Samsung’s Best Smartphone Yet!
Following the official reveal of Samsung’s new flagship device, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, let’s take a look at what the press conference had to tell us.
This is the phone Samsung Mobile Chief, DJ Koh, described as “a phone to take you beyond the limits of one you have ever known before”… well let’s look into that, shall we?
For starters the phone’s leaked sleek design has been confirmed with the infinity display finally being given its trademark name. The Samsung Galaxy S8 will feature a 5.8inch HD retina display, with its larger counterpart the S8 Plus featuring a 6.2inch HD display.
Though Senior Vice President Justin Denison wanted to make it abundantly clear that this does not mean the phone will feel bulky in the hand. Its larger screen size is thanks to its curved edges and ‘unboxed’ display screen. Whilst initially I, and many others, thought the ‘#unboxyourphone’ event was a simple unboxing of the new Samsung device, it actually refers to the screen. As this phone features the largest usable screen a Samsung has ever had.
Koh stated this is a “new era of smartphone design” and I must say I agree. The curved edges and infinite display are endearing and make for a beautifully sleek looking device.
Because of this design the physical home button has been axed. The Galaxy S8 will be working on a virtual home button, located in the same position but beneath the clear glass screen. This home button now works on pressure alone to navigate around the phone.
The device is also set to feature the same fingerprint recognition we see with newer Apple devices. However this scanner has been placed towards the back of the phone (right next to the camera… yikes) as this is not all Samsung had to say.
The S8 and S8 plus will also feature an iris scan and full facial recognition to unlock the phone within an instant. By merely looking at your phone it will unlock, offering maximum efficiency.
To increase the resolution of Samsung’s already HD smartphone displays, they have added an extra half a million pixels, according to Denison, to make this phone the brightest and best Samsung device yet. With its impressive camera capabilities and raved about media capacity, this is definitely an important note.
The camera is set to take 12 megapixel images using Samsung’s updated multi-frame processor. This allows the S8 and S8 plus to take several photos in one click. It then combines these photos together to reveal the perfect shot. Denison stated ‘you’ll never miss that perfect shot’…. Provided you have your phone that is.
The front facing camera also offers an impressive 8 megapixels and also is the first phone to feature the autofocus feature that allows for instant clarity when taking the perfect selfie. For any photography fanatics, like myself, this could be the game changer when buying my next smartphone.
Koh mentioned how us as the people as “inspired by the promise of a connected world” but this means in the real world too, not just online. The S8 will join the list of smartphones with a water resistant but also dust resistant feature. Making this phone a liveable device, ready to endure day to day life – though it was not stated how deep or how long the phone can go in water, so that remains to be seen.
The battery was also called into the spotlight – obviously – and Denison made it clear that the S8 and S8 plus had both undergone an 8 point battery check. This check is deeply extensive and is quote “more than the legal requirements.” Though there was no mention of the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, with its wondrous exploding feature, this was a clear jab towards anyone who doubts Samsung’s future. With Mobile Chief, DJ Koh, stating that Samsung are “humble enough to learn from mistakes.”
The battery is said to be 3,000 mAh for the S8 and 3,500 mAh for the S8 plus. Though this is the same size as its predecessor the Samsung Galaxy 7, it’s said the S8 will be 21% more efficient.
The processor is said to be 10 nanometres and whilst that may not mean much, when Denison went to explain how tiny the fibres are in these processors, you can paint a picture of how efficient these devices are. The Galaxy S8 and S8 plus are set to be 10% faster than the Galaxy 7 making it the most efficient Samsung to date.
The rumoured colours have been confirmed with two added extras. The original Midnight Black, Orchard Grey (more pink than grey) and Arctic Silver were all shown off. But the introduction of Maple Gold and Coral Blue means the Samsung Galaxy S8 can be suited to anyone and everyone’s style.
The screen is multifunctional and was shown to be used for multiple apps at once. For instance the demo showed the user watching a YouTube video whilst texting their friends about it. Or posting on Facebook whilst watching Netflix. This provides a fluidity, in theme with the phone’s infinity display; something that other smartphones on the market do not yet have.
There was also mention of Samsung Pay, Samsung Pass, an all-inclusive Samsung Home (smarthome app) as well as an updated Health App. This health app is set, on launch, to connect to American Well and get the user in contact with a doctor, online, at a time that suits them. How the doctors involved feel about this is yet to be seen. But, whether unfortunately or luckily, this feature is not yet available for the UK.
Next is the introduction of Samsung’s first AI, Bixby. Whilst Bixby will feature similar attributes to Apple’s ‘Siri’, Microsoft’s ‘Cortana’ and Google ‘Ok Google’ system, Bixby is said to go that one step further.
Bixby is described as an AI that learns from context. For instance on the home screen a list of apps will be featured based on your usage. But that’s not all. These apps will change throughout the day, based on the time and day you use them. In the morning, you may find social media apps, or your morning playlist at the top of the screen. In the evening you may find your alarm and calendar. Bixby will learn from context.
Bixby is also all seeing and utilises the rear camera to identify landmarks and also to online shop. By asking Bixby where to buy an item, Bixby will process the item and take the user to an appropriate site.
You are also able to use Bixby to send messages. But by learning from your content, Bixby is able to follow vague demands. The demo showed Sriram Theodala on google maps. He asked Bixby to ‘send this to…’ and the AI device took a screenshot and sent the image to the required recipient. Another feature not yet available in other AI systems.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is also set to use the wireless charging pad. This is said to increase usability whilst charging with it’s upright position and lack of annoyingly short cable.
With partnerships set up with Google, Amazon Prime, Harman, Oculous, Buzzfeed, Now This and more, perhaps the Samsung Galaxy S8 really will be the most connected smartphone to date.
The rumoured price was £695 for the S8 and £778 for the S8 Plus – though no price was mentioned or confirmed at the press release the Samsung website is advertising the S8 at £689 and the S8 plus at £779. So the rumours weren’t far wrong.
The phone is set to hit stores on April 21st 2017 and though there has been no mention of preorder dates in the press conference, the Samsung website is offering the service already, stating the device will be delivered by the 19th – prior to the official release.
As a hardcore Apple fan, it does pain me to say that the Samsung Galaxy S8 truly does sound and look to be a fantastic and stylish device. It could just sway me to give a Samsung smartphone a whirl!