As many of you know I was at Samsung’s Unpacked event where they announced the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Samsung also announced an updated Gear VR headset and a second generation Gear 360 camera. We shared a few clips and pics on the social media channels but here’s a rundown of the specs and my first impressions with the device.
There was a lot going on at the event. The Galaxy S8 comes packed with features (as expected) and I tried to check them all out or at least what you can do in an hour of hands-on time. The phone starts at $720 (depending on carrier). You can pre-order today, so go your carrier site for more information and pre-order promotions.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Specs
Display: 5.7” (520 ppi) | 6.2″ (570ppi) Quad HD+ 2960 x 1440 resolution Infinity Display
Cameras: 12 Mp rear-facing camera (OIS) / 8 megapixel front-facing camera
Processor / RAM: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa core (US Model)/ 4GB RAM
Memory: 32 GB / 128 GB Internal Memory (with expansion slot up to 256GB memory card)
Battery: 3,000 mah nonremovable / 3,500mah (S8+)
Connectivity : Bluetooth 5.0 / Wi-Fi / Nano SIM / USB-C / Headphone Jack
OS: Android Nougat 7.0 with TouchWiz
Features: Bixby | IP68 Water and dust resistant / Fast Wired and Wireless Charging / Comes with AKG headphones
Hands-On and First Impressions
Display and Build
As expected, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ feel premium. But I have to admit I enjoyed the feel of the smaller phone. If I was to pick the S8 over the S8+ I would be fine with the 5.7 inch display. It was made to fit nicely in hand. And while yes, I would be sacrificing a larger battery, the S8 felt comfortable for one-handed use. The Galaxy S8+ was slightly larger and required a bit more effort for me to get the top of the screen due to the tall ratio (18:5.9). But it wasn’t as difficult as expected for a 6.2 inch screen. The screen to build ratio is very impressive.
The display wrapped around nicely giving the Galaxy S8 and S8+ a near bezeless display which I enjoyed. Samsung calls it Infinity Display.With my palm touching the edges, the display didn’t budge which was nice. I would hate to accidentally touch a menu button or close-out my video with my palm. The colors of course are rich and vibrant as Samsung always delivers in that department.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Software
TouchWiz looks cleaner. You’ve seen it if you have a Galaxy S7 / Galaxy S7 Edge with Android Nougat 7.0. The multi-screen option is still great. You can even watch video and respond to texts on multi-screen as you can see in the picture. I am happy to see the iris scanner (that was on the Galaxy Note 7) is on the Galaxy S8. I can be super comfortable (read: lazy) and just look at my phone to have it unlock.
You will notice another button on the left border. This is for Bixby. Bixby is a new way to interact with your phone. While I wasn’t able to thoroughly test it, we had the chance to view how it picks up the products you scan and how it would bring up a list of partners to buy from. Bixby is meant to do more than shop, you can interact with the Galaxy S8 fully. You can ask it to text someone, send them information (such as location) in a more conversational way. Bixby is said to learn from your routines and will interact accordingly. We’ll see how it works when we review the Galaxy S8 fully.
The spec sheet also said the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ come with Bluetooth 5.0 which is such great news (for me at least). I enjoy using wireless headphones. So what does Bluetooth 5.0 means you can stay connected to the phone at longer distances and possibly push music to multiple devices. I am looking forward to testing that out.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Camera
Samsung didn’t brag too much about the camera hardware. They included the same camera that is on the Galaxy S7. They updated the software make it better. We were close by the windows at Lincoln Center, and with the natural sunlight coming in, the sample pictures I was taking where displaying beautifully. If you liked the camera on the Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge the Galaxy S8 and S8+ cameras won’t disappoint you. The selfie camera is an 8mp with autofocus.
New Samsung VR and Gear 360 Camera (2nd Gen)
During the launch event Suzanne da Silva spoke about the new Samsung VR headset (supported by Oculus) that has a controller now (sold separately). New games from Oculus will support the new VR controller. She said the VR experience will be more immersive. Of course you would need to experience the VR to get a better feel of the experience. Samsung is running a promo on the VR headset for those that pre-order.
“Consumers who pre-order a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ will receive a free Gear VR headset with Controller and Oculus content4. A limited edition premium bundle which adds a 256GB memory card and Bluetooth headphones by AKG will also be available for $99. Additionally, consumers who purchase Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ will be eligible for Platinum Experience Status with Samsung Rewards5. These promotions will last for a limited time and only while supplies last. Terms and conditions apply. Visit samsung.com/us/promotions and samsung.com/platinum experience for more information.”
We did get to take the 2nd gen Gear 360 camera. I will be checking that out. Right now it only pairs with Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, and S8 Plus.
Overall the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ look good. Samsung had an event in the evening hosted by Casey Neistat where the public had a chance to check out the new phones as well. I’ll check out the features when we get a phone to review.