One of the frequent complaints levied at Samsung’s Observe eight is that it doesn’t do sufficient to distinguish itself over the Galaxy S8+. However after testing the system for about six weeks, there’s one clear benefit: the Observe eight is lots smoother than the S8 in the long term – and it even compares favorably to the Pixel 2.
Samsung has been admonished for its heavy Android skins ever for the reason that early days of TouchWiz, and although it’s tidied up in recent times – particularly with the introduction of the ‘Samsung Expertise’ UI with the S8 – it had by no means fairly nailed making a cellphone whose efficiency holds up over time. In my expertise, normally all it takes is a few weeks and a pair dozen apps to begin to really feel a tool slowing down considerably.
Six weeks in, that’s not the case with the Observe eight.
With the disclaimer that this is only one reporter’s anecdote, the Observe eight is noticeably quicker than any Samsung system I’ve used for an prolonged time period – no less than with out micromanaging software program.
Once I examine it to a months-old S8, the distinction is important. My S8 isn’t unhealthy by any means – and there’s way more to a cellphone than excellent smoothness – but it surely’s susceptible to hiccups and dropped frames when issues get busy. Sure the Observe eight has a further 2GB of RAM, however extra RAM has hardly ever been an correct indicator of smoothness on Android. The larger distinction nearly actually lies within the software program.
The Observe eight is working model eight.5 of the Samsung Expertise UI and Android 7.1.1, whereas the S8 runs eight.1 and seven.zero, respectively. Although Samsung touted a redesigned digicam app and higher multitasking on model eight.5, it additionally claims to have labored to eradicate dropped frames and total responsiveness. Producers declare pace enhancements on a regular basis, however for as soon as, it’s truly noticeable.
I’ve seen different Observe eight customers make comparable remarks, so I made a decision to do some extra testing. I loaded each telephones with the very same number of about 25 additional apps, and matched system settings as shut as I might. I attempted utilizing every as my major cellphone for just a few days, and took each telephones with me in all places. The Observe eight was persistently smoother.
There was nearly by no means a second the place the Observe eight dropped frames or its efficiency hung up considerably. Once more, the S8 was nonetheless ‘good’, but it surely often suffered from some janky scrolling, delays switching between apps, and, in a few situations, can be unresponsive for just a few seconds. Turning off animations in developer settings made the variations much more obvious.
They’re all working a Snapdragon 835, and I nonetheless don’t assume the RAM was the only clarification, as a result of the distinction was noticeable solely working a handful of apps. The one different variable I might consider was that my Observe eight was an unlocked mannequin, and my S8 was a T-Cell phone, though I disabled all of the service apps. So for good measure, I in contrast it to a Verizon S8 as properly – with out all the additional apps – and located the identical outcomes.
In the meantime, XDA has run way more scientific exams on the Observe eight, and located vital enhancements too.
The Observe eight feels each bit as easy because the Important[index company=essential] cellphone, which runs inventory Android, and quicker than the S8+
However maybe the most important testomony to how the Observe eight has held up over time is how favorably it compares to the Pixel 2 household, telephones that represents the top of Android efficiency. I went into my check My Observe eight loaded with dozens of apps wasn’t fairly as quick as a Pixel 2 XL contemporary out the field, but it surely was actually, actually shut. The Pixel 2’s fingerprint sensor is snappier and it’s total a hair quicker to load apps, but it surely’s shut sufficient that I’m unsure I’d have the ability to inform the distinction and not using a side-by-side comparability.
It made deciding which cellphone can be my each day driver way more troublesome than anticipated. I ended up selecting the Pixel 2 XL for just a few causes – the digicam, Oreo, replace pace, battery life, total minimalism – however efficiency, surprisingly, wasn’t actually one among them.
I generally discover myself second-guessing my alternative too. I’ve beforehand written that inventory Android has diminishing returns on efficiency with every passing technology, and that I’ve typically come to worth extra options over barebones Android. With the Pixel 2 XL’s show controversies and lack of a headphone jack, microSD growth, and wi-fi charging, it’s actually not a clear-cut winner.
Furthermore, it’s a testomony to Samsung’s newfound optimization abilities that the Observe eight manages to carry out this properly with so many options – a themeing engine, one-handed mode, floating home windows, pen help, display recording, and so forth – not out there on the Pixel 2. There’s even an argument to be made that virtually talking, the Observe eight is the quicker system, as a result of its plethora of software program options permit you to multitask extra effectively.
I deliver this all up as a result of as reviewers working with embargoes and deadlines, we regularly don’t have greater than every week or two to check gadgets. As soon as critiques are completed, we have to transfer onto the following flagship. Although efficiency is perhaps glorious week one, generally these claims are merely not relevant in the long run. This has been significantly true of Samsung telephones and different gadgets with heavy skins – that’s one of many causes so many energy customers favor inventory Android.
Which is why it’s notable when, in 4 years of reviewing devices (and lots of extra of fiendishly following tech information), the Observe eight is the primary Samsung cellphone I’ve used that feels so darn buttery almost two months later.
I went into my testing interval with the preconception that the Observe eight would undergo from the identical points as its predecessors, and that it might merely be an S8+ with a pen and twin cameras. I stated as a lot in my first impressions submit. What I’ve discovered has been so significantly better. Credit score the place credit score is due.
In fact, there’s nonetheless an opportunity Samsung will screw every part up with a future replace to the Observe eight. However for now, it’s refreshing to see Samsung is getting nearly as good at optimizing software program as it’s at cramming it with options. Right here’s hoping it shares a few of that love with the S8 when the following massive replace rolls round.
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