Today Samsung officially unveiled the anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Not a lot changed from what we expected but a few more have been brought to our attention about the device.
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have started a new chapter for Samsung. The devices appear to be slightly different in design compared to it’s last two generation flagships — the S6 and S7. New features have been added as well. To keep this simple, I will break these down one after the other.
The S8 and S8 Plus have the same design, the S8 being the bigger one. They are covered in Gorilla Glass both front and back with a metal sandwiched between the two. Due to the curvature, the side bezels on the phones are barely noticeable. The bottom and top bezels are also further reduced.
On the front Samsung retains it’s curved display that started with the Galaxy S6 Edge. In fact, Samsung ditches the flat display on both devices hence no S8 variant with flat screen. The S8 and S8 Plus curves are however subdued to allow the device be firmly held in the hand. It does not only ditch the flag display but Home button to adopt on-screen buttons. First time we are seeing Samsung take this route. The buttons sit at the bottom of the screen but not always available. They’re visible only when needed, off when watching a video or when it’s the lock screen on display.
At the top of the display is speaker for phone calls, front-facing camera and iris scanner that was first seen in the Galaxy Note 7. Samsung promises it’s more accurate that before. On the very top is where the sim slot is found. The right side of the phone has a power button, while the left side has a volume rocker and a physical key for Bixby AI Assistant.
On the bottom Samsung still keep the headphone jack while many manufacturers are starting to exclude it, the microphone, USB Type-C port and one speaker grill.
On the back sits the camera in the middle of the heart rate sensor and finger-print scanner which rather appears to be in an odd place which may make it awkward to get to. Other manufacturers have it placed on the front or on the back beneath the camera for better reach since it would be easily noticeable, away from other components.
The Galaxy S8 is the standard version that comes in at 5.8 inches with Quad HD+Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2960 by 1440 at 570 pixels-per-inch. The S8 Plus steps in as the bigger version at 6.2 inches, same type of display and resolution but with a lower ppi of 529. Difference in sharpness is however not noticeable to the naked eye. These must be some of the best displays in smartphones today.
The two devices run Samsung’s Touchwiz on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. Some of us expected the latest 7.1.1 on board but hopefully will be pushed shortly after the devices have been made available. Samsung also introduces it’s own digital AI assistant called Bixby with hope to go against the like of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana but it happens to be in a rather beta state as of now. Samsung promises to work on it till the release day. Google’s own AI Assistant comes baked right in. I guess it’s safe to say the device will have two Assistants on board only Bixby with more integration into Samsung’s own skin.
The S8 and S8 Plus share similar CPUs. Both use a 10nm 64-bit Octa-core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz (4 cores) and 1.9GHz (4 cores). It’s important to note that there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and Exynos variant. Qualcomm SD expected to go to the US and a few parts and the rest will receive the Exynos version. Performance is expected to be similar.
Both devices come with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM with on-board storage 64GB expandable via MicroSD of up to 256GB.
They both have an 8 megapixel sensor on the front with an f/1.7 aperture and retain the same 12 megapixel Dual Pixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture from the Galaxy S7 only with a few software enhancements like a Multi-frame processor. The S7 had one of the best cameras in a phone. It makes sense to still retain it but perhaps Samsung wouldn’t have used the same and provided better since manufactures such as Google and Apple already give the Galaxy S7 a run for it’s money in the camera department.
Samsung also announced DeX along with the two phones. This is Samsung’s solution to Microsoft’s Continuum. What it does is allow users to hook their S8 or S8 Plus onto a monitor to have them use the phone’s processing power in a more desktop format for better productivity. The dock comes with two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, a USB Type-C port, and an integrated cooling fan.
Other features may include a 3000mAh battery in the Galaxy S8 and 3500mAh in the Galaxy S8 Plus. They both support wireless charging. Both phones are also IP68 certified water and dust resistant.
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be available on Friday, April 21 but Samsung is taking pre-orders in some parts like the US and carriers are offering the Galaxy S8 for $750 and Galaxy S8 Plus for $850.
Photos Coutesy of Joshua Goldman/CNET