Samsung Galaxy S8 Review: Android Excellence In Performance And Design

Samsung Galaxy S8 And S8+ Battery Life And Our Final Rating

To determine how the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ compare to other smartphones phones, with respect to battery life, we ran the devices through two battery benchmarks you can find on the Google Play store -- AnTuTu Tester's Battery benchmark and PCMark for Android's Work 2.0 Battery Life test. We'd caution these tests are designed to better understand what a moderate to heavy, "always-on" usage model might look like in terms of battery life, rather than a mainstream, light-duty off/on mixed usage. 

Galaxy S8 On Wireless Charger
Samsung Galaxy S8 On Wireless Charging Convertible

Battery Life
How Long Did Samsung's New Galaxies Last?

The AnTuTu battery test sets the display brightness to maximum and cranks up workloads for the processor, graphics core, memory and storage subsystems. It then runs through a number of real-world scripted workloads, including web browsing, gaming, and video playback, in an effort to drain the battery as quickly as possible.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus AnTuTu  battery test

This is an interesting, non-real world test scenario that really stresses phones and their battery subsystems, as well as power management technologies of the underlying processor platform. In this test case, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are absolute battery life beasts, surpassing the current gen Android handsets we tested by a wide margin.  We should note there's an outlier not represented here and that's the Moto Z Play, which skews the graph wildly. It's comprised of a low power Snapdragon 625, a 1080p display and a large 3510 mAh battery. It's in fact our AnTuTu battery life king, but again this test isn't completely realistic, in that display brightness especially comes into play and is set to max levels for all phones. Regardless, either way you slice it, Samsung's new Galaxy S8 line puts up an impressive performance here versus other top-end competitors. 

Futuremark's PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Battery test takes workloads from the benchmark itself (image and video editing, email and web browsing) and scripts them in a loop that runs until battery levels drop below 20 percent. This test is much more real-world in terms of its setup, because we calibrate display brightness on all devices to 200 Lux and the test then locks that display brightness in for the duration. As a result, with only WiFi and cell radios on (Bluetooth and NFC were off, with DND mode turned on), we're able to see how long a device will last, timed to the minute as it runs down from 100 percent to 20 percent remaining battery life. 

Galaxy S8 PCMark Battery Life Test

In this test we see similar results, with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ taking the top two slots. The Galaxy S8 only outlasted the Google Pixel XL by about 40 minutes, but that's a feat in and of itself as the Pixel XL offers generally excellent battery life. The Galaxy S8+ on the other hand is an absolute battery life monster. It offered a full 10 hours and 39 minutes of up-time and by far the best time of the bunch. The Galaxy S8  was no slouch either at 8 hours and 7 minutes total. Anecdotally, we'd offer that both the GS8 and GS8+ can deliver best-in-class battery life performance, capable of powering well over a day's worth of up-time between charges and for many people this could result in multiple days without needing to hook up for juice. It should also be noted that Samsung is one of the few Android flagships on the market with wireless charging, and re-charge times, whether wired or wireless are blazing-fast with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 technology on board. 

A Note On Thermals, Because We Know What You're Thinking

Obviously, Samsung is going to have to live down the specter of its Galaxy Note 7 battery debacle for some time. However, with the Galaxy S8, we'd dare say the company is quickly on the path to redemption. During all of our heavy testing, whether in the benchmarks or under the load of Gear VR, both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ remained quite cool under pressure. In fact, where the Google Pixel XL actually gets quite toasty powering Daydream View, Gear VRing with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ left both handsets barely warm to the touch. In fact, that was the case with the GS8 and GS8+ with our always-on battery life testing as well. Never once did the phones get noticeably warm and that speaks well for minimal CPU/GPU throttling, as well as maintaining a tame environment for their batteries.

Galaxy S8 Jet Black In Hand

As you can probably surmise, we put a lot of time into evaluating the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. There's simply just a lot ground to cover -- a new processing engine, new display and mechanical design, new software and camera setup, as well as updated feature add-ons like Gear VR with Oculus and even a new wireless charger. The good news is, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ add up to more than just the sum of their parts. These new handsets easily feel not only like the best Samsung Galaxy smartphones we've tested yet, they're also two of the best Android phones we've ever laid hands on. 
Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus in hand backs
Find The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ @ Amazon

concludeThere's a caveat of course (there always is), among the smallish shortcomings we found with these two new Galaxy S phones, and that would be price. At roughly $720 and $850 for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, respectively (off contract pricing), these new Samsung phones are expensive. There may be better values in Android smartphones out there these days, but the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are premium, flagship super-phone devices in every sense of the word. Breaking that down further, however, you do get what you pay for here.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are the fastest Android smartphones on the market right now that also happen to offer some of the best battery life metrics in handsets as well. They also sport arguably the best large displays you'll find in any smartphone currently and, along with Samsung's excellent Super AMOLED displays, you get the tools to take advantage of their new wide aspect ratios. However, what's probably most impressive is how well-designed the GS8 and GS8+ are to take advantage of those large displays and how they do so in as minimal a footprint as possible, with a sleek, very attractive design. The completely blacked-out Midnight Black model may not be our favorite color choice but in general, aesthetically and in terms of industrial design, the Galaxy S8 series is a sharp-dressed affair. Tack on IP68 water and dust resistance and you've got what amounts to a pair of the best performing, best looking, and best protected Android phones money can buy currently.  That's not an absolute, but in our opinion, when it comes to Android flagship devices, these two smartphones are two of the very best.

Samsung just hit a straight-up home run with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ -- like a deep shot to Left Field and over the Green Monster, as we refer to it here in Red Sox Nation. 
hothardware editors choice

  • Gorgeous, near-bezelless design
  • Beautiful, wide-aspect AMOLED displays
  • Fastest Android phones on market
  • Excellent camera performance
  • Impressive battery life
  • Super-premium design
  • Pricey
  • Maybe a little too slippery for some
  • Black units are smudge magnets

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