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iPhone 7 VS Other 2016 Phones

iPhone 7 VS Other 2016 Phones

 

Surprisingly, the iPhone 7 wasn’t the best selling phone last year; that crown belonged to its predecessor, the iPhone 6. Slow sales could probably be blamed on the fact that a lot of features Apple introduced weren’t earth shaking. Read on to find out how the iPhone 7 compares to other phones launched that year?

iPhone 7 Vs. Samsung Galaxy 7

The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with a Series 7000 aluminum chassis, making itdust and water resistant. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a slightly higher waterproof rating of IP68, against iPhone 7’s IP67. The iPhone 7 has a 4.7 inch width but valuable screen real estate is lost thanks to the large top and bottom bezels. This isn’t the case with the 5.1 inch Galaxy 7 screen that’s compact. And when it comes to battery life, the Samsung wins there, too.

iPhone 7 Vs. Huawei Nexus 6P

The Huawei Nexus 6P was released in 2015 but shares some features with the iPhone 7. Although the Nexus 6P comes with Android 6 Marshmallow, Huawei has instant access to Android 7 Nougat – a super-powerful operating system that offers multi-window support and bundled notification. The Huawei Nexus 6P also has 3GB RAM, while the iPhone 7 only has 2GB RAM capability.

iPhone 7 Vs. LG G5

The LG G5 has the Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM that runs on Android Marshmallow. The LG G5 has a superior display, a MicroSD port, dual rear-facing cameras – all of these features at a much cheaper price than the iPhone 7. They also guarantee a free screen replacement.

But if you’re a fan of the iPhone, nothing can compare to the excitement of owning an iPhone 7! Thanks to us, buying a SIM-locked phone needn’t restrict your iPhone experience. Contact us to unlock your iPhone 7 so you can switch service providers and choose plans that are just right for you!

 

 

Galaxy Note 7 Refurbished to Galaxy Note FE and will be sold soon!

Galaxy Note 7 Refurbished to Galaxy Note FE (Fan Edition)

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Since the Note 7’s got cancelled last year due to a fire hazard it seems like Samsung has decided to refurbish the units with an updated battery and a new name. Dubbed the Note FE (which stands for “Fan Edition”). The newly refurbished Galaxy Note 7’s is expected to go on sale next month in South Korea. The devices will have a slightly smaller battery and a reduced price point.

Previous reports stated that the Note 7 refurbished units would be called the Note 7R, but Samsung made a smarter decision to remove the “7” from the moniker altogether to prevent users from being reminded of all the problem’s it faced. Calling it the Fan Edition instead. Samsung will not be selling these units in the US.

Samsung has set up their manufacturing line to produce 300,000 refurbished Note FE units in June. The cost is almost half of what it originally sold for.

It will have a 3,200 mAh battery while boasting the same design and look of the original Note 7. The Note FE is designed to target loyal customers and fans of the Samsung franchise. We are aware that there are still much praise going on with people reminiscing about how good the Note 7 was.

This decision may also have been impacted by environmental groups and activists who urged Samsung to make smarter and greener choices in disposing these already produced Note 7 units that were mass recalled. Initially, the reports stated that Samsung would extract rare metals, reusable components, and then chuck the rest into the land fill. That would be a detrimental problem to the environment. Refurbishing a lot of the phone’s and selling it to the consumer is a nicer way to delay the process of having the landfill eventually filled with the Note 7’s.

Would you purchase the Note FE if you could? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Most Important Updates from Google I/O 2017!

Most Important Updates from Google I/O 2017!

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At Google I/O the company announced various updates and product’s that can bring about a lot of excitement. The information provided is to help developers and consumers interact with Google products each day. Here we go.

Android O beta is now live

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The public beta is now available for Android O! This is the second Developer’s Preview available  and you can now download it for your Pixel or Nexus device.

Check it out here!

Android updates

Dave Burke, lead Android Engineering announced that Android Wear 2.0 is launching on watches available from 24 of the world’s best watch manufacturers. Google is also bringing in Assistant to Android TV along with a UI overhaul.

A new announcement is Fluid Experiences in Android O which demonstrates picture-in-picture mode in O which is a part of the big effort to push intuitive multitasking setups.

The inclusion of Notification Dots in Android’s notification centers make it smarter giving users the ability to long-press icons to preview details of that app’s alerts.

TensorFlow will help developers work with neural nets to create smarter AI-enabled abilities.

Autofill with Google eliminates a lot of headache when setting up a new phone or tablet bringing your usernames and passwords (Saved through Chrome) into your new device. In O, machine learning automatically learns phrases, names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Google Play Protect is an extension of the Verify Apps protocol. Google scans over 50 billion apps each day to make sure the Play Store is a safe environment.

Google has also enabled Kotlin an officially supported computing language which is a robust language that many developers have been asking for for a good alternative to Java.

Android Go

Android Go is a new platform which is a version of Android that is optimized for low-specced, low-cost devices. a new set of Google Apps are introduced that utilizes less memory and data as well as a version of the Play Store that shows apps that are suitable for Go devices.

Due to the low specs of the devices, data management is important. Google is including a quick settings button for data allowances. Data saver is enabled by default in Chrome and Youtube Go enables users to download Youtube videos via Wi-Fi to watch later on the go.

“Building for Billions” is Googles new initiative that will help developers form best practices in creating apps that target’s emerging markets.

From now on every Android release will also be accompanied by a “Go” version for low-memory phones. The first Android Go devices will be available in 2018.

Virtual Reality, AR, and Daydream

Google announced that LG’s next flagship phone later this year will support Daydream. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will also be updated to add Daydream support later this summer via a software update.

On top of this a new kind of Daydream VR is coming. A standalone VR headset with included hardware built specifically for VR. It will contain the latest chipset from Qualcomm and will be built in conjunction with Lenovo and HTC, coming later in the year.

On the augmented reality front, ASUS’s Tango-enabled ZenFone AR will also be launching this summer.

In light of Tango, Google has announced their Visual Positioning Service (VPS) which will help you in finding specific objects in the real world relying on key visual feature points. You may be able to find a specific type of fruit or hardware from a store. AR will also be useful in the class room with the introduction of Expeditions which introduces interactive and educational experiences.

Android exceeds 2 billion active devices

In light of announcements, Android has actually passed 2 billion active devices as of today.

The huge growth rate of Android continues while Android enjoys a 2 billion active device milestone. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said that “it’s a privelge to serve users at this scale.”

Google Drive has 800 million users, Google Photos has about 500 million with 1.2 billion photos uploaded each day.

Google Lens Introduced

Google Lens is based on a set of vision based computing that have the ability to identify things in the real world via Google’s AI and knowledge graph. It will be made available in Google Assistant and Photos. It can identify specific flowers, finding the Wifi username and password by scanning a sticker and identifying restaurants in the world.

Google Photos

Google is receiving new features that make sharing photos easier. Sharing will be able to help you pick out the best pictures of people and share them. Machine learning is incorporated to recognize people in your photos and offer you the option to share it with that person which is also based on your sharing patterns.

A new Shared Library feature can help you by automating the sharing of photos to specific people. Shared Libraries can notify users of new photos and automatically save them to personal libraries.

A new printing service is available via Google Photo Books which lets you print from your library and creates a Photo Book, available in the US. A softcover book would cost 9.99$ while a hardcover will cost 19.99$.

Google lens will be included in Google Photos which will help identify what’s in your photos.

YouTube

CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki mentioned that viewers watched over 1 billion hours of video content in 2016. They will be rolling out 360-degree video and live 360 video functionality as well. You can use your remote to pan around.

A new YouTube paid promoted message system is getting a creative update called Superchat. The new API will allow Superchats to trigger actions in the new world such as turning the lights on in a creator’s studio. It is an interactive update.

Google for Jobs

Google for Jobs utilizes Google’s AI and neural net to match potential applicants to job openings. 46% of employers have open positions but have trouble finding people to fill them. Google for Jobs is a commitment to help people find work. The Cloud jobs API was announced last year in Novemenber but is being used by FedEx, Carrier, and Johnson & Johnson. There is documented improvements of finding applicants through the API.

Google Daydream Standalone: Update

Google Daydream Standalone: Update

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At Google I/O today, VR VP Clay Bavor introduced their next step in Daydream’s evolution. They are moving away from having their headset’s tethered to the smartphone for power. The next step will be a standalone VR headset that is not powered by your smartphone. Clay called this the Daydream Standalone VR.

Essentially, there are various models of these VR headsets that have been introduced by Google. Google has partnerships with Lenovo and HTC for these Daydream Standalone VR headsets that look quite different but at the same time promises to provide the same experiences. There are three focus points these headsets are tackling:

  1. Easy to Carry around and use
  2. Self contained hardware and specs eliminating external cables, a smartphone and PC.
  3. Integration of Google WorldSense for precise head tracking.

Google WorldSense, what is it?

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Google’s very own inside-out tracking has been trademarked and branded as “WorldSense”. Basically the headset now utilizes sensors that allow the user’s movements to be tracked as they move around in any direction. The technical term for this is “6DOF” or Six Degrees of Freedom. This is what allows you to experience true VR content as how it should be experienced, immersive.

Google is not the only company who came up with this concept, Microsoft has their own “World Scale” experience which will be included in their Windows Mixed Reality products and Oculus has been working on their own inside-out tracking prototypes (code named Santa Cruz).

Without a Smartphone, what power’s these VR headsets?

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The two headsets that were teased by Google at their I/O will have a standalone display which is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor along with a large battery pack. The chip manufacturer Qualcomm has marketed their latest Snapdragon 835 as the best in market mobile VR processor available today. The company released developer kits which are designed to offer inside-out tracking and precise body movements.

Thanks to the Adreno 540 on board we can expect to see great graphical performances in the upcoming headsets. We are not given details as to what types of displays will be used, other specs, and exactly how the wireless controller will work.

The teasers also showed that Google is still making the Daydream controller available with these headsets. We are unsure if there will be major changes to the controllers to take advantage of 6DOF, we will need to wait and find out soon.

What does this all mean for Daydream?

To wrap things up, these are exciting times indeed. The new Daydream VR headsets will still give you all the awesome Daydream experiences you have been seeing today (if you own one already) but the big deal will be the much improved VR experiences that is on its way. With the new technology users will be given the opportunity to walk around virtual objects, kneel and move your head closer to the object on the ground and much more. Currently, such technologies are available only with expensive products such as the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, but we are excited to see this now being included into the mobile VR platform.

When is it Available?

No dates have been announced yet, but we expect for a more mature update sometime this Fall. Google typically makes their headsets available to developers once it is developed enough, then eventually it is released to the mass market. Hopefully we will see it this year.

Fathers Day Gift Ideas under 50$ (2017)

Fathers Day Gift Ideas under 50$ (2017)

As Fathers Day approaches many people are looking to get something for their dads for all the hard work they put in. Check out our list of ideas below for awesome tech gifts for your dad in 2017.

1. Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 2)

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Undoubtedly the future is all about “smart home” technology. Help your dad ease into this new trend with the awesome second generation Amazon Echo Dot. It is able to receive simple tasks such as timers and weather reports but also take in advanced commands such as controlling other Smart Home appliances. The AI built in is called Alexa which is, by now, pretty well known. For under 50 dollars this is a pretty awesome steal.

2. Google Chromecast Audio

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The Chrome cast has been around for quite some time now and it has undergone various updates and improvements under Google’s supervision. With the chromecast audio your dad will be able to turn any of his old stereo systems or any speakers he may have into a wireless music system. Simply connect your dads smartphone to the Chromecast Audio and start streaming via Spotify, Pandora, Youtube, and more. The music travels via Wi-Fi so you won’t need anything additional. The device also connects with iPhone’s and iPad’s if your dad is into Apple products with some apps supported. However, using an Android phone would ensure true unrestricted usage of the Chromecast Audio.

3. Panasonic RP-HTX7

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Need some cool headset’s for your dad? Then check out these Panasonic RP-HTX7’s which are over the ear head phones. These cans are full size yet they are light weight and they do a great job at blocking out external sounds. All for a fantastically low price. The sound quality is also great that comes out of these Panasonics. You normally have a choice of five colors (black, red, pink, green and white.)

4. Skullcandy Grind

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For those people whose dad’s are still pretty hip then these head sets may be for him for under 50$. Gift yourdad some Skullcandy Grind’s that feature the Skullcandy death head’s logo. They cost somewhere between 25$ and 32$ and they are a pretty good choice. The sound quality is surprisingly good for it’s price and it is lightweight and comfortable to wear. A remote/mic is built in to the left ear cup while the headband is made from metal. These headsets ensure good sound on-ear while you can still save a lot of bucks.

5. Amazon Basics Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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This mobile bluetooth speaker is small enough to travel yet it delivers better sound quality compared to smaller bluetooth speakers that are sub 50$. The Amazon Basics Portable Bluetooth speaker is modestly priced and has a simple yet attractive design. The feature set is quite decent and it also has a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls.

6. Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa

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Another Amazon product to wow your dad with. This 40$ Amazon Fire TV stick has the Alexa Voice Remote included. This is one of the least expensive devices to stream videos from your Netflix accounts, while Amazon, HBO, Sling TV and many other online services are available as well.  The whole system is responsive and lightning fast while you are charged less for a TV package that includes a voice enabled remote.

7. Amazon Kindle

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If your dad loves to read, the Kindle may be for him. Though the cost may be about 80$, Amazon has frequent sales which bring the cost below 50$. The Amazon Kindle is an entry-level e-reader. It is the most affordable yet it still received important upgrades (slimmer, lighter, and Bluetooth). It has smoother edges and comes in either white or black. This is a perfectly good e-reader that can help introduce your dad to the comforts of e-books.

8. Logitech K380 Multi-device Bluetooth Keyboard

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If your dad is in need of a bluetooth keyboard, check out the Logitech K380 Multi-device Bluetooth keyboard! Around 30$ the K380 is perfect to replace on screen virtual keyboards and give a more tactile typing experience for your dad. You can toggle between three connected devices (for example between a PC, android device, and your laptop) all with just a click of a button!

9. iHome iSP8 SmartPlug

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If you bought your dad an Amazon Echo already then check out this iHome iSP8 SmartPlug! It transforms any “dumb” lamp’s or products compatible with your smart home platforms. Simply connect the iHome to the network and you can send commands to Amazon Echo to turn on or off your lamp.

10. Amazon Fire Tablet

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The Amazon Fire Tablet is available for under 50$ and provides a standard tablet experience, a perfect gift for your dad. Though we do recommend purchasing the 8 inch model (though it may cost double) but your dad is worth it.

 

Android Chrome allows an easy way to download a Web Page for Offline Usage!

Android Chrome allows an easy way to download a Web Page for Offline Usage!

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Ever used Chrome for Android? It usually comes pre installed in your new Android phone or you could just easily download it from the play store. As many should recognize, it is a web browsing app just like the one found on our computers called Google Chrome. It is one of the most popular browsers available on the market for free and it is one of the lightest and fastest. Google has made it now easier to download a web page that you were looking at so that you can read it in areas you know you would have no data. This is particularly useful for people who have limited data bandwidths or pay a lot if they were to go over their data limits with their phone carriers.

To use this, simply long press on a link in Chrome and click “Download Link”. The feature was not apparent to many in the past but now Google has made it more visible now in their newest update for Chrome for Android.

According to Google, more than 45 million web pages are downloaded each week to be read off line. Now, Google is making it easier than ever.

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A simpler design is the first step, with an easier to read dialog box when you long press an URL or website link. You will now notice a “Download Link” option in the box that pops up. Now, go offline or when you are offline in flight or on a train you can simply enter the link, url or click a book mark which will then laod the page instead of showing that dinosaur icon telling you that “You are Offline”. If you forgot to download the page and you do see the dinosaur icon, you now have the option to select “Download Page Later” which will automatically do so once you connect to the nearest internet access point.

A big change that has occurred is the new offline badge that appears on the web page that you just opened offline. Also, opening a new page or tab will present all of the links you have saved with a new offline badge on them. This makes it easier to see and open the one you want. A link to refresh the page (once you are online again) is available at the bottom.

Again, this is truly useful for people who enter areas where they will lose internet connectivity such as planes, trains, underground tunnels, and remote areas for a period of time. Save your web pages with content you would be interested in (sort of like bringing along your favorite magazine, except chock full of pages of information that all pertain to your interests).

After Testing: The BlackBerry KEYone shows Incredible Battery Life

A BlackBerry KEYone Review: The BlackBerry KEYone shows Incredible Battery Life Capabilities

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The company TCL Communications bought out BlackBerry Mobile some years ago. TCL, normally the creator of the Alcatel brand and phones did an amazing job in integrating Android into the classic BlackBerry designs. The KEYone features the same amazing BlackBerry industry level security enhancments which includes things like “Hardware Root of Trust” as well as “Verified Boot”.

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The KeyOne’s purpose is generally meant for pr   oductivity and a very analogue user experience that still manages to be modern thanks to it’s legendary keyboard design. The phone is truly a BlackBerry phone and not another “candy-bar” smartphone.

The keyboard is the main course. It is the garners attention from all users and those who simply pass by. The keyboard is very good. Tactile, clicky and of high quality as we have come to expect from a BlackBerry Brand. The keys are back lit as to enable low light usage when trying to whip up a message to send. The physical dimension of the phone is also thin which provides an easy holding experiencing while using it with one hand.

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Another cool fact that we found with the BlackBerry keyboard is the ability to program shortcuts into the various keys. You can configure up to a whopping 52 keys! The keyboard itself is also touch sensitive so you can use swipe gestures to scroll through websites, emails, and activate various keyboard functions that you can choose. An example of a good swipe feature is the word prediction system in place. While typing, simply swipe left or right to select the next predicted word. This is a brilliant thing to see, two worlds (digital on screen keyboard functionality meet’s analogue and classic physical keyboard).

An interesting design choice made by TCL is the inclusion of a finger print sensor directly into the space bar itself!

The Blackberry KeyOne is available for 549$ which is a lot cheaper than the latest flagship phones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and even Google. Yet, despite the cheaper price tag the KeyOne offers a unique experience that set’s it apart from all the others.

Some of the draw backs from having such a fantastic keyboard is the awkward display size. The end result is a 4.5 inch 1620 x 1080 3:2 LCD display panel which is already a strange number to look at. Some will like it, other’s will get used to it. If having a huge screen real estate is your thing, you may need to look elsewhere. For those who need a straight forward, functional, modern smartphone that is still powered by Android, you’ve come to the right place.

The KeyOne run’s on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chip set and also hosts a gigantic 3,505 mAh battery. The end result? Incredible battery life. It seems that the general consensus is about 2 days of good usage between charges. Even with the most demanding tasks performed the KeyOne can give you security in lasting till you hit the hay sack. The processor also enables Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging with an added “Boost” mode which bring the battery up from 0 to 50 percent in about 36 minutes of charging.

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The Snapdragon 625 is not high end but it is good enough for almost everything. Multitasking is a breeze and gaming is not a problem as well. We won’t be running intense desktop apps on these phone’s so no worries here. However, we do appreciate the fact that the processor is so efficient with the huge battery pack that it can last you a very long time.

The Camera is a 12 megapixel f2.0 system. The front facing camera is an 8 megapixel system. It will take good pictures. Sure it isn’t as good as the Google Pixel, or the Galaxy S7 Edge or even the Apple iPhone 7 series phones but it will finish the job that you intend. The images are good enough for taking pictures of moments.

The KeyOne runs on the Android 7.1.1 Nougat software with the most recent April 5th security patch. On top of this is BlackBerry’s special Hub which congregates all of your email, calendar, tasks, and other application information you may be interested in. The Hub has been a work in progress since Blackberry 10, but now it is quite complete with integration with Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, Instagram and even Slack. The Hub also works fine with Google products and accounts, your SMS app, BBM, and other personal email systems you may use.

The software has received a lot of fine tuning which also includes a useful sliding panel that is activated from the side in any app to show appointments, tasks, contacts and unread messages.

Though BlackBerry is super slow at updating their phone’s to major OS’s they do consistently update their security patches, which is good. The KeyOne uses Androids original software as well with no software overlays.

The KeyOne is a productivity king that provides a solid keyboard, software, and excellent battery life in an appealing package. The smartphone is mostly geared to a specific group of people and not the entire population. Unlock Blackberry Keyone

 

 

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Review

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Review

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is the bigger brother to the Galaxy S8. Compared to the 5.7 inch display found on the S8 we have a 6.2 inch display on the Plus. Both the S8 and S8 Plus feature the “Infinity Display” panel. Both phone’s are sleek, light, thin and surprisingly small for a large screen. The display is practically bezel-less on the sides and Samsung really cut down on the top and bottom bezels as well. Overall you get a beautiful package, with premium glass and metal, and a symmetrically curved front and back side’s. The Galaxy S8 Plus is a marvel to behold, and it may have just ushered in a new era of smartphone design. The S8 and S8 Plus both have the exact same processor, and the majority is the same. The only difference is found in the size of the battery, the display size, and the dimensions of the body.


 

Quick Look Specs Sheet

  • Body
    • Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm (5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 in)
    • Weight: 173 g (6.10 oz)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back panel
    • IP68 certified water and dust resistance (over 1.5m + 30 minutes)
  • Display
    • Super AMOLED 6.2 inches (~84% screen-to-body ratio)
    • 2960×1440 pixels (~529 ppi pixel density)
    • Gorilla Glass 5
  • System
    • Android 7.0 (Nougat)
    • CPU: Exynos 8895 Octa (International) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US)
    • Exynos: Octa Core (4 x 2.3 GHz + 4 x 1.7 GHz)
    • SD 835: Octa Core (4 x 2.35 GHz + 4 x 1.9 GHz)
    • GPU: Mali-G71 MP20 (Exynos) or Adreno 540 (Snapdragon model US)
  • Camera
    • Main: 12 MP, f1.7, 26mm, PDAF, OIS
    • Front: 8 MP, f1.7, Autofocus (new feature) Face Detection.
  • Memory
    • 64 GB internal storage
    • microSD slot for up to 256 GB support
    • 4 GB RAM
  • Features
    • Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, aptX)
    • Iris scanner
    • Fingerprint (rear)
    • Pressure sensitive under display home button
    • Battery: 3,500 mAh battery

 

Design and Build.

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The S8 + is a seriously good looking phone. It catches a lot of eyes and people are able to recognize it almost immediately. This is mostly in part due to that gorgeous Infinity Display that eliminates most bezel’s. The Infinity Display gives the user a deeply immersive viewing experience with videos and images seemingly flowing off of the sides of the phone smoothly. In stark contrast place this beside an iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone feels outdated with a lot of thick bezel’s all around which creates this feeling of being “boxed in”. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 7 Plus’ 1080p display is still really great with good details and colors, but the Super AMOLED screen found on the S8+ creates more punchy colors and a vibrancy that is found mostly only on Samsung flagship phones.

The S8+ is built of metal and glass, more specifically Corning Gorilla Glass 5. This translates to a smooth build (caution: may be slippery for some) and a comfortable fit in the hand thanks to a curved front and back edges of the phone. The curves at the front and back are not as pronounced as it was on the S7 Edge either. It is a slight curve (like the Note 7 had) which provides a really comfortable fit compared to the “edgy” feeling you get with the S7 Edge. It is truly a premium device.

Stripping away the bezel’s and even the buttons that Samsung phones were known for we have a device that fulfills that dream of an “all display” edge to edge smartphone.

When the display is turned off the S8+ becomes a slab of darkness (for the black variant). From a distance you would not be able to tell where the top of the display began or where it ended.

The 6.2 inch display has a new aspect ratio of 18.5:9. However, the S8+ is actually as tall as the 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus. Yet, the amazing part is how Samsung was able to make it a lot thinner than any of Apple’s latest devices. We can say that the S8+ is tall and skinny. The struggle that users may face is when trying to reach the top of the phone, it’s tall and may require some finger acrobatics.

An important note to make is the absence of that iconic Samsung home button. The button has now been replaced with Samsung’s own interpretation of the Force Touch technology. They included a thin pressure sensitive strip underneath the display at the bottom of the phone. This enables users to actually still use the home button by physically “clicking” down on that one part of the display (where the home button is) even if the display is turned off. The button responds with haptic feedback. It certainly feels strange and awkward at first for some but just like the iPhone 7’s home button, you will definitely get used to it.

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The fingerprint sensor is found in an awkward spot high up on the phone’s back side and beside the camera. People with smaller hands will definitely have trouble reaching this at times. Watch out for fingerprints on your camera lens as you might accidentally touch that instead. However, Samsung also re introduced the Iris Scanner which works lightning fast and can easily replace the fingerprint sensor in a lot of ways.

Further looking at the device we see that Samsung upped their water resistance game to an IP68 ingress rating. There is a speaker, a reversible USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Infinity Display.

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The S8+ has a 6.2 inch display. 6.2 inches makes a phone sound humongous, but because of the ultra-slim top and bottom bezels, and the practically non existent bezel’s on the sides the phone manages to be surprisingly small in the hands. The 18.5:9 aspect ratio provides extra screen real estate while fitting comfortably in your pockets.

The super AMOLED display has a huge resolution of 2960 x 1440. The only other phone that has even more pixels is Sony’s very own 4K Xperia ZX Premium.

The display specification is the same (minus the size) on the Galaxy S8. Since the S8+ has a larger display the pixel density does decrease a bit to 529 ppi (compared to 570 on the s8). Truth be told, we are in pixel territories where we cannot see the difference with our naked eyes. Remember when we were dealing with sub 200 ppi flagship phones?

Out of the box the S8+ is set at Full HD (to save power perhaps) but you can set this back to QHD in the display settings.

Samsung pretty much perfected the phone display. The AMOLED panel renders contrasting colors and deep blacks which result in videos and photos that is simply pleasing to watch. Furthermore, you are able to change color temperatures in the display settings to fit your own eyes, a huge plus.

Viewing angles are always exception with AMOLED displays. The panel is also super bright and certainly use able in bright sunny days.

The S8+ is also an HDR enabled device. Youtube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime will be able to stream video content and you will be able to view it how the director intended it to be seen.

Performance & Battery Life.

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The Galaxy S8+ is fast, seriously fast. In the West we receive the Snapdragon 835 cpu which comes with the Adreno 540 gpu. Everywhere else, people will receive the Exynos 8895 CPU with a new Mali G71 MP20 gpu. Geekbench 4 multi-core scores showed an impressive 6683, faster than the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

In real world usages, this means that users no longer should experience lags, waiting for apps to open, or frame drops in games. If there are, blame the app developers for not optimizing it properly. There should be absolutely no excuses for slow downs at this point. The S8+ just flies at supersonic speeds.

In terms of connectivity the S8+ also comes with a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi which enables compatibility with the fastest possible speeds on compatible routers. The phone also supports Gigabit LTE if available in your area.

The only gotcha with this phone would be the 3,500 mAh battery. It’s technically smaller than last years S7 Edge which is rated at 3,600 mAh. We believe Samsung is playing it safe and making sure there would be no repeat of the Note 7 crisis.

In terms of memory, 4GB of RAM may seem like not a lot compared to other phone’s that have 6 GB’s or even 8 GB’s of RAM. But it is more than enough for today’s array of apps and tasks. Even hooking it up to Samsung’s DeX docking station to turn it into a computer is seriously quick in performance.

The Snapdragon and Exynos chips are based on Samsung’s new 10nm FinFETT process. This means more power efficiency, better battery life, yet still maintaining solid performance. In our tests we managed well over 13 hours of streaming content. The phone lasts a full day of heavy usage easily as well. Usages contained maintaining bluetooth connections all day, taking photos, listening to music over Spotify, keeping up to date on social media and more.

There is only one storage option for all S8 and S8 + devices, 64 GB’s. That is quite big and rather hard to use up, but in case you need more there is a microSD slot available as well.

Still that Great Camera.

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People who expected Samsung to come up with their own dual camera set up would be thoroughly disappointed. However, that is only if you really want dual camera set ups. Simply having a dual camera does not always translate to good photo’s and I believe Samsung kept true to this. Don’t try to fix what ain’t broken. The 12 MP sensor camera has a wide open aperture of f1.7 for great low light performance. This is the same camera module that is found in the highly awarded S7 Edge and S7 of last year. There is still that great dual-pixel AF for super smooth focusing in video, optical image stabilization, and speed.

Instead of changing the hardware, Samsung appointed their software engineers to work on adding a multi-frame image processing function. The S8+ now stitches together three images for every shot you take. This enable’s the phone to clean up the image, eliminate blur, reduce the noise, sharpen the image, and provide more details in dark or blow out areas. This is quite similar to Google’s own software found in their Pixel line. The camera in the S8+ is still one the best smartphone cameras to date.

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When using it in real world situations I always got complimented at it’s low light performance. While the iPhone 6 or even the 7 had difficulty in capturing detail out side the bar at 11 PM night, my S8+ unit was able to capture a bright image that shocked my iPhone friends.

Thanks to the new software performance is consistent and solid. You will be churning out images that packs in detail and accurate colors. No aggressive sharpening, and super fast image processing that is quicker than the Pixel. Even with HDR enabled the camera also flies.

The only camera that got upgraded on the hardware front is the selfie front facing camera. It now features an 8 MP sensor which also has an aperture of f1.7. The selfie cam has a super quick autofocus system that has a useful face detection system. Now the phone will be able to make sure all faces in the selfie group photo are in focus. The selfie camera on the S8+ is the best I have tested so far, especially in low light.

The S8+ has one of the best cameras around. It is in league with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Google Pixel cameras. You can’t go wrong with any choices if the camera is your main concern.

Grace UX and Software.

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The user generally didn’t have much of a say in their own smartphone’s for many years. Samsung is finally breaking down these boundaries by giving us choice. This years version of Touchwiz is the cleanest yet and is based around the idea of options. If you need something changed it is most likely available to change in the Settings screen somewhere.

You have the option to readjust the screen sizes, resolution settings, and more. The app drawer has also been given multiple flavors. You can make it so you have to swipe up to reveal the app list, or have the regular app drawer on home, or even have an iOS homescreen full of all your apps.

You can also switch the Back and Recent’s buttons now.

The setting menu is logically laid out. There are options for loads of shortcuts in the notification toggle drawer. You can also launch Google Assistant by long pressing the home button.

This years version of Touchwiz is a lot less intrusive but provides useful features to Android Nougat. Samsung has been doing split screen modes and multi windows for years now. The company includes an improved version of the split screen mode with more options such as pinning parts of the app.

Samsung Bixby.

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Bixby is the biggest addition Samsung has to offer. They even included its own dedicated button on the side of the phone! Bixby is Samsung’s AI assistant that was built from the ground up to work with smartphones specifically. This assistant will be able to see whats on your phone display, look through your camera, and compile all of your information and data together.

At launch, Bixby isn’t a fully finished product yet. There are three components to Bixby, Voice, Home and Vision. Bixby is able to recognize text’s on screen, barcodes, and QR codes, identifying places and landmarks through your camera, and provide information through Bixby Home.

Bixby Voice is the one component that isn’t working yet. Samsung is launching it very soon in spring however. Bixby voice is designed to work with almost all of Samsung’s own applications alongside a few 3rd party apps. Users will be able to write up SMS messages by voice, order up a Taxi service or an Uber service and even find and edit specific photos in your Gallery.

Because Bixby is not a complete product just yet, it is hard to judge how well it will perform against Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Hopefully Samsung allows users to remap the Bixby button soon.

In Conclusion.

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The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is truly a marvel of a smartphone. It has the potential, and it probably already is, a huge trendsetter for future smartphone’s to come. I am also excited to see how Samsung will design their Note 8 which should be revealed in August. Samsung is on a roll.

From ultra fast performance, excellent benchmarks, awesome battery life, a new AI assistant, and a fantastic camera, you just can’t go wrong with this phone. It’s infinity display is truly interesting and it puts the phone in a class of its own. I don’t think we can find a premium flagship phone with solid software and excellent performance in a small form factor with minimal bezel’s (almost none).

The only issue’s people may have with the S8+ could be the size of it, the location of the finger print sensor, and the price.

This phone will make milk your wallet dry.

Other than these small gripes we believe Samsung created a phone that is a true successor to the still fantastic Galaxy S7 Edge.

 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

Samsung Galaxy S8 Review

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The Galaxy S8 is the younger brother to the S8 Plus launched only weeks ago by Samsung. Both the S8 and the S8 Plus are almost identical in specs save for the display and body size and the battery size. The S8 is regarded as the best phone of 2017 thank’s to Samsung’s brand new “Infinity Display” in a surprisingly small and thin body profile. As expected the body materials Samsung used are top notch as well as with the innards which is the first to ship with the Snapdragon 835 (US) and the Exynos 8895 (International). The Galaxy S8 may have set a new benchmark for smartphones.


 

Quick Look Specs Sheet

  • Body
    • Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm (5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 in)
    • Weight: 155 g ( 5.47 oz. )
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back panel
    • IP68 certified water and dust resistance (over 1.5m + 30 minutes)
  • Display
    • Super AMOLED 5.8 inches (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)
    • 2960×1440 pixels (~570 ppi pixel density)
    • Gorilla Glass 5
  • System
    • Android 7.0 (Nougat)
    • CPU: Exynos 8895 Octa (International) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US)
    • Exynos: Octa Core (4 x 2.3 GHz + 4 x 1.7 GHz)
    • SD 835: Octa Core (4 x 2.35 GHz + 4 x 1.9 GHz)
    • GPU: Mali-G71 MP20 (Exynos) or Adreno 540 (Snapdragon model US)
  • Camera
    • Main: 12 MP, f1.7, 26mm, PDAF, OIS
    • Front: 8 MP, f1.7, Autofocus (new feature) Face Detection.
  • Memory
    • 64 GB internal storage
    • microSD slot for up to 256 GB support
    • 4 GB RAM
  • Features
    • Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, aptX)
    • Iris scanner
    • Fingerprint (rear)
    • Pressure sensitive under display home button
    • Battery: 3,000 mAh battery

 

The Galaxy S8 is amazing in all it’s rights. It is a phone you have never seen before and it has commanded awe in many people around the world in the market for a new smartphone. The downside could be the price, it is very expensive. Sure we are able to purchase mid range phone’s for a fraction of the price with “good enough” specs, but for those who can afford the S8 or even save up for it, it certainly is a good choice.

The display is absolutely gorgeous thanks to the Super AMOLED display but what really blew away the competition this year is it’s new bezel-less display which Samsung dubs the “Infinity Display”. It is a super sharp, super clear display with high contrast which also boasts the ability to play back video content in HDR mode. All this on a display that seemingly covers the entire front part of the phone. You barely see any more bezel’s on the right and left and the top and bottom bezels have been minimized to a tiny part. The body also borrows from the Note 7 with a front and back curve which creates a comfortable grasp by forming a symmetrical shape. The design is simply amazing.

We are reviewing the S8 model (not the Plus). Many people actually prefer the S8 over the S8 Plus because, well, there really isn’t that much of a difference except the dimensions, battery capacity, and screen size. If you need the biggest display that Samsung can offer, check out the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review.

The Galaxy S8 checks off a lot of points that many tech geeks and tech fans could only dream of for many years. Super fast performance, great battery life, super thin profile, and an almost all screen design on the front.  Let’s quickly break it down with the various categories of this device.

The Design.

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A big change that occurred is the removal of the home button and the relocation of the finger print scanner. The home button is no longer there as a physical, iconic, button that Samsung devices have been known for. This time around, Samsung included a pressure sensitive strip underneath the display (at the bottom where your on screen capacitive buttons are) that is always active and works even when the phone display is turned off. This answers the issue of the inconveniences of have capacitive buttons annoying the heck out of you when trying to exit full screen games and movies, just press where the home button “would be” and it works. Pressing it will “click” with a vibrate which will again give haptic feedback when you let go. It some how feels like the little bit of the bottom of the display is a button.

One issue people have is the placement of the fingerprint sensor. This is found at beside the back camera (at the top). Many people had issues with reaching it. It will take time to get used to.

The fact that we now have capacitive buttons on screen means that users will be able to swap the back and recent’s button!

Samsung displays are always vivid and high quality. It is the benchmark of what a phone screen should be and has, by now, surpassed even the iPhone. the Super AMOLED display has punchier colors and sharpness that is simply a joy to look at. Once you take your eyes off of this display and look at any other LED/LCD panels out there on other flagships you will notice that all the other phone displays are cooled, and pretty dull looking.

The s8 is rated as the first HDR-capable smartphone. Playing back Youtube contents (and other apps that support HDR such as Netflix) will yield better colors, saturation, and details in the darker areas of the image. The Galaxy S8 offers the best mobile entertainment experience on a smartphone today.

The display of the phone is a new 18.5 : 9 aspect ratio. This means that the display is taller and bigger, yet Samsung managed to pack in more pixels into its display panels. The S8 offers a 2960 x 1440 resolution with 570 pixels per inch.

The tall display (at this time) will create some black boxes at the top and bottom when playing games or watching videos that do not support this new aspect ratio. However, in time developers will start to pick up this new display aspect ratio and provide full support very soon.

Out of the box your phone’s display will be scaled down to Full HD+ but through the same settings you will be able to adjust this back to UHD as well as color saturation and various other display settings.

The brightness of the screen has a maximum level of 373 nits with auto brightness off and 515 nits when auto brightness is on. This means that even in broad sunlight the S8’s display will be visible to the eye. With so much screen real estate we absolutely welcome the removal of the home button for a pressure based button.

The whole device is built of of metal and glass. It is symmetrically curved front and back for a comfortable grip and usage experience. The S8 is a premium device.We were surprised when we had the phone in our hands to see that the S8 is actually quite small despite its super large and beautiful display. The device is thin, light, and isn’t bulky at all.

The Camera.

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The camera module itself is actually the same one that is found on the 2016 Galaxy S7 Edge model. Many may be scratching their furry heads about this decision but it actually isn’t a bad thing at all. You see, the camera module of the S7 Edge is an award winning system that takes low light images and tack sharp photos in normal lighting. It is a fantastic camera overall. Even in 2017 the S7 Edge was still recognized as one of the best smartphone’s to date. Heck, on multiple occasion’s have I been complimented on my own S7 Edge’s low light capabilities compared to an iPhone. The Upgrade is actually found under the hood within the software’s code in dealing with image processing. Basically the S8 will take 3 images whenever you hit that shutter button and the software / hardware combo will “knit” together 3 images to create a final picture that should be able to give better, sharper images overall. Sure, the decision to keep the camera hardware itself generally the same as it’s predecessor is an interesting one but it certainly does not dock points from the S8 because of it’s already tested and true performance.

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We are talking 12 Megapixels with a wide aperture of f1.7 that also utilizes an optical image stabilization (OIS) system and the growing legend that which we call “dual pixel auto focus” which we would typically find on certain Canon cameras. Expect to experience great image’s and even video’s.

Lo and behold, the camera performance is indeed great. People can notice something “different” about the images taken on the Galaxy phone. It is sharper, it has more contrast, it has more colors (albeit some may say it is saturated a bit). We weren’t disappointed with the camera at all, rather we were still blown away by the images that it produces (for a smartphone camera).

Smartphone camera’s all have very small sensors compared to bigger sensors found on big, dedicated, imaging equipment such as a DSLR or a mirrorless. This does translate to more noise in the final image when you start to crank up the ISO to get a proper exposure.  This is to be expected as we cannot expect for large imaging sensors to be installed while the goal is to create a super light and thin smartphone.

The camera app introduces a very swipe friendly experience. It is easy to use the camera system of your Galaxy S8 with one handed usage thank’s to swipe features. You can swipe left to display various shooting modes while swiping right will reveal a host of filters you can use. Swiping down will quickly swap between the front and back camera’s. Holding the shutter button and swiping will zoom into your subject. Samsung also included various stickers and fun augmented reality overlays that you can use as if it was snap chat.

A big upgrade Samsung included was the front facing camera which they bumped up to 8 MP which also has a wide aperture of f1.7 (great for low light) and auto focus (with face detection). Your selfie game will be really strong with the S8 as it produces pleasing images and that which is a lot better than most of it’s competition.

Samsung Bixby.

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A new addition is Samsung Bixby. This is Samsung’s answer to Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. We must admit, the introduction was interesting but the actual delivery is pretty slow as Bixby feel’s half finished and requires more time to be polished for the market. An example would be Bixby Vision. This feature isn’t new but it is something cooked into the phone’s hardware and software.

There is a button as well dedicated to launching Bixby services (the physical button found under the volume buttons on the left side).

Bixby was made possible thanks to an acquisition of Viv. Viv is an artificial intelligence platform which was created by the makers of Siri. At this day and age, Bixby does not actually utilize Viv technology but we are certain this will change into the future.

Bixby provides three categories of usage: Home, Voice and Vision.

Vision utilizes the camera which also utilizes augmented reality to identify the object or thing you point your camera at. You can launch this by tapping on the eye icon found in the camera app. Bixby Vision will have many uses such as real time review content of restaurants, shopping, and products.

Voice is not yet available but Samsung did state that it will be available soon later this spring.

Bixby Home is the most useful of the three. It integrates information from apps and services which is pretty similar to how Google Assistant digests and feeds information to your phone already. The one gripe we had was that we needed to use Samsung’s own apps for information to be updated rather than Google’s native Android apps, say Gmail.

Battery Life.

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There are some people who may still be afraid from the fear of batteries catching fire spontaneously. This year, Samsung has taken big and expensive steps to make sure that this won’t ever happen again. The battery capacity of the S8 is 3,000 mAh. It seems Samsung played it pretty safe.

The battery life of the S8 is not spectacular but it is simply good. Given an average 18 hour work day the S8 provides about 4 to 5 hours of screen on time by the end of the battery’s charge. Samsung’s Touchwiz software now give’s the user a lot more options to fine tune how the device sips or uses the battery power, so that is a big plus. With the combination of the Super AMOLED display (taking advantage of black backgrounds) and the diverse power saving options users should be able to extend battery life even further.

Hardware & Performance.

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The S8 comes with a plethora of premium hardware capabilities and materials given that it is a high end device. Samsung included a 32-bit audio DAC, dual-band WiFi, expandable storage, 64 GB main storage, a 10nm Snapdragon 835 with Adreno 540 GPU (Exynos with Mali-G71 MP8 GPU for international) and 4 GB of RAM.

Performance issues is a thing of the past (a past long ago) so you should have no qualms over its performance and build quality. Running a mobile game will never see dropped frames nor lag. The S8 is even able to change into desktop mode via DeX (Samsung’s new docking accessory) which further proves that the S8 packs hardware that is capable of fast, efficient calculations and graphical performance.

The Iris scanner makes a return (from the Note 7) as expected. Some people actually seem to have a bit of an issue with this feature. As fast, efficient, and totally awesome as it could be, there are rare occasions where you may be at a strange angle that is unaccepted. Other than this, the Iris scanner is lightning fast.

The Galaxy S8 is also one of the first smartphones to support Bluetooth 5.0. This enables a much longer range and the ability to connect to two different devices. This means that you can hook up to two different bluetooth speakers and head sets and play audio through those outlets at the same time.

At the bottom is the USB Type-C port and a single bottom-firing speaker along with the head phone jack. The sound quality out of that singular speaker system is nothing to be proud about, it has a tinny sound to it. It is decent and will work for many.

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A notable change (since Samsung’s acquisition of Harman Kardon) is the included headphone jack. They’ve included a pair of high-quality earphones made by AKG which are significantly better than any included headphones which come with most other phones out of the box.

The headphones give strong bass signals for a small design. The material of the earphones are also high quality with a fabric cable and in-line controls. Samsung also includes many options to fine tune your listening experience with equalizers, and Adapt Sound settings which fine tune the output of sound to your ears. The overall experience is surprisingly deep and premium.

Conclusion.

We love this phone. It is currently being heralded as the best phone of 2017 and it isn’t hard to see why. The phone packs the best technology available, the most beautiful display, and lightning fast performances. Everything about the phone just goes. The downside to these devices is the price tag on them. It is very expensive starting at 799 USD and up or 1015 CAD and above. If you have the funds and have been wanting this phone since its unveiling, just get it. You won’t be disappointed.

Another interesting consideration is the older 2016 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge which should be sold at a fraction of the cost of the S8 but it still offers the same fantastic camera, speedy performance, and solid battery life.

Either way, Samsung has certainly made a come back with strong strides with the Samsung Galaxy S8. Let’s just see how Samsung will bring together the whole Bixby experience in the springtime.

 

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