Opinion: The Note 7 casts a shadow over the S8 - and the S8 doesn't deserve it

Bad though the Note 7 disaster was, Samsung shouldn't be taking it out on its new phones, says Marc McLaren

One thing that's immediately obvious from the launch of the Galaxy S8 is that it'll take the world - and Samsung - time to get over the Note 7 debacle.

The S8 and S8+ are fantastic, ultra-desirable phones in many ways. But in others they're a curious mix of underpowered specs and overkill features.

And that's all the fault of the Note 7 and Samsung's own reaction to it.

A series of unfortunate events

In the run-up to today's event, the mainstream press was awash with articles stating that this was the most important Samsung launch for years - a launch it had to get right due to the unplanned pyrotechnical abilities of the last Note.

On social media, wags responded to stories about the impending launch with jokes about it exploding. Consumers stated that they wouldn't trust another Samsung device. TV funnyman John Oliver dedicated a whole section of his show to it.

During the event the comments kept coming - on Stuff's Facebook Live page, on Twitter, everywhere; I wouldn't be surprised if right now someone on top of a mountain in Nepal was cracking a joke about the S8 launch being explosive.

That's all fair enough. Samsung screwed up massively with the Note, both in terms of not building the thing properly and in how it handled the recall. People are entitled to mock it as a result, and to be wary of future products.

But what I'm more bothered about is how Samsung itself seems to have hamstrung its new flagships as a reaction.

Where's the power?

First up, there's the battery: the S8 has only a 3000mAh cell inside it. That's the same as the Galaxy S7, sure - but the S7 only had a 5.1in screen whereas the S8's is 5.8in. That's a lot of extra glass to power. The Exynos 8895 processor inside it may well cope admirably with the challenge, but I suspect it'll struggle to be better than average on this front. 

The bigger S8+ handset gets a bigger 3500mAh battery - but again, that's got to power a massive 6.2in display. In comparison the S7 Edge had a 3600mAh cell and a 5.5in screen.

Why so stingy this time? Well maybe Samsung has worked out how to eke out juice from a smaller cell. Or maybe, just maybe, it's playing it safe rather than pushing things as far as it could.