The opportunity to try out new devices is one of the very best perks of Community Management but you have to be willing to talk up that phone you're test-driving. It was not hard to do with Samsung's Galaxy S8. I've brought you five first impressions of the crazy awesome device.
1. It's beautiful: in and out of the box
Honestly, my breath caught at first sight of this gorgeous phone. My midnight black device came in a jet black box labeled only S8. The Galaxy S8 body is liquid smooth, sleek and deceptively small. It looks like an MG or a Maserati would look if they came packed in a tiny box.
This phone feels light yet sturdy in your hand. It feels expensive, which is ok, because it's a very high quality device. It also feels fairly slippery. If you're a device klutz, take some advice from my Protection article and get a case. Sleek, shiny, slippery also means 'shows every single finger print ever.' Taking pictures without a print showing is a challenge (so excuse me if you see a few)
2. Samsung brought the goods
The Galaxy S8 comes lovingly prepared for its new life by your side. Other OEMs and even Samsung themselves have cut back drastically on the extras packed with their devices lately but the S8 is a veritable Christmas stocking of goodies:
Samsung Adaptive Fast Charger and USB 3.0 compliant USB-A to USB-C charge / sync cable
Smart Switch Adapter
SIM tray ejector - You're going to need this when it's time to install the SD card
Stereo Samsung Earphones tuned by AKG - HUGE goodie, trust me
USB type A - USB C adapter - Hook a flash drive directly to the phone
Type-B (micro USB) to Type-C USB converter - seriously, in the box, without having to ASK!
3. Set up is fast, smooth and easy
I swap in and out of devices a few times a year. I dread it every time. I have support accounts with other OEMs and of course, the ubiquitous Google one. With other devices I find that even when apps transfer over it takes a solid two hours to get must-have apps downloaded and signed into. Between Samsung and Google integration, swapping this time was really easy and super-fast.
Activation and set up on the Galaxy S8 only took about 30 minutes. I did it on my lunch, so I was ready to go by the time I finished my sandwich. I did wait a few days before installing a theme and some other, more advanced customization. I plan to go into some detail about that experience in a different article, but the short version is: it's painless and fun to customize your S8.
5. Size matters: a couple of different ways
I have been looking into smaller frame devices for two reasons, one being completely practical and the other strictly superficial.
Practical Reason: I have tiny hands with short fingers. When your device is over 6 inches including case and bevel, one-handed operation is awkward with normal people hands. It's basically impossible for Princess Squirrel Paws.
Superficial Reason: while great for visual applications, your average phablet cannot squeeze into a tiny evening bag or clutch. As a phablet phan (HA!) I've been at a distinct disadvantage as my device stubbornly refused to fit into my vintage, hand-beaded pearl and crystal clutch.
The Galaxy S8's use of real estate and subsequent smaller body has dramatically improved my small-hands-big-phone life. One-handed unlocking, reviewing notifications and navigation are now a thing I can do. I'm no longer awkwardly reaching my 'free hand' up for the trigger button when I take a selfie, which we all know creates an awkward "could be shrugging, could be hugging myself" pose. Samsung's native camera has integrated a selfie-trigger into the heart rate monitor on the back of the device. But I found I can even reach the trigger on Snapchat one-handed. Oh and the superficial complaint? The S8 has slipped right into my tiniest clutch.
5. Mobile Addicts: Look for ways to stretch your Battery life
A week in, I'm a little disappointed in the 3000 mAh battery's life. I admit, I am a slightly obsessive mobile device user, at least on the weekends. I play 2 to 4 casual games on an ongoing basis, so I'm frequently checking on a train arrival in Township, matching 3 in Bejeweled or trying to breed that rare Elemental dragon in Dragonvale World. I am also a self-admitted social media addict and manage most of my budget and bills from my mobile device. My cell phone battery a lot to live up to.
Samsung's Galaxy S8 battery, while not dramatically poor in this aspect, does munch the milliamps pretty rapidly with habits like mine. On my primarily mobile days, I've found I need the recharge around noon, which is two to 3 hours earlier than normal.
To be fair, Samsung has included nice juice saving customization options and features on the latest Galaxy. Mid-morning on my second day with the phone, I toggled the Always On screen option to off as it's a very obvious battery eater. I always toggle auto-brightness off on my screen to ease eye strain and save battery as well. Throughout the day, Galaxy's built feature will suggest I allow it to close some background apps, which I've found to be helpful as I tend to let way too many things run on my phone. For more great tips on getting the most from your battery life, check out CNETs article here. I've made use of about half of these, but still find myself eyeing electrical outlets and charging pads.
Overall, Samsung has more than delivered on the promises they made during their launch event in the Galaxy S8. They've provided a beautiful phone that is easy to set up and use. Both the box and the device itself are packed with surprises and delights. If you enjoyed my first five thoughts, stay tuned to the Sprint Five space for a deeper dive into features and possibly a LG G6/Samsung S8 showdown piece.