Samsung's Galaxy S8 is as powerful as Darth Vader in a good and bad way
"All smartphones look the same. There is no innovation in smartphone design. " This is a quote you will hear quite often and yet " praise the lord" that there is a phone in the market that pleasantly bucks the trend and moves the needle forward. And it is not Apple which is doing this. It is its age-old nemesis Samsung. Samsung's latest darling, the Galaxy S8 doesn't only move the needle further for what a smartphone should look like, it sets a high bar for everything that will be launched in the years to come. While doing so, it is utterly powerful and intimidating just like the Sith Lord Darth Vader from Star Wars. The quasi-satanic and quasi-godly Vader was known to wield powers known to few in the Galaxy far away and well, the S8 in ways that I'll touch upon brings it closer to home, to this planet Earth of ours in good and bad ways.

The Good

No smartphone in recent times besides Xiaomi's concept phone the Mi Mix has taken such a bold approach towards design as the Galaxy S8. Draped in black with polished metal sides, a shiny glass back and accentuated front home to the ' infinity display' the Galaxy S8 is as intimidating as the all powerful Darth Vader. The reference to Vader is an interesting one because it is just like Vader's futuristic armour, the S8 hides tremendous stopping power and some mystical abilities that no other current smartphone can hope to match.

It is astoundingly compact for a phone which has a massive 5.8-inch screen making it as nimble as Vader himself was on his X-Wing fighters. If you do a comparison with the smaller iPhone 7 which has a 4.7-inch screen, the size of the Galaxy S8 would compare VERY favourably. In fact, the larger iPhone 7 Plus is significantly larger than the Galaxy S8 despite packing a smaller display.

As this design language is a refinement and continuation of the curved screen technology Samsung has been experimenting with for the last couple of years, on the S8, the South Korean giant puts its best foot forward and creates something holistic in terms of ergonomics and usability. Neither do the edges feel cumbersome to hold and at the same time, the edge screen function makes it more usable than it has ever been. Again, like Vader, functional and elegant in action.

Perhaps, the most magical element of the Galaxy S8 is its " infinity display" which is gorgeous beyond belief. It is simply put the best screen in the world bar none, by a country mile.

At its heart, it is possibly the fastest computing subset ever installed on an Android smartphone. It has Samsung's own Exynos 8895 chipset which is supremely fast and well, coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage which can further be expanded, the S8 is a formidable package, rivaling the great dark lord of the Sith.

And in use, the mystical abilities of the Galaxy S8 come to the fore be it digital payments or security. Samsung Pay is integrated at a core level which can leverage NFC and old magnetic strip credit cards at the same time, eliminating the need for one to carry the age old credit card. In India it worked everywhere I tried it. It is also secure as it can swiftly authenticate all this using your iris ( eyes) and that too reliably even in the dark. What's not to like? Mind you, no other phone on the market can do this so reliably and consistently.

The camera on the S8 isn't just fast and great at taking gorgeous photos and videos, it is also integrated with the new Bixby assistant that can understand what's being shot and perhaps tell you what it is or how you can buy something you're shooting. This is very cool. Think of those Jedi Mind tricks and force chokeholds and there you have a phone which is as mystical as the most powerful wielder of the force from the Star Wars universe.

Actually, the entire software stack of the Galaxy S8 is quite impressive. It is intuitive and very uncluttered. Samsung has even managed to offer decent battery life with the 3,000mAh pack parlaying a good balance between efficiency and level-headedness which was perhaps lacking in the creation of the disastrous Galaxy Note 7 that was prone to explode.

From a performance perspective, the formidable skill set and artillery at the disposal of the S8 converts to one of the most powerful phones that have ever been known to man. Be it the better than human eye capabilities of its rear camera in bright or dim environments or be multitasking and juggling between multiple apps with utter ease, the Galaxy S8 is one of the most adept wielders of Android in this Galaxy just like Vader was in his.

The Bad

The strength of the Galaxy S8 is also its undoing. As gorgeous and formidable its exterior is the Galaxy S8 will be more prone to physical damage despite being water and dust resistant, as mostly its exterior is glass
- Corning's Gorilla Glass 5, but still glass. You drop it a couple of times on a hard surface and the inevitable will happen. It will break.

And you know what happened to Darth Vader when his armour broke? He was crippled and eventually he died. This gorgeous beauty will need full-time protection which kind of defeats the purpose of having an all screen phone.

People Are Reprogramming the Galaxy S8's Bixby Button Because It's Currently Pointless

And at the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will live and die by its own sword.

And at the end of the day, the Galaxy S8 will live and die by its own sword.

Similarly, some of the magical tricks it has been lauded for aren't fully functional in India. Bixby doesn't work fully in India, so that's a useless feature. Its software while wildly nicer than previous Galaxies is still bloated and tends to slow it down a wee bit which means if you use the phone beyond a couple of weeks and load it up to the teeth, it will feel slower than the Google Pixel, though by not much.

And lastly, as a by-product of its design, the fingerprint scanner on the back is almost impossible to be reached easily, even for someone like me who has long and gangly fingers. Its form, in essence, limits its abilities - another parallel with Vader.

Post his accident in the lava on the planet Mustafar, Vader had to use the suite to survive which meant he couldn't deploy abilities like Force lighting which would kill him before it did harm to anyone else, or he would need to make up for sheer agility with brute force the Galaxy S8 can't boast of earth shattering battery life as Samsung had to temper its battery capabilities post the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Similarly, the fingerprint scanner is a limitation of the design direction Samsung took and the software becomes sluggish at times because Samsung decided to be so flashy and feature-rich.

Should you buy it?

Make no mistake, the Galaxy S8 is the most forward-looking phone the world has seen in the last couple of years. The things Samsung is doing with its AI assistant Bixby, display technologies, digital payments and iris scanner are quite impressive. That being said, it lives and dies by its own sword - just like Darth Vader in Star Wars.

What makes it so astoundingly powerful and formidable is also potentially its biggest weakness. If it's gorgeous, it is because of its screen, but if your drop this phone at an angle which would normally not damage a normal phone would wreck the Galaxy S8. As feature rich it is, the software gets slowed down which makes older phones like the Pixel look faster. If you like using a fingerprint scanner than perhaps the Galaxy S8 isn't the best phone around.

That being said, it is the ultimate flagbearer for what one will consider being cutting edge. If you're brave and have deep pockets then the Galaxy S8 is the ultimate expression of cutting edge. So much so, that one can expect Apple to copy quite a few things that have made their way into the S8 in the next iPhone.

Indeed, it is Darth Vader's smartphone manifestation - in a good or bad way depending on your use and desires.

People Are Reprogramming the Galaxy S8's Bixby Button Because It's Currently Pointless

And at the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will live and die by its own sword.