Editor’s note: In this post, which will be updated regularly, we take a look at the most credible Samsung Galaxy S8 release date, specs, features, price rumors and reports.
We’re getting to the pointy end of the Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor cycle. The time when the stories doing the rounds are more often than not based on eyewitness accounts and pre-release hardware than hearsay and speculation. Unfortunately though, some of the latest information undermines some of the features we were most excited about, like that fancy under-glass finger scanner.
Join us as we analyze the most likely Galaxy S8 specs and features — and make a few educated guesses about the phone’s release date and availability.
Samsung Galaxy S8: release date
March 29 has become the firm favorite for the Galaxy S8 launch with a release date some time in April, most likely April 21.
Despite earlier claims of an accelerated launch (i.e. sooner than twelve months after its predecessor, which launched March 2016 during MWC), Samsung publicly denied rumors that the Galaxy S8 would come out early and then confirmed it would not be unveiled at MWC 2017 either. In years past, phones in the Galaxy S series were revealed during the main press days before MWC kicked off, with in-store availability within 2-3 weeks of the announcement.
Samsung Galaxy S8: specs
New schematics generated by CNET Korea based on eyewitness accounts ‘confirm’ a lot of what we’ve recently been hearing about the Galaxy S8. They also reinforce what we saw in the image recently leaked by Evan Blass above. The schematics put the finger scanner on the back of the device next to the camera lens and feature a USB Type-C port, 3.5 mm headphone port and bottom firing speaker grill, just like the Galaxy S7. The schematics also reveal a new hardware button, presumably for calling up Bixby (more on that below).
Of course, none of the Galaxy S8 specs that follow are confirmed, but there are quite a few details that seem increasingly legitimate. We’re looking at two different-sized models — a smaller Galaxy S8 and larger Galaxy S8 Plus — both of which will feature a dual-curved Super AMOLED display (hence dropping the Edge moniker) with a tighter curve like that found on the Galaxy Note 7.
Rumored Galaxy S8 specs include a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 chipset, depending on region, and Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box (for more on the SD 835, read this and this). Earlier reports put 6 GB of RAM in the S8, but it now looks more likely that we’ll only be getting 4 GB of RAM (at least in the base model, there might still be a 6 GB version, if this report is to be believed).
Fortunately, most reports claim the base model storage will be bumped up to 64 GB and some claim there will be a 128 GB and even a 256 GB model available. The Galaxy S8 will likely feature the new hybrid slot that supports both microSD expansion and Samsung’s new UFS memory cards.
Stereo speakers are expected to arrive on the S8, but Samsung has publicly stated Harman audio won’t appear on Galaxy devices until 2018. Despite earlier rumors claiming the S8 would ditch the 3.5mm headphone port, the most recent claims have it firmly installed in its rightful place, including the leaked photos and schematics shown above and below. An IP68 water-resistant and dustproof rating is also expected for the S8 and it will officially support Google’s Daydream VR platform.
Three-coil wireless charging is expected to provide more efficient wireless fast charging, requiring less precision when placing the device on a wireless charger. If the S8 does use Qualcomm’s SD 835 chipset, it will also support Quick Charge 4 — which offers five hours of battery life in just five minutes.
In terms of battery capacity, that’s still up for debate. Blass and others have claimed a 3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh battery for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. But recent news from South Korea suggests the Galaxy S8 battery will be slightly larger at 3,250 mAh battery and 3,750 mAh for the larger model.
Despite getting blamed, at least initially, for the Note 7 disaster, Samsung SDI will continue to supply the battery for the Galaxy S8, according to this report. If you have any concerns over this battery supplier being used in the Galaxy S8, take a look at Samsung’s notes on how it plans to avoid any future battery problems.
Samsung is also rumored to have a desktop experience planned for the Galaxy S8 called Samsung DeX. This would allow you to connect a mouse, monitor and keyboard to your Galaxy S8 via a dock. The company is also expected to launch new truly wireless in-ear headphones alongside the Galaxy S8.
Samsung Galaxy S8: display
We’ve all heard the claim that the Galaxy S8 will feature a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and the latest leaked images and schematics certainly seem to confirm that claim, with very thin bezels above and below the display. This has been made possible by removing the physical home button (see below).
The Galaxy S8 was originally rumored to stick with the same diagonal screen size found on the Galaxy S7 family: 5.1 and 5.5 inches. However, following an earlier report that the Galaxy S8 screen size would be increased to attract Note 7 fans looking for a larger screened device, we’re now looking at increasing evidence for a 5.8- and 6.2-inch diagonal.
The Galaxy S8 is expected to feature an 18.5:9 aspect ratio (rather than the standard 16:9), which will become something closer to the 2:1 aspect ration rumored for the LG G6 if you account for on-screen buttons.
Note that the display diagonal measurements given in the schematics seem to be for the flat part of the screen though, with the curved part making up the difference. This obviously affects screen-to-body ratio calculations, which, for the given values, are closer to 85 percent rather than 90 percent.
This video from Samsung Display provides a nice example of what to expect from the Galaxy S8 in terms of display and screen to body ratio, even though the phone in the video is just a concept meant to showcase recent display innovations from Samsung Display.
In terms of definition, both 4K and QHD resolutions had been bandied about in the early days, but most have settled on QHD in recent times, possibly due to changes in display tech. The Galaxy S8 display will be Super AMOLED yet again but it’s rumored to make the jump to an M8 OLED material, offering better energy efficiency and longer display life.
Some also claim the S8 will use an RGB pixel array rather than a Diamond Pentile pattern. This will bump the pixel density up significantly (from 7,372, 800 to 11,059,200), which will benefit virtual reality fans greatly. The Galaxy S8 will of course be compatible with the new Gear VR with its USB Type-C connection.
As far as the screen itself goes, the Galaxy S8 is expected to use the same Y-OCTA display technology as that found in the Galaxy Note 7, whereby the touch layer is bonded to the display glass during production, allowing for a marginally thinner device and lower production costs.
Samsung Galaxy S8: home button
The front of the Galaxy S8 will be one smooth, uninterrupted sheet of glass, with no home button due to the finger sensor being located on the back of the device. Unfortunately, this latest news contradicts prior claims that Samsung would be using an under-glass fingerprint scanner, much like the one announced recently by long-time Samsung component partner Synaptics.
Likewise, previous rumors that the power and volume buttons would be touch-based also seem to have come unstuck in the light of the recently leaked images and schematics. However, these new images do reveal the presence of an additional button, presumably for calling up Samsung’s new AI voice assistant, Bixby.
Samsung Galaxy S8: AI features
Samsung’s VP of mobile communications went on record a while back, promising an “enhanced artificial intelligence service” for the Galaxy S8. Following Samsung’s recent acquisition of AI firm Viv Labs, the company admitted that it was bringing a new AI digital assistant to the Galaxy S8 and other Samsung products. Since then, we’ve heard more reports about Bixby and Kestra, the male and female voices Samsung trademarked for its new voice assistant.
Samsung Bixby will reportedly also be able to handle your mobile payments using voice commands alone, courtesy of a feature called Bixby Pay. Samsung has also commented previously on being able to use its new voice assistant to order a pizza or request an Uber. All of this will be achievable through Bixby alone, without needing to launch your pizza app or Uber. It’s possible that all the apps pre-installed on the Galaxy S8 will be accessible through Bixby.
Furthermore, the platform on which Bixby is built supports IoT devices and will be used to connect smart appliances, mobile devices and more. With this in mind, Bixby might end up being a phone-based competitor to the likes of Google Home or Amazon Alexa rather than Siri or Cortana.
One report cast doubt over the Bixby integration rumor, but we still think that AI will be a big part of the Galaxy S8’s feature set. Bixby is also claimed to be capable of performing visual searches.
On a related note, S Health, Samsung’s fitness app, will reportedly be updated to allow users to make doctor’s appointments and look up medical issues, presumably with your voice.
Samsung Galaxy S8: camera
The Galaxy S8 had previously been rumored to feature an improved dual-lens camera with reports out of South Korea claiming Samsung was opting for two 16 MP cameras on the back with an 8 MP front-facing camera. Other claims put dual 12 MP cameras on the back. However, since then, Bloomberg reports that the dual camera setup has been scrapped due to high manufacturing costs. The same seems confirmed by the leaked images and schematics.
Samsung is, however, said to be working on a new camera with a super-wide f/1.4 aperture but we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s what makes it into the Galaxy S8 or if we get a 12 MP f/1.7 camera.
The front-facing camera is expected to feature smart auto-focus, with Samsung recently trademarking the term Smart AF. Equally possible is the inclusion of the Smart Glow notification ring and selfie illumination solution from the Galaxy J2.
Samsung Galaxy S8: price
According to a report on Venture Beat, the Galaxy S8 range will have an additional €100 added to last year’s price tag. The 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 will reportedly cost €799 (roughly $854.50) and the 6.2-inch version will be priced at €899 (roughly $961.71).
If Samsung goes all out on the Galaxy S8 it’s reasonable to believe that the price might go up due to increased component costs or simply to maximize profit. Regardless of the reasoning, the S8 is Samsung’s flagship, so a high price tag is guaranteed.
There you have it for our take on the most credible Samsung Galaxy S8 specs, features, release date and price rumors. What do you think of the device so far?