Samsung hopes the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ will put the dubious history of the Galaxy S7 behind it. And it may just pull it off. This Android smartphone is a good looking device, but it’s also pretty smart. It may just be the next essential business tool for your company. The phone is available for pre-order ($720 or $30 per month for 2 years) and will hit retail shelves on April 21.
The curved front of the Galaxy S8 is stunning. The S8 measures 5.9 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches and weighs 5.5 ounces, and the S8+ is 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches and weighs 6.1 ounces. That makes both devices a bit taller and thinner than the S7 and the S7+. Perhaps most useful is that the design is both water and dust resistant. It comes in Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Maple Gold, Orchid Gray and Arctic Silver.
A virtual home button replaces the previous physical button, and it provides a bit of haptic feedback so you know your input has registered. We wish the company hadn’t moved the fingerprint reader to the backside, where it sits close to the camera.
The bezel-free, 5.8-inch screen on the S8 with have you doing double takes. It offers 83 percent more screen-to-body ratio. The S8+’s screen is 6.2 inches. Both AMOLED displays offer sharp, quad-HD+ resolution (2960 x 1440). The screens also support HDR (high dynamic range) content for better color quality.
In the U.S, the Galaxy S8 will include a powerful new Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB of RAM. It includes 64GB of storage, which is double what came on the S7. It also still sports a microSD card slot so you can add more storage, up to 256GB. Those specs should add up to great processing power for getting real work done on the go.
The S8 packs a 3,000-mAh battery, while the S8+ has a 3,500-mAh battery. On tests run by our sister site, Tom’s Guide, the S8+ lasted an impressive 11 hours and 4 minutes on a charge while the S8 lasted 10:39. Both phones support wireless and wired fast charging via USB Type-C. Because the new Snapdragon chip is more power efficient, that should add up to some impressive battery life. Samsung will be watched closely when it comes to that battery. But the company promises it’s rolling out an 8-point safety check to ensure the S7 Note’s exploding battery doesn’t come back.
In addition to Android’s powerful 7.0 Nougat operating system, Samsung added its new Bixby assistant. It’s designed to step in when speaking makes more sense than tapping. But it can be controlled via voice, touch or text. It offers personalized help based on what it learns about your interests, situation and location. It can handle 15,000 tasks, according to Samsung. Samsung hopes Bixby will be even more powerful than Siri or Alexa.
Bixby Vision is an app that leverages the phone’s camera. If you point the camera at an object, the app will provide contextual information. For instance, you can look up wine ratings or the prices for books. Samsung says it plans to add more partners over time.
Both the S8 and S8+ are built on the Samsung Knox platform. The company says it’s a defense-grade security platform. You can also use the camera to unlock the phone with your iris. Plus the fingerprint scanner, while inconveniently placed, will help keep all your sensitive business data safe.
With the new DeX dock, the Galaxy S8 can double as a full-fledged computer. You simply plug the phone into the dock’s USB Type-C connector, and connect the dock to a monitor. You’ll see a desktop-like interface with a dedicated app tray and notification area. It can handle support for a mouse and keyboard. It also handles right clicks and keyboard shortcuts.
The Android OS can already support multitasking, allowing you to run two apps at once. But DeX means you have more real estate. Some third-party apps have been optimized, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Lightroom. But the highest resolution it supports in a monitor is 1080p.
Samsung Premium Care comes standard with both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ for free for the first 30 days. It offers one-on-one, 24/7 technical support and assistance. They can help you set up the device, teach you how to use it and they will replace your phone if something goes wrong.
Other Special Features
Samsung added the Samsung Connect app, which helps your phone to control smart home devices. For instance, you can bright your office with Philips Hue lights or remotely start your robot vacuum. It can also control Samsung devices such as the Samsung Connect Home, which is a Wi-Fi router and SmartThings hub.
For those who preorder the S8 and S8+, Samsung will also include the new Gear VR controller for free. The controller for the VR headset features a handy trigger button, a large circular touchpad and three-axis controls.