An iPhone user's honest experience with the Galaxy S8 two weeks later - ChrisDiary: Hacks, Tutorials and Tech Updates

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Monday, September 4, 2017

An iPhone user's honest experience with the Galaxy S8 two weeks later

I'm writing this for iPhone users that are looking for a change and are on the fence about getting this device. I hope that this helps.
My Use Case
I'm a tech consultant. I travel 2x per week, every week, and have done so for the last 1.5 years. I don't consume much entertainment but do browse the web and call people quite a lot, usually by way of a Bluetooth headset of some kind. I listen to music frequently, but not all of the time. I also go to the gym every week and ride my bike whenever I am able and use fitness tracking apps heavily during those periods.
For context: I've tried the S6 and S7 as well as previous Galaxy phones and have generally bad experiences with each. I decided to get a S8 because of Siri's underperformance and the general desire of getting something new after a while (had it for about a year). I also got a Gear S3 to accompany it, which I'll briefly review at /r/gears3.
You can see a list of the apps I use most frequently at the end of this brief review.
This is a stream of consciousness; if you are looking for the final verdict, scroll down to bottom for the TL;DR.
Pro: This phone looks futuristic as all fucking get out. While the renders on the next iPhone seem to suggest that Apple will catch up on this front, you will not want to go back to the iPhone after using this. The curves are beautiful, the screen is a triumph to use and there's no camera hump in the back. You won't want to put a case on this thing; I tried and returned it.
Con: The back is super slippery. Falls right off your hand. You'll want to consider a wrap or tape or...something.
Pro: Despite its slipperiness, I love how it feels in my hand.
Pro: This camera is much more vibrant than any iPhone I've taken pictures with. Colors on photos really pop, even if not viewed on the phone itself.
To wit: we went to Fossil Rim in Texas a few weeks ago to feed and pet some cute animals from the back of our truck. Me and my iPhone-carrying friends took photos. Once my iPhone friends saw the photos my S8 produced, they told me, verbatim, "You're taking the photos from now on."
Con: Despite this, the iPhone performs better in low-light conditions. The S8 produces a lot of noise.
Pro: I remember people complaining about the placement of the fingerprint reader when the phone was released and how easy it is to confuse it for the camera lens. I agree that it was pretty easy to confuse the two at first, but that problem went away after about a week of use. In fact, I heavily prefer this fingerprint reader to the iPhone's home button placement.
Also, the camera has an oleophobic coating that deters fingerprints. I tried to dirty it with my fingers. It's more difficult than you'd think. Contrast this to the camera lens on the iPhone 7/7+ that are super easy to smudge without even trying.
Pro: Samsung Pay is significantly better than Apple Pay for one reason: MLC MST. I can use it at nearly any point-of-sale, NFC or not. Not so for Apple Pay. (I lied; it's good for another reason: Samsung literally gives you $10 for every device you use it on!)
Pro: Remember how I said that I had bad experiences with every Galaxy phone I've used in the past? A large part of that had to do with TouchWiz. When I returned these phones, my parting thought was always the same: Amazing hardware; crappy software.
That problem has finally been fixed.
TouchWiz on the S8 adds a hell of a lot of value, especially in comparison to vanilla iOS. A few of the features I really like that I'll miss by going back to iOS: double-pressing the power button for the camera, all of the edge screens (opening MyFitnessPal to count calories, Expensify to do receipts or AA to pull up my boarding pass are so much more convenient now), DLNA/Wi-Fi Direct, swiping up to use Pay, always-on display.
Pro: Bixby can control my entire phone; a HUGE plus. Being able to go into apps and do a bunch of things or change settings on the fly by voice is extremely convenient. This is where the dedicated Bixby button is most useful.
Con: Unfortunately, Bixby's other "skills" are still lacking against Google Assistant, and its voice parsing in noisy environments is dodgy. I also press the button a lot accidentally; I hope Samsung adds a feature that turns the button off when the phone is in your pocket.
Pro: That said, Google Assistant + Bixby is a VAST improvement to Siri. It's hard to understate how much Siri sucks; it's tough to give it up because it can be quite useful sometimes (like for setting alarms and timers), but it disappoints way more often than not.
Pro: This phone is super fast. My previous Galaxy phones got laggy after about a day or so. Not the case with the S8. It's a pleasure to use through and through.
Con: It gets hot really really quickly and sometimes randomly. Uncomfortable.
Con: Battery life is pretty decent, but it could be better. Some days, it will last me the entire day without issue. Others, I'm glad to have some charge by the time I get to a charger (usually 12 or 1am on weekdays).
Pro: Fast charging is life-changing. This thing can go from 0 to charged in an hour with the right power block. Even if you don't fully charge your phone, you can go home (or the hotel, in my case), shower, get ready and unplug knowing that you have plenty of charge to last the day. That wouldn't be possible with an iPhone, at all.
Con: Another big problem I've always had with Galaxy devices is how Bluetooth audio quality nosedives when they are paired with and connected to a Bluetooth LE wearable. The S8 is, unfortunately, not an exception here. When this happens, high-frequency sounds like cymbal and hi-hat strikes either sound "robotic" or disappear completely. This does not happen on iPhones.
While this was a dealbreaker with past devices, this phone and the Gear S3 are useful and pleasant enough to use to tolerate this.
Pro: USB-C is great. If you have a newer MacBook or MacBook Pro, your charger will not only work with this phone, but it will also provide fast charging! Samsung even provides an extremely easy-to-lose MicroUSB -> USB-C adapter (Anker sells a pair for $10 with shipping).
Con: The cable it comes with is kind of rigid. I like Apple's cables better. This is evident when you try to "wrap" it.
Con: The battery saver feature is SUPER aggressive; aggressive enough for me to miss notifications when not on Wi-Fi. I'm still trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening. It's kind of annoying, but not enough to be a dealbreaker...yet. (I haven't missed calls or WhatsApp messages, but I've missed notifications from TripIt, American, Hangouts, etc. and those are kinda important.)
TL;DR: This is FINALLY the iPhone replacement I've been looking least until the next iPhone drops this month. It is as beautiful as it is useful. I highly encourage anyone looking to move away from the iPhone to give the S8 a proper shot. You might be pleasantly surprised!

At the very least, it will make your iPhone look pre-historic lol

Culled from Reddit

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