Which Samsung Galaxy smartphone should you buy?

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to grabbing a Galaxy – make sure you get the right one with this guide

25 April 2017
by Stuff Staff

You’d need to be as tech-savvy as a caveman not to know Samsung has two new phones vying for your attention.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are here, and are two of the best-looking, most fully-featured phones to have made their way into the Stuff office. Even if you’ve hated them in the past, these two are almost guaranteed to convert you to Samsung’s way of thinking.

While you won’t quite have to take out a second mortgage just to afford one, neither phone is chump change – and with last year’s handsets now doing the rounds at reduced prices, it’s time to decide. Should you splash out on the best 2017 has to offer? And if so, do you go for the S8 or S8+? Or is one of the older phones a better fit for you anyway?

Here’s what we think.

GALAXY S8 OR GALAXY S8+?

Samsung’s made things easy for you if you’re dead set on picking up one of its new phones – there’s barely any differences between ‘em.

The Galaxy S8+ is physically bigger, with a 6.2in screen versus the S8’s 5.8in, and has a larger 3500mAh battery compared to the S8’s 3000mAh cell. But that’s it.

Both phones have the same better-than-QHD 2960×1440 resolution, and both use gorgeous AMOLED screens with skinny bezels at the top and bottom, plus those all-important curves at the side. The Exynos 8895 octa-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and 12MP rear camera all stay the same.

The Galaxy S8+ is a serious slab of smartphone, but it doesn’t feel like it: that 6.2in screen fits easily in your hand, on account of the unusual 18.5:9 aspect ratio. It’s tall, though, meaning you’ll still need to stretch to reach the top of the phone – something the vanilla S8 handles a little better. If you don’t feel like doing finger yoga every time you want to pull down the notification tray, the decision has already been made – the regular S8 is for you.

However, if you (and your skinny jeans pockets) can handle the extra dimensions, the larger screen is better suited to playing games, watching video, web browsing, and, well, just about everything you use your phone for.

The Galaxy S8+ can also boast better battery life than the smaller phone. It might have to power a bigger screen, but as the resolution stays the same across both phones, we found that the S8+ lasted a few hours longer each day – which could make the difference between leaving your charger at home, or having to hunt for a mains socket.

Buy the Galaxy S8+ if… bigger really is better, and you need the extra battery life

Buy the Galaxy S8 if… You want the best all-round phone Samsung has ever made, and don’t mind losing a bit of longevity

WHAT ABOUT THE GALAXY S7 EDGE?

If you don’t fancy forking over a ton of cash for the best Samsung has to offer, that’s absolutely fine – after all, the Galaxy S7 Edge is still a fantastic handset with plenty to offer.

OK, so it doesn’t have those eye-grabbing skinny bezels, but it does have curved edges and a screen to match. It doesn’t look anywhere near as dated as the previous generation iPhone 5s, for example, does next to the iPhone 7 Plus. Yes, that’s a phone which is 3 years old, but which might as well be 300. The S7 Edge is only 1 year old now but we’re betting it’ll still look great in 2019. Keep it clean (and away from the pavement) and it’ll definitely still look modern in a year’s time.

Just don’t look too closely at the bottom, though; that’s where the microUSB port sits, instead of the newer, reversible USB-C.

It doesn’t have the latest version of Samsung’s Touchwiz UI, but can be updated to Android Nougat out of the box, and has an equally impressive spec sheet: a 5.5in, 2560×1440 AMOLED screen, Exynos 8890 CPU, 4GB of RAM and plenty of storage, thanks to a microSD card expansion slot.

The 12MP camera is still fantastic, too, if not quite as precise as the S8 and its multi-frame image processing.

The best bit? Prices are dropping all the time. Act now and you can still save cash versus buying an S8 brand new, but if you’ve still got a month or two left on your current contract, you could save some serious cash by the time it comes to upgrade.

Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge if… you want a genuinely brilliant phone, but don’t need to live on the cutting-edge (and want to save a few bucks)

Should I wait for the Galaxy Note 8?

The Note 8 is the elephant in the room. The will-it-explode-again, is-Samsung-actually-going-to-make-one elephant that we’re betting at least some of you will be thinking about. We’re fully expecting Samsung’s stylus-toting phablet to make a return, even after last year’s Note 7 fiasco, and you can bet it’ll be a phone to be reckoned with.

If the current crop of rumours are to be believed, you can expect a similar design to the S8 and S8+, only with an even larger screen, and possibly with dual-cameras on the back – a first for Samsung.

It will almost certainly cost more, though – and by the time it launches, the price of the S8 and S8+ might have dropped in price from those lofty launch amounts.

Wait for the Galaxy Note 8 if… you’re afraid of commitment and think the grass is always greener on the other side. Or if you’re still saving up to afford one.

 

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