This is the Samsung Galaxy S8 we expected

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Samsung has finally unveiled their long awaited flagship phones. Get ready for the Samsung Galaxy S8. As with previous models, the S8 comes in two versions. The first is the standard Galaxy S8 and then there’s the Galaxy S8 Plus, which is the larger brother. So what do the latest flagship phones from Samsung bring to the table? With much of the initial rumors being accurate, the S8 doesn’t offer many surprises. Here’s everything the Samsung Galaxy S8 brings to the table.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus (Image credits: CNET)
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus (Image credits: CNET)

The hardware inside the Galaxy S8

There are few surprises when it comes to the hardware inside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. The S8 will feature a 5.8-inch screen whereas the S8 Plus comes with a larger 6.2-inch screen. Samsung calls these screens, “infinity screens” because these screens have a few small curves and practically no bezels. However, both phones featured OLED screens rather than AMOLED screens as per the original leaks.

The Galaxy S8 will come with a headphone jack (Image credits: CNET)
The Galaxy S8 will come with a headphone jack (Image credits: CNET)

Yet, that’s not to say the initial rumors were completely inaccurate. With these screens taking up so much space, Samsung has removed physical navigation buttons. Instead, you’ll have on-screen navigation buttons with haptic feedback. What about the fingerprint sensor that’s become a standard security feature amongst flagship phones? That’s been moved to the back and is right next to the camera. And most importantly, both phones feature a headphone jack next to the USB port.

Open up the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus and once again you’ll find few surprises. Depending on the region, you’ll find either a Snapdragon 835 or a Samsung Exynos quad-core processor. Similarly, you’ll 4GB of DDR5 RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. Both phones feature a slot for SD cards, which you use to expand your storage up to 2TB. Powering all this is a 3,000 mAH battery in the Galaxy S8 and a 3,500 mAH battery in the S8 Plus.

The Galaxy S8 camera

If you were expecting a better rear camera, we’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Both the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus come with the same 12MP camera that was found on the S7. Samsung has said that things have improved in terms of software. In the age of dual-cameras, it’s tough to say whether these software upgrades help the S8 match up against the competition.

The Galaxy S8 features a 12MP camera with a fingerprint sensor next to it (Image credits: TheVerge)
The Galaxy S8 features a 12MP camera with a fingerprint sensor next to it (Image credits: The Verge)

However, the front facing camera that you use for selfies has gotten an upgrade. This front facing camera now packs an 8MP sensor and has autofocus as well. This means you can now take clearer selfies. As always there are over a billion gimmicks in the camera. Some of those like the gif mode are interesting. But the rest of them will likely never see the light of day.

The three software gimmicks of the Galaxy S8

Samsung is famous for making popular phones. It’s also famous for making horrible software that comes with these phones. Thankfully with recent iterations, Samsung hasn’t gone overboard when it comes to customizing Android. Less is more after all. Yet, that doesn’t mean the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus don’t come with a few software gimmicks.

Firstly, there’s iris scanning, which you can use to unlock your phone. This was a feature that became famous with Galaxy Note 7 that went out with a bang.  But the S8 also takes this up a notch by having full face detection as a means of unlocking your phone. However, Samsung has admitted that this method of face detection is still less secure compared to other security measures.

The Galaxy S8 can mimic a desktop with a DeX dock (Image credits: Business Insider)
The Galaxy S8 can mimic a desktop with a DeX dock (Image credits: Business Insider)

Secondly, there’s DeX, which requires you buy a specialized dock. If you choose to do so then you can plug in a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor to see the Galaxy S8 transform into a desktop. But this is not the phone that makes your PC or laptop obsolete. With DeX you get Android apps in resizable windows, a full desktop web browser, and a notifications bar. But the sad truth is that many Android apps aren’t designed for screens larger than those found in smartphones.

Finally, there’s the third software gimmick: Bixby. This is Samsung’s virtual assistant that comes with a physical button dedicated to it on the Galaxy S8. Currently, Bixby has three forms:

  • Bixby Home: This is the standard collection of information cards. From weather to news to cricket scores, it’s all here. In other words, it does the same job as Google Assistant. Hopefully, we won’t have to go through multiple hoops to get Bixby Home working, unlike Google Assistant.
  • Bixby Voice: Once again, this is the standard voice recognition feature we expect from all virtual assistants in our phones today. However, Bixby Voice doesn’t seem to fare well compared to other assistants in the market. This is because you can only give voice commands to control a few Samsung apps and appliances. Furthermore, apps have to be written to support Bixby, unlike other assistants.
  • Bixby camera: This can be launched directly from the Galaxy S8 camera app or Bixby Home. This would help you search for items based on images. Currently, it’s primarily aimed at helping you buy stuff online. So if you point Bixby camera at a shirt then it would return results for that shirt online. Currently, Samsung has stated that they are working specific partners such as Amazon and Pinterest. This list of partners has yet to include Google.
Bixby is the virtual assistant found inside the Galaxy S8 (Image credits: CNET)
Bixby is the virtual assistant found inside the Galaxy S8 (Image credits: CNET)

This is the Samsung Galaxy S8

Overall, there’s little that we didn’t already know of when it comes to the Galaxy S8. The only exception being the software features. Yet, even these are little more than mere gimmicks rather than disruptive solutions we would use on a daily basis. And that’s where the problem of the Galaxy S8 lies: it’s unexciting. However, whether the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are good phones are decent phones in their price range is still debatable. For that is a question that can only get a clear answer when it comes to Sri Lankan shores. When it does, it would be safe to expect it to have a price tag close to Rs. 100,000.

Will you be getting one at launch? (Image credits: CNET)
Will you be getting one at launch? (Image credits: CNET)

What are your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus? Do you love it or hate it? Will you be grabbing one at launch or avoiding it for another phone? Let us know in the comments below.

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