Samsung officially unveiled the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus on March 29th with both devices due to be officially released on April 21st, and retailers are now offering both to pre-order. Here we round up everything you need to know.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be available in Black Sky, Orchid Grey, and (eventually) Arctic Silver.
The screens of both devices are relatively large. The Galaxy S8 has a 5.7” screen, whereas the S8 Plus has a massive 6.2” screen. This is a substantial increase compared to last year’s S7 and S7 edge, which had 5.1” and 5.5” screens respectively. These edge-to-edge screens are being referred to by Samsung as ‘Infinity Displays’. This new display is the centrepiece of the S8, and the focus of Samsung's marketing
Even though the screen sizes are a lot bigger compared to last year’s flagship models, the phones themselves are not, which means they are relatively comfortable to hold. This image from SlashLeaks shows the Galaxy S8 in the middle compared with the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.
The screens are longer: most modern smartphone and TV screens have a 18:9 aspect ratio. The S8 and S8 Plus will both have a slightly longer 18.5:9 ratio, which means more of the front of the phone is covered by the screen.
For both the S8 and the S8 Plus, the screens are completely edge-to-edge
There are no physical buttons on the bottom of the phone, which means that the position of the fingerprint reader has had to change. You can see the sensor on the right hand side of the rear camera.
The physical home button is replaced with an on-screen icon. A pressure sensor and vibration module have been built into the space behind the on-screen button to provide haptic feedback.
The fingerprint reader is visible on the right hand side of the camera.
In terms of hardware, both phones are best in class, as you would expect:
Processor: Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos (depending on country)
Cameras: 12-megapixel f/1.7 rear camera, 8-megapixel f/1.7 front camera
Other: Headphone jack, USB Type-C, water resistance
As well as having a fingerprint reader, the S8 and S8 Plus will use a combination of facial recognition and iris scanning to unlock the device.
The S8 and S8 Plus also has a Samsung-made smart assistant called Bixby, with a dedicated physical button to launch it. Bixby is meant to be used a little differently compared to the likes of Siri and Google Assistant - its focus is to help you use, navigate, and control the phone, rather than search for information online. It is "context-aware", which means users can ask follow-up questions and assume it is aware of what is currently displayed. Users will be able to jump between voice and touch commands to get things done. Bixby can also be used to recognise nearby objects and show where they are on sale, or provide local information (such as restaurants nearby).
Samsung is also offering a new dock called DeX that connects the S8 and S8+ to a monitor, letting users use their Galaxy S8 as they would a desktop. Given that you need an extra hub to connect your phone to the monitor, and that it's likely that app support will be relatively limited, it will be interesting to see if this takes off. Microsoft has tried this in the past to little success.
Like the S7 and S7 edge, the S8 and S8 Plus are both IP68 certified, which means that they are water resistant to a depth of up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes, and are protected from dirt, dust, and sand.
What the critics say (scores are out of 100)
Trusted Reviews | Max Parker
The best big phone ever. Comfortable to use, stunning to look at and an all-round winner.
Samsung waited a little later in 2017 to unleash its flagship phone - but it was well worth the wait. In short: the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is a masterpiece. It's expensive, but it's a masterpiece nonetheless.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ offers many high-end features, a really good camera, and great runtimes. There is not much criticism for the smartphone after our review. All in all, Samsung developed a great smartphone
All of the S8's accolades apply to the S8 Plus as well: It's a stellar performer that aptly blends beauty and horsepower. Bixby's incompleteness is still annoying, as is the location of the fingerprint sensor, but the S8 Plus is still one of the most impressive packages we've ever seen.
The S8+ certainly delivers a spec sheet arguing for that price tag. No question, there's a lot packed into this gadget. Only you and your wallet can determine if you are really going to get the full return on this investment.
A really rather fantastic phone which sets the bar for 2017 very high indeed. It's super expensive, but it's packed with amazing technology and the overall package is highly rewarding to use. Best of all it has unbelievable battery stamina
Lovers of big phones won't find a prettier device with a larger screen anywhere else, but you'll want to make sure it isn't too tall for you, and the fingerprint reader too hard to reach, before you commit.
Luckily for Samsung, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are excellent devices to begin the work of rehabilitating its image. They are the best Android phones you can buy right now, with stunning displays, beautiful design, and great performance.
Samsung's latest flagship has all the hallmarks of being one of the best phones of 2017, with its excellent design and outstanding display. However, its voice assistant needs a lot of polish to leave its current beta state. It might not be the absolute best phone, but as with previous years, it's likely to be the best phone for most users.
There are two reasons to buy the Galaxy S8+ an epic screen and solid battery life. Everything else is pretty much the same as the smaller S8, but it's more awkward to hold and carry. The S8+ is the king of massive phones, but it's just not quite the best smartphone available.
Samsung's over-sized Galaxy S8 Plus is a smartphone to be reckoned with. In essence, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is the same phone as the S8, with all the things that make that phone great. Is it any better, though? In my view, the answer to that question has to be no
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is very much a five-star handset. It's big, bold and resoundingly beautiful, but the thing that holds it back? There's still that regular-sized S8 to contend with. That's the sticking point and the main reason I've knocked a star off.
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