I take all my photos with my Samsung S8 phone when I travel, and I can’t recommend it enough for other travelers and bloggers. I can’t compare it to other phones since I only use the Samsung line, but I can say why I think it’s the best phone on the market (except maybe the new S9).
PS: this is not a sponsored post.
When I was choosing my first phone several years ago, one of the main factors which slanted me toward Android phones over Apple was the compatibility. At the time, Apple had exclusive formats for most multimedia files and playing other files on their devices was not easy. Connecting to other devices wasn’t easy either. I had a Dell PDA (one of those obsolete Personal Digital Assistants), an iPod and a Samsung tablet. The one which worked the best and was the easiest to connect to other devices and programs was the tablet, so I stayed with Samsung. My first phone was the Samsung Galaxy S4, which I conveniently dropped in the toilet in Trafalgar Square.
Using VLC I played any media file. With the Aldiko eReader app I read ebooks designed for Apple (ePub format). Best of all, I connected easily to my laptop to transfer files without having to specially configure my device or use iTunes. Perhaps it was a minor feature, but it was the catalyst.
While Apple products have become more versatile and compatible, I’ll always prefer the Android OS and its ease of use. The Samsung S8 has yet to give me any problems with using different files, connecting to other devices or ease of use with the OS.
My first camera on my travels was the Canon Powershot ELPH 310, the new model of which is still one of the best point-and-shoot cameras on the market, and with a very nice price tag.
By the end of 2015, I found that my Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 was taking better photos than the camera, but I could tell my photos were still nowhere near as good as they should be for the blog. I started researching different DSLRs.
In the Summer of 2016 before my return to northern Europe, I had saved up enough money for a new camera. The only problem is I also needed a phone. After extensive research, I decided to go with the Samsung S7, combining the phone with an amazing camera at a slightly higher cost. Since then, nearly every photo taken for my Instagram account has been with my S7 or S8 phones.
Perhaps the best feature of using the phone as my camera is the portability. It fits in my pocket, doesn’t require special baggage or a dozen accessories, and…well…I was going to say I wouldn’t be as worried about having it stolen, but would be a lie. At least all my photos are backed up each day to the cloud with the phone.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand fully the limitations of using a phone camera, and I’d love to have a DSLR. Until I do, I’m constantly improving my skills at taking photos with the phone.
It wasn’t until I enrolled in film school that I realized my phone was capable of 4K video. The one disadvantage is that the auto-stabilizer is deactivated when filming in 4K, which necessitates a tripod or gimbal. I’ve now purchased a tripod optimized for smartphones, and look forward to adding some more video content to my blog in the near future.
The new Samsung phones leave little wanting when it comes to speed. There is almost never any wait time for routine programs, and photo and video editing are surprisingly fast. Perhaps the best feature when it comes to speed is the quick launch feature for the camera. Although the S7 was a little faster lauching the camera (less than two seconds), the S8 is still ready to take a shot in under three seconds of double-pressing the power button.
Too many times in my travels, I’ve had friends with iPhones that stopped working while my Samsung S8 continued to perform flawlessly. The two biggest differences seem to be SIM Card compatibility and temperature. Apple phones have an operating temperature between 32° and 95° F. I feel like I’ve personally been outside that range for at least half my travels and my phone has never shut down. I’ve also never had a problem switching SIM cards, which I often do around the world.
Project Extreme Titanium Case
Perhaps the best feature of both the S7 and S8 is the durability. They’re both water resistant, scratch-resistant and shatter-resistant. Somehow I seem to test that too often, and thus I invested in a unique case when I first purchased my S7 and again with my S8.
The case I use is from Project Extreme. Crafted from titanium, the thin strip of metal is nearly weightless while affording nearly perfect protection for the phone. I dropped my Samsung S7 phone at least a dozen times, sometimes from shoulder height or higher, and at least once with force. The surface the phone landed on was concrete or marble more often than not. Despite all the abuse, the phone itself was never damaged, and the case only received minor scratches and dents. Since I’ve had the S8, I’ve dropped it three times, and except for one dent where it landed on a rock, you could hardly tell by looking at the case.
The case is also very comfortable in the hand, and the titanium also amplifies signal reception for the phone. With a price tag of only $35, the LX Titanium Case is one of the best investments I’ve made in my travels.
Project Extreme also has their own series of hi-fi aluminum headphones. I obtained a set of SX550 Headphones, and they’re my best earbuds to date. Unfortunately without a microphone and volume control, they’re not as useful with the phone, but they’ve proved invaluable in cafes with my laptop, and are also great on planes to compensate pressure changes in my ear, and drown out engine noise.
As you can tell, I can’t recommend my Samsung S8 phone enough. Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is now out, and thus I would recommend that model if you’re looking for a new phone. Youtube mega-influencer and tech reviewer Dave Lee names the S9 as his favorite phone, and I believe Youtuber Casey Neistat also uses the Samsung S8 Note as his primary phone. While I don’t have multiple phones, I wouldn’t ever go with anything else. Hopefully you will agree. If so, click on any of the links in this article to order your new phone.