The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ phones were announced on March 29 at the Samsung UNPACKED 2017 event. Preorders start on March 30 for the Korean tech giant's latest flagships, and sales officially begin in the US on April 21. Samsung will need a smooth release to win back consumer trust after the Note7 mess, and it's already looking like the S8 won't disappoint.
As already mentioned above, the Galaxy S8 will come in two different sizes, the 5.8-inch S8 and 6.2-inch S8+. Unlike last year's Galaxy S7 models, the S8 variants will only be available with curved "edge" screens.
In the United States, the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available for preordering on March 30, 2017, at 12:01 p.m. EDT (9:01 a.m. PDT).
The phones will be available in stores starting April 21. You can pick one up at AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, Straight Talk Wireless, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. Also, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart will carry them, and you'll be able to snag one on the ShopSamsung app, too.
The rumors we've heard over the last few months were spot on here, in terms of size. The new Galaxy S8 will sport a 5.8-inch screen, while the Galaxy S8+ will have a 6.2-inch screen.
Both phones will be equipped with a Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display with a 2,960 x 1,1440 resolution, however, the S8 will have 570 ppi, while the S8+ will only have 529 ppi. The default resolution will be Full HD+, but can be manually changed to the Quad HD+ resolution in the settings.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ come with Samsung's new "Infinity Display" (something that we knew before from a patent), which is an edge-to-edge screen without bezels. The screen-to-body ratio (how much real estate the display occupies in relation to the whole front) is about 84%, which, when compared that with S7's 72.1%— mind blown.
And just like we saw with all of the rumors before, the screens will, in fact, have rounded corners, which is a nice change of pace of Samsung.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are also the first phones to be certified by the UHD Alliance as MOBILE HDR PREMIUM. The UHD Alliance just announced its mobile certification in February, so the certification itself is pretty new for smartphones, though they've been certifying other devices, like Blu-ray players and HDTVs, for a few years now.
The increase of the S8's screen aspect ratio to 84% necessitated the removal of the iconic home button to maintain a balance between size and overall aesthetics. Samsung came up with a brilliant compromise, and embedded a virtual home button in its Always On display. The area within the home button's immediate vicinity is 3d touch enabled with taptic feedback, so pressing on the virtual button will feel just like a traditional analog one.
The Back and Task keys on either side of the home button are now programmable on the S8. This small but significant feature will give individual users the freedom to program those keys according to their personal preference, and will no doubt make switching from other Android devices a whole lot easier.
Just like we thought, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will both have a fingerprint sensor on the back instead of the front, and will be positioned just beside the rear camera. As Samsung puts it, "your finger goes naturally to the fingerprint sensor on the back and it's unlocked in one seamless move," and you won't have to wake the screen first in order to unlock it this way.
Along with the standard security measures such as fingerprint scanning, face recognition, passwords, patterns, and PINs, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will come equipped with iris scanning protection. As Samsung puts it, just "align your eyes with the twin circles on-screen to scan your irises. Your phone is unlocked with a look."
Samsung's new flagships will be the the first smartphones to utilize processors built on the latest 10 nm architecture. The 64-bit octa-core processors not only provide marked improvement in sheer processing power, but also improves on overall efficiency. Thanks to its processor, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are able to handle loads never before utilized in a smartphone en masse, like the ability to become a miniature desktop PC with the use of Samsung DeX.
Although Samsung didn't mention the S8's processor by name at its UNPACKED event, or even on the specs page for the devices, it's safe to say that the US variants of the flagship will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 under the hood, and some other markets will get the Exynos 8895.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have 64 GB of internal storage. Both come with an option for expandable storage via microSD card slot which can support up to 256 GB. Samsung's flagships comes equipped with 4 GB of RAM to help ensure snappy performance, especially when multitasking.
Snapchatters, rejoice! The Galaxy S8 and S8+ features an advanced 8 MP front camera that comes equipped with autofocus. It also has the ability to take wide-angle selfies that's sure to come in incredibly handy for those moments where you need to take a group selfie, or take one under a scenic backdrop.
Other details you'll want to know: it has an f/1.7 aperture, 1.22 µm pixel size, 1/3.6" sensor size, and a field of view of 80 degrees. It also has VDIS (video digital image stabilization), but no stabilization for images.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ both utilize dual pixel sensors in its cameras. The sensors optimizes the 12 MP shooter for better low-light photography and is sure to give the current camera champ, the Google Pixel, a run for its money. Other camera refinements include better software processing, the ability to adjust image quality to suit individual needs, and OIS (optical image stabilization). Just like the front camera, it also has VDIS (video digital image stabilization).
It also has an f/1.7 aperture, with a 1.4 µm pixel size, 1/2.55" sensor size, and a field of view of 77 degrees. There is no optical zoom, but it does have digital zoom that maxes out at 8 times magnification. Other features in the camera app include a pro mode, panoramas, slow motion, hyperlapse, food mode, and RAW file support.
Bixby, Samsung's very own AI, promises to be all-encompassing, and will have access to all the file systems and apps within the flagship. It has the ability to learn from its owner's smartphone habits and organize the S8 accordingly through frequently used tiles that are easily accessed by swiping left of the main screen.
The assistant will also give the user unprecedented ability to interact with the S8 by being able to switch seamlessly between voice and touch commands, and has the ability to even understand incomplete phrases to complete tasks through cognitive tolerance.
Continuing onward from the S7, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. No surprise here.
We've covered most of the major features in the Galaxy S8 and S8+ already, but let's take a second to go over the raw data to get a clearer picture of Samsung's flagships
- screen, S8: 5.8" Quad HD+ Super AMOLED 2,960 x 1,440, 570 ppi
- screen, S8+: 6.2" Quad HD+ Super AMOLED 2,960 x 1,440, 529 ppi
- OS: Android v7.0 Nougat, Touchwiz UI
- processor: Octa-core (2.3 GHz Quad + 1.7 GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm processor
- RAM: 4 GB
- storage: 64 GB (expandable to 256 GB via microSD)
- rear camera: 12-megapixel, dual pixel sensors, OIS, 77º FOV, f/1.7 aperture
- front camera: 8 megapixels, autofocus, 80º FOV, f/1.7 aperture
- battery, S8: 3,000 mAh
- battery, S8+: 3,500 mAh
- charging port: USB Type-C
- quick charge: yes
- wireless charging: yes
- dimensions, S8: 5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches, 5.47oz
- dimensions, S8+: 6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches, 6.10oz
- water resistance: IP68