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 we hope to see, what we think might appear and what some rumours suggest might appear on Samsung’s 2017 flagship phones.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Release date
- 29 March launch likely, not MWC
- On sale from mid-April
- Smaller S8 said to cost around €800, larger around €900
Previous release patterns would suggest the Samsung Galaxy S8 would launch at Mobile World Congress 2017, suggested by Ricciolo on Twitter and Phone Arena. As months have past however, an MWC announcement is looking less and less likely. LG has now taken Samsung’s traditional date and time slot but Samsung’s mobile president has also said it would be working hard to regain consumer trust after the Note 7 issues, suggesting lots of testing for the S8.
Samsung is therefore now thought to be avoiding MWC 2017 and hitting the Big Apple instead, with the SGS8 launch in New York City in April. Slashleaks has claimed the rumoured date is 18 April, but ET News has said it will be 15 April and there has also been more recent talk of 29 March, which has been reiterated by VentureBeat.
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 smaller S8 would cost €799 in Europe and the larger device would cost €899 however. The site also said the devices would go on sale on 21 April.
Supporting this, SamMobile noted a report from ET News that said Samsung has confirmed it will produce 10 million units of the S8 in time for an April launch.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Two phones?
- No flat models rumoured, with two curved instead
- A 6.2-inch device called S8 Plus suggested
- Other model claimed to be 5.7-inches or 5.8-inches
One recent rumour claimed that instead of releasing two devices, one with a flat bezel, the other curved, Samsung will break from tradition and stick with just the latter this time around. After all, it only offered the curved display on the Galaxy Note 7 and 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.
SamMobile reported that its insiders have claimed there will be two models, which are being referred to internally as Dream and Dream2 and the Guardian has also claimed sources have confirmed this, along with VentureBeat. The newspaper and VentureBeat have both said the two models would be curved and while the Guardian said one will have a 5-inch or so display and the other will have a 6-inch or so display, VentureBeat has said they will be 5.8-inches and 6.2-inches.
South Korean news outlet The Bell also supports the idea of two models, though it says one will have a 6.2-inch display and the other with a 5.7-inch display. It too says both will be curved and will be called the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Design
- No home button and minimal bezels rumoured
- Similar dimensions to S7 and S7 edge rumoured, despite screen increase
- Could offer Harman-branded, dual speakers
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.
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 have been created by Veniamin Geskin and shared on Twitter, showing what the S8 might look like based on recent 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. The Guardian report claims the new S8 devices won’t even have a logo on the front however, with all the space used for a nearly bezel-less infinity display, which is something the VentureBeat report and image leak supports. Based on the Guardian and VentureBeat reports, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the rear of the S8 and the iris scanner from the Note 7 will also be on board.
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 and VentureBeat.
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 suggests dual-speakers won’t be the case.
Samsung acquired Harman in November 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.
We’d love to see the S8 slim down a little and it would be interesting to see what an all metal build would offer compared to metal and glass. The Bell claimed that despite the increase in screen sizes, the two devices rumoured will have similar dimensions to the S7 and S7 edge, suggesting a good screen to body ratio. This has also been supported by the Guardian report.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: Display
- Size increase rumoured for both models
- Screen to body ratios expected to improve
- Resolution rumoured to remain the same but technology improve
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have been rumoured to increase their display size compared to their predecessors. Some reports suggests 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch screens, some say 5.8-inches and 6.2-inches, while others suggest 5-inch or so and 6-inch or so displays, suggesting no one knows exactly as yet but it looks like the S8 devices will both be bigger than the Note series.
We’re expecting the screen to body ratios to improve too, especially 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. According to the Guardian, both devices will offer an infinity edge-to-edge display and as The Bell and the Guardian both suggest the S8 and S8 Plus will have similar dimensions to the S7 and S7 edge despite their larger screen sizes, it’s thought this full screen display could appear on the new models.
A Bloomberg report also supports this idea, with its claim of an all-screen front, as we briefly mentioned earlier. 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 the recent VentureBeat report suggests not. With VR becoming more and more popular, higher resolution displays are more important. The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium might be expensive, but if you’re into smartphone-controlled VR, its 4K display offers a great experience. As Samsung is already in the VR business, it would make sense to offer a compatible device with a higher resolution display for the Gear VR or any further VR devices.
Chinese blogging sources suggest the company has shown off a 5.5-inch 4K AMOLED display offering a pixel density of 806ppi and the Phone Arena leak suggests the S8 will come in this size and resolution with the dual edge design, supporting The Bell’s suggestion of a larger display for the traditionally smaller handset.
Another leaked set of specifications has claimed the Galaxy S8 would offer a 5.2-inch display with a 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution. This would not only make it slightly bigger than the current Galaxy S7, but it would also put its pixel density at 891ppi. Contradicting all these reports however is SamMobile, who claims the S8 will retain a 2K display but it will be better than the S7, and offer a noticeable improvement for virtual reality and VentureBeat also claims the Quad HD Super AMOLED displays will remain.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: 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 or S8 edge is unclear yet. 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 also 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 also 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 a claim that 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.
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 and S8 Plus: Hardware
- Qualcomm SD835 chip rumoured with 4GB or 6GB RAM
- Retina and fingerprint scanners claimed
- 3000mAh, 3500mAh and 4200mAh batteries have all been suggested
With every new flagship, comes new hardware. A faster, more powerful processor will certainly be on board the Galaxy S8 and S8 edge, 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 and S8 edge, we’d like to see software improvements to help with power management. Samsung already does a good job in this field but it can always be better when it comes to battery life. 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 smaller S8 will have a 3000mAh battery however, while the larger model will have a 3500mAh capacity.
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 and S7 edge 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 and Galaxy S8 edge.
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 and S8 edge or S8 Plus? Who knows at the moment. We have a couple of months 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-gen flagships.
We will be keeping a close eye on the rumours of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge as and when they appear so keep checking back for updates.