Galaxy S8: Samsung’s Moment of Truth

The latest Galaxy S8 and S8+ are now official, and it’s more than just another flagship smartphone. Recovering from the Galaxy Note7 fiasco, the new flagship duo are critical to regain public trust while attempting to set a new benchmark.

The Galaxy S8 comes in two sizes – a 5.8″ model and larger 6.2″ unit. These are the largest displays to be introduced on the Galaxy flagship lineup. Despite the increase in display size, the new duo are smaller in the hands thanks to its bezel-less design with a dual curve display. Like the LG G6, both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ has a wider display but it comes with a taller 18.5:9 aspect ratio. Dubbed as the Infinity Display, the new Quad HD+ (2960×1440) display offer up to 36% more display area for cinematic video and it’s also Mobile HDR Premium certified.

To increase its screen to body ratio, Samsung had removed its iconic home button in favour for virtual on-screen buttons. It’s a bold move and they had tried to emulate the feel of the button by adding haptic feedback just for the home button. The fingerprint sensor is now moved to the rear positioned next to the main camera. For quicker unlocking, the Galaxy S8 now features an Iris scanner which was first introduced with the Note7. Once you’ve set it up, you can unlock with your glasses on and it even works in the dark.

Design-wise, the Galaxy S8 is much refined like the Note7. The metal frame is flush with its glass body and it looks symmetrical from the sides. According to Samsung, they were aiming for a smooth, continuous surface that’s free from buttons and harsh angles on the Galaxy S8. For added protection, it comes with Gorilla Glass 5 for both front and back.

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Under the hood, it runs on a 10nm processor that’s mated to 4GB of RAM. Depending on regions, Samsung will utilise either a Snapdragon 835 or their in-house developed Exynos 8895 processors. Storage comes with a minimum of 64GB which can be expanded further via microSD up to 256GB.

For imaging, the Galaxy S8/S8+ will retain the 12MP f/1.7 dual-pixel camera from its predecessor and they have added some minor tweaks to improve its output. Over at the front, the selfie camera is now upgraded to an 8MP f/1.7 auto focus camera with improved facial recognition.

Powering the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is a 3,000mAh and 3,500mAh battery capacity which is similar to its previous flagship models. You can charge quickly via USB Type-C or wirelessly with either a WPC or PMA charger. You still get a headphone jack and Samsung is bundling a new set of earphones tuned by AKG by Harman. Out of the box, it runs on Android 7.0 with their latest TouchWiz UI that supports Always-on display.

Brand new on the Galaxy S8 is Bixby, a personalised digital assistant which can be called upon at a push of a button. According to Samsung, Bixby is always contextually aware and what you could do with touch can also be achieved by voice as well. In the camera app, Bixby can be used to recognise objects and it will recommend reminders base on your daily mobile habits.

To take productivity to the next level, Samsung has also introduced the Samsung DeX. It’s a docking station where it lets you expand your smartphone into a desktop experience. The dock comes with USB, LAN and HDMI ports which you can use to connect your keyboard, mouse and monitor. The dock even has a built-in fan for better cooling.

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The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available globally starting 21 April 2017 and Malaysia is expected to be among the first to get it. In terms of colours, both models are offered in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue and Maple Gold. Availability of each colour at launch would vary for different markets.

Photos shot on Sony RX100 V