Even though there have been so many leaks about these phones leading up to this event, they are finally official and I got to use them for a bit at the Unpacked 2017 Samsung Launch Event.
Here’s the low-down on the new phones and everything you need to know.
The big stand-out feature you’ll immediately notice is the screen. Like the Edge devices before it it has a screen that wraps over the edges of the device and curve into the body giving the appearance of a bezel-less (at least on two sides) display. At the top and bottom of the front of the device there are bezels, but they’ve been drastically reduced, thanks in a big part to Samsung finally removing the physical buttons. I’ve been griping about this for a long time, Android has software buttons that change depending on the screen, physical buttons have seemed like a left over unnecessary component to me for while now, so it’s nice to see Samsung finally getting on board.
Samsung does claim that there is a special component that mimics the feel of a physical button at the bottom when the “invisible home” button is pressed. To me it feels like a bit better version of our normal haptic feedback we’re used to seeing on phones.
Both phones are also IP68 certified so it’s the same as the S7 and waterproof up to 1.5 meters in depth for up to 30 mins.
Beyond that, the screen itself is a super nice Super AMOLED screen (that we’ve come to expect from Samsung) that is either 5.8″ on the S8 or 6.2″ on the S8 Plus. Both also have a not-so-normal resolution of 2960×1440. The noticeable difference in resolution from width to height is due to the fact that Samsung is using an 18.5:9 aspect ratio (of course, they had to do .5 more than LG).
Just like the G6, this is Samsung’s way of getting more screen into a thinner device which I appreciate on both of those phones.
Both devices feature a 12MP f1.7 rear camera that has Dual-Pixel tech which is something you find in fancy Canon cameras for example that basically allows the camera to auto-focus really fast. And on the front, they both have a f.17 8MP camera with face detection auto-focus for selfies, of course.
Under the hood both devices have the Snapdragon 835 octa-core processors and 4GBs of RAM, are running Android 7.0 with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top, and have 64GBs of storage internally with a MicroSD card slot that will accept up to a 256Gb card.
There are a range of security options for unlocking the devices. From the fingerprint scanner that is now, also finally, on the back (for me it’s just the natural place your finger goes when you are holding the phone so that just makes sense to me), to an Iris scanner that can use your eye as a password, to a facial recognition system that should unlock the phone as soon as you look at it (think Windows Hello).
Samsung is trying to compete, it seems, with Google’s own Google assistant with the launch of Bixby. Bixby is there own AI that is contextually aware with what is on the screen as well as can be summoned by a dedicated button on the left side of the device.
Powering all of this is a 3000mah battery in the S8 and a 3500mah battery in the S8 Plus.
Samsung also announced Dex, a software that allows the S8 to dock and be used in a more desktop like way with windows, a keyboard, and a mouse, and a new version of the Gear 360 that can be used with the S8 to capture 360 videos and photos but also do live streaming of them as well to Facebook and YouTube.
On the audio front, they also announced that the S8/S8 Plus will include a pair of AKG Pure Sound headphones in every box, which can’t hurt, and that the S8 and S8 Plus has dual audio Bluetooth which will allow you to stream music to two separate bluetooth devices simultaneously, which could be interesting.
And there you go! Quick hands-on with the S8 and S8 Plus. I have to admit, it’s a lot more impressive in person than I thought it would be as far as the design is concerned –it’s definitely sexy. But I’ll leave my judgement until I can review it so stay tuned for that.
What do you guys think of the S8 and S8 Plus?