back to article Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

The Galaxy S8+ is like a nine course meal of desserts – tiramisus, trifles, ice creams, one after another – that you have to eat with chopsticks and a straw. As you should expect from a phone that’s almost £800, much of the technology is sensational. The edge-to-edge display is not just pretty, it’s practical too, and the …

  1. Rainman

    Pugh Pugh Barney Mcgrew ...

    Awesome handset but how fast will it go from 0 to 1000 degrees c ?

    After the last Samsung handset debacle their products are so far off my radar that I'm more likely to buy an poisonous snake to make phone calls on. It would probably be safer.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Pugh Pugh Barney Mcgrew ...

      You're right you know. It would be safer, unless you try to eat the snake.

      1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: Pugh Pugh Barney Mcgrew ...

        I dunno. Hanging up a snake in a forceful manner can tend to induce, erm, irritation on the part of the snake.

    2. jgarbo

      Re: Pugh Pugh Barney Mcgrew ...

      A poisonous snake or a venomous one? As for Samsung stuff, I'll be sticking to my amazing Note 4 for the foreseeable future. My office away from home.

  2. SquidEmperor

    Never again

    A devote Note 4 fanboi I was devastated when the Note 7 forced me to buy a LG V20 instead....but now? After living free of the maddening Samsung UI and all its bloatware I'll never return. The finger sensor placement and Bixby underline how bad Samsung has become. They've literally become Apple - sacrificing usability and utility for pointless gimmicks that actually devalue the customer experience.

    1. Nate Amsden

      Re: Never again

      Note 3 here. First android phone I've had. Before that webos and before that (2008), blackberry.

      I have a note 4 too but see nothing in it that makes me want to switch. Mainly it's a backup to my two note 3s ( my daily driver is android 4.4 and my backup(also used as a burner phone for travel) is 5.0. Much prefer 4.x). Haven't seen any other phones since that make me want to upgrade.

      Happy with the new att unlimited plan(so far only 2gb of usage past month), cut my bill from 150 to 99/mo (company pays regardless ) .

      More importantly I have not turned on wifi since March. Having wifi on is dangerous, allows the carrier to upgrade me to android 5 which I do not want. Before this i turned wifi on when I needed it then turned off again. Though sometimes I would forget. Managed to keep android 5 away from my phone for maybe close to 2 years now. Had a few close calls in that time.

      I'd happily pay a subscription fee for actual android security updates to 4.4x though. Google was still putting them out there not too long ago (relative to the age of android 4 and 5 builds available to note 3 on ATT anyway). I am very careful with what i use my phones for so i feel pretty safe security wise. No social media, no banking, no mobile purchases outside of the very occasional google app store buy using protected virtual crefit cards.

      One time I tried to root my backup note 3 wanting to flash android 4.4 on it (i had the file to flash with), but it appears Knox stopped me. Came close to bricking it I think. Haven't tried again yet.

      About to go on a 3 week vacation. Put in a 256gb SD card in my backup note 3, works great, have another 128gig in my regular note 3 too. MHL to hdmi works well too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Never again

        If the carrier wants to upgrade you they won't care about wifi. They're a carrier, FFS. Your phone is already on their network, and they'll upgrade you over that.

        But it'll always ask first anyway.

        1. Nate Amsden

          Re: Never again

          No they won't. At least not ATT. The upgrade notice explicitly says wifi is required. And i have stopped the upgrade(downloading) on several occasions by disabling wifi.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Never again


      "They've literally become Apple - sacrificing usability and utility for pointless gimmicks that actually devalue the customer experience"

      You must know a different Apple to the rest of the planet. Apple's whole raison d'être is usability and utility (they frequently get bashed for focusing on this at the expense of functionality and customisation).

      And pointless gimmicks like.... Iris scanners? Photo unlocking?

      1. Naselus

        Re: Never again

        "Apple's whole raison d'être is usability and utility"

        The 3.5mm headphone jack called. Apparently it thinks you're a liar.

    3. johnnybee

      Re: Never again

      I can't believe you're accusing them of adding pointless gewgaws rather than paying attention to detail!

      As it states quite clearly on the promo visible on the screenshot of multi-panel (p2), 'Samsung Electronics has taken care to create a memorable expreience'.

      See? They've taken care! I don't know what an expreience is, but I'm sure it's memorable...

      1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: Never again

        "As it states quite clearly on the promo visible on the screenshot of multi-panel (p2), 'Samsung Electronics has taken care to create a memorable expreience'."

        Well, being electrocuted is a memorable experience, however, I don't recommend it.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Never again

      Never again for another reason.

      I have a Note 3 on my desk which is a hopeless brick.

      The reviewer asked the question of "Why not TouchWiz". There is a simple answer - if you by mistake disable some of the Samsung apps Touchwiz will go into an endless reboot cycle on the next reboot. The cretinous imbecile who wrote it did not include any error handling for an exception if you try and fail send an intent to another bundled Samsung app. It is an immediate reboot.

      That would have been fine if the software itself was sound, which it is not - the sole software update the tablet ever got from Samsung corrupted the recovery in such a way that it cannot be reflashed neither with stock, nor with clockworkmod. So the tablet is a brick. Thanks to f*** TochWiz which was written by someone who failed their sophomore CS class. The part called "handle errors".

      So sorry - no Samsung ever enters this house ever again. I actually like phones that do not corrupt their recovery partition the first time they update and phones which do not fail on first reboot if you disable some of the factory bundled crap.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Fingerprint reader more secure than facial or iris recognition? I doubt it, it'd take longer to print either picture than to lift a fingerprint to use from the phone itself. All crap forms of security for the terminally lazy.

    FFS is your time so precious that 2 seconds to type a PIN is world ending? As IT professionals we're supposed to be promoting security, not this shite. If this is OK how do we make Joe Public believe biometrics are only to be used as ID and not passwords for the serious stuff!?


    I give up

    1. sal II

      Re: Hahahaha!

      >Fingerprint reader more secure than facial or iris recognition?

      With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes. You can fool most of the fingerprint sensors with an image of the fingerprint, but it has to be obtained with a high enough quality and printed to scale first. Whereby you can readily get a picture of a persons face from facebook, Photo ID and what not.

      The Iris recognition is more secure, but unreliably implemented here, so not really convenient for unlocking.

      As for your claim that PINs are more secure than fingerprint sensors, you would be amazed how easy is for someone to spy your PIN even from a low angle, then lift your phone on the spot, rather than having to procure print outs of your face/fingerprint in advance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

        Biometrics ARE NOT PASSWORDS FFS!11!!!!1! You.Cannot.Change.Them!! They.Are.I.D.Only!

        ARRRRRGH!!! The stupid, it burns....

        1. James 51

          Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

          This made me laugh so hard I got some looks in the office. Enjoy one of these and check your blood pressure.

        2. sal II

          Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

          Who is arguing that biometrics are passwords?

          Both are 1 factor authentications, both are inherently insecure for different reasons. In the case of a mobile phone that has to be regularly unlocked in public, where anyone can see your PIN, biometric option is more secure.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: biometric option is more secure.

            Oh! Please go on... Explain to me how fingerprints are more secure than a PIN when I lose my phone?

            Confirmation bias, much? You seem somewhat delusional, with all your talk of "people watching over your shoulder as you input a PIN", which bit do you not understand, if you lose, or someone steals your phone they don't need to have "seen you input the PIN" they can simply lift your prints from the phone! FFS.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: biometric option is more secure.

              they can simply lift your prints from the phone! FFS

              They would have difficulty with mine - I use an 8 digit PIN with repeated digits. By the time they had tried all the various permutations, my phone would have wiped itself multiple times over.. I also clean my screen protector regularly.

              And yes - I use fingerprint too. No form of security is perfect and both have their flaws. If someone is determined to get at the contents of your phone, they will. And the fingerprint unlock requires you to use the PIN as well on first unlock after boot (and at random intervals thereafter) - which kind of indicates that the people who design these systems are well aware that none of them are a panacea.

              Much like IT perimeter security - it's there to keep out the simple attacks but won't keep out someone who knows what they are doing. Which is why you don't (if you know what you are doing) ever, ever rely on just perimeter security.

          2. streaky

            Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

            Both are 1 factor authentications, both are inherently insecure for different reasons

            I love that the public debate has moved enough that we've got here - wonder when the phone companies will pick up on it.

            PIN plus iris. Password plus fingerprint. Fingerprint + iris + PIN + RFID fob for the terminally paranoid. Auth related things shouldn't be about pure convenience, especially in the climate we live in.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

              Fingerprint + iris + PIN + RFID fob for the terminally paranoid

              Which, if you are getting mugged, your attacker will have anyway (after all, you have to carry the RFID tag to unlock your phone). And if your attacker threatens to cut off your fingers if you *don't* unlock your phone then I suspect that you'd rather have all your finger and lose the phone..

              So - no precautions will satisfy all use-cases. 80/20 rule applies.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

          "Biometrics ARE NOT PASSWORDS"

          What if I use my balls as the biometric? Only I see them so they are pretty secure and it's not as if I'm going to go waving them about. I could even change them by shaving them every once in a while.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Only I see them...

            That's just sad. They need to get out and socialize more.

          2. Unep Eurobats
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Biometric balls

            So to unlock your phone you stuff it down your trousers?

            It's a method, I suppose.

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: Private key

              *zip, click* Talk about flash photography...

              Also, heaven knows what you'll have to explain being smeared on the fingerprint sensor...

            2. SEDT

              Re: Biometric balls

              Down trousers. A deterrent to theft as well

            3. DiViDeD

              Re: Biometric balls

              "So to unlock your phone you stuff it down your trousers?"



              That's what I was doing, I was .. unlocking my ... phone.


            4. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Biometric balls

              And probably pretty safe from theft afterwards.......

          3. Wzrd1 Silver badge

            Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

            "What if I use my balls as the biometric?"

            I had actually considered that. It'd have an added benefit that few blokes are about to stick that phone to their face after I identify in.

            And maybe the cat won't lay on the bloody phone, like he does now.

          4. jgarbo

            Re: With the Samsung Galaxy 8 implementation - yes.

            Well, deary, you don't get out much do you?

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Perhaps -

        If I was designing a login-by-camera routine, I would make it able to tell whether the camera was looking at a bitmap JPEG instead of a face - this doesn't? No? Well then - let it be . ;-)

      3. jgarbo

        Re: Hahahaha!

        Yep, the head of MI6 tells me he always uses iris recognition when ordering coffee from Starbucks, just to be safe. The Russkies, you know.

        Children, you're not guarding the crown jewels. It's just a communicator.

    2. jgarbo

      Re: Hahahaha!

      Right! My Note 4's finger print thingy likes blow dried fingers, so I use the 9 dots puzzle thingy. Takes ~ 2 secs to open. Who's got such precious secrets on a phone? Keep them in safety deposit box at your bank.

  4. fissuria

    Battery life from the 35000mAh pack

    "Battery life from the 35000mAh pack "

    I want one of those!

    1. LewFoo

      Re: Battery life from the 35000mAh pack

      Only one of DOZENS of spelling, grammar, and content errors in this pathetic excuse for information dissemination.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Battery life from the 35000mAh pack

      I want one of those!

      No problem, if that coat you're fetching has big pockets...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Battery life from the 35000mAh pack

      That was the Note 7 I think.

    4. The First Dave

      Re: Battery life from the 35000mAh pack

      Isn't it about time we dispensed with the 'milli' designation for something with this many zeroes?

      3.5Ah is surely more correct? (and less easy to mis-type)

  5. Dabooka

    How much?!

    I'm still amazed folk pay these kind of prices. My last mainstream was a newly released Galaxy 5, and very nice it was too, but a free upgrade from retentions. Now I pay for my handset outright and although they're not 'cutting edge' I'm failing to see what I'm missing out on. Or rather, I now CAN see what I'm missing out on (i.e. Bixby etc).

    Mine's the one with a Wileyfox on the back.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: How much?!

      Much the same here. The WileyFox has done me well for 18 months or so, I've got a spare battery for it as well, and it takes SD cards and dual SIMs.

      Not quite so good since it "upgraded" to Android Nougat from Cyanogen though so when I do replace I'll consider alternatives.

      1. Radio Wales

        Re: How much?!

        I wholeheartedly agree. I cannot understand people who pay top dollar for a singing and dancing top-of-the-line phone then admit that they don't use it for anything sensitive in case....

        I stepped out of the line and bought a Windows phone, Yes it's still a phone.

        Now I am reliably and repeatedly assured that there isn't anybody in the world who'd even want to steal it.

        Odd really, since it does everything I want from a smart-ish-phone.

        And it was really cheap too.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: How much?!

      "My last mainstream was a newly released Galaxy 5, and very nice it was too, but a free upgrade from retentions."

      Just curious - did retentions actually give you a handset, or did they 'give' you a handset in return for voluntarily handcuffing yourself to their contract for another year?

  6. Jay 2

    Pure hipster wankery

    I could hardly believe my eyes when I read "force users to revert back to old habits (eg the touch interface)". If it's one thing I can't stand it's jumped up UI/wizards/etc that will force you to do something its way or some bastardisation of not-at-all/as inconviniently as possible. See the fuckup that was Windows 8's TIFKAM for another example.

    Surely Samsung, as a TOUCH SCREEN PHONE, the user may expect to be able to do what they require via the fucking great big touch screen that is touted as one of the main USPs of the phone in that it is big and doesn't have those pesky bezels to get in the way. If I'm going to talk in the presence of a phone it's beacuse I'm making a phone call, not talking to the sodding device itself.

    This sort of thing is pure hipster wankery that comes when someone doesn't remember that just because you can do something, it doesn't mean that you should!


    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Pure hipster wankery

      Samsung managerial techniques leak out to the customers in the real world. I'm surprised they didn't say you had to learn Korean too.

    2. Shugyosha

      Re: Pure hipster wankery

      "I could hardly believe my eyes when I read "force users to revert back to old habits (eg the touch interface)"."

      I raged too when I read that, but for me it was the tautology 'revert back'. Makes me want to go full Bill Bixby.

    3. Francis Boyle

      Re: Pure hipster wankery

      You could have put that post in all caps and I'd have still upvoted you.

    4. Colin Ritchie

      Re: Pure hipster wankery

      I only logged in to upvote your comment. Shame we can't plaster it across Samsung's site.

      £800 for a phone? I'll stick to a Moto 4G for a fifth of the price and be happy to spend a similar amount, about 2 years later when the Android patches run out. How long will Samsung support the S8 with updates, I wonder?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Pure hipster wankery

        How long will Samsung support the S8 with updates, I wonder?

        Right up until they release the S9.

      2. DiViDeD

        Re: Pure hipster wankery

        "How long will Samsung support the S8 with updates"

        Well, if I might draw your attention to the charging cradle for my Gear 2 Neo:

        11 months after I got it, I managed to lose the charging cradle. Not to worry, there's a Samsung store just down the road from the office.

        "I'd like a charging cradle for this please"

        The salesdroid looked at my Neo, pointed to the S2 display in the window and sneered "Oh, we don't do *those* anymore. Have you tried eBay?"

        So I imagine the S8 will be supported right up to the moment you walk out of the shop with it.

  7. jason 7

    Too expensive... be interesting.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Too expensive...

      That's the beancounter's mantra; knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. It's not a question of being too expensive per se (unless you're saying it's too expensive for you), it's a question of whether you get enough value back to justify the expense. For me, Apple generally does that. For others, this Samsung might fit the bill.

      Horses for courses...

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first


    Another uninvited nosey fecker in the house. Not for me. It seems my technology choices are starting to funnel down to whatever isn't "trying to serve me better".

    Still, it's been a nice ride, and I've had a lot of fun along the way since the days of "RAM pack wobble".

  9. James 51

    Bixby, is just a slurping engine that you can’t disable.

    And that's a thanks but no thanks from me. When Blackberry had an assissant in BB10 I was able to disable it but keep stuff like the device serach (which is still better than anything I've found on android). I do not want to be bothered by crap like this on my phone.

    1. JLV

      +10. I dont get why some mobile OS, to remain unnamed, don't differentiate between phone search and web search.

      If I type 'wifi settings' in a phone search box, I presumably want to find my phone's wifi config widgets. Not an effin search for those terms, unrelated to my phone model, across the internet. How useful is that??? If I wanted a web search, the browser exists for a reason.

      A cynical person, not I, might believe that Google, to name no one, is panicked at the idea that they might miss that bit of extra insight slurp about you ;-)

      BB10 gets that and so does iOS. My Nexus 5 sure as heck doesn't.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      You can even silence

      Siri. At least Samsung can't be accused of copying Apple on that point. [see icon]

  10. djstardust

    Note 4 here

    And still fantastic. Apart from a slightly better camera the new Samsungs are inferior in many ways.

    1 - Weird screen resolution. 16:9 is perfect for 99% of phone use

    2 - Non changeable battery

    3 - Bixby slurpware

    4 - No capacitive buttons (easy to find)

    If only Samsung would release a new Note 4 many would buy it. No curved screen, a removable battery and no hipster voice thingy shit.

    The Note 4 was a huge seller and many still love it, so why go so off piste Samsung ..... oh .... to copy Apple of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Note 4 here

      You list four problems and say they're trying to copy Apple, but three of those people have nothing to do with Apple. The iPhone doesn't have a "weird screen resolution" (though the 8 may be off 16:9 like all the other no-bezel phones) doesn't have any slurpware, and has never taken away capacitive buttons since it never had them. It does have a non-removable battery, but at least they're consistent in having that for every iPhone, instead of randomly switching back and forth like Samsung over the years. Maybe the Note 8 will bring that back for you, to cover their asses in case of another flaming Note incident...

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Note 4 here

        Apple is the go-to whipping boy for any features people don't like these days. Curved corners? Copying Apple. Needs a case to stay shiny? Copying Apple. Power cord you have to plug in? Copying Apple.

        Same logic applies to features people do like - Apple copied all of them too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Lord Elpuss

          Thanks for the combination of a laugh and a realization "you know what, that describes the reality as seen by a lot of internet posters pretty well!"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI is still far too dumb

    Natural language AI is all but useless until it can parse statements like:

    "Bixby, upload the photo of the dog in the park I took last week to Instagram."

    Which requires determining that photos need to be searched, fuzzy time and location criteria applied, photo contents analysed so that the one with the relevant contents is identified, and hooks to online services and apps established so things like searching, posting, handling friends and contacts, are seamless. Possibly with intermediate steps, like flashing up the photo and asking "Is this the one you mean?" and responding sensibly to a simple "Yes", "No, before that" or "No, it was a different dog" etc.

    Feasible? You bet. But nowhere NEAR close yet. Which means it's usually quicker for me to do the thing I'm trying to do myself, than struggle with so-called AI.

    1. Steve K

      Re: AI is still far too dumb

      It also has to parse/contextualise/re-order "..the dog in the park I took last week to Instagram.""

      to understand whether you took the dog or the park to Instagram OR if you actually meant the photo

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heretic! How dare you

    give darling Samsung the thumbs down. I thought that was reserved for Apple?

    According for Fandroids, the S8 is the bees knees and you don't like it. burn him at the stake NOW!

    I can laugh as I'm enjoying a cheapo Nokia bought for pennies in India.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buyer's remorse

    Since purchasing my S8+, my experiences:

    - completely agree with the fingerprint sensor issues

    - retina recognition is not very usable

    - bixby is horrible/useless, and the button is placed so it keeps getting pressed and forcing need to exit bixby - there is no way to turn the bixby thing off

    - face recognition unlocking does not work very well, end up having to put in pin or fingerprint more than 70% of the time

    - screen breaks very easily, already had to replace the screen (the wrap-around glass increases the opportunity for glass on surface impact)

    - I consistently get "battery too hot" pop-up messages when capturing video with the camera after less than 4 minutes of video capture... after the message pop up is acknowledged the camera app is always shutdown

    - I have used the Note 4 since it came out and feel it is a better phone

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Buyer's remorse

      I think Samsung's peak phone (for the time) was the S3, they've been running on marketing and fumes ever since. They don't have an original thought in their collective heads, they just watch Apple's presentations over the Internet and copy... badly.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Buyer's remorse

        I think Samsung's peak phone (for the time) was the S3…

        I think sales numbers would disagree with you on that. In my view Samsung has continued to improve its phones with every generation even if they also make mistakes and introduce crap. The S6 Edge was clearly an outstanding piece of screen design that was very popular despite the non-removable battery (meh for most people, I suspect) and no SD support (annoying for a lot more). The Note 7 was even more popular but burned (sic) by the battery problems.

        But Samsung also understands that buying the latest and greatest isn't for everyone and so sensibly offers various versions of its hardware. And, for people like me, the devices are easy to root and install a different version of Android on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buyer's remorse

      Thanks to ElReg for posting this 'slightly longer term review' and actual user info, especially the AC in 'buyers remorse'.

      My Motorola X Style's battery is already dying after 1.5 years, and the Android 7 upgrade still hasn't arrived.

      I fear I shal have to get a new Phone in the next few months, and was considering a Samsung.

      They are now no longer on my list. Or maybe an S7 for cheap(er).

      I'd really prefer a 'stock' droid, but the pixel 2 is several months away. And I don't know if there are many others left.

    3. Daniel Bower

      Iris scanner

      Note I have the S8 but the plus (but that will change at lunchtime).

      Either way I find the iris scanner near flawless. Yes it's a bugger to register but after that I've found it works very well 95% of the time and that includes when I'm wearing both contacts and glasses where the lenses have a heavy anti reflective coating.

      It is every working very well in very low light, again when wearing the same glasses.

      Honestly I'm pretty astonished how well it does work given the negative reviews on this aspect.

      With regards to Bixby I've just never set it up and the phone's not nagged me to.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Buyer's remorse

      I consistently get "battery too hot" pop-up messages when capturing video with the camera after less than 4 minutes of video capture

      I suspect an element of paranoia is creeping in at Samsung. After all, the last thing they want is *more* headlines about explosively-hot batteries..

  14. tedleaf

    £800 worth of annoying tatt..

    I can buy at least 2 ZTE axon 7's for that money,possibly 3 if I could find a good deal !!!

  15. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    As someone who gets by with a cheapo Argos Android Phone (£19.99) I am obviously not the intended market. I can appreciate one pays more, gets more, but can someone explain why anyone would pay £800 for a phone?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: £800

      , but can someone explain why anyone would pay £800 for a phone?

      Most people who will buy these phones won't pay £800, they willl pay over £1200.

      £200 down and 24 x £45 including their calls and data.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: £800

      Rephrase your question to be about cars. I still won't be able to give you a good answer apart from "that's how markets work".

      1. Naselus

        Re: £800

        "I still won't be able to give you a good answer apart from "that's how markets work"."

        Increasingly it isn't. Flagships are a dying breed, and making them even bigger and more expensive while the actual performance difference from a <£300 phone is shrinking ain't gonna save them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £800

        "Rephrase your question to be about cars. I still won't be able to give you a good answer apart from "that's how markets work"."

        As the saying has it, an Audi is a VW with a £4000 badge on front and a VW is a Skoda with a £3000 badge on front.

        Now, being serious, it is a bit of a truism that the further you go up the scale the higher the markup becomes. There are many reasons for this. One is the greater financial risk if something expensive doesn't sell well. One is expectations of service. And then there is the fact that sales and marketing account for a lot more of the cost of high value items. Mercedes and BMW dealerships don't tend to be on trading estates; Apple stores are expensive to run.

        When I was in that industry margins were extremely secret, but there was a suspicion that the margin over factory and R&D on a supermini was a few percent - the profit is in servicing and spares - but the margin on a 7 series BMW might be more than 50%. In effect, as you go up the scale the incremental purchase price of every improvement gets higher. But humans are hardwired to a degree to accept this, which is why, for instance, a footballer only slightly better than another one may be paid ten times as much. It has its origins in natural selection where a very small competitive advantage is enough, perhaps, to ensure that h neanderthalensis is entirely replaced by h sapiens, or very slightly bigger antlers may cause one male deer to get all the nookie and leave the others out in the cold.

        It takes a lot of cold, hard acceptance of financial reality to decide that if phone A is 90% as good as phone B but costs half as much, the opportunity cost advantage is with phone A.

        I'm not sure if that's a good answer to the question, but it's an answer.

        1. SEDT

          Re: £800

          "Rephrase your question to be about cars. I still won't be able to give you a good answer apart from "that's how markets work"."

          I think cars are similar to, but different from phones, in one important way.

          People will see that expensive car parked in your driveway. They will see you driving it, parking it up, using it. It's a signal of fitness. Feathers on a bird of paradise. Those antlers you mentioned. The bower birds nest. And the message is simple. "I can afford to waste resources on this, so I must be well capable of providing you with security, and even an £1,200 phone."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £800

            Have you watched the under-30s walking around holding their phones so the Apple logo is visible? That's part of why Apple don't make cheap phones and BMW put Mini logos on their small cars.

    3. SEDT

      Re: £800

      "but can someone explain why anyone would pay £800 for a phone?"

      Effective marketing.

      They see a 'shiny shiny new phone, and only £48 a month'. And are thus seduced into parting a pile of money, that their 'rational' side would normally balk at.

      Also known as Man Maths. Which is a bit of a misnomer as it applies equally to both sexes

  16. ACZ

    How much?!? Just get a OnePlus 3T

    Seriously, that's a truly stupid amount of money for a phone. A dual-SIM OnePlus 3T is £399 all-in for the 64GB model, £439 for the 128GB model, and their current production OS build is at Android 7.1.1 and is basically stock Android with no manufacturer cr*p to remove (*no* Bixby or anything like it), can be easily rooted if you want to go that way, and doesn't have a fingerprint sensor in a stupid place.

    I know the S8 comes with a curvy screen but is it worth £400?...


    1. Tom 38

      Don't get a OnePlus 3T!

      Well, you can if you want, its just that they are currently discounting and selling off 3T stock in preparation for OnePlus 5 arriving soon, damn soon.

      Having said that, you can almost buy two OnePlus 3Ts for the price of this Samsung, it's just pissing money away.

    2. Robert Grant

      Re: How much?!? Just get a OnePlus 3T

      Very happy OnePlus 3T customer here. Spending £800 on a phone is just lunacy.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: How much?!? Just get a OnePlus 3T

        "Spending £800 on a phone is just lunacy."

        No, it's lunacy to you. Other people's value criteria may be different - for example maybe image is important, or they want to be perceived as successful. Same reason why people buy crazy expensive watches, cars or jewellery - it's not because they tell the time better, get from A to B faster or are any more shiny, it's about the image it projects and the feeling ownership generates.

        Doesn't make it right or wrong, it's just different for different people. And trying to project your own view of what 'value' is onto others is the height of arrogance.

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: How much?!? Just get a OnePlus 3T

          "Doesn't make it right or wrong" - anyone know who said it was wrong?

          Speaking of wrong - re your general point: if I paid £1m for a pencil, it'd be normal to call me crazy, regardless of what perceived value I received from the purchase. This is a tech site - we know what stuff is actually worth, and what's silly.

    3. Chz

      Re: How much?!? Just get a OnePlus 3T

      I quite like the OP3t, but if you don't mind non-stock Android (and most of the stuff can be replaced with Google versions if you want), I think the Honor 8 is a better buy at £100 cheaper. The metal body and fairly stock OS aren't worth £100 to me, and the Huawei has a combined SD card/second SIM slot.

  17. John 104

    A coworker of mine just bought the ZTE phablet. Really nice phone. Big screen, nice interface, good resolution. $200. I fail to see the draw to an $800 phone at this point.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Then don't buy one, no one's forcing you or even asking you to.

  18. Mihai

    The TRONC challenge

    How 'bout you guys come with a topic and we try to make a script about the topic that beats TRONC and really delivers it to the users.

    Then you can choose 2 of your best editors/journalists/etc... to deliver a nice Youtube clip.

    You can make it as a competition.

    I propose the first rules:

    - the final clip should be 1:30 - 3:00 minutes long

    - the script should be to the point and clearly relevant to the topic

    - someone not knowing the topic must not be able to guess it (except if lucky) by looking at the first half of the clip

    If you wanna do this I trust you will be able to add an appropriate prize for the winner. My proposal for the prize would be golden, silver and bronze bollocks for the winner and next 2.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Typical Samsung

    Always so keen to finish first, but always fail to finish properly.

    If they'd worked on this phone for the rest of the year, this review would've been very different.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Typical Samsung

      Agreed but they have to beat Apple at everything.

      From the patents awarded to Apple today it could be that Apple have cracked the issue of getting a fingerpint reader under the screen so that they don't need to put it on the back.

      Release in Haste, repent at Leisure

      seems very apt at the moment.

  20. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    This is a surprisingly badly written article. Full of vague comments about data slurping, but no examples. And the part where it explains that Samsung clearly thinks that a poor AI is worse than no AI? That only made sense to me if I changed it round to read that Samsung clearly thinks that a poor AI is BETTER than no AI. Either that or it's so badly explained that I missed the point completely.

    A mention of clippy-like interruptions? Great, where are the examples, I'm really not sure what the author meant.

    Take it back, rewrite it properly and submit it again. I've seen much better from The Reg!

    It's still put me off ever buying a samsung phone though.

  21. Stevie


    And the quality of reception and clarity of sound when making a phone call?

    Clearly not important (although the work "phone" is used frequently in this, for want of a better word, review).

    1. eldakka

      Re: Bah!

      With rare exceptions, most phones handle their basic call-functionality quite well, and is only worth referencing if it is outside norms.

      It'd be like commenting on how good the sound is through the 3.5mm jack - generally it just works to an expected standard.

    2. Brangdon

      Re: Bah!

      Covered in the penultimate paragraph of page 1.

  22. Red Bren

    Ergonomics v Economics

    If Samsung put the fingerprint sensor in a sensible location, i.e. in the centre, below the camera, near your index finger regardless of which hand you're holding it in, LG would follow Apple's example and sue them for copying the obvious.

  23. Barry Rueger

    Prior Art

    The fingerprint sensor is right next to the main camera on the back, but is poorly defined. This means that your finger typically finds the lens when unlocking the phone.

    LG G4. Power and volume buttons on back of phone, right below the camera lens.

    Great camera if the lens wasn't always mucked up.

  24. Martin Summers

    Personally I wish I'd stayed with the S7 Edge. I have got the S8 and can only imagine how exasperated the situation with the finger print sensor is with it being larger. It's a crappy after thought and I'm already sick of it. Unlike the review states I haven't had a huge problem unlocking my phone or using retina unlock in sunlight or with glasses on which is good otherwise I'd be even more pissed at the fingerprint sensor.

    Thankfully I got it sim free for a discounted price and I'll be able to get rid of it when something better comes along. I wish I'd listened to my gut and not bought it. Not what your customers should be feeling about your new flagship Samsung, poor show.

  25. the Jim bloke

    Thanks for the review - S8 is no longer of interest

    Although having to follow the specs link to verify the battery was non removable was a minor annoyance, actually including a link to specs is better than some reviews that only link to marketing ...( need a word for something bright and sparkly that is actually fetid runny shit ). That may be more Samsungs credit than the reviewers.

    Losing bezel real-estate seems a negative - my note 4 lives inside an Otterbox case and has survived years of abuse, the missus actually uses 2 Nokia Lumia 1520s because she is constantly breaking the screens and always has one in being fixed (strange woman - actually prefers windows phone)... anyway, i am not seeing how this 'edge' thing is compatible with a good protective case.

  26. southpacificpom

    Seriously. What were they thinking?

    You seem to be implying they actually did.

    Samsung Fire Sale coming...

  27. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Fingerprint Camera

    Oh, I get what Samsung is doing - they are trying to integrate the fingerprint function with the camera to save on space and cost.

    OTOH, it does not matter how many more pixels your camera has than competitors, if lens has finger smudges on it, forget picture quality. Photographers rule number 1 is never touch the lens with finger. That is why Apple continually points out that camera quality is much more than just quoting megapixels. Again, you have to dig deeper with this complex technology.

  28. ssieler

    Looks like Samsung is encouraging us to use proper security, and not have fingerprint-unlock enabled :)

    Remember: you can be forced to use a fingerprint, but you can't (legally) be forced to divulge your PIN.

    1. Stese

      Ianal, and iirc the Law in the uk can legally oblige you to divulge passwords/encryption keys. Refusing will earn you time at her magesty's pleasure.

      1. eldakka

        Assuming they can prove that you actually know what the key is "That's not my phone g'vnor, I don't know what the code is".

  29. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    I saw a print ad for this thing today

    AU$1400 outright. Hah!

    What happened to the segment that was occupied by the Nexus 4/5? High-end SoC but in the $350-450 range.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TRONC wtf?

    sod the phone - could someone explain that TRONC video to me in words I can understand? I'm still trying to fathom whether it was real or parody

  31. Damo t

    Fingerprint sensor

    I'm not sure what the problem is tbh. I have the s8+ and the way I hold the phone , which is how I guess that most people also hold it means that my index finger is perfectly placed to hit the sensor. It is actually better and easier than on my old s7.... Bixby on the other hand is a right royal pain in the posterior.....

    1. Daniel Bower

      Re: Fingerprint sensor

      I'm not sure why you got a downvote for saying it works for you!

      As it happens I agree with you and find my finger falls fairly naturally on the scanner (more so on the S8 than the plus to be fair) but then I find the iris scanner works perfectly when I'm wearing glasses and contacts also.

  32. DrXym

    Recommending the S7 seems risky

    All it takes is one firmware update and it suffers many of the same issues as the S8. I know the article covers it a bit, but Samsung's biggest problem is they pack their phone with half-assed apps and features that imitate the ones you can get from the Play store and there is no choice NOT to have this stuff.

    Samsung could move a lot of the junk to a "showcase" app where you could pick and choose to install or (better than nothing) safely disable some of this stuff. But they don't. They're hoping somehow to gain marketshare through the power of the default. Bixby is there not because it is any damned good but because it suits Samsung's long term ambitions to ram it down user's throats. That might suit them, it sure as hell doesn't suit customers.

  33. Steve Crook

    Dead to me

    Had my doubts about the fingerprint sensor, but this, Bixby and the price kill it for me.

  34. MarkElmes

    Hating on the phone based on 2 features you don't have to use...

    Easily the best phone of 2017.

  35. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    It's got to have a better camera than Apple's iPhone 7. I've never seen anything this bad.

  36. Rack1600

    I have an S8+ and my comments would be:

    Amazing screen. AMAZING. Undescribably good. When you use another phone it's like "what is this brick?". It's like seeing an old CRT screen on a PC.

    Battery life good.

    Performance excellent.

    I don't use Bixby but that extra button is annoying. Overall I don't really notice bixby, and have no expectations of it. It doesn't come up unless I press that stupid button.

    I have a case on my phone (Samsung's alacantra cover) so the finger-print sensor is much better deliniated than "naked", and as such is not a problem. Can see though (when I take the cover off) that it is a pain.

    I don't have any problems reaching the sensor though and have average size hands (I use medium to large size gloves).

    The fingerprint sensor is awesome though for unlocking the phone, etc. I use glasses so the iris sensor is a no-go.

    Will just point out that the comparison to the Huawei phone (4GB vs 6GB RAM) is kind of pointless. People will buy the S8 because the design and screen are phenomonal. The amount of ram is not measureable in terms of every day performance. 64BG of storage is the important one an should be fine - plus the SD card.

    It's still not as fluid as an iPhone but at the same time you don't feel like you have to own only i-products.

    1. Daniel Bower

      Try the iris scanner

      I wear gears with a very noticeable anti glare tint and it works perfectly when I've got them on even in very low light...

  37. johnwworth

    Standard S8

    I have a standard S8, bought outright and gave the perfect S7 Edge to the lady wife.

    The S8 (cased from day one in Samsung's remarkable LED case, I still don't understand how it works!) is a decent phone, does everything that the S7 Edge did, with just a little more polish.

    I don't feel the need to use any of the biometric security features, the novelty wears off in seconds so a PIN will suffice, Likewise the Bixby idea follows the Google voice control into the 'i'll not be using those features bucket'. I take the view that with a yearly product refresh pressure that Samsung must be desperate to find something innovative to differentiate the new model.

    The S8 is a bit odd at first, especially as it feels smaller than an S7 Edge, and yet the display is usefully larger. I saw an S8+ in the Dixons duty free store in T2 at Heathrow on Monday, crikey it's huge - a phablet for sure.

    Battery life is good, better than the S7 Edge, especially with the sophisticated power management features turned on (which reviewers never seem to mention).

    Yeah it's pricey, but most decent bits of technology are. No regrets.

  38. NikiRed72

    Opinion on the S8+

    Overall the phone is great. Everyone wants to complain ascot the finger sensor. Yes, the 1st day was a little annoying but if you have long fingers, no issue. And really after using for a day or so, it becomes natural. The camera is so much better and user friendly. I myself have watched videos of hidden features on three phone and habe found Somme myself. Over my only few issue's with the pho be, it's waiting t for the Bixby,some phones are having a internal issue app withDQA that pops up over and over. Disabling doesn't work, my phone does had that issue but my daughter's doesn't. And the facial recognition. You have to be in the right light and even then not a sure guarantee that it will work. And Katy but least with the Samsung 3 and up, I hate that one will have great features to use but when they make the next upgrade, they'll take some of those features away but then add other news ones. Then when the next upgrade comes along, they'll bring some of the features they took away back and take some of the new ones away from the last upgrade. Examples with the S7, you could tell your phone by by voice to answer or reject, that's gone. Or could hide apps then yippy couldn't and now it's back or being able to speak when taking a picture went away and now it's back. I do love how yippy can move the button to take pics. Overall more good them bad!

  39. myhandler

    I hope Bigsby are going to sue - they may have been planning a Bigsby add on for smart phones. I can see it now...

    (joke for guitar nerds)

  40. jelabarre59

    Re: Why the delay?

    Still happy with my Casio c721, have yet to need a stupidphone.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, no one will read this...

    Because the article is probably past its sell-by-date, but I now have on right here.

    And I can state categorically :

    I think I have average kind of hands (size 9-10 gloves'. The fingerprint sensor poses no problem whatsoever. Left OR right.

    I have yet to encounter Bixby. I'm sure it lives on my Phone somewhere, but it hasn't bothered me so far. I don't know if you can do the 'Hello Google' thing.

    So the two reasons ElReg cited for ignoring it turn out not to be issues at all.

    It may be expensive, but it turns out to be a great phone. So far.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unfortunately, no one will read this...

      Well, it turns out the screen breaks when you look at it to hard. Three days in the screen has been replaced, to the tune of 250 or so Euro + VAT

      The thing now resides in an Otter case, which will probably protect it, but it also makes the purchase of a high-end phone with a wrap around bezel-less screen completely and utterly useless. There's lighter and thinner protectors, but at the price of a new screen I'm not taking any chances.

      Should've bought an Elephone :D


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