Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have been launched finally, ending months of speculation and anticipation for fans and industry alike. Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ will be going on sale starting on April 21, and will be offered in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue and Maple Gold colours.
While Samsung did not announce the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ price at its event, US carrier pricing has been obtained by The Verge. Verizon Wireless has the lowest rates, at $720 (roughly Rs. 46,700) for the Galaxy S8 and $840 (roughly Rs. 54,500) for the Galaxy S8+. Prices go up to $750 (roughly Rs. 48,700) and $850 (roughly Rs. 55,200) respectively.
At the event, Samsung stressed how the new Galaxy S8 is the "start of a new era." The company also showcased its in-house voice-based virtual assistant named Bixby, which makes its debut on the flagship Galaxy S8. As expected, Samsung's Bixby will be taking on other voice-based virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence including Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon's Alexa. The Galaxy S8 will come with a set of pre-installed apps that will work with Bixby.
As rumoured for months, the all-new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will sport iris recognition, which was earlier seen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 - which has been discontinued. As the name suggests, the biometric recognition scans iris to unlock the phone, verify Samsung account, and more. Facial recognition is a biometric authentication method that users can choose to use. Additionally, both the devices also sport fingerprint scanner which is located at the back.
Samsung has also finally introduced its Microsoft Continuum-like feature, Samsung DeX, which will let users use smartphone like a computer by docking it to monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Similar to the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are dust and water resistant with IP68 certification. Both the handsets run on the company's UI based on Android 7.0 Nougat.
In terms of specifications, the Samsung Galaxy S8 features a 5.8-inch QHD+ (1440x2960 pixels) Super AMOLED display while the Galaxy S8+ sports a 6.2-inch QHD+ (1440x2960 pixels) Super AMOLED display. The company is terming these as Infinity Displays, and they are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Samsung also says the smartphones are the first to be certified by the UHD Alliance as Mobile HDR Premium.
Both the smartphones sport 12-megapixel 'Dual Pixel' rear camera with optical image stabilisation and an f/1.7 aperture, while there is an 8-megapixel front camera with autofocus on board as well, featuring an f/1.7 aperture.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will come powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 SoC (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad) in the US, while most international markets (including India) will get the Exynos 8895 SoC (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad).
Variants which will be released in select markets, including most probably India. Both the handsets pack 4GB of RAM and come with 64GB inbuilt storage while also supporting expandable storage via microSD card (up to 256GB).
Connectivity options on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ include 4G LTE (Cat. 16), Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz, 5GHz), Bluetooth v5.0, USB Type-C, NFC, and GPS. Sensors on board include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, barometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, magnetometer, and proximity sensor. It also supports Samsung Pay, with NFC and MST connectivity.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will support wireless charging as well as fast charging. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ pack 3000mAh and 3500mAh battery respectively. The Galaxy S8 measures 148.9x68.1x8mm and weighs 155 grams. The Galaxy S8+ measures 159.5x73.4x8.1mm and weighs 173 grams.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will ship with new high-performance earphones tuned by AKG by Harman in the box. Samsung says the earphones have a "comfortable hybrid canal fit for better noise cancellation", and that they will be made from anti-tangle metal-fabric material. The smartphones also come with the Samsung Connect app, helping control compatible IoT devices.
Samsung has also introduced the Samsung DeX dock, which allows the users to convert their smartphones into a desktop-like configuration. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ can also connect to the new Gear 360, which was also unveiled at the same event, to create 4K 360-degree videos and 15-megapixel photos. It also features support for the new Gear VR with Controller.
"The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ usher in a new era of smartphone design and fantastic new services, opening up new ways to experience the world," said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. "The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what’s possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung’s smartphone legacy."
In this week's episode of Orbital, we talk about whether the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ can be the smash hits Samsung needs. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or RSS, or just hit the play button below.