Samsung on Wednesday unveiled two new flagship smartphones, the company’s first major phone release since its Galaxy Note 7 debacle last year.
The new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are essentially follow-ups to 2016’s S7 and S7 Edge, with the ‘Infinity Display’ and the ability to use the phones as a desktop computer as among the most eye-catching new features.
During its keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung heavily showed off the nearly bezel-free QHD+ (2960×1440) AMOLED displays on both phones. Those curved glass fuse beautifully with the slick metal body.
Although this was not Samsung’s first attempt on implementing an edge-to-edge display on its phones, the ‘infinity display’ on the new flagships are a major improvement from the panels used on the previous Note 7 and the S7 Edge.
The ‘Infinity Display’ not only makes both phones, each with 5.8 and 6.2 inch panels respectively, seem like an entire sheet of glass wrapped around the edges, but also help keep the phones’ dimensions smaller than most phablets out there sporting displays beyond 5-inches, which is pretty remarkable.
In addition, Samsung has trimmed the forehead and chin of both phones, allowing the screens to occupy 83 per cent of the phone’s front surface.
Samsung also removed its signature physical home button and capacitive navigation keys from its new Galaxy flagships, in their place is a pressure-sensitive section on the phones’ chin, which is a clear departure from previous Galaxy S phones.
The S8 and S8 Plus do look gorgeous in either one of the five available colours: black, gold, silver, blue and an all new “orchid grey”.
The new S8 and S8 Plus, which runs on Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz UI layered onto Google’s latest Android 7.1 OS, also has a new trick up its sleeve: users can use the phones as a desktop computer via a special dock accessory, Samsung DeX Dock.
The new dock lets users add a keyboard, mouse and monitor to the phone in cases when you need to be extra productive.
Another new feature that comes with Samsung’s latest flagships is the company’s all new AI assistant called Bixby that rivals Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant on Android phones (although Google Assistant is also available on the S8 and S8 Plus).
Both flagships are powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, making Samsung the first to adopt this new chipset this year, as well as 4GB of RAM and a base storage of 64GB.
The larger S8 Plus sports a bigger battery than the regular S8 (3,500mAh vs 3,000mAh). Let’s hope these batteries won’t blow up like the Note 7.
The two phones also retain most of the familiar features from last year’s S7 and Note 7, such as a 12-megapixel ‘Dual Pixel’ camera with an f/1.7 lens, Iris scanner, facial recognition, wireless charging and water resistance.
And no, Samsung has not removed the headphone jack.
During the event, Samsung also unveiled an updated Gear VR headset with controller and the Gear 360 to go with the new flagship phones.
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus is set to go on sale sometime in late April.