After months and months of speculation, rumors and (deliberate?) leaks, the Samsung Galaxy S8 along with its Plus sibling were finally announced to a packed auditorium in Samsung’s exclusive event scheduled for this very purpose. The event, like most other Samsung events, began with the President of Mobile Devision, D J Koh reminiscing on the challenging year that Samsung had referring to the Note 7 debacle and emphasized Samsung’s learnings from this difficult period.
Heralding a new era for smartphones with its bezelless design, Mr. Koh announced the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. While almost all of the info about the phones were leaked in the days preceding its launch, there were a few surprises in store as well. Here’s everything you need to know about the phones:
While not explicitly detailed at the event, the phones are expected to come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 Chipset with some variants possibly featuring Samsung’s own Exynos 8895. Manufactured on a 10 nm process (which Samsung incorrectly referred to as being a 10 nm processor instead), the Octa-Core Snapdragon consists of four 2.3 GHz cores and four 1.7 GHz cores and is expected to give a 10% increase in performance compared to the S7.
Build & Design
The Galaxy S8 features Samsung’s new Infinity Edge-To-Edge Bezel-less Curved Display which offers more usable area per screen. The screen-sizes themselves are 5.8 inches for the smaller S8 and 6.2 inches for the larger S8+. Both phones are expected to have the same 2990 x 1440 Quad-HD variant resolution.
The camera mostly remains the same, carried over from the S7. The rear camera is a 12 MP dual sensor whereas the front has been bumped up to 8 MP. There were murmurs about the camera being able to capture 1000 FPS video but they weren’t confirmed at the event.
The highlight of the conference seems to have been the experiences offered by Samsung rather than specifications. To that effect the Galaxy S8, just like the numerous other flagships, will feature a new Smart Assistant named Bixby with its own Dedicated Button. Created through its acquisition of Viv Labs by former Siri creators, Samsung touts Bixby as being capable of contextual understanding. In the demo for instance, a maps application was opened and on telling Bixby to capture this, Bixby understood that it is the map screenshot that needs to be captured. Bixby will also take care of as many things as it can on its own, only prompting you when necessary, for example while invoking a contact named Cindy in a situation where there are multiple contacts whose names start with Cindy on your phone, it will prompt you to select the right one.
Continuing Samsung’s focus on experiences, Samsung also highlighted its Desktop Experiences which allows the Galaxy S8 to power a Desktop. It’s literally plug and play in that you simply plug in the Galaxy S8 on the Desktop Monitor and you’re good to go. The demo illustrated how a presentation could be worked on and shared over email.
Samsung has built in all sorts of biometric recognition into the phones. The S8s feature an Iris scanner, facial recognition as well as fingerprint recognition with the fingerprint sensor to the back beside the camera (this awkward positioning as per rumors is because Samsung engineers didn’t have enough time to put it below the camera).
The phones will come with 4 GB of RAM. In a rather surprising move, Samsung has bumped up the minimum storage of the S8 to 64 GB. The S8 and S8+ have a 3000 mAH and 3500 mAH battery respectively and are expected to be powered by Android Nougat 7.0 out of the box. The phones have also undergone an 8-point Battery Safety Check in lieu of the Note incident.
Availability & Pricing
Pre-Orders for the phone begin April 7 and they are expected to ship on April 29. The phones will be available in 5 colors and are expected to be priced starting $720 for the S8 and $820 for the S8+ though these will vary from carrier to carrier.