Battery Life and Conclusion
I ran our Wi-Fi browsing test with the screen set to 180 lux with my light meter, using a program called Caffeine to keep Android devices from going to sleep during the test, which is conducted using the latest version of the Chrome browser. All other phone settings were left at device defaults.
The results speak for themselves:
15 hours and 12 minutes of battery life with a bright 180 lux screen and constant use? This is double what I could ever achieve with an iPhone 7 under the same conditions, and better than even the 4000 mAh battery-powered Huawei Mate 9.
A true flagship in every sense, the Galaxy S8+ combines gorgeous industrial design, powerful performance, and a fantastic display; and adds class-leading battery life. The only things I can find to be critical about are the bizzare fingerprint sensor location (an apparent concession after problems with display integration), and the apparent fragility of this design (though I somehow decided not to drop the phone to test this out). I found the phone to be so ideally balanced and comfortable to hold that the thought of placing it in a bulky case is repellent, but I would be too scared (especially with a toddler in the house who likes to steal my phone) to use it without a case. Ah well. The iPhone 4 was a very good phone in spite of a similar glass front/back construction, and we survived that part of mobile history.
In daily use I found Samsung’s latest user interface (Samsung Experience UI 8.1) to be about as lightweight as these UI skins come, and essentially this just felt like using Android 7. The changes that are present are primarily cosmetic, and Samsung does a good job making the menus look friendly (and rather iOS-like). Overall UI performance was snappy, and I had zero complaints about the overall usage experience. Sound quality is great (and there is a headphone jack!), the screen is of course incredible looking, and the phone lasted more than a full day of use (and charges very quickly, as well). I didn’t get into cell reception/call quality with my evaluation (both were fine), as I lack the instrumentation to make objective measurements in that area.
The Galaxy S8+ is almost perfect – but no phone is. However, this might be the closest to perfect you are going to get right now, and the gorgeous screen and fantastic battery life certainly tip the scales in its favor. If you are an iPhone user this phone might be tempting, but iOS (and iMessage in particular) are hard to break away from if you are used to them, and the iPhone 7 Plus offers a fantastic larger phone experience with my favorite dual-camera implementation right now. The Galaxy S8+ didn’t end up with a second rear camera sensor, which I can only assume we will see with the Note 8. It also didn’t end up with an embedded fingerprint sensor, as mentioned above. Like I said, the GS8+ is almost perfect. But I still want one.