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Samsung recovers very well with the Galaxy 8

2016 will be a year to forget for Samsung and its phone products.

The Galaxy 7 Note was a disaster as its battery explosions became somewhat legendary, and not in a good way. The phone was even banned by airlines. It was a manufacturing and PR nightmare.

Samsung hopes its new phone, the Galaxy S8, will cure the ills of the past and bring the brand into the good graces of the Android world.

Just launched, first glances indicate that the phone has what it takes to put Samsung at or near the top of the smartphone heap.

The phone is a handsome demon. It has a tall and narrow shape. The physical home button has been removed with a new virtually “bezel-less” design. It looks elegant and can easily fit in the palm of your hand. Even iPhone fans will appreciate the aesthetics of the new device.

The phone comes in two sizes. The S8 is 5.8 inches and the S8 Plus is 6.2 inches. The images are distinct, bright and extremely colorful. Image quality is excellent.

Samsung is also counting on its new Bixby digital assistant to create some positive vibes. It’s meant to compete with Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa.

You can access Bixby by pressing a button on the side of the phone instead of yelling at the device. It will detail your appointments, weather, and other supported apps.

Samsung has also enabled Bixby to search by vision. This will require a click through the phone’s camera app. It can provide you with an exact item you are looking for or other search options.

Security is solid with an iris scanner and fingerprint sensor. However, many will find the fingerprint sensor a bit awkward. It has been placed on the back of the phone, near the rear camera. It is difficult to reach and will cause the rear lens to be stained.

Another problem is the aspect ratio of the videos. The 18.5:9 screen means many videos and apps won’t fit. Black bars are visible on the sides.

Good things still abound, like a headphone jack on the bottom and a MicroSD slot. There’s even a USB Type-C add-on and IP68 waterproofing.

Inside, the hardware is state of the art with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM. It will quickly go through any game on the Play Store.

All types of applications are included with the phone. About 40 in total, including Skype and Microsoft Office Suite.

The 12 megapixel camera is top notch. Samsung has improved image processing. The front camera has been upgraded to an 8MP module from a 5MP module with a faster aperture. Even low light photos are better. Camera quality is at the fingertips of the Google Pixel.

Many of the filters on the camera seemed to be inspired by the ones on Snapchat. You can add glasses, mustaches and more.

Tests indicate that the phone will take about 80 minutes to recharge. Samsung learned its lesson the hard way and the battery now goes through a lengthy checklist before installation. It is perhaps the safest on the market. Still, it could be faster, but it will provide faster wireless charging than an iPhone.

Overall, the phone is of very high quality and commands a high-quality price. The S8 will set you back $750 and the S8 Plus $850. However, each phone has 64GB of native storage, compared to 32 for the S7. Samsung also releases AKG headphones valued at $100.

Colors include Item Silver, Midnight Black, and Orchid Gray.

Beauty comes at a price and the new Samsung Galaxy 8 certainly has both.

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