies are still in their development stages on smartphones, which means they are not as perfect as the proven fingerprint scanner.
Even though the Galaxy S8 has a bigger screen due to these design changes, it doesn’t make the phone bigger or rather, your apps and videos’ size will still be the same, only that you’ll end up with more app icons on the screen than on the S7. Does having a taller display on a device that is more likely to break upon impact deserve spending an extra Ksh 42K compared to the current price of the S7? For me, hell no!
When it comes to performance, there’s no doubt that the Galaxy S8 is quicker than the S7. However, the S7 is still a flagship and thus, it isn’t any slouch either. Apps will still open fast and run smoothly and so will navigation, however, with more and more resource-demanding apps coming in, we don’t know for how long the Galaxy S7 will keep this performance. Usually, it takes about two years before a phone’s performance starts dropping, but the S7 is only a year old.
Specifically, the Galaxy S8 has an Exynos 8895 SoC paired with a 4GB RAM while the Galaxy S7 has an Exynos 8890 paired with the same RAM. The storage on the latter is 32GB while the former has 64GB, but the good thing is that both have a microSD card slot, which makes the difference negligible.
Minor camera upgrades
In 2016, Samsung Galaxy S7 was only bettered by the Google Pixel phone when it comes to camera quality. With the Galaxy S8 coming in as the successor, it’s obvious that there are some improvements, but they are not major ones. You’ll come across the same 12MP Dual Pixel sensor on the back with no changes to the aperture, PDAF, OIS, dual-tone LED flash and 4K video recording. But Samsung says the S8 has some small improvements in low-light performance.
Since the Galaxy S7 has a camera that is already world class when it comes to low-light performance, it may make little sense shelling out Ksh 85K just to get the camera on the Galaxy S8. But if you want to do lots of night photos and selfies, the S8 might be worth a try. Yes, the selfie camera stepped up from a 5MP sensor to an 8MP sensor with better AF while keeping the same aperture, but the S7 is still a great selfie expert.
USB Type-C, Samsung DeX, Bixby and battery capacity
Samsung has introduced a bunch of new features on the Galaxy S8, including a faster USB Type-C port, Bixby voice assistant (similar to Google Assistant and Apple Siri) and Samsung DeX for PC connectivity. However, all of these features are still infants. It will take some time before their full potential is realized, which makes having the Galaxy S7 for another year or so a safer bet.
We all know that display screens lead the way in terms of battery consumption. A bigger 5.8-inch screen with a higher resolution like the Galaxy S8 and its QHD+ resolution mean it drains more battery juice than the 5.1-inch QHD resolution panel on the Galaxy S7. Interestingly, the two phones have the same 3000mAh battery capacity, which should translate to a longer battery life on the S7.
As you can see, the new Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn’t bring a lot of new stuff that actually makes it worth the upgrade, especially for mainstream smartphone users like me. This argument is further backed by the fact that you can now snap a brand new Samsung Galaxy S7 for just Ksh 42,999, which is about half the price of the S8.