After the fiasco of its fiery flagship, the Galaxy Note7, Samsung has a great deal to prove with the launch of its latest high-end handsets. The South Korean company promised to earn back the trust of its customers after battery issues with the Note7 led to a series of fires, and it has even confirmed that a Galaxy Note8 is on the way, which will be "better, safer and very innovative".
Today, though, Samsung is focusing on the launch of two other high-end handsets. Details of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ have been leaking almost every day in recent weeks - but today, after acknowledging that it's been a "challenging year" for the company, Samsung officially unveiled the new devices.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ both feature an 'Infinity Display' that curves around the left and right edges of the device, along with slim bezels at the top and bottom. Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh said that the devices usher in "a new era of smartphone design", promising a "truly immersive viewing experience without distractions".
Samsung has ditched the physical home button on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, replacing it with a pressure sensitive 'invisible home button' that's built into the display itself.
As Samsung explained, its new handsets include a range of premium features:
- Premium Camera: The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are equipped with an advanced 8MP F1.7 Smart autofocus front camera and 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera for the best low-light, zoom and anti-blur photos with enhanced image processing.
- Powerful Performance: Packing powerful performance and connectivity, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ feature the industry’s first 10nm processor, enabling heightened speed and efficiency. It is also gigabit LTE and gigabit Wi-Fi ready with support for up to 1 Gbps so users can quickly download files, regardless of the file size.
- Robust Entertainment: As the world's first mobile device certified by the UHD Alliance as MOBILE HDR PREMIUM, Galaxy S8 and S8+ let you see the same vibrant colors and contrasts that the filmmakers intended while watching your favorite shows. In addition, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer next-level gaming experiences with vivid and superior graphic technology, as well as Game Pack, featuring top game titles, including select titles supported by the Vulkan API.
- Global Standard in Mobile Security: The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are built on Samsung Knox, a defense-grade security platform. In addition, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will offer a wide selection of biometric technologies including a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner and facial recognition so users can select a secure biometric authentication method that works best for them.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are also the first Samsung handsets to include Bixby, its digital assistant and "intelligent interface", which can be accessed through a dedicated button on each device. Samsung explained:
With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch, vision and text commands. At launch, Bixby’s Voice function will integrate with several Samsung native apps and features including Camera, Contacts, Gallery, Messages and Settings, with the plan to expand its capabilities to include more Samsung and third-party apps in the near future. Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location.
Users can also shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology. As the Bixby ecosystem grows, it will connect across devices, apps and services as a ubiquitous interface, and open up new experiences and scenarios to simplify life.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ support DeX, which allows users to connect their devices to a monitor, mouse and keyboard via an optional dock, promising "a desktop experience". If that sounds familiar, you might remember that Microsoft has been offering similar functionality on Windows 10 Mobile devices for some time through its Continuum feature.
Another feature that will be familiar to Windows 10 Mobile users is iris recognition - but the new Galaxy S8 handsets also offer a range of other security features, including the options of facial recognition, a fingerprint sensor on the rear of the device, and more 'traditional' PIN and pattern unlock.
The new handsets offer IP68 dust- and water-resistance too, as well as wireless charging and fast-charging capabilities, with a 3000mAh battery on the Galaxy S8, and 3500mAh battery on the S8+.
And as you would probably expect, there's a range of compatible accessories available to extend the handsets' functionality, such as a wireless charging pad, mobile battery pack, Gear VR headset, Gear 360 camera, and a range of covers, including a QWERTY keyboard cover, and a kickstand-style 'standing cover'.
Here are the key specs of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+:
|Feature||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
Quad HD+ (2960x1440px)
Quad HD+ (2960x1440px)
Octa-core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10nm processor
(May differ by country and carrier)
Dual Pixel 12MP
|802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (dual-mode)
GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou
Heart rate sensor
RGB light sensor
Wireless charging (WPC / PMA)
Wireless charging (WPC / PMA)
|Dimensions||148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm
|159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm
Oddly, Samsung isn't saying anything about exactly which processor the Galaxy S8 and S8+ use - instead, it repeatedly referred to processors built on a new 10nm process. The devices are widely believed to use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, especially given that Samsung partnered with Qualcomm in its development.
The device will be available in five colors: Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Coral Blue, Arctic Silver, and Maple Gold. All Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets will include a set of AKG headsets, which will also be sold separately for $99.
They will go on sale on in the United States on April 21, and in Europe on April 28. Samsung didn't announce prices during the event, but according to Best Buy, the Galaxy S8 will be priced at $749.99, and the S8+ at $849.99.