So I sold my HTC 10 and got the S8 because the official HTC seller in my country still doesn’t have the U11 and the grey market version is way too expensive.
This mini review will be updated with pics and more daily usage point of views every now and then.
My background with smartphones: I am a long term HTC fan since the Nexus One that was made by HTC for Google and was specs wise very identical to the HTC Desire. During all these years with HTC till the HTC 10, I only brought twice a Samsung Galaxy phone, the S2 and S6, both didn’t last with me a month before I sold them because I didn’t like the UI and ”cheap” feel. The only phone outside the HTC world that I kept for about 8 months was the LG G4 which was an amazing phone but with an horrible audio.
So as you can see I am a die hard HTC fan for their design,superior feel, superior Audio and of course UI.
So how do I find the S8 after a week?
What I liked:
-Of course the bezel-less design, coming from an HTC 10 it’s like passing from an 80s Volvo to a 2017 BMW coupé.
-Screen contrast and resolution, even with my astigmatism I have nearly no problem reading small text, on all the LCD phones I had including the 10 I had a bit trouble reading specially in the end of the day.
-Audio jack is still here!! And with Root + some mods like Dolby Atmos it’s really not far from what you can get with an HTC 10 (which was crowned best audiophile smartphone of 2016). HTC did an error by taking out the 3.5mm jack and even with an included adapter it’s not as good as the 10.
-VR is pretty good, though for the time being I only experience VR movies using Google Cardboard system with a Fiit VR headset, next month I should have a Gear VR for S8, but I can say it’s superior to the 10’s LCD (pixelization, colors and contrast).
-The UI is finally good with some nice widgets and logical settings, while Samsung is positively evolving in the UI department, HTC is going down by ripping apps that made it appealing like the HTC Car and Gallery apps.
-Battery is good, better than the HTC 10, I can get true a real 24h of moderate to heavy usage including VR while with the 10 it was about 16-18h
What I didn’t like:
-Lags!! Even with root and tweaks opening or closing an app or even settings with sometimes have unexplained lags, things you will never notice with an HTC phone, though you can use a third party lancher like Nova to have things more fluid. I even tried the HTC Sense port on it and it’s as fast as on the U11 but the navigation bar is not transparent which annoy me.
-Touch sensitivity is limited by the UI! Let me explain: at first I thought the screen was less responsive than HTC one but in reality it’s a stupid limitation made by Samsung which is that you can’t pick an item by pressing on it while the menu is still scrolling even a bit!!
-Camera is just as good as the HTC 10, nothing improved even in Raw, the WB has a tendency to be warmer so it’s better to control WB yourself
That’s it for now folks, the S8 is not perfect but it’s a solid phone packed with lot of sweet things, Samsung did a great job this time, it just need the lags to be fixed. I am not tempted to switch again to HTC, the U11 is way too expensive, its audio department suffered with the average USB C to 3.5mm adapter and some physical problems appear with some people (back cover peeling)
Update 6 months later!!
So 6 months passed and I had plenty of time to fully test the S8, here my new list of positives and negatives coming from HTC world:
What I liked:
-Always On Display! It’s very useful to see if you got any missed calls, messages, FB notifications…without waking the phone. You finally get it on the U11+ but this new HTC phone is very pricey and the screen lacks brightness.
-Custom roms for Exynos: We used to have many hiccups and lags 6 months ago but now with the actual custom roms for Exynos even though based on Android 7.0, the hiccups are nearly gone, the UI itself is smoother.
-Speaker is loud and clear enough, though not as loud as U11 but clearly better than previous samsung phones, in crowded placed you could still have some troubles hearing voice messages.
-Screen under sunlight is excellent. I tried it many times under the midday sun of summer and the screen is super clear and viewable.
-Charging time is very quick: From 20 to 100% it only takes 40 minutes, while with HTC 10 it was at least 60 minutes.
What I didn’t like:
-Battery: I get similar results as the HTC 10 with 3h30 to 4h SOT and I am using the Exynos version, I think Snapdragon s8 are slightly worse, while the U11 is known to get between 5.5 to 7 hours SOT depending on the users reports. So I have to make at least a daily full charge.
-Screen white balance is bad: I am using Adaptive display to reduce the slight pinkish right edge and the whites are a bit too green compared to a LCD panel like iphone 6 or HTC U11.
-Messages app is still crappy, you still have to enter each SMS and close them one by one to get rid of the badge on the app’s icon, or even sms icon notification. With HTC own’s app you are ”obliged” to do it to clear the notification icons. A simple slide to the right will disable it.
-Ugly back! Compared to the U11 even with a transparent TPU cover the back of the S8 is ugly and outdated, while the U11 is crazy sexy in solar red or blue. I will try to find a metallic cover as colored TPU don’t stick on my car’s sticky pad.
I am torn between keeping the S8 which doesn’t have any serious problem and an HTC U11 now that the prices dropped significantly here. I will lose the magnificent display of the S8 with its Always On Display and the easiness to resell it but I will gain a better battery, camera and UI. I must say I am starting to get bored of the S8, the sexy bezel less face effect is starting to fade away.
What do you think? Please put a comment at the bottom of this page 🙂