Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ Duos Review

8 May 2017, 03:55:26

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ Duos Review
The review units have been provided by Etoren.com

OS and User interface (UI)

Galaxy S8 and S8+ run Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung Experience 8.1 on top. Samsung's UX is known for having quite a lot of bloatware, but we must say that in the case of these two smartphones the manufacturer has tried to keep everything within certain limits. Soon after we've initiated the two smartphones, they received an update that brought improved colour optimisation and convenient colour adjustment. Of course, the Always On Display (AOD) is on board and switched on by default. You can manage it from the Lock screen and security menu. It contains a choice of clock designs (digital, analogue, world, edge), a calendar and an option to select an image from the Gallery or Smart Select to be set as a wallpaper for the AOD. You can also set a custom text, date, battery level, app notifications, and song information, add FaceWidgets, or pin text, images and memos. There are also AOD-exclusive themes from the corresponding themes feature. You can choose whether the home button to appear on the AOD or not. You can also disable the whole AOD, actually. Beyond it, is the usual Lock screen with shortcuts to the Dialer and Camera, which you can change from the settings. The Notifications and Quick Settings appear on the Lock screen by default. A simple swipe lands you on the Home screen. It contains a Clock and Weather widget along with a Voice Search one. Both can be removed. There's only one row of apps on it and it includes the Dialer, Messenger, Samsung browser, Play Store, and Camera. The list of apps is accessed by a single swipe upwards. You may also place shortcuts to them on successive screens to the home one. From the Home screen settings, you can also choose to have an App tray, if that's a more convenient layout for you. All pre-installed apps appear on one page, which also contains three folders for Samsung, Google, and Microsoft apps, respectively. You can change the colour palette for each folder and add more apps if you wish. Above the list of all applications, there's a Search phone bar. If you swipe from the Home screen to the right, you will access the Bixby page. Bixby is Samsung's AI virtual assistant, which is not quite developed yet and it is expected that Samsung will launch a full-blown final version later this year. You can toggle off this screen from the Widgets menu. The Notifications are classic Android 7.0 ones. They are flat, spread from edge to edge and provide a basic and more expanded view along with in-notification options and action suggestions. Even the Brightness level bar has further options if you click on it. You can toggle on/off Auto brightness and choose to place the control on top of the notifications. Above the list of Notifications, appear the shortcut icons for the most preferred Quick Settings.
The Quick Settings are accessed after you open the Notifications. They are placed on two consecutive screens. You can add and remove toggles from this list as well as choose the type of button grid, i.e. choose whether to have more or less toggles on one screen. The Widgets menu is accessed after you long touch an empty space on the Home screen. From here you can toggle off the Bixby screen. This menu contains a direct link to the Wallpapers and Themes Store, a list of widgets, and Home screen settings. We have already referred to this menu as the place from where you can change the Home screen layout and add an App tray to it by switching on the Apps button option. You can also change the Home screen and Apps screen grid. The Home and Apps screens option is the default one, and if you choose Home screen only, the option to swipe up and access the full list of apps will be disabled. The last option in these settings is the Hide apps one. When you open it, on several screens appear all apps with a small circle in their top left corner. When you click on it, you choose for this application not to appear in the list of apps.
The Wallpapers and Themes Store offers access to online and offline wallpapers, themes, icons and AOD ones. The Volume shade contains four sliders: Ringtone, Media, Notifications, and System. The Power off shade blurs the screen and brings forward three shortcuts - power off, restart, and emergency mode, which is turned off by default. The Task Manager on Samsung Experience 8.1 takes the most out of Android 7.0's options for split-screen viewing and multi-tasking. A tap on the Menu button opens the list of available apps with a Close All button. For each application, there are several icons on its top bar. The first is to close it individually, the second is to lock/unlock the application from being cleared, the third is to enter the split-screen mode, and the fourth is to choose a part of the app and dock it on the top of the screen. The last two options are available only for some of the applications. Once you enter split-screen mode, you can disable it simply by dragging the splitter upwards. If an application is open in full view, you can long-touch the Menu button to enter split-screen mode.
The Edge panels are here to stay. There are several panels available on the device and more can be downloaded from the Galaxy apps. By default, there's an Apps edge that contains the applications that you most frequently use. You can edit it by adding and removing app icons. The People edge offers shortcuts to your closest contacts. It can be edited as well by adding and removing contact icons. The Smart Select edge allows you to select a part of the screen in a square or an oval shape, save it as an animated GIF, or pin it to the top. From the Edge Settings, you can disable the whole thing or simply edit it in order to suit you better. Currently, only the Apps and People edges can be edited. The rest can only be enabled or disabled. By default, the handle for the panels is on the right edge of the screen. You can move it to the left, change its position (up/down) and/or change its size (smaller or larger) along with its transparency to match your taste. You can also toggle on/off a haptic feedback - a vibration is issued when the edge handle is touched.

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