Whenever two near-identical versions of the same phone are announced, you have to ask yourself: which one should I buy? Sometimes the differences are so noticeable the choice is pretty easy, as it was last year with the flat vs curved screen Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. But this year things have changed, and the differences between the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are much smaller than you might think.

See also:

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus officially announced: what you need to know

March 29, 2017

Screen size and pixel density

Obviously, the Galaxy S8 Plus is the larger phone, with a 6.2-inch display and correspondingly larger footprint. It has the same QHD+ resolution as the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 though, so other than size, the big difference is pixel density.

Spreading that 2,960 x 1,440 pixel resolution across a larger area makes the S8 Plus’ pixel density come in at 529 ppi vs the Galaxy S8 with 570 ppi. The truth is though that no normal human would be able to spot the difference in sharpness between the two devices with the naked eye. Both are eye-poppingly gorgeous and crisp.

The difference here really comes down to just how large your hands are and how big a screen you like on your phone.

So the difference here really comes down to just how large your hands are and how big a screen you like on your phone. Of course, the larger dimensions on the Galaxy S8 Plus also mean that awkwardly placed fingerprint scanner is even further away. Perhaps your fingers are sufficiently elongated for that not to be a problem, but most folks are going to have to resort to face unlocking instead.

Consideration 1: Hand size and finger length.

Battery and weight

Neither Galaxy S8 variant has a particularly huge battery, especially so when you consider the presence of a QHD+ screen. The Galaxy S8 is powered by a 3,000 mAh battery while the S8 Plus gets a larger 3,500 mAh cell.

The S8's battery hasn't grown since last year and the S8 Plus' is actually a little smaller than the Galaxy S7 Edge.

For reference, the S8’s battery hasn’t grown since last year and the S8 Plus’ is actually a little smaller than that found in the Galaxy S7 Edge. So battery capacity isn’t really going to help you decide either. Sure, the S8 Plus has a larger battery, but it also has a larger screen to push pixels around.

As for weight, a larger phone with a bigger battery also tends to weigh a little more. So if you hate the feeling of a heavy phone in your pocket then you might want to opt for the smaller of the two. At 173 grams the S8 Plus is hardly a piece of lead, but it’s size and weight might put off some potential buyers.

By comparison, the more diminutive Galaxy S8 weighs it at just 155 grams. That’s about the same as the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge from last year while the Galaxy S8 Plus weighs a tiny bit more than the monstrously large HTC U Ultra. So while these phones have really big displays they weigh about as much as other phones with much smaller screens.

Consideration 2: A tiny bit more battery life. Probably.

Price

This is really where the line in the sand will be drawn for most folks. The Galaxy S8 price outright in the US is $750. The Galaxy S8 Plus however is $850. That’s a lot of money. While carrier discounts and upgrade programs will apply to a lot of people, there’s no denying these phones are really expensive.

The Galaxy S8 price outright in the US is $750. The Galaxy S8 Plus however is $850.

To put that price in perspective that’s what the limited edition Product Red iPhone 7 costs. The regular iPhone 7, typically heralded as being a super expensive piece of kit, is actually around a hundred bucks cheaper than both new Galaxy phones right now.

Consideration 3: $100

See also:

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus pricing and availability: what we know so far

April 3, 2017

Final thoughts

What I’m getting at here is that this year there isn’t the usual benchmark for deciding which phone is the natural choice. Their specs sheets are identical aside from the obvious points noted here. There isn’t a dual camera on one, larger internal storage on the other or the choice between a flat or a curved screen. So the choice is literally down to which one feels best in your hand and how much you’re willing to spend.

The difference in size between the two is actually not that huge either, so unless your grip is already maxing out on the S8 you probably won’t have too much of an issue with the larger S8 Plus. But the larger phone is more unwieldy, no doubt. One-handed use, reaching the finger scanner or the top of the screen and generally just using the S8 Plus on the daily will all be a little less comfortable than on the regular S8.

If you're already used to huge phones, then you'll be right at home with the S8 Plus, but if you're upgrading from the Galaxy S7, prepare yourself.

If you’re already used to huge phones, then you’ll be right at home, but if you’re upgrading from the Galaxy S7, prepare yourself. Personally, I’d recommend the S8 unless you see that additional battery capacity or larger screen and have already made up your mind. But whichever one you choose, no one is “missing out” on anything major this year.

Kris Carlon
Kris Carlon is a Senior Editor at Android Authority. He is a half-British Australian who lives in Berlin, travels a lot and is always connected to a laptop, phone, smartwatch or tablet (and occasionally a book).
  • Be My Guest

    Neither are right for me.

    • Pool.. Dead

      wait for S6EdgeisBOSS Guy

      • Be My Guest

        Nice try hard troll account

    • S6EdgePlus IsBoss

      Definitely buying S8Plus day one of launch then Note8 in September. #NothingBeatsSamsung

      • Be My Guest

        ‘Triggered’

      • squiddy20

        Because you have no life.

        • TexasMadeJ ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          He finally received his orders from Samsung on what propaganda to spread, so commence the propagandizing…..

      • m1800

        how do you know it’s releasing in September?

      • Georgi Angelov

        Exactly what I was thinking lol ;) Also, BestBuy offers 100$ off from the Galaxy S8 Plus and only $50 from the Galaxy S8. Hence, for $50 more you’re getting a sweet phone that you can re-sell for a higher price than the Galaxy S8 later!

  • simran

    LG G6 is much better than s8

    • S6EdgePlus IsBoss

      Nice dream. G6 is insignificant and pretty worthless compared to the S8 and S8Plus. Nice try keep trying.

      • squiddy20

        Says the Samsung fanboy and apologist. What a surprise.

      • Edie_T

        More like G6 is worth the money. S8 is at least $720-750 on launch ? Not worth it.

    • Phil

      Agreed if I didn’t have a V20 I’d definitely grab the G6 over the S8 . Ill keep my removeable battery tho 🔋😳

  • Juliobx

    I would get the regular S8 or the G6. I saw the G6 in person today at AT&T and I liked the size.

    • TexasMadeJ ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      That’s what she said…… 😉

  • why are the other articles about the S8 in this app broken? Trying to open them crashes the app…

  • Michael Allen

    The S8+ is still smaller than my Nexus 6 so if I could afford either it would be the plus

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Being used to a note4 would probably mean the S8+ would be manageable and awesome

  • Tech Geek

    What happened to the primary purpose of this device – the TELEPHONE? For all the reviews out there, not a single reviewer even tried to make a phone call with it. Hello? For anyone who has used a real telephone, these “smart” phones are really just a small computer with a crappy phone app as an afterthought. Even an old BlackBerry does phone better than the best modern smartphone. Sad.

  • pradeep kumar

    Neither.

  • Sivad01

    I think I like the LG G6 design better than the S8

  • Heather Crutchley

    I have small hands, but I’m coming from an iPhone 6s Plus. Does anyone think the regular s8 will feel small to me? The screen on the smaller one is STILL bigger than just the screen on the Plus iPhones. Apple and their bloody bezels.