Samsung Galaxy S8: Release date, price, features and everything else you need to know

The company is hoping to bounce back this week after last year's Note 7 catastrophe

Aatif Sulleyman
Monday 27 March 2017 10:30
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2017 appears to be the year that ‘bezel-less’ smartphone design goes mainstream
2017 appears to be the year that ‘bezel-less’ smartphone design goes mainstream

One of the biggest events in the tech calendar is set to take place this week, with Samsung belatedly preparing to unveil its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8.

It will launch alongside the Galaxy S8+, a larger model that’s expected to come with many of the same features and specifications.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S8 ahead of its release.

Design

2017 appears to be the year that ‘bezel-less’ smartphone design goes mainstream, with LG and Sony having already embraced the trend. Samsung looks set to follow, with leaked images showing off a handset with a front panel that’s almost entirely screen.

The regular Galaxy S8 will reportedly measure 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm and feature a 5.8-inch, 2,960 x 1,440 AMOLED display, while the larger Galaxy S8+ will use a 6.2-inch screen with the same resolution.

In order to keep the handsets so compact – the S8 has a much bigger screen than the 5.1-inch S7, but its body is less than a centimetre taller – Samsung has decided to ditch the home button, and the company’s branding will only feature on the back panel. The logo will sit below the the rear camera and potentially problematically placed fingerprint scanner.

It appears to be positioned abnormally high up on the phone’s rear panel, potentially making it uncomfortable to reach, especially for users with small hands. Its off-centre placement – to the right of the camera sensor – could also favour right-handed users more than left-handed users.

Leaks suggest the phones will be available in black, silver, blue, grey and gold colour schemes.

Features

One of the S8’s most notable features is Bixby, a new multilingual AI assistant users can launch through a dedicated button.

Samsung says it will make the S8 more “natural and intuitive” to use, though it will initially only work with a handful of pre-installed apps. The company, however, sees voice commands as the future instead of touch, and wants Bixby to kick off an enormous change.

Reports says it's also capable of recognising text and real-world objects through the Galaxy S8’s camera and tracking them down online, allowing users to make quick purchases.

It’s also expected to run the latest version of Android Nougat, and feature IP68 dust- and water-resistance, expandable storage through a microSD port and a security-focused iris scanner.

Given that Samsung has openly mocked Apple’s controversial decision to drop the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, it seems safe to assume that the S8 will offer the familiar audio connection.

(Evan Blass/Twitter

Camera

The S8’s predecessors are widely recognised as some of the best smartphones for photography on the market, and we fully expect Samsung’s new flagship to deliver once again.

Both the S8 and S8+ are expected to use a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel selfie camera. That’s not much of a change from the S7, which uses a 12-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Battery

Recent Samsung conferences have kicked off with apologies for the disastrous Note 7, and the Galaxy S8 launch will almost certainly begin in the same manner.

The handset’s numerous battery issues were completely unacceptable, but the jokes are dead, Samsung’s grovelling has become painful to watch, and the best thing the company can now do is release a new flagship that blows the competition away. Once again, the jokes are dead.

A 3,000mAh battery is rumoured to be powering the S8, with an enlarged 3,500mAh battery squeezed inside the S8+. Samsung has also made a big deal about its new eight-point battery safety process, which it hopes will be enough to help it regain consumers’ trust.

Samsung has trimmed down the S8’s bezels to help keep it relatively compact, but the move could prove problematic for customers

Launch and release

The Galaxy S8 had been expected to launch at Mobile World Congress last month, but Samsung decided to push proceedings back because of the Note 7 situation. It will instead be revealed at an event on 29 March.

Samsung hasn’t mentioned release dates yet, but multiple leaks have pointed at 21 April. However, a recent report claims that Samsung has, once again, delayed its plans, with a 28 April release date also being spoken of.

The company will announce pricing soon, but early speculation suggests the S8 will cost £799 or €799, depending on who you believe, with the Galaxy S8+ priced at £899, making them two of the most expensive mobiles on the market.

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