Bixby and Final Thoughts
One of the more noteworthy functions introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S8 was Samsung’s new personal assistant, Bixby. In my time with Bixby, I was curious to see if it was just another Google Assistant with Samsung flavorings. Sure enough, Bixby was ready to clone many, if not all, of the Google Assistant’s functions. Using voice commands through Bixby, we were able to perform tasks like controlling screen brightness, asking about weather and traffic conditions, and even asking for a joke.
Bixby pretty much matched the Google Assistant’s responses and results for the most part. Bixby would either perform the task requested or speak the answer to our requests out loud. When it couldn’t do either directly, it would automatically pull up the top search results on the web for what was asked. At the very least, you can tell Bixby “Great” when it hit the nail on the head as a response to your request. In this way, you can teach Bixby your preferred flavor of responses to your requests, hopefully leading to better results in the long run.
Bixby Vision, a function where you can search based on what the S8’s camera is looking at, is also pretty handy. Surely, there are apps out there that do similar things, such as apps that translate text for you and such. However, when you’re curious about an object in front of you and just want to get either purchase options or any info you can, it’s not like you can pull up google and know what to type. Bixby Vision demonstrates a bit of practicality as it handles searching by image, shopping options and text translation all at the same time.
In that regard, Bixby was pretty handy. I was able to identify figurines and search where to buy the same or similar items with just a picture. The translator also worked well and did a good job assuming the correct language to translate from. Now you can go in-person to foreign shops with a dash of confidence, or have some idea about what you’re about to eat in when looking at a foreign menu.
Sometimes it was even able to identify half-eaten morsels of food, which was trippy.
Of course it wasn’t perfect, as computers will always goof on the obvious from time to time. Take this inquisitive Bixby Vision shot of a Fossil watch. Even though the word “Fossil” is in the image, the search results gave back all kinds of watches with none of them being a Fossil watch.
I have to say, while I still somewhat feel like Bixby repeats the function of apps already out in the market, I do like that at the very least all of those functions are accessible in one spot. I appreciate the convenience of a Bixby button on the side of the Samsung Galaxy S8, allowing you to wake up your phone and get you straight to Bixby in one swift motion. Also being able to say a sort of “Good boy!” to Bixby has its merits, as you can hopefully avoid hitting the same pitfalls over and over again over time. Not being a big user of “assistant” apps myself, I was still generally impressed by Bixby in terms of convenience and ease of use.
Where I am absolutely impressed is with the product of the Samsung Galaxy S8 as a whole. The mostly Corning Gorilla Glass body of the Samsung Galaxy S8 is both a pleasure to hold and a pleasure to look at. The screen display is so vivid, crisp and bright that you feel as if it will make even the blandest of imagery seem beautiful. The S8 is a processing powerhouse, standing reading to handle your rigorous workloads and intense games. Samsung never slouches with their flagship phone cameras and this camera is no different. You take beautiful shots and videos with the S8’s camera and you only enjoy watching the results on the S8’s brilliant display.
Samsung devices will not be without their “S-features” and “S-what-nots”, so you can either take or leave what Samsung gives you off the bat in the Samsung Galaxy S8. At the very least, I didn’t find myself opposed to what Samsung’s stuffed into the S8. The Edge Panels continue to be a handy way of getting to favorites fast and could still use more alternatives to their news, sports and weather options. Samsung is all about lifestyle, making Samsung Health an understandable and handy add-in. Should you care extra about your health, at least the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes ready with sensors and apps to help you track your progress.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 even takes measures to safeguard its safety and yours. With all phones, we always get that sense of Murphy’s Law waiting for us around the corner. A simple dunk of a cellular device into the toilet could end the life of most devices. The Samsung Galaxy S8’s IP68 rating of dust and water resistance helps give S8 owners one less thing to worry about. Not to mention, the iris scanner adds a new and stronger security layer to your phone’s access, your purchases, and your online identity.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is an absolute success of a product that sets a bar for all 2017 flagships to meet or surpass. If you’re in the market for a new device, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has to be on your list of devices to check out as you make your decision.
† Samsung Galaxy S8 loaner review unit provided by Samsung PR. We were not compensated for this review.