Samsung has a long history of releasing multiple variants of their devices. The Galaxy S line, in particular, has had an enormous number of variations released to consumers over each product lifecycle. The Galaxy S5 had a whopping six different versions for customers to choose from, and that doesn’t even include carrier-specific models. This produced a fair amount of confusion for customers looking to get their hands on the year’s hottest device from Samsung, though most would likely end up with the standard variant tailored to their specific carrier’s bands.

Since the days of the Galaxy S5, Samsung has consolidated their offerings a bit, though to date they continue to release an “active” variant of each device a few months after initial launch. The company seems to be more focused on making two distinct variants of their devices for different types of users, but has Samsung reached a point where the plus-sized variant is no longer necessary? I get it – there are quite a few reasons why someone would want a larger phone. While many of these arguments are absolutely viable, the 2017 design language sweeping the Android market gives me a few concerns about the future of handsets.

Why I don't like the Galaxy S8 Plus

When does that much screen become too much?

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is all about bigger screens and smaller bezels. This is literally its core feature and the defining design adaptation fueling the Unbox Your Phone marketing campaign. This is objectively a fantastic evolution of design, as it moves us towards a future where our phones are nothing more than an extremely fast piece of glass.

See also:

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus review: Almost to Infinity

April 18, 2017

Even with a similar body size, smaller bezels birth more screen real estate, leading to additional usable space and an overall better media experience. But when does that much screen become too much? Even the standard variant of the Galaxy S8 trumps the Galaxy Note 7 when it comes to total screen real estate, so is an even larger “plus” variation really necessary in today’s landscape?

Backing up a bit, the Galaxy S7 Edge was effectively the “plus” variant of the seventh generation in the Galaxy S line, sporting what many would have called an enormous 5.5-inch display. This made sense for Samsung, as the base model of this device ran with a display size of 5.1 inches, feeling a bit small for some customers more accustomed to Note-style devices, and who also wanted the extra functionality the edge variant offered over the baseline.

The shape of these screens absolutely makes a difference in overall size

With the design evolution the Galaxy S8 has brought to the table, the standard model Galaxy device has had its screen size increased to 5.8 inches, while the Plus grew to a massive 6.2 inches diagonally. For reference, the Nexus 6 was once known as one of the most oversized devices of all time, with a screen size of 5.96 inches. Who’s the whale now, Google? That being said, the shape of these screens absolutely makes a difference in overall size. The 18.5:9 aspect ratio on both the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus makes the devices a lot taller than they are wide, and when held in the hand they are still much easier to handle.

While the overall screen to body ratio of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus is far more optimized than it was in previous devices, the whole point of this new design language is to give more usable pixels to something that is still manageable to use with one hand. One could easily make the argument that the Galaxy S8 Plus is just slightly bigger than something like the Pixel XL, but the curved, glass-encrusted body of the phone makes it far too easy to slip out of the hand, and the small bezels – in relation to the overall screen – make it much more difficult to reach the top of the device with your thumb alone. While I can reach the top of the standard Galaxy S8 with relative ease, it is nearly impossible for me to do so on the Plus variant.

I can reach the top of the Galaxy S8 with ease, it's nearly impossible for me to do so on the Plus variant

A case could theoretically help to hold the phone in a more robust fashion, but the entire point of the Galaxy S8 is to let the screen fill as much of the device as physically possible. The Unbox Your Phone motto that ships with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus asks the user to let the screen take over, and using a case to aid in grip is counterproductive to the whole idea of this device. Samsung tried to remedy both of these issues by producing an official case which only covers the bezels of the device, but the end result came out worse than any of us could have imagined.

The handling of this phone feeds into my other primary gripe with the device: the fingerprint sensor

The handling of this phone feeds into my other primary gripe with the device: the fingerprint sensor. Yes, the sensors on the S8 and S8 Plus are exactly the same, but the effort required to actually activate them is a whole different ball game. A fingerprint sensor on a device should be as effortless to use as possible, and both the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus sensors are guilty of awkward placement and bad design. Why would a manufacturer stick the fingerprint sensor directly next to the camera? Especially on the S8 Plus, my finger lands directly on the camera sensor almost every time I pull it out of my pocket, leading to a consistently smudgy image when I need it most.

The shape of the sensor is also odd. I understand Samsung’s devotion to consistency and reflection in this phone, but making the sensor ovular just to match the shape of the flash seems counter productive. Phones like the Pixel have implemented biometric security in a much more natural way, and the larger circular sensor on that device is much better suited for blind unlocking directly following removing it from your pocket. The amount of frustrations I have with this component is bar none, and I’ve been using pin unlock ever since.

While I do find myself more partial to LG’s newest device, the LG G6, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are still marvelous pieces of innovation. The premium feel of the devices is unsurpassed by almost anyone else in the industry, a wholly different story from the plastic Galaxys of years past. I wouldn’t blame you for getting either of these devices, as they represent some of the best engineering minds on the planet. If you really want the bigger battery and use your phone with two hands already, go ahead and get the S8 Plus. From a content perspective, there is almost no device that can beat it, and there is no doubt you’ll be blown away by just how immersive these screens can be. If you’re like me and value using your device with one hand as often as possible, the standard variant is likely the way forward.


What’s your opinion on these devices? Is the extra .4 inches of screen and objectively longer battery life worth the extra $120 price tag?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

David Imel
David Imel  is a 21 year-old technology enthusiast hailing from Smartville, Califorina. He moves a lot so he's probably not really living in any one place. David loves Android, Writing, Computer Hardware, Mechanical Keyboards, Super Smash Brothers: Melee, and many other geeky things. He attended the University of California: Santa Cruz from 2013-2017 and now writes articles like no tomorrow.
  • Ryan Batty

    Screen ratio, done already by the G6, aside still fail to see what is innovative. I see a bunch of gimmicks that people love because…. Samsung.

    • Didacts

      it’s the curve that further increase the screen ratio.

      • Ryan Batty

        It’s also the curve that distorts the sides, adds surface area for the screen to crack, and adds no functionality

        • Didacts

          oh no doubt. I find it obnoxious to hold the new S8. there is no where to really avoid touching the curve

          • one plus

            so how did samsung sell 55million s7edge last year? they use mind control to avoid touching the curve?

        • one plus

          i agree with you ryan.

          my bicycle is more durable than my car, needs no maintenance and hey, the radio and windscreen wiper are PURE GIMMICK! HAH!

    • PC_Peasant’s number 1 fan

      Couldn’t agree more. Inb4 Apple pulls off this bs.

    • one plus

      ah, ryan, its you.

      LG phones are rubbish, you can quote me on this. they are not even tier 3 phone maker. they are like some home made phone kind . look at their pathetic sales volume and their pathetic bootloop issue that plague owners. they got themselves into a lawsuit.

      Gimmicks? says the one who drink soda since forever? oh wait, soda is not gimmick, its good for health.

  • Rabbi Eli Perlman

    Funny. I can’t figure out why anyone would want the non + version.

    • PC_Peasant’s number 1 fan

      Because it fits better in hand and pocket?

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz| ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I don’t even want an S8 or S8+, but my reaction to your video is, “Wow, what a whiny baby.”

    • Tr3ple

      actually you’re a Sammy fanboy, I see you on w dry article about Sammy. but hey sure you don’t want one….

      • Methix

        ikr he is clearly a samsheep

    • David Martrano

      Another great article by Android Authority, the days not complete without putting Samsung down. Anyway I am waiting for the note8. If the proposed specs hold true it should be a great release!

      • Daggett Beaver |dBz| ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        He looks like he’s still in High School or even Junior High, and the quality of his writing and video supports that assumption.

      • jOn Garrett

        I think these guys are closet Apple Fanboys.

        Of the dozen Android sites I read regularly, none put down Android or Samsung in particular than this site

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    I use the iris scanner. The device honestly feels small to me but I’ve been using a note4 for a long time. So yeah, I love this phone and don’t really have gripes, except for wifi disconnection issues.

  • ReaPer

    i just like the display size and the battery life but prefer the LG G6 anyday.

  • Didacts

    I like the plus but I kinda regret not getting the regular s8. I mean it’s a 5.8 inch screen. so it’s bigger than the 7 plus S7 edge and pixel XL already yet is smaller in the hand

    • steadymobb

      I have the regular s8 and I can definitely FEEL it when it’s in my pocket and I’m walking and it almost sticks out the top. Glad I didn’t go for the bigger, but don’t think I would’ve necessarily been dissapointed if I did go for it. You can adapt and get used to anything, but overall I’m happy with my choice. They’re both great!

  • #S8PlusIs Boss

    The S8plus is the best handset on the market today period with the best battery life out of any Android handset.

    Definitely a true phablet in every since unlike the overpriced and worthless Pixel as well as the putrid iPhone these handsets perpetrate a sad fraud.

    At the end of the day if can’t afford the best then go buy the lesser Android handsets on the market their are plenty of useless handsets out there.

    • Didacts

      The Pixel is 6 months old and the iPhone is 8 months old. The S8 is also more expensive. Of course the S8 is going to be the best phone out. I still think the Pixel software is King for Android but Sammy did their own software right too.

      • Daggett Beaver |dBz| ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Google phones are for people who want the latest Android first, and the latest features last.

        • one plus

          no, google phones are for fools that work as beta testers for google , for free. and you pay over 1k for a phone to be beta tester. what a fool.

          samsung waited 8 months to let you guys finish testing. but you guys thought samsung were late to release. :D what a fool.

      • #S8PlusIs Boss

        I applaud Samsung definitely. I don’t have any desire for anything Google has anything to do with.

        My S8plus is definitely the best handset on the market today and I will be buying the Note8 in September.

  • Lakis Lalakis

    Please stop using words like ovular, metric ton, and design language.

  • Omarrrrr

    The S8 is a complete waste of money

    • one plus

      using your precious electricity and internet to post silly butthurt comment about samsung flagship phone, isnt a waste of time and money?

  • Be My Guest

    That Rio Edition looks sweet !

  • Devin Li

    Sorry….What a Whiner….

    • Ryan Batty

      Sorry… Didn’t know having an opinion with facts was whining…

      • Suvajit Chakrabarty

        What is the opinion here ? He chooses the s8+ over the s8 and then cries about the big screen and not being able to hold it with one hand. He could have got the s8 then.

        • illregal

          still sucks to hold because of the curved edges.

  • Daniel Weis

    I went with the S8+ because it actually is navigable with one hand. I can see it being a problem if you have small hands, but most of my friends have bigger hands than me. So it sounds to me like you’re making stuff up just to stir the pot.

    • Daggett Beaver |dBz| ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Or making stuff up just to whine like a baby. Like I say below, I don’t even want an S8+, but I use my phone with 2 hands, anyway, so it wouldn’t matter to me if I couldn’t pull down the notification one-handed.

      Besides, I wouldn’t need to, anyway. I’ve got my phone set up so that a down gesture anywhere on the screen pulls it down.

      • Daniel Weis

        “making stuff up just to wine like a baby” lmao Daggett you crack me up. Touché.

  • Jake the Dog

    It’s your problem that you havea tiny hands, don’t blame the Galaxy S8 (it’s a wonderful phone with many resources).

  • Mahlilnurm 84

    nice.!

  • Anthony William Tavani

    I bought the S8+ and I like the fingerprint sensor where they put it. My forefinger actually goes to the sensor automatically when I pick up the phone now. I had more trouble using the sensor when it was on the front of the S7 edge when I had it.

  • V-Phuc

    By the comments below, there are clearly fanboys who would drink any Sam-Kool-aid there is out there. Though it’s funny how they whine when another phone is complemented. Facts are facts, regardless how blind your fanboyism makes you believe it otherwise. Case in point, 6.2″ is damn too big for many people. Except for Michael Jordan and Kahwi Leonard. Clearly there are 2 of those, no matter how macho you think you are. Stop with the blame “you have tiny hands”. Remind me of the game, “my dick is bigger than yours”. If you want to play that game, go back to elementary school. There is such a thing called “tablet” if you want something bigger than 5.7 or at most 5.9 such as LG V20. Got it?

    • one plus

      if its too damn big, then you buy S8, not s8plus.

      save some money to upgrade your brain. why supports LG google pixel so much? as if they have any jobs for you guys, they outsourced it to some 3rd world country. LMAO

    • Suvajit Chakrabarty

      You are talking as if everyone is forced to buy the 6.2″ s8+. And if it is ‘damn too big for many people’, how is it being sold more than the s8 ! And yes if the s8+ is too big, that is why Samsung has given another option for a 5.8″. Man, you’re smart.

  • Rahul Pai

    The finger print scanner location is perfect for someone who’s never had one. My finger landed naturally on it. The only reason you find it weird is because you’re used to the middle placement ones.
    As for the screen size, the width of the screens are actually the same as the s7 phones so when watching 16:9 video you’re actually watching the same 5.5 or 5.1 size video. And that’s why it still feels the same size as the s7 phones.

  • Vs

    not to be mean it’s just you guys complain so much about galaxies being not perfect because I don’t know Google didn’t make them…… but like come on first it was touch wiz not being like stock now it’s the fingerprint sensor and remapping Bixby……… I have never had an issue with a galaxy my first smartphone one was the s4 active I have never had an issue with Samsung and I plan to make my last phone a galaxy too but I am open to options like having 2 phones to take on my adventure of life when I graduate high school I have huge plans for the future I hope that the galaxy line will evolve with me it makes me upset that some people find so much to complain about

  • Sheldon75

    “I’ve been using pin unlock ever since”
    Wait, what? This is not iphone, you know… You have other, faster and better options, like pattern!
    Oh, now I see the writers bio… A kid.

    • one plus

      i like it when 21 years old kid starts taking sides even for mobile makers.

  • jOn Garrett

    First it was the scanner that’s too hard to reach, now it’s the screen that’s too big?

    Interestingly, it’s the larger model that’s selling more!

    If Samsung made a phone that was perfect in every way, you would write an article criticizing them for not having any flaws like other phones.

  • one plus

    obviously iphone7plus is better because you can cover whole phone with 1 hand.

    DUH

  • Ziga Bradas

    I looked up the specs, reviews and prices and decided for the S8. Then I got to the sotre to actually buy it and I saw both on display and the S8 just felt so tiny. It’s narrower than my old G3! And even the S8+ felt kinda small for over 6″. Because of its aspect ratio, it doesn’t feel as big as you would expect for the screen size.

  • playboy79

    G6 rocks wins hands down to s8

  • Bigmouth

    Really? Whining about screen size? Is it 2011 again?

  • Brian Embry

    I don’t really care for where the fingerprint scanner is located either. I have a Nexus 6 so the size doesn’t really matter to me. The thing that bothers me the most is the candy bar shape of the phone. The dimensions just look off. Kinda like when the iPhone 5 showed up and Android fans derived the shape of that phone. In the end it is a gorgeous screen. I’ve had a Samsung Note 2, S6, and S7 Edge. I am looking forward to the Note 8.

  • sgriffin981 .

    ok. everyone is allowed there opinion. you know what the say…opinions are like assholes we all them and they all stink. Bs aside. I have the so plus besides not having bixby voice I have no complaints it’s lightning fast years ahead of crapple the display is unmatched. there is a one handed mode for all you who have lady hands. I have no prob reaching the finger print scanner plus the iris scan is just as fast. best phone out apple blows. I’ve had iPhones but there’s no comparison it’s a different animal.
    thanks for your opinions. God bless

  • sgriffin981 .

    so plus

  • sgriffin981 .

    s8

  • mcdonsco

    “While I do find myself more partial to LG’s newest device, the LG G6”

    Here, here! I second this motion!

    S8 FPR location is a massive fail and I guarantee this will be the first and last time we see it there…kind of like the swipe one on the Note 4, first and last cause it sucked.

    That, and the only nice thing about curved screen phones is they look cool, otherwise they suck. And, unless someone figures out a way to make a screen indestructible, from cracking or scratching, you’ll either end up with a lot of screen scratches after 1-2 years of use or a film SP which are awful, or a TG one that is lifted from the sides and looks bad.

    One of the reasons I much prefer the G6, screen and glass is completely flat so you can’t even tell there’s a screen protector on it at all other than the speaker and camera cut away.

  • IJK

    I do not understand. Are you implying that the S8 is not the explosive phone that Samsung promised? Are you predicting that it will not be a flaming success? Please do not say that Samsung is not a company on fire.

    • J.j. Evans

      I see what you did there…and I like that!!

  • Dr. M

    Always somebody got to whine — Just don’t buy the phone if you don’t like it’s design. I have looked at the S8 in COSTCO and I don’t really like the narrow aspect ratio — but at the same time I realize that people who watch movies on the cell phone will love it, as will one-handed users.
    Personally. I am already addicted to the 6″ screen. And though I like the QHD (2560×1440) resolution, the 16:9 aspect ratio is as narrow as I want to get, and, as a two-handed user, I would even prefer a 16:10 aspect ratio.
    So I personally won’t be buying the S8 or the S8+ — but I recognize that probably most people will love it’s features.

  • Ericp2011

    I love my S8 plus, I have small hands, therefore have a small penis, had to compensate somehow.

  • Jeremy Archie

    I’m a Samsung fan, and even I think the S8 is a design failure, and for the life of me I can’t understand the constant fawning by the tech press about it’s ‘design language’. I haven’t bought a Samsung phone since the Note 4, so I’m a bit biased against all these metal-and-glass unibody phones.
    I’m patiently waiting to see the ‘design language’ of the Note 8 so I can decide whether or not to ditch Samsung phones altogether.

    • Sheldon75

      Design failure? Wait, what?

  • Suvajit Chakrabarty

    This article makes no sense. Nobody said that the whole point was to use it with one hand. That is why Samsung has given you two options. If you think that the screen is too big and your priority is holding it with one hand, then get the S8 instead of the S8+.

    • illregal

      Or get neither because they are sh!t.

  • Raynaud

    I was actually pretty bummed with the width of the phone when I first opened it. Yeah it’s a lot longer and I’ve learned to be ok with it but it was quite a shock when I first got it.

  • Caroline

    I can’t help but notice that you guys over in the states have plans of (taking the example of AT&T) ~50$ with 850$ upfront and only 1 gb data??? I pay 51 euro per month with 24 euro upfront costs and 10 gb data in the whole EU??? + unlimited calls and sms? Is this a normal type of plan????

  • Chad Fonger

    This entire article very amateur, David. Terrible images and run on sentence after another. AA has really lost their touch lately.

    • spg210

      You might want to take another look at you own sentences.

  • J.j. Evans

    The S8+ is a moot point for me, as Boost Mobile doesn’t have it anyway. (They didn’t get the S7 Edge, or the S6 Edge/S6+/S6 Edge+, either.)

  • tommet

    Larger = better for me.