It’s obvious Samsung is trying to turn the page on the Note 7 debacle. Yes, expect everyone to mention exploding batteries today, but the company is promising it has fixed the problem. Toss in the crazy scandal involving Samsung executives and the South Korean government, and the company needs a win.
Enter the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. And damn is it gorgeous. Hopefully, it doesn’t pop off like a mini IED, but there’s no denying it’s one gorgeous phone. The battery jokes are probably why there’s not extra battery capacity in the new models. One recall was bad enough. Samsung wouldn’t be able to withstand the public backlash if another Note 7 happens.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Quick Facts
Price. No clue why the company didn’t lead with this considering pre-orders start tomorrow, but the S8 starts at $750 and the S8 Plus+ starts at $850. Considering the consistent drumbeat of rumors indicating a $1000+ iPhone 8, that’s a damn important distinction.
Bezel. It’s nearly gone and damn does it look good. It does alter the aspect ratio a bit to 18.5:9 from 16:9 when holding it in a landscape orientation. The extra width comes from the disappearing bezel. All you’re left with is a tiny black bar for the 8MP front-facing camera at the top and a small bit at the bottom.
Screens. Two variants. The S8 will have a 5.8 screen, while the S8 Plus will sport a 6.2-inch screen. Both will share a resolution of 2960 x 1440. If you go nuts over pixel density, it works out to 570 per inch on the smaller S8 and 529 per inch on the Plus. The AMOLED screens are simply gorgeous.
Home Button. It’s gone. Hell, looking at the bezel, I’m not sure where the hell they’d put it.
Biometrics. No home button, so how are we unlocking the phone? How about an Iris scanner, facial recognition and a fingerprint scanner on the back. It’s next to the camera, so those blind attempts to unlock your phone will leave some greasy fingerprints on the camera.
Camera. Speaking of the camera, the front-facing 8MP is designed for the selfie generation. Seeing as everything has to have stickers and random shit all over the image, you can do it straight from the smartphone. Poor Snapchat. At times you have to feel for them. There are also filters baked in that will have you begging people to download Lightroom Mobile.
It’s not all gimmicky features. Faster autofocus and a wide-angle lens are the technical upgrades.
The rear camera features a f/1.7 lens shooting 12MP stills. Samsung is touting its low-light performance, anti-blur, and enhanced image processing.
Bixby. Apple has Siri, Google has, well, Google. Amazon has Alexa. And now Samsung has Bixby for its AI assistant. Here’s how the company describes it:
“Bixby is an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch and text commands,” said Samsung.
“At launch,” It added, “Bixby’s Voice function will integrate with several Samsung native apps and features including Camera, Contacts, Gallery, Messages and Settings, with the plan to expand its capabilities to include more Samsung and third-party apps in the near future.
“Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location.”
Bixby seems like a nod towards Samsung’s smart home initiatives over a digital assistant for your phone.
Audio. In a nod to audiophiles, Samsung has partnered with AKG to package each Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus with a $99 pair of earbuds. Want to share the music with a friend? Two pairs can be connected via Bluetooth. Seems gimmicky unless you are watching a movie together on a plane or road trip. I’d push the Netflix angle over Spotify streaming.
VR. Damn it; you will love this technology. VR hasn’t captured the public’s interest to the extent tech pundits imagined, but Samsung is determined to give you motion sickness. The Galaxy announcements were paired with two VR announcements. A new VR camera and the Gear VR controller. Mobile is where most VR sales are happening, and you have to give Samsung credit. It’s determined to push the tech to consumers.
There’s plenty more, but that’s the gist of the Samsung Galaxy S8 announcements. Preorders start tomorrow, and it releases on April 21.
Your move Apple.