Samsung is getting ready to release a new pair of Galaxy S smartphones that are significantly different that anything we’ve seen from the lineup so far. Will these new features have what it takes to pull the tech giant out of its Note 7 quagmire and rebuild consumer trust?
Here are eight features we are expecting to see on the upcoming Galaxy S8, according to various reports.
1. Bigger Edge Display with 18.5:9 Aspect Ratio
Say goodbye to physical home buttons. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will come in two sizes, sporting an almost bezel-less, edge-to-edge “infinity” display, according to details in a recent report by the Guardian. The two models, codenamed Dream and Dream 2, will feature 5.8- and 6.2-inch QHD Super AMOLED screens that cover 83 percent of their front panel.
Because they will lack the traditional navigation buttons found on every Galaxy device until now, both S8 models will feature displays that are even larger than Samsung’s traditionally oversized Galaxy Note lineup. Because of their unusual size, their 18.5:9 aspect ratio deviates slightly from the industry-standard 16:9, allowing for more screen real estate without sacrificing comfort when operating the phone with one hand.
— DforDesign (@dfordesign) 18 January 2017
Another first for the Galaxy lineup, the elongated aspect ratio means that most content you view on the S8 will be resized to fit its screen – apps and games will effortlessly scale to the screen’s ratio and fill it up nicely. When it comes to video, however, things will be a bit different.
Since most video content these days is presented in a 16:9 format, YouTube videos, for example, will be played with black bars on the sides. On the other hand, when watching a film, you will get a lot less in the way of letterboxing than you would in 16:9 landscape ratio, as motion pictures are usually presented in very wide aspect ratios that are closer to that of the new screen.
Filmmakers today have many options at their disposal, but the most common ratios for modern films are 1.85:1 and 2.39:1. Furthermore, scrolling through web pages or your Twitter feed will be better on the 2:1 screen (in portrait mode), as the phone will be capable of displaying more content at any given time.
Bottom line, the difference in switching to the new screen won’t be anywhere as noticeable as switching from a 16:10 to a 4:3 tablet or something similar. Whether Samsung is on the right track with the new screen aspect ratio, and whether fans will like it, remains to be seen.
2. 10-nanometer Architecture
Samsung is no stranger to releasing different systems-on-chip depending on the sales region, and things are not expected to change with the Galaxy S8. All models will have processors made using 10-nanometer fabrication methods – most likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in the US models and Samsung Exynos in the others.
In terms of performance, this is said to make the new phones 11 percent faster than the Galaxy S7 overall, with 23 percent faster graphics processing and 20 percent more energy efficient overall. The improved power consumption will be critical, considering what some might call low battery capacity at 3000mAh ad 3500mAh, despite having larger 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch designs.
3. Headphone Jack
Just like with the now defunct Galaxy Note 7, plugging up on the S8 will be accomplished via USB-C, which is located on the bottom of the handsets next to a 3.5-millimeter jack. Normally this would be a given, but considering what we’ve seen with the latest iPhone 7 release, the traditional headphone jack could soon be facing the same fate as the once popular IR blaster.
The Apple iPhone 7 was recently released and for the first time does not include a headphone jack. In its absence, owners will have to use Lightning or Bluetooth headphones, both of which will be more expensive than a pair that ends in the traditional 3.5mm connector. This configuration also prevents charging the phone while listening to a pair of wired headphones.
4. Upgraded Camera & Iris Scanner
Samsung has been killing it when it comes to mobile photography and the Galaxy S8 is expected to deliver excellent low light performance with both front and rear lenses featuring an f/1.7 aperture. We were disappointed to hear that the main 12-megapixel rear camera would not see a resolution improvement over the Galaxy S7 – but the 8MP selfie cam is a nice upgrade over the 5MP version found in the previous model.
The Guardian report cites several sources confirming that the iris scanning biometric technology first launched in Galaxy Note 7 will be available on the Galaxy S8, allowing users to unlock and their smartphones and authenticate purchases with their eyes. This should be expected, as it’s not uncommon to see Note features end up in the S line.
The main camera around back also possesses a new visual search functionality, according to the Guardian report, with on-screen icons that allow the user to choose the type of search to be performed. The camera will also feature built-in object recognition, similar to Google Goggles. This means you could photograph text and perform OCR-enabled web searches or perhaps product searches on a shopping-site.
5. Rear Mounted Fingerprint Scanner
Since the Home button on the front of Galaxy S8 has been removed, Samsung had to find a new place for its fingerprint sensor – which has been moved around back. This is a standard placement now, considering similar setups from many other manufacturers, Samsung is just late to the game.
It will be interesting to see how well the placement works, as being placed right next to the rear camera lens (opposite the heart rate sensor) could be problematic for some users. Most phone makers are putting the fingerprint sensor directly below the main camera lens, which can be less of a stretch for people with shorter fingers.
6. Desktop Capabilities
An exciting new frontier in mobile computing, one feature expected to arrive on the Galaxy S8 is the ability to connect the handset to a HDMI-equipped dock for a desktop view of Android that can be controlled with a keyboard and mouse. Dubbed “Samsung DeX“, it will be similar to what Microsoft is doing with Continuum.
7. Pressure Sensitive Input
The pressure-sensitive input technology first included with the iPhone 6s in 2015 is finally coming to the Galaxy brand, with the lower part of the display reportedly being capable of distinguishing between different types of screen presses. Press and hold on an app icon, for instance, and a menu will appear with options, such as compose a message or take a selfie or whatever is relevant.
8. Increased Internal Storage
The Galaxy S8 is expected to ship with 4GB of RAM, which has remained unchanged from the past few Galaxy S models. This is surprising considering what we’ve seen Samsung do with the Galaxy C9 Pro – a 6-inch powerhouse with 6GB of RAM. Internal storage on the S8 is expected to be 64GB with a microSD card slot for expansion – up to 256GB max.
Galaxy S8 Release Date
It’s has been tradition for the past several years for Samsung to launch its latest Galaxy S model just before the start of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona near the end of February. This year, however, it’s been reported by Evleaks that the Galaxy S8 won’t be unpacked until nearly a month later in New York City and should be on sale by April 21.