Samsung’s S8 is clean, sleek and a multitasker’s dream
The launch of Samsung Galaxy 8 is Samsung’s answer to the iPhone at a fascinating event in New York after months of anticipation.
The tech giant had much to prove and plenty to lose after last year’s exploding Note 7 debacle and the S8 might just offer redemption.
S8 is more powerful and beautiful with its bezel-less design and stunning features. The new phone can transform into a desktop with a DeX dock, it’s water-resistant, and it has a USB C charging port. What’s more the S8 features Samsung’s new artificial intelligence service, Bixby, with functions including a voice-commanded assistant system similar to Apple’s Siri. There is also a new facial recognition application that lets users unlock their phones by looking at them.
The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display crammed into what feels like a normal-sized phone, with a barely-there bezel. Galaxy S8 Infinity Display offers has a clean, unbranded face; a bright, fluid-looking display; and a mirror-like glass back. So far, the one bad thing we’ve noted about the display is its bizarre aspect ratio, which might result in pillarboxed 16:9 videos. Otherwise, Samsung has pulled off an optical magic trick. By the way, if you still want an actual phablet: there’s a version with a 6.2-inch display, too.
Iris and Facial recognition feature
Users can unlock Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones through iris scanning and facial recognition technology. To do so, users simply hold their phone in front of their eyes or their entire face, as if they were snapping a selfie. Biometric technology is now being integrated into more consumer devices and is increasingly seen as a critical next step to improve security.
Samsung Dex promises to let you replace your desktop computer with your phone. The dock is small and circular, includes two USB ports and an HDMI port. Samsung’s Dex offers “Desktop Experience” which means you can use your phone to power an entire desktop experience. DeX is powered by a plastic bowl-like stand with a USB-C prong, a couple of ports, and a fan. It supports the Galaxy S8 and effectively gives you a PC-like mobile desktop on a display.
Bluetooth 5.0 support
Galaxy S8 has set a new Bluetooth standard that offers huge advantages over previous versions of Bluetooth.
It supports two independent Bluetooth streams, which means you and a friend can both watch and listen to the same content without sharing headphones. Bluetooth 5.0 also offers data speeds that are twice as fast as Bluetooth 4.2, and it also offers four times its range. That means you can be further away from a Bluetooth speaker and still get great sound.
The Galaxy S8 is equipped with an 8MP F/1.7 Smart autofocus front-facing camera and a 12MP F/1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera, which should capture excellent images in low-light, non-crappy digital zoom and less blurry photos thanks to enhanced image processing.
S8 is your remote control
The pre-loaded Samsung Connect allows users to manage and control other smart devices at home. You can set up specific rules for certain devices; for example, a “Going Out Mode” may switch off all your appliances and let your robot vacuum cleaner do the “dirty” work”.
Say Hello to Bixby!
Bixby, Samsung’s new virtual assistant that makes interacting with one’s device, services and apps more instinctive and seamless. Bixby offers four main features: Voice, Vision, Reminder and Home. The helper is activated by a dedicated side-button and allows 10 built-in apps – including a photo gallery, messages and weather – to be controlled by voice. The software can also be used to recognise objects seen via the phone’s camera. This can be used to identify a landmark, for example, or tell the owner how much a product would cost to buy online.
Samsung Health and Samsung Pay
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also come with the enhanced Samsung Health service which includes tele-health (US only), personal coaching, social capabilities that redefine traditional health and fitness. Users can leave their physical wallet behind with Samsung Pay, turning their Galaxy S8 and S8+ into a digital wallet they can use almost anywhere they’d use a credit or debit card.
New Gear VR headset and Gear 360
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ unlocks the new Gear VR with controller, powered by Oculus. Enabling convenient one-handed control and navigation, the controller provides better motion interaction when accessing interactive VR content. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will also connect to the new Gear 360 to create 4K 360-degree videos and 15MP photos.
Key specs of Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
|Screen size||5.8 inches||6.2 inches|
|Dimensions||148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm, 155g||159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm, 173g|
|Camera||12MP main, 8MP front||12MP main, 8MP front|
|Storage||64GB + MicroSD||64GB + MicroSD|
|Software||Android 7.0||Android 7.0|
|Release date||April 28 or April 20 for pre-orders||April 28 or April 20 for pre-orders|