The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have finally been unveiled, but is the upgrade to the South Korean manufacturer’s latest smartphone really necessary for everyone?
We’re not even a quarter-way through the year and Samsung has already shown us three phone options: the surprisingly impressive Galaxy A5 and now the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
The Samsung Galaxy S series are high-end smartphones with equally high price tags, hitting the plus $1,000 CAD range when not purchased on a contract in Canada. The mid-range Samsung Galaxy A5, released back in January 2017, is almost half that cost at $525.
Many consumers hear “Galaxy S” and immediately jump for Samsung’s latest flagship offering. Samsung’s S series is synonymous with high-quality Android devices and is often compared directly with Apple’s iPhone. However, just like the iPhone, each year the price of Samsung’s S Series Galaxy devices increases. The same $500 spent years ago on a Galaxy S4 will not even get you half way to purchasing an S8.
If you can’t shake yourself away from the grip of the Galaxy S series, or Samsung in general — MobileSyrup still contends that the $599 OnePlus 3T is one of the top and most affordable high-end android devices out there — Samsung’s roughly a year old, but still very current, the S7 is also a viable option.
So lets take a look at the S8, S8+ A5, S7, and examine each device’s strengths and weaknesses.
After looking at the above technical specifications comparison chart (you can find it above), it might appear to some that the A5’s 16-megapixel camera is better than shooter feature in both the S7 and S8. However, the 12-megapixel sensor featured in the S8 has a wider aperture, coming in at f/1.7, allowing the phone to take better pictures in low-light than the A5’s f/1.9 aperture lens.
It’s also likely that Samsung saves some of the magic that powers the company’s highly-regarded image processor for its key flagship devices. The S8’s 8-megapixel front-facing camera is also the first ‘selfie’ camera with auto focus, allowing for better front-facing camera quality than the A5’s 16-megapixel camera.
The S7 has the same dual-pixel 12-megapixel rear-facing shooter as the S8. However, like the A5, the S8’s front-facing selfie camera beats out the S7 if we’re focusing purely on megapixels. The 8-megapixel front facing camera is superior to the 5-megapixel front-facing camera on the S7. For the simple reason of it having the same f/1.7 aperture, additional megapixels and auto focus functionality.
The A5 and the S7 also may have an edge when it comes to battery life when compared to the S8. The S8, A5 and S7 all feature 3,000mAh batteries, though with the smaller display featured in the S7 and A5, these devices will most likely last longer than the S8 (you could also say the same thing about the S7 Edge to a lesser extent). Don’t be alarmed though, the S8 does have a new 10nm chipset designed to improve improve the smartphone’s battery performance.
According to various publications, the S7’s battery beats out the A5’s by at least six hours of usage, with a more power efficient processor and slightly smaller screen being the likely reasons.
The S8’s display measures in at 5.8-inches, while the S8+ measures 6.2-inches. Samsung isn’t giving their consumers very many options with their S series phones this year. 5.8-inches might be too large for the small hands of many consumers and the 5.2-inch A5 or 5.1-inch S7 could be a better fit for many people who prefer smaller phones.
The A5 is an impressive device and despite its mid-range categorization, it has no problems multi-tasking and performs burdensome functions without any sort of crashing or overheating.
No one will disagree Samsung’s S8 and S8+ are better phones than both the S7 and A5 based purely on specs, however, you may not need everything the S8 offers. In that case, value-minded buyers could do a lot worse than look to the Samsung S7 for $100 on a two-year contract or less (with most carriers). For those consumers that don’t want to be tied down, the A5’s $525 price tag looks more favourable than the $780 cost of the S7.
If you’re not looking to spend too much money and don’t want or need a phone with Bixby or an iris scanner, than the S7 or the A5 could possibly be the Galaxy smartphone for you.