Consumer Reports has released its pick for the best currently available smartphones: Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, both of which outranked last year’s iPhone and basically every other handset out there.
Specifically, the Galaxy S8 lineup beat out competitors like Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in various categories like design, battery life and camera, among others. In the first category, the publication called the S8 “minimalist, modern, and elegant,” and went on to say that the design “allows for a bigger screen in the same-size device.” While the phone was reportedly comfortable to hold, one-handed operation proved to be slightly inconvenient — particularly on the larger Galaxy S8+ device.
Consumer Reports went on to add that the S8 does away with any Samsung battery-related issues, and that the device boasts “some of the best smartphone battery life we’ve seen” throughout a variety of tests. The S8’s camera also scored top marks, with high-quality photos and rich colors apparent even in low lighting. While Samsung’s current flagships lack the dual-lens set-up of the iPhone 7 Plus, CR doesn’t think that the camera is at a disadvantage because of it. The Galaxy line’s water-resistance was also pointed out as a key advantage.
While the Galaxy S8 scored higher than any other smartphone this year, it wasn’t perfect in all categories. Consumer Reports said that the location of the fingerprint scanner on the back of the device was “awkwardly placed,” and added that one often had to poke around and inadvertently smudge the camera lens to find it. Also, the publication said that Bixby, Samsung’s proprietary digital assistant, “just isn’t there yet,” citing reliability issues and adding that most users would find Google’s highly ranked Assistant a better choice.
Of course, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices are both older than Samsung’s latest and greatest, so it makes sense for the newer lineup to win out, even though the aging iPhone is still quicker. Additionally, this year’s upcoming flagship iPhone X is expected to have many of the strengths and features of the Galaxy S8, including a much larger bezel-free display, increased IP68 water resistance, better battery life, and wireless charging. Beyond those additions, the iPhone X might have other features that improve on some of the Galaxy S8’s faults, like a Touch ID sensor more conveniently embedded underneath the display, a dual-lens camera setup with advanced AR and 3D biometric capabilities, and an improved digital assistant by way of “enhanced Siri.”