The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is a lovely phone. I’ve been lucky enough to use it for an extended period, but it has a big, big problem.
It’s packed full of power, has a dazzling display, strong camera and eye-catching design – but so does its smaller, cheaper sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S8.
In fact, the only differences between the two handsets are 1) screen size, 2) battery size and 3) price.
You may want a large screen, but unlike last year where we got a 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge, the standard Galaxy S8 packs a huge 5.8-inch display.
At 6.2 inches the Galaxy S8 Plus screen is monstrous, yet it feels unnecessary alongside its already-large non-Plus namesake.
The bigger 3,500mAh battery (vs 3,000mAh in the S8) is a nice addition, but Samsung’s S7 duo had one of the better battery performances of 2016’s flagships and the Galaxy S8 should continue that trend - plus with fast and wireless charging, if you do run low it’s easy and quick to top up.
All this dampens the appeal of the larger power pack in the S8 Plus. Then comes the price.
Samsung has upped the cost of its new flagship duo, with the Galaxy S8 featuring an already wallet-troubling $720 (£689, AU$1,199) price tag.
The S8 Plus meanwhile, demands $825 (£779, AU$1,349) for the privilege of a bigger screen and battery - which doesn’t sound like great value for money to me.
Whatever you can do…
The reason Samsung has got the Galaxy S8 Plus is simple. Apple.
Back in 2014 Apple launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, six months after Samsung launched the singular Galaxy S5. Five months after the iPhone 6 launch, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
The South Korean firm already had a big screen handset in its Galaxy Note series, but it seems like it was desperate to keep up appearances versus Apple so rolled out two new handsets regardless.
At least it still made some sense, with one flat-screened phone and a larger, curved screen device. It repeated the trick with S7, and again I gave Samsung a pass because there was a bigger difference between the two phones.
There's no free pass this time round though. With news that Samsung is going to start selling refurbished, non-exploding Galaxy Note 7 handsets soon, and rumors of a Galaxy Note 8 launch later in the year the Galaxy S8 Plus feels even more unnecessary.
Check out our Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S8 Plus video below to see the difference between the two phones for yourself
The Galaxy S8 has a bigger screen than the LG G6, Huawei P10 Plus, HTC U Ultra, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and iPhone 7 Plus - it comfortably meets the “I want a bigger screen on my flagship phone” requirement without the need for the Galaxy S8 Plus.
The simple answer would be, “don’t buy the S8 Plus then”, but I can’t help but wonder what could have been. Samsung could have saved itself time and money by bringing us the Galaxy S8 only, which in turn may have seen it come with a more appealing price tag, and letting its Note series offer the super-supersized screen experience.
But here we are, with two ridiculously good looking phones, but really all we need is the one.
- Read our reviews: Samsung Galaxy S8 | Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus