Samsung has unveiled Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, it’s next-generation flagship smartphones, at an event in New York. Both the devices bring truly innovative things to the table by maintaining the familiar feel to it. In short, similar outer shell style but beefed up hardware. There are a couple of other redesigns, which makes the user experience a whole lot better. Let’s get into full details.
Talking about the design, Samsung has chosen to go with familiar looking S7 edge design instead of a complete overhaul, which makes sense because Galaxy S7 got huge appraisals from media and fans, which was widely claimed as a ‘step in the right direction.’ We can say that the design of Galaxy S8 series adds a bit more points to what we already have. Users get front & rear glass (Gorilla Glass 5) design with an aluminum ring around the sides. Impressively, Samsung has done a fabulous job in maintaining both devices compact in hand. The Galaxy S8 measures at 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm and weighs in at 155g, while the Galaxy S8+ measures at 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and weighs in at 173g, which concludes slightly bigger dimensions than their respective predecessors but very smaller for the display sizes they offer.
Jumping to the display department, where Samsung has invested a lot of time to refine, Galaxy S8 offers a huge 5.8-inch display with 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution, as well as Galaxy S8+, comes with even massive 6.2-inch 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution. Both are Super AMOLED panels with curves on both sides as everyone can guess, but Samsung branded it as “Infinity Display.” In addition, Samsung has ported HDR capability of Note7’s display to these new panels, but the missing feature is Dolby Vision. Samsung said the panels are Ultra Dynamic Range certified too but more details are yet to be announced.
The Korean giant has partnered with Amazon to provide HDR content to showcase the full potential of the new panel. Lastly, Samsung has gone with unusual 18.5:9 aspect ratio, a similar approach seen from LG for G6. Thus, the displays are taller than usual phones. To accommodate these taller displays, Samsung had to get rid of an iconic physical home button as well as Samsung logo at the top. To put in one sentence, users will mostly see display up front, which truly showcase the potential of Samsung’s engineering department. A big thumbs-up to the team for setting the benchmark here.
Since the home button is gone, there are virtual buttons, which are pressure sensitive, so users can press hard on the screen (where you usually see software home button) to jump back to the home screen even though you don’t see any button there, thanks to the smart implementation. The fingerprint has been relocated next to the camera sensor, which could be ‘Ok place’ but not revolutionary by any means. Moreover, you could end up smudging the camera lenses.
Under the hood, new Galaxy S8 devices are powered by Snapdragon 835 Octa-core SoC or Exynos 9 8895 SoC. The US region will be getting Snapdragon 835 powered units and rest of the world will get Exynos variant. However, more details will be announced down the road. There is 4GB RAM, and all models offer 64GB UFS 2.1 storage, but some China and Korea models will be getting 6GB RAM and 128GB storage to compete with local smartphone competition. Unsurprisingly, there is UFS/microSD hybrid slot for easier storage expansion of up to 256GB. Both the devices run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with completely redesigned TouchWiz UI/ Samsung Experience UI. The redesign looks very stylish and seems to have inspired from Sci-fi movies. Samsung has also implemented a swipe up gesture to open App Drawer just like what we saw with Pixel launcher on Google Pixel/Pixel XL.
Samsung has also introduced Bixby Virtual Assistant, which has surprisingly got its own hardware button sitting below the volume rocker. Users can press it at any time to trigger the Bixby and pass a voice command. The company said during the presentation that Bixby could virtually do all the things using voice commands, which you normally do with touch. It could be seen later this year as Samsung is still maintaining tight lip about real world applications of it. However, Samsung has a very ambitious goal for Bixby since it’s expecting most of the Samsung’s Internet of Things to be connected under Bixby by 2020.
The camera on the back is largely unchanged from S7. The same 12MP Dual Pixel sensor is back but with improved image processing, so users should see better exposure in photos. There is Multiframe Processing, which is expected to work just like Google’s HDR+ feature. Coming to up front, users find upgraded 8MP sensor with a wide-angle lens and Auto Focus. Galaxy S8 devices are first phones on the planet to support 1-gigabit LTE connection. Users will find the usual set of connectivity features. Another expected thing is that both phones are IP68 Water/Dust certified and yes, you have 3.5mm headphone jack, and Samsung will also be bundling dual driver (11mm and 8mm) equipped headphones in the retail box, which are tuned by AKG for better sound output. For the first time, Galaxy S series devices have got USB Type-C port, which would supply fast charging alongside USB 3.1 data speeds. The port has also become center point to turn your Galaxy S8 into a full blown computer. It can be done by a specially designed DeX dock (would be sold separately) that connects through USB-C port. The demos show promising performance, unlike other implementations in the past from different smartphone makers and Samsung has neatly optimized its interface to enable multi-window computing.
Pricing & Availability:
Samsung didn’t announce the exact pricing of S8 models as it will differ based on the carrier. However, the unlocked models are expected to demand $750/€809 for Galaxy S8 and $850/€909 for Galaxy S8+. As of now, Samsung launched following color options – Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold, Midnight Black and Orchid Gray. You can pre-order the devices in selected countries starting March 30th, and devices will go on sale starting April 21st in the US and April 28th in the European region, respectively. Samsung will release more availability details in the coming weeks.
Do you think, Samsung has hit a home run with Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below.