[Opinion] I switched from a Pixel XL to a Samsung Galaxy S8+, here are my thoughts

As title indicates I have been using a Pixel XL for about 5 months and below are some notes I had after switching to the S8+. I set up the S8 very close to the way I had things setup on the Pixel XL. This album contains images of the two devices, features I think are pretty cool on the S8+, and the last couple are some battery stats.

Device Info & General Notes: AT&T Galaxy S8+ (Arctic Silver) Performance mode set to “Optimized” Screen resolution set to the highest WQHD+ Brigtness set to 70%(ish) w/autobrightness off Always on display kept on


Compares Favorably:

  • Design – this thing is a piece of art, and this is an area Samsung is industry leading in as of this moment. Edge is whatever for typical software use, but it does look amazing. I have the artic silver model and you have to see it in person to really grasp how beautiful this phone is. I figured the back would more or less be almost a straight mirrored finish, but there is a subtle dot pattern etched into it that looks stunning. The pixel is as mundane and pedestrian as you can get in this category.
  • Display (obviously) – It’s sharper, “punchier,” and has much better white point than the pixel and is also customizeable. Note here: lot of people think you get a crazy amount of extra real estate for browsing the web and various tasks from devices like the pixel from the elongated display, but unless you make some other dpi type change outside of the regular Sammy settings you aren’t gaining any extra space at all. (Pictures of various apps included for reference). Display and Text sizes were set as small as possible.
  • Form factor – despite sitting a little taller than the pixel xl in height the reduced width makes one-handed use much more pleasurable. Also the one-handed mode with a home button triple tap is very convenient as a way to reach all corners of your content. Also the device has what I feel is a fantastic weight to it. To me it feels much more premium to the pixel in part due to that alone. Some will like that, some won’t
  • Samsung Pay – (single most underrated feature Samsung has ever implemented, smokes apple/android pay imo), watching someone’s amazement every time I use it is absolutely incredible, plus you can stack rewards with your credit card company as they have their own Samsung pay rewards system. Swiping up from your lockscreen to “pull out” a credit card is genius, well done Samsung.
  • Customizeability – this one is a double-edged sword for sure. While there are just SO many features compared to stock android, some of these are at a detriment to general phone performance. It’s subjective as to what is useful and what is simply “bloat” Some of my favorites are the edge sidebar apps (stocks, people, clipboard), always on display customization, and post-screenshot options.
  • Camera – Feels faster than the Pixel, the only thing I truly feel the S8 will be leaving behind from the Pixel is the EIS otherwise in just about every other aspect I prefer the Galaxy’s camera.
  • Battery – I’ve only had this phone a little longer than a day, but I think the battery is going to be better than the Pixel by a small amount. After a half day at 2.5 hrs of SOT with an hour long call, and quite a bit more general use than I would normally log on my phone I was sitting at 50%. Snaps of the data in the album

Unfavorably:

  • General UI navigation – Performance on the Galaxy S8 is the best Samsung has ever done. I would say it’s 80-85% as fluid as the Pixel in general UI Navigation. There are minor dropped frames here and there from doing things as simple as pulling down the notification shade to opening the app drawer from the stock launcher. To remedy the launcher portion, I installed Nova and performance has been pretty stellar. It’s disappointing a Snapdragon 835 phone doesn’t feel snappier than a Snapdragon 821 device, but admittedly it is better than I thought it would be. Still, I shudder when I think of how amazingly fast the Pixel 2 will feel with the added oomph of the SD835 in tow. Only time will tell if it remains a quick phone which is ultimately my greatest worry with this phone. This will be the last Samsung phone for awhile if performance does not maintain. My last Samsung device was the Galaxy S4 specifically because of this.
  • Software Bloat – The carrier I’m on is AT&T and there is a host of Samsung/AT&T rubbish application bloat on here. We get it, the bloat is better than it has ever been but there is still plenty of room for improvement. I used Package Disabler to kill some of this stuff (incl. Bixby), but who knows how that will affect things down the line. Bixby is as worthless as everyone thought it would be and button customization would have been nice but I’m okay with it because I’ve disabled it so clicking it does nothing. I understand from a business sense why samsung put the kabosh on customizing it, but that doesn’t make it any less irritating – perhaps someday.
  • Software Updates – Hey at least we get those monthly security updates, but it takes Samsung forever for software updates… which after seeing all of the wacky customizations they have for every single tiny little thing, doesn’t surprise me. Regression testing for them must be a nightmare.

Meh doesn’t really matter either way:

  • Fingerprint reader – while it could have been in a little bit more ideal location lower on the back of the device, I feel the severity of the issue here is way overblown. You learn to use the new location and I don’t necessarily think it’s going to result in me smudging the daylights out of the camera lense OR dropping the phone to use it. There is also the iris scanner as an option – which is both cool/works well, I just don’t think it’s my thing. I like to already be unlocking the device as I’m pulling it out of my pocket anyway. If I were to compare the location of the fingerprint reader location to the s7 – I’d take the s8 placement any day.

In Summary

I really like the S8+ and I think it is the device that I’ll be moving forward with, if I decide not to I will be updating the post here within the next 15 days. Hopefully with the update to Android 7.1 we will see a bit of a performance boost as well and the device continues to be speedy. They are both two really great devices that I don’t think anyone could go wrong with.

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