Samsung Galaxy S8: Everything to know

After weeks (months?) of seemingly endless leaks, early this morning Samsung officially unveiled this year’s Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. The pair is looking to take on both a slew of competing Android devices, as well as the seemingly insurmountable Apple iPhone 7.

It’s easily the best looking hardware Samsung has ever produced, even if only an iterative evolution of last year’s Galaxy S7. It’s more refined thanks to Samsung creating a phone that’s almost all display, but still cramming top notch hardware into a sleek, shiny, and gorgeous package. Oh, and comes in a handful of colors too. There’s a lot to take in, but if you’re curious to learn more about the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus — this is everything you need to know.

The Specs

Let’s be real. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus’ real claim to fame — as in, the big new hardware spec — is its extremely small bezels. Samsung calls it their “Infinity Display” because, when combined with the curved edges, makes it seem like the phone is almost all display. It’s impressive and since Samsung is the only manufacturer offering this unique display on a smartphone, it definitely gives them an edge on the competition.

Of course, the rest of the hardware is great too. For a more detailed look at everything inside the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, take a look at the quick spec list below.

Galaxy S8 specs

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor
  • Display: 5.8-inch 18:9 Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Display (2960 x 1440; 571ppi)
  • Memory: 4GB LPDDR4 RAM / 64GB Storage / MicroSD (up to 256GB)
  • Front Camera: 8MP / Autofocus / Flash / HDR / Selfie Panorama Mode
  • Rear Camera: 12MP / Autofocus / Voice Control / HDR / Flash / OIS / Pro Mode / Panorama Mode / Hyperlapse
  • Battery: 3,000mAh (embedded)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm
  • Weight: 163g152
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
  • Sensors: Accelerometer / Gyroscope / Proximity / Ambient Light / GPS / Glonass / Beidou 
  • Colors: Black Carbon / Arctic Silver / Orchid
  • Other: IP68 Water and Dust Resistant / Fingerprint Sensor / Samsung Experience 8.1 /  Rapid Charging / 3.5mm Headphone Jack / Bixby AI Personal Assistant / Always On Display / Samsung Knox 2.8

Galaxy S8+ specs (differences)

  • Display: 6.2-inch 18:9 Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Display (2960 x 1440; 529ppi)
  • Battery: 3,500mAh (embedded)

Accompanying the differences in display size and battery capacity between the S8 and S8 Plus are much different overall size and weight. Here’s where the two devices fall in each of those categories.

Dimensions and weight

  • Galaxy S8: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm / 152g
  • Galaxy S8+: 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm / 173g

How do they compare to last year’s model?

With prices of older smartphone dropping all the time, it’s entirely possible carriers and retail stores will begin offering killer deals on last year’s Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The hardware in the Galaxy S8 could be seen as a modest upgrade from the Galaxy S7, that’s why we pitted the two generations against each other in a spec comparison.

Even though they’re similar, there’s still some unique aspects of the hardware that a spec sheet might not cover. Here’s a few key features that have been improved on the Galaxy S8:

  • Improved cameras: The Galaxy S8/S8+ now feature higher resolution 8MP f/1.7 Smart autofocus front facing cameras. The rear cameras are still 12MP, f/1.7 Dual Pixel but now feature “enhanced image processing,” giving them a slight edge against the S7.
  • More powerful performance: The Galaxy S8/S8+ feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 processor — the industry’s first 10 nm chip — for increased performance and connectivity speeds.
  • HDR: The Galaxy S8/S8+ have been certified by the UHD Alliance as “Mobile HDR Premium,”  which is said to deliver richer colors and increased dynamic range when watching shows/movies.
  • Improved security: Galaxy S8/Galaxy S8+ are still utilizing Samsung Knox (Samsung’s “defense-grade” security platform) but now offer additional biometric authentication with either a fingerprint on the rear or iris scanner for added convenience.

What stayed the same

  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • Micro SD support up to 256GB
  • Always-on display
  • Fast charging (wired and wireless) capabilities

For those looking for a bit more on insight on whether or not they’re the S8/S8 Plus is worth the trade-off in hardware, check out our original posts linked below. There you’ll find a poll where our readers have cast their votes.

Brand new features

There’s a lot of impressive tech powering the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus (as covered above), but there’s still plenty of new software additions you can find on each of the devices. With all that hardware stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at the new software features you’ll find on Samsung’s latest Galaxies.

Bixby

This is Samsung’s new “intelligent” voice assistant, similar to Google Assistant or Siri. The difference is that Bixby has much more control over your device, allowing you to control basic functions completely hands-free. There’s a button on the side of the dive that allows you to activate Bixby, or it can be done by simply speaking “Bixby” to your phone. A Google Now-like home screen is also available, showing you contextual information based on your smartphone usage Bixby can even work from the camera, scanning objects or locations in the real world and searching for similar products online. It’s pretty advanced and could be the Galaxy S8’s killer feature.

Samsung DeX

This feature allows you to use your smartphone like a computer simply by inserting it into a dock. The dock then outfits the S8 with full sized ports for a keyboard/mouse, and even an HDMI port to connect to a full-sized display. It’s desktop-like functionality, in a smartphone. Fore more on Dex, head on over to our post here.

Iris scanner and facial recognition

The Galaxy S8 features iris and facial recognition allowing you to secure your phone using the unique pattern/shape characteristics of your eyes or face. This can be used as a method of unlocking the phone, verifying Samsung account info, or signing into web pages and means you wont even have to get used to the phone’s odd fingerprint sensor placement.

Dual Audio

You can connect two Bluetooth devices to the Galaxy S8 simultaneously using their all new Dual Audio feature. Using Bluetooth 5.0, you can then adjust the volume levels for each device independently, so everyone gets to enjoy media at their optimal comfort.

Improved battery retention

Samsung says the battery in the Galaxy S8 will degrade less rapidly than the other devices. Whereas the S7 was only able to maintain about 80% of it’s effective battery capacity after a year’s worth of charge/discharge cycles, the Galaxy S8 will retain 95% with the same amount of usage.

For more on details on Galaxy S8 and S8+ key features, check out our post linked below where we list all of them in great detail.

How do they compare to other Android phones?

Now that the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are finally official, you may be wondering how Samsung’s newest flagships compare against Android’s latest and greatest. There’s really a lot to cover here but so we’ll keep it brief, highlighting the major differences in hardware specs when comparing the Galaxy S8/S8+ against competing Android devices.

It’s worth noting that it’s still pretty early in the year and there’s lots of new smartphones coming around the bend, but as of right now, here’s how the best Android devices match up.

How much is it?

Like previous Galaxy S devices, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus don’t come cheap. The price you’ll have to pay for cutting edge hardware may differ slightly depending on where you shop, with different incentive deals throwing in freebies as well. When it comes to specific carrier pricing, here’s what you can expect to pay (either up front or through payments) from each major carrier. You may want to sit down for this.

AT&T

  • Galaxy S8 – $750
  • Galaxy S8+ – $850

T-Mobile

  • Galaxy S8- $750
  • Galaxy S8+ – $850

Verizon

  • Galaxy S8 – $720
  • Galaxy S8+ – $840

Unlocked

The unlocked version of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be available for pre-order from Best Buy on May 9th. This version will come free of carrier bloatware/apps and in theory, should receive major software updates faster than its carrier branded counterparts (even if that didn’t happen with last year’s S7). Links provided below.

Promotions

Those who pre-order a Galaxy S8/Galaxy S8+ will get a free Gear VR headset with their new motion controller and free Oculus content. There will also be a limited edition premium bundle which adds a 256GB memory card and Bluetooth AKG headphones for an additional $99. It’s only valid for purchase made between 3/30/2017 – 4/20/2017 and must be redeemed by May 14th, 2017, via Samsung’s promotions page here.

When is it coming out?

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be available in US stores beginning April 21st at AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, Straight Talk Wireless, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. Color options include the Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, and Arctic Silver models.

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ pre-orders kick off 12:01 EDT on March 30th for those looking to get it before anyone else.

First impressions

So what do we think about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus? Check out the video above to hear our opinions on the two models.

Topics from the discussion:

  • Weird aspect ratio
  • Why does China get 6GB of RAM?
  • U.S. is only getting three colors
  • Is the black really black or just kinda black?
  • Fingerprint scanner is in a bad spot
  • Are Samsung cameras falling behind?
  • Bixby is more than a gimmick
  • Galaxy S7 Edge still has a bigger battery
  • Hurray for headphone jacks
  • Yay for battery degradation improvements
  • Very expensive phone (but no surprise there)

http://phandroid.com/2017/03/29/galaxy-s8-plus-everything/

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