Samsung Galaxy S8: Everything You Need to Know
"Samsung announced the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in March 2016 and the two devices received huge amounts of praise for their design, powerful specs and great cameras. No smartphone is perfect though. There will always be a few specs in the rumours that never see the light of day, leaving some disappointed and wanting more.
Don't worry though, more is on its way. Here is what the rumours suggest could appear on the Galaxy S7's successor, the Galaxy S8. A larger device is expected to launch alongside it, known to leakers as the Galaxy S8 Plus. For now, here is everything we know about the smaller Galaxy S flagship.
Samsung Galaxy S8: Release date and price
- 29 March launch
- On sale from mid-April
- Said to cost around €800
Previous release patterns would have seen Samsung launch the Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress 2017, but instead, the company announced the Tab S3 Tablet. It did however confirm when the new flagship's launch event would be though.
Several dates have been knocking around for the last couple of months but Samsung has now tweeted confirming 29th March 2017.
In terms of availability, Ricciolo claimed the device will go on sale on week 17, which is 24 to 28 April, for £849. VentureBeat has said the S8 would cost €799 in Europe however and would go on sale on 21 April, which is slightly earlier than what Ricciolo claimed but the same date ET news has claimed too.
A more recent report from SamMobile says the S8 will cost around $950 (£765) and will come in black, gold and orchid grey colours.
Samsung Galaxy S8: Design
- No flat models rumoured, with two curved instead
- No home button and minimal bezels rumoured
- Similar dimensions to S7 rumoured, despite screen size increase
Rumours claim Samsung will break from tradition and release two curved devices this time around rather than one flat, one edged, so we are expecting the S8 to offer a dual edge display like the S7 edge and Note 7. A leak from Phone Arena only talks about a dual edge curved display device, with no mention of a flat alternative, while a leak of front panels also suggests two curved handsets and both the Guardian and VentureBeat also support this claim.
In other news, it has been reported that a dedicated side-mounted button will make its way onto the Galaxy S8, which will launch Viv, the personal assistant developed by Siri founder Dag Kittlaus. Although the assistant has been confirmed by the company, the dedicated button hasn't as yet, even though VentureBeat has also suggested this button will appear and official cases have leaked with what looks like a cutout for this button and Evan Blass has also tweeted what looks like a press shot also confirming.
Bloomberg has claimed Samsung will ditch the physical home button, suggesting the company will create an "all-screen front" for the Galaxy S8. A number of renders were created by Veniamin Geskin and shared on Twitter, showing what the S8 might look like based on rumours and the device pictured in the renders has no physical home button.
These renders were then followed by a leak on Weibo showing a physical device claimed to be a gold S8 and almost an exact match to the renders, as well as a number of case leaks which have been followed by further renders from SamMobile.
Two videos posted on Samsung Display's Korean YouTube channel further supported the idea of an all-screen device with slim bezels, as do the front panels leaked more recently.
In terms of measurements, the Bell claimed that despite the rumoured increase in screen size, the Galaxy S8 will have similar dimensions to the S7, suggesting a good screen to body ratio. This has also been supported by the Guardian report and a tweet from David Ruddock, who said the aspect ratio of the new flagships mean the S8 and S8 Plus will be "no wider at all than the S7 and S7 edge. Exact match".
The CNET Korea report suggests the dimensions of the Galaxy S8 itself, which it claims is 5.7-inches, will be 131.58 x 68.05mm, though this seems very small, especially given the S7 measures 142mm tall.
Samsung Galaxy S8: Display
- Size increase rumoured for S8 to 5.7-inches or 5.8-inches
- Screen to body ratio expected to improve
- Resolution rumoured to remain the same but technology improve
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is rumoured to increase its display size compared to the S7, as we mentioned briefly above. Some reports suggests 5.7-inch screen, while others say 5.8-inches Serial leaker Evan Blass is adamant the S8 will have a 5.8-inch screen so that's where we are placing our bet for now.
As the S8's dimensions are reported to be staying in a similar field to its predecessor, the screen-to-body ratio on the new flagship will need to improve in order for this to be possible. Rumours suggest this could easily be the case for the new device though, after a Samsung Display spokesperson was quoted saying the company would roll out a full screen display with a ratio of more than 90 per cent this year and the Guardian report claimed the S8 will offer an infinity edge-to-edge display.
A Bloomberg report also supports this idea, with its claim of an all-screen front. The report claims the display will be wraparound and there will be a virtual home button buried into the lower section of the glass, which is something the VentureBeat report also suggests.
Resolution might also increase, though more recent reports suggest not. A 5.5-inch 4K AMOLED display offering a pixel density of 806ppi was apparently shown off by Samsung and a Phone Arena leak suggested the S8 would come in this size and resolution with the dual edge design, but both SamMobile and Venturebeat claim otherwise. These two sites both say the S8 will retain a 2K Super AMOLED display, with SamMobile claiming it will be better than the S7, and offer a noticeable improvement for virtual reality.
Samsung Galaxy S8: Camera
- New 1/2.3-inch sensor with f/1.4 aperture rumoured
- 8MP front camera rumoured with iris scanner
- 12MP rear sensor with visual search feature suggested
There has been a rumour to suggest the company is working on a new 1/2.3-inch sensor that will be combined with a f/1.4 aperture. This would deliver even better low-light capabilities than the current flagships but whether it will appear on the S8 is unclear. The rumours also claim Samsung's goal is to deliver a 1/1.7-inch sensor eventually, suggesting it has no intention of stopping improvements in the camera department.
Other claims have suggested the Galaxy S8 might appear with a dual rear camera, with two different sensors - one at 12-megapixels, one at 13-megapixels. This is something we have already seen on the LG G5, Huawei P9, and more recently, Apple's iPhone 7 Plus. The same tipster claimed the front camera will be 8-megapixels, which ET News has also suggested.
Contradicting these rumours however, is another leak from a different source claiming the Galaxy S8 will have a 30-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilisation, coupled with a 9-megapixel front-facing snapper. There has also been another claim suggesting the S8 will have the same Duo Pixel camera of the S7 and S7 edge, which is something that the VentureBeat report also suggests.
According to VentureBeat, the rear camera will be 12-megapixels with an f/1.7 aperture and a new visual search feature, while the front camera will have an 8-megapixel sensor, also with an f/1.7 aperture. The site also claimed the front camera will have iris scanning capabilities. This has been supported by a spec leak posted by Evan Blass for the S8 Plus, which we presume will have many of the same features as the smaller model.
ET News has also reported that the front-facing snapper of the Galaxy S8 could have auto-focus rather than fixed. It wouldn't be the first device to offer auto-focus on the front, with both the Sony Xperia M5 and the HTC Desire Eye both offering the feature, but it would be welcome.
Samsung Galaxy S8: Hardware
- Qualcomm SD835 chip rumoured with 4GB or 6GB RAM
- Retina and fingerprint scanners claimed
- 3000mAh battery expected
A faster, more powerful processor will certainly be on board the Galaxy S8, and possibly a jump in RAM. Ice Universe claims we will see 8GB of RAM, while another leak says can expect a 3.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, supported by 6GB of RAM. A Phone Arena leak lists two processors - Exynos 8895 chip and the Snapdragon 835 - and 6GB and 8GB of RAM, suggesting there could be different versions for different regions again and it has also been claimed the S8 will be the first device to receive the SD835 chip.
VentureBeat supports the idea of two processors, but it claims the S8 will stick with 4GB of RAM with internal storage options starting from 64GB. It's likely Samsung will keep microSD support on board, though as claims suggest 64GB and 128GB models, it could be that the company still won't offer support for Marshmallow's Flex feature, allowing users to combine the phone's internal storage with the storage of the SD card.
A bigger battery capacity is always welcomed, but even if the capacity itself isn't increased for the S8, we'd like to see software improvements to help with power management. Some rumours claim the Galaxy S8 will have a 4200mAh battery and there is also predicted to be fingerprint and retina scanners, as well as a built-in mini projector. VentureBeat says the S8 will have a 3000mAh battery however, which is the same as what a report from News1 Korea also claims.
In other reports, SamMobile has reported there will be a USB Type-C port on board for charging and audio and it's also been claimed the 3.5mm headphone jack will be ditched, like the iPhone 7, though the latter point has been contradicted by the Guardian, VentureBeat and Ice Universe.
That said, SamMobile leaked some Samsung-made in-ear wireless earbuds like Apple's AirPods, supporting the removal of the headphone jack. A report from Fone Arena also adds fuel to this fire, claiming the Galaxy S8 will offer dual speakers and they may be Harman branded, though the VentureBeat image leak, Weibo leak and Ice Universe images suggests dual-speakers won't be the case and a headphone jack will be present.
Samsung acquired Harman in 2016 so the claim of Harman branded speakers, even if not dual, is a reasonable one, especially as both LG, HTC and Apple have made moves in audio in their recent handsets so it's an obvious area for Samsung to focus on to keep in line with competition.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Software
- Viv personal assistant confirmed for S8
- Android Nougat base software expected
- Could connect to monitor for desktop view of Android
Samsung's Galaxy S7 both feature Android 6.0 Marshmallow, overlaid with the TouchWiz software. There are some handy features with TouchWiz, but we would still like to see some more refinement for the Galaxy S8.
Vanilla Android will probably never happen and that's ok, but it would be great to see the best of TouchWiz on top of a close to pure Android experience. HTC launched it's latest flagship with a refined version of Sense over Android and it works well, delivering a cleaner experience with less duplication. We'd love to see Samsung do this too for its next flagships.
As we mentioned, we can also expect to see Viv on the Galaxy S8. Details are thin on the ground as to what Viv will be able to do, other than provide answers and actions, but it has been confirmed by Samsung that it will appear on the new flagship. Sam Mobile has said the Bixby voice assistant, powered by Viv, will feature in all native apps on the S8. In other software news, the site also claimed the S8 would have an always-visible status bar and it has also been claimed that the handsets will be able to connect to a monitor for a desktop view of Android.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Conclusion
What will appear on the Samsung Galaxy S8? Who knows at the moment. We have a couple of weeks of waiting ahead of us but it would be interesting to see a change up in design, more improvements in camera capabilities and software refinements.
There is a good chance of a more powerful processor and more RAM, as well as the potential for a larger battery capacity too, as is normally the case with next-generation flagships."
Source: Britta O'Boyle, pocket-lint.com
- Joseph Flaherty