Exactly one month ago today, I made a decision that I whole heartedly regret. You see, I was gearing up to attend Motor City Comic Con, and my trusty steed of a smartphone was starting to behave erratically. I had been using a Nexus 6P up to that point, and although it was still a decent phone, it had become untrustworthy. Everything that I had grown to love the phone for, was all of a sudden starting to become hindrances. The blazing fast processor had lost a step, the camera was taking forever to launch, and the battery was a shell of its former self. So, with comic con rapidly approaching, I did what I thought was the best thing to do. I went into my local AT&T store, and upgraded my phone. At first, I was in love, but little did I know the honeymoon would end well before I thought it would.
I hopped in a Uber to get down to the Suburban Showplace in Novi, where Motor City Comic Con is held. While sitting in the backseat listening to my Uber driver talk about how long he’d been with the company, I decided to snap my first official selfie with the Galaxy S8. It was here that I first felt the sting of regret in moving away from my Nexus. The front camera on the S8, while good, honestly doesn’t hold a candle to the one on my Nexus 6P. I could snap photos with the front camera on my Nexus that looked better than most people’s main camera. Color, saturation, light balance…it was all perfect on the Nexus. Now, with my Galaxy S8, most photos I take with the selfie camera look really noisy and somewhat grainy. I’ll be the first to admit, low light photos on the Galaxy S8 are actually pretty tremendous. I would trade the clarity in dark pictures for sharper images, with less noise in a heartbeat though.
One of the things Google got right with the Nexus (and later the Pixel) was the tight integration between software and hardware. I absolutely loved the minimalist, purist version of Android that ran on those devices. There was absolute zero bloat on those phones, and because of that, the software ran lighter and butter smooth. With the Samsung Galaxy S8, I noticed a considerable amount of both carrier AND manufacturer bloat, with only about 30% of it uninstallable. For me, this was a huge inconvenience because not only are some of these apps consistently demanding an update, but most of them are also always running in the background. There they sit, in the background, lingering, consuming precious RAM, making your phone slightly less cool by proxy. While I can appreciate the extra effort Samsung puts into their phones, sometimes the less is more approach really is better.
The design of the Galaxy S8 is most definitely one of the absolute best things about it. When it comes to futuristic, modern-day design, with flagship specs backing it, the S8 definitely looks the part. The sloping edges look way more sleek that the squared machined edges on my Nexus. The Nexus sported a really high-end design back when it first came out, but it totally looks its age when compared to the S8. The one really confusing thing about the S8 though, is the location of the fingerprint reader. I loved the placement of it on the Nexus. Right square on the back of the phone, where it was easy to reach, and in most cases, right where your hand would naturally rest anyway. On the S8 it’s located to the right of the camera, in the upper end of the phone. Using the S8 made it slightly difficult to get a good read of my finger, with the S8+ it was nearly an impossibility.
I don’t want this to come off as me bashing the Galaxy S8, because I’m not. In fact, I have nothing but praise for it. This is merely my way of highlighting how good of a phone the Nexus was. Seeing as how I managed to hold onto it for almost two years, I’d say that it definitely left its mark on me. I was a huge fan of the pure Google experience, the excellent cameras, and the smooth performance. Honestly, if it hadn’t started bugging out, I’d probably still be using it right now. I’ll continue to use the S8 for now, but thanks to being spoiled by the Nexus, I’ll almost certainly be moving into an Essential phone or the Pixel 2 next. For now, I’ll keep reminiscing on the good times had with my Nexus 6P. Man, I miss that phone.