This is Samsung’s latest sci-fi-looking smartphone, and its newest trick is maximizing the screen space while minimizing the bezels. It fits a monstrous 6.2-inch curved display into an acceptably large body that doesn’t feel too different from last year’s Galaxy S7 Edge.
That’s not all that’s impressive. It features the best phone display, chipset and camera of any phone to date. In other words, it has the best looks, most power and is extremely photogenic.
It’s water- and dust-resistant, so you don’t need to wait for the Galaxy S8 Active necessarily, and it features 64GB of internal storage plus a microSD card slot for expandable storage. All of this is a good value – if you’re willing to pay top dollar already.
The battery life is good (it didn’t blow up in our tests), it can power the next generation of mobile VR games, and it has software that rivals stock Android. Aside from Bixby, Samsung has made tremendous inroads with its software. If bad memories of the cluttered TouchWiz interface are what’s holding you back, you should give this phone a try.
Everything looks and feels futuristic except for the illogically located fingerprint sensor and the (so far) absent Bixby voice assistant. Face unlock doesn’t work well enough to right this wrong, and the iris scanner is better but imperfect, too. Being locked out of your phone when you’re paying this much money keeps the Galaxy S8 Plus from being flawless.
You’re not going to find a bigger, better phone than this. Small gripes aside, the 6.2-inch display and big boost in power and efficiency make this an easy recommendation for anyone who is willing to invest a lot of money in their phone.
Who's it for?
This is the smartphone for you if your hands are big, your wallet is too, and you really care about having the best smartphone of 2017. While the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 is just as good and slightly cheaper, the Plus version has a maximized 6.2-inch display size and extra battery life. Anyone moving from a 4.7-inch and 5-inch screen should stick with the smaller size.
Should I buy it?
You have to really want a phone with a screen that’s the biggest size and best quality to sink this kind of money into the Galaxy S8 Plus. It doesn’t hurt that it also has other accolades attached to it, like the best camera and newest chipset.
First reviewed April 2017
There are a lot of great phones on the market right now, so what are your other choices if you don't want to buy the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus? Here are three options that may suit you.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus launch means the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is instantly on sale. You can have this 5.5-inch smartphone for cheaper, and it has almost everything you need.
It’s one step back in most areas: it has a curved 5.5-inch display, last year’s Qualcomm and Exynos chipsets, and a camera that takes nearly as good photos and video. It’s two steps forward in other areas: a well-placed fingerprint sensor home button and a more reasonable price.
That’s perfectly good for most people who want a good deal on a great Samsung phone.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
iPhone 7 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S8 makes the iPhone 7 Plus hardware design seem dated. Apple’s stuck with big bezels and a smaller 5.5-inch screen, despite the fact that the phone dimensions are all roughly the same. It’ll be that way at least until the iPhone 8 release date later this year.
But we also really like the iPhone 7 Plus for its iOS 10 software, and iOS 11 is bound to improve upon it later this year. It has iMessages, the swipe-up-from-the-bottom Control Center, and Siri is always making new strides.
Apple finally made its smartphone water-resistant and included a telephoto second camera lens on the back, and it does have that easy-to-reach home button that’s missing from the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
Read the full iPhone 7 Plus review
Here’s the other new Android smartphone with an elongated screen that rivals the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. It features a 5.7-inch LCD display and no curved screen design, but a very similar 18:9 aspect ratio. It has a rear (but center-mounted) fingerprint sensor, dual camera lens (one is an extra-wide lens) and uses Google Assistant (and only Google Assistant).
It’s also slightly cheaper than either Samsung phone. If you really wanted a flat Samsung Galaxy S8, this is a perfectly good option. Just don’t expect VR out of its LCD screen.
Read the full LG G6 review