Apr 18, 2017

Axios Review: Samsung's Galaxy S8 is beautiful, but has incomplete software story

Samsung

With the Galaxy S8, Samsung was looking to stand out in three key ways. It wanted a futuristic design that looked different from the sea of similar looking devices. It wanted to compete with Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant with its own AI assistant. And of course, it wanted a robust device that wouldn't have the safety issues that cratered the Galaxy Note 7.

Our take: It succeeded on the first, stumbled some on the second and the third remains to be seen.

By removing the home button, the front of the S8 is all beautiful curved display. And since the modern smartphone is basically one big screen, Samsung manages to pack a ton of screen into a device that is quite easy to hold. (Those who want even more screen can get the larger Galaxy S8+.)

However, the S8 is shipping without the signature feature of its Bixby assistant — the ability to control an entire app just with voice. Samsung says that part of Bixby will come via a software update later this spring. Plus, in doing its own, Samsung once again has a muddy combination of its apps and competing titles from Google. Depending on one's perspective, S8 owners either get the best of both worlds or are forced to constantly choose between services from Samsung or Google.

As for the reliability and safety of the phone, we'll have to wait and see, but Samsung has taken steps to make sure it doesn't have a repeat of the Note 7's battery issues.

Who it's good for: Those who want an Android phone with a striking design that will make even iPhone owners jealous.

Who it's not: Those who want the fastest Android updates or a pure Google experience are probably better off with a Pixel, or the next version when Google releases it later this year.

The practicalities: The phone will be available from all the major U.S. carriers, starting April 21 for around $720. (The S8+ will sell for $840.)

We'll have more on the Galaxy S8 in tomorrow's Login newsletter as well. If you are not getting our daily tech newsletter, you can sign up here.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.