With the kind of attention that Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are garnering before their official shipping begins, it is safe to assume that fans have put behind the Galaxy Note 7 debacle.
According to the latest reports coming from South Korea, Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ pre-orders are already past 620,000 units. While there have been claims that the larger Galaxy S8+ is seeing more attention compared to the smaller S8 (just like last year’s S7 Edge compared to the S7), the only stats mentioned regarding the S8+ touch on the premium 6GB/128GB variant. Apparently, the phone has already seen an impressive demand of 150,000 units.
These figures were recorded as of day 5 since pre-orders for the two devices went live in South Korea, but before you pre-order yours in whatever market you are, here are five things you need to know about Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Bigger and better
With each flagship release, Samsung chops off some part of the bezels. This year’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ are even better, coming in with what the company calls Infinity Display. This display covers 83% of the phones’ entire front panels thanks to the hugely shrunk top and bottom bezels. This has also meant that there’s no physical home button nor the navigation buttons. Instead, these have been moved to the display screen.
What makes the Galaxy S8 and S8+ even better is that Sammy managed to up the display sizes while managing to keep almost the same profile as what is found on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The standard S8 has a 5.8-inch QHD+ sAMOLED screen while the S8+ has a bigger 6.2-inch QHD+ sAMOLED screen. These panels have an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 as compared to the usual 16:9.
Both Samsung Galaxy S8 units have two different chipsets depending on the market they are sold in. In the U.S. and China, for instance, fans will get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835-powered variant. In other markets, the Exynos 8895 variant will be sold. Note that the difference in names isn’t felt when performance comes in, especially since both are made by Samsung using the 10nm process.
The 10nm process allows for tightly packed transistors on a much smaller package, something that leads to more efficient performance as well as lower power usage. The smaller size of the chipset also gives OEMs room for installing larger batteries.
Like Google did with the Pixel and Pixel XL phones by debuting a baked-in Assistant, Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have taken down the same route, coming in with Bixby Assistant out of the box. Even though Samsung tries everything in its capacity to promise that Bixby is different from the likes of Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri, the fact remains that this is just another digital assistant aimed at competing with the current names in the industry.
Be warned that Samsung Bixby will not be available at launch and instead, it will hit Galaxy S8 and S8+ units as a software update later in the year, just like Google has been doing with Marshmallow and Nougat-powered devices with respect to its own Assistant.
In addition to the usual PIN codes, patterns and fingerprints, Samsung Galaxy S8 takes the authentication features available at your disposal to the next level. With an iris scanner that is supported by facial recognition, the Galaxy S8 series is one of the most secure devices right now, at least according to Samsung. However, we’ve already seen a case where the phone’s facial recognition feature can be fooled with an image of the owner, something that should be rectified in future.
Also, note that the fingerprint scanner is no longer mounted on the front panel. It’s now placed on the back, just beside the camera.
They don’t come on the cheap
When compared to Samsung Galaxy S7, the new Galaxy S8 series is quite costly. The base model starts at $720 (Verizon Wireless), but the unlocked variants will be available starting at $725 for the S8 and $825 for the S8+. However, the unlocked models will not be available for purchase until May, which is not so far away.
Despite the hefty price, you get a bunch of freebies that include the latest Gear VR headset alongside an Oculus-based controller, which will set you back $130 if bought separately. It gets even better as you also get a free game pack to start off your VR experience.