Samsung have uncovered the latest iteration of their flagship series, the Galaxy S8 at the Unpacked event in New York.
The S8 will come in two sizes, the 5.8-inch S8 and 6.2-inch S8+ and will feature a curved ‘infinity display’ formerly seen on the ‘edge’ models as standard.
Samsung is known for having some of the best displays in the business and the S8 takes that to another level with a new display that runs almost the full length of the smartphone. The company calls this an “Infinity Display” and indeed believes it will usher in a new era of “Infinity smartphones.” It supports the latest video standards that have so far only been limited to televisions, including HDR, for a more accurate picture.
Since the display stretches nearly to the bottom of the smartphone, where a home button used to live, Samsung employed special technology that allows the user to press into the display. This serves as the actual home button, returning users to the main screen whenever it’s pressed.
Samsung managed to squeeze nearly every latest piece of tech into the Galaxy S8. You’ll find Qualcomm’s most advanced Snapdragon processor inside, which means the phones will support the next generation of super-fast wireless data networks (gigabit LTE, 5G) when they roll out later this year. It should also offer better battery life and great support for processor-intensive apps like games. You’ll also find the latest version of Android installed (Android Nougat), which has support for running applications side by side, the latest performance and security patches and built-in battery life savings.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are chock full of biometric technology. There’s a fingerprint reader on the back, an option that has become standard on even the most affordable smartphones. There’s an iris scanner on the front, a feature that was also present on the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. Finally, there’s a new face scanner, which Samsung hopes folks will use to quickly unlock their smartphones.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ offer IP68 ratings. That means they’re resistant to up to 30 minutes in 5 meters of water, more than enough protection for anyone who’s vulnerable to getting tossed in the pool this summer. The dust resistance should help protect your phone from sand, too, in case you’re planning a visit to the beach.
The Galaxy S8 is potentially one of Samsung’s most important device launches of recent times as it faces stiff competition from the likes of Apple and Huawei, a maturing smartphone market, and seeks to make the Note 7 episode – in which it was forced to recall and discontinue the smartphone because they were catching fire – a distant memory.
Turn your phone into a PC
The South Korean electronics giant also unveiled a new feature called Dex. It’s a device that users can dock a Galaxy S8 on, then plug into a monitor or TV, effectively turning it into a PC. It runs a version of Google’s Android operating system optimized for a larger screen. Samsung also said several apps such as Google’s YouTube were optimized for the bigger screen.
Samsung also used its launch event to unveil a new Gear 360 camera which allows users to film 360-degree video and broadcast this to sites such as YouTube or Facebook. It’s the firm’s second generation version of the device, as it pushes further into virtual reality and keep users locked into Samsung’s ecosystem of devices.
Samsung also revealed Bixby, a smart voice assistant to rival Apple’s Siri. It will be able to answer questions you ask, but Samsung highlighted how it’s different.
One use case involved taking a picture of a monument and Bixby being able to tell you information about this as well as recommendations of restaurants nearby. Another example allowed a user to ask Bixby to bring up all the photos taken in London.
While Bixby’s functions will be limited at the beginning, functionality will grow. To this end, Samsung Connect was also launched. It’s an app that allows users to control a number of internet-connected home devices such as TVs or refrigerators. Bixby will launch with the ability to understand American English and Korean. Samsung is working with partners to allow Bixby to control other apps and appliances.
Samsung President of Mobile Communications Business DJ Koh said:
“The Samsung Galaxy S8 ushers in a new era of smartphone design and fantastic new services, opening up new ways to experience the world.
“The Galaxy S8 is our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what’s possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung’s smartphone legacy.”
The device will be available in midnight black or orchid grey and can be pre-ordered from Samsung until April 19 and will receive their handset from April 20 depending on stock availability.
In the UK and Europe, the Galaxy S8 will launch on April 28 with the standard version costing £689 and the S8+ priced at £779.
Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Specs
|Category||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
|Operating System||Android 7.0 Nougat||Android 7.0 Nougat|
2960×1440 (570 ppi)
2960×1440 (529 ppi)
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
or Samsung Exynos 8895
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
or Samsung Exynos 8895
|Storage||64GB (UFS 2.1)||64GB (UFS 2.1)|
|Expandable||microSD up to 256GB||microSD up to 256GB|
|Rear Camera||12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7|
|12MP Dual Pixel, f/1.7|
|Front Camera||8MP, f/1.7|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO|
NFC, GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou
|Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO|
NFC, GPS, Glonass, Galileo BeiDou
|Water resistance||IP68 rating||IP68 rating|
|Security||One-touch fingerprint sensor|
|One-touch fingerprint sensor|
|Dimensions||148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm||159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm|
|Weight||155 g||173 g|