Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Hits Store Shelves to Rave Reviews

Credit: fortune.com

The next big smartphone launch is finally here.


Samsung on Friday released the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Customers interested in buying a unit can find it in all major carrier stores, as well as online. The Galaxy S8 costs $750 and the Galaxy S8+, which has a bigger screen and larger battery, costs $850.


The Korean conglomerate announced the Galaxy S8 line at a press event last month. The Galaxy S8 ships with a 5.8-inch screen, making it slightly smaller than the 6.2-inch display users will find in the Galaxy S8+. The handsets are both running on the high-powered Qualcomm


QCOM



Snapdragon 835 processor. Samsung has ditched the physical home button in the Galaxy S8, deciding instead to reduce the bezels around the screen to offer a larger display. The home button is now virtual and living inside the smartphone’s software.


Samsung


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decided to move the fingerprint sensor to the back of the device and directly next to the rear-facing camera. Some users have already reported that its placement can cause some smudging on the rear lens whenever they miss the sensor.


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The Galaxy S8 line also ships with a new virtual personal assistant named Bixby that can identify images when the camera is pointed at a subject and suggest shopping options, book reviews, and more. Its voice activation feature isn’t available at launch, but will be coming in a later update.


Samsung’s handset has earned rave reviews from media outlets all over the world. Many of those reviewers have called the Galaxy S8 the best smartphone on store shelves now, and performed tests that show it’s more powerful than the iPhone 7 Apple launched last year. Reviewers were also impressed by the Galaxy S8’s design and slate of features, and believe it could give Apple a real battle when the the iPhone maker unveils its next handsets later this year. Still, some were a bit concerned with its lofty price tag.


“With its eye-popping screen and long-lasting battery, the Galaxy S8 is sure to please most smartphone shoppers, even iPhone loyalists,” TIME reviewer Lisa Eadicicco wrote this week. “But it’s more expensive than the average high-end phone.” (Disclaimer: TIME is the sister publication of Fortune.)


Tech site CNET was similarly impressed, and gave the handset a score of 8.8 out of 10. Tech enthusiast site ArsTechnica was a fan of its thin bezels, saying “Samsung took a big step forward with the new design.” PCMag, which gave the phone a score of four-and-a-half out of five, called its display “gorgeous” and its components “top-notch.”






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For Samsung, the Galaxy S8’s success could help the company step out from the shadow cast last year by the company’s ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. That device, which Samsung released in the summer, suffered from battery flaws that, in some cases, caused the handset to overheat, catch fire, and explode. Samsung responded by discontinuing and recalling the handset and went on a months-long apology tour around the world. In January, the company promised safer battery practices.


The Galaxy S8 is Samsung’s first opportunity to illustrate the result of that battery-safety initiative and allay any lingering fears consumers might have.


But exactly how widespread those fears might be is unknown. A report earlier this month said Galaxy S8 and S8+ pre-orders were up substantially compared to pre-orders on last year’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge models.

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