Six weeks have gone by since the last time I took on the task of rounding up and making sense of the large number of Galaxy S8 rumors. To say things have changed since then would be an understatement. The volume of new leaks in recent weeks has been staggering. Some are sketchy, some reliable, some almost definite. But there are so many new rumors doing the rounds that I thought it was time to try to make sense of them once again and see what picture we have of the Galaxy S8 at the end of it.
Samsung Galaxy S8: release date
Samsung has come out and publicly denied rumors that the Galaxy S8 will see an accelerated launch. The most logical prediction is that the Galaxy S8 release date will be February 26. This is the Galaxy S series’ usual time slot on the main press day prior to MWC 2017. Availability will likely be within 2-3 weeks of the announcement if past performance is anything to go by.
However, more than a few rumors have claimed the Galaxy S8 launch might be pushed back as far as April, with two of the more notable mentions coming from no less a source than The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. It’s no secret that Samsung wants the S8 launch to go off without a hitch, so a delayed launch is very possible.
Samsung Galaxy S8: specs
Of course, none of the Galaxy S8 specs that follow are confirmed, but the rumor mill is starting to see some consistency in the claims being made. The current crop of Galaxy S8 spec rumors include a 5.5-inch and 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 830 or Exynos 8895 chipset, depending on region, Android 7.1 Nougat and 6 GB of RAM. However, recent leaks have Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 835 powering the Galaxy S8. For more on the SD 835, read this and this.
Most reports claim the base model storage will be bumped up to 64 GB and some claim there will also be a 128 GB and even a 256 GB model available. It seems safe to assume that the Galaxy S8 will 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.
As far as display resolution goes, there are rumors of both QHD and 4K. Most reports claimed QHD first, then 4K, and now we’re seeing QHD more frequently again, possibly due to changes in display tech (see below). An IP68 water-resistant and dustproof rating is also expected for the Galaxy S8 and the device has been rumored to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack and add USB Type-C.
The iris scanner and software layer found on the Galaxy Note 7 are reportedly bound for the S8 and the phone will officially support Google’s Daydream VR platform. Three-coil wireless charging is also 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.
Samsung Galaxy S8: display
Time and time again we’ve heard the Galaxy S8 will feature a “slick” near bezel-less design, with the display glass wrapping around the sides of the device. Some rumors put the screen-to-body ratio above 90 percent and claim the top and bottom bezels will be much smaller than on previous Galaxy devices. There is reportedly not going to be a flat-screened version of the Galaxy S8 at all, with both size options coming with dual edge curves.
The Galaxy S8 has most consistently been rumored to stick with the same diagonal screen size found on the Galaxy S7 family: 5.1 and 5.5 inches. However, another report claims the screen size will be increased on the next Galaxy in order to attract Note 7 fans looking for a larger screened device. According to that rumor, the Galaxy S8 will come in a 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch version. Both 4K and QHD resolutions have been bandied about, but most have settled on QHD in recent times.
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. One interesting Galaxy S8 rumor is that all four sides of the device will feature curved glass, including the top and bottom. Force Touch technology has also been discussed.
The Galaxy S8 display will be Super AMOLED yet again but is rumored to make the jump to M8 OLED material, offering better energy efficiency and longer display life. Some sites 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 also be compatible with the new Gear VR with USB Type-C connection.
Samsung Galaxy S8: home button
The front of the Galaxy S8 is reported to be one sheet of glass, with no home button due to the finger sensor being located underneath the display. Long-time Samsung component partner Synaptics recently announced its Natural ID FS9100 line of optical finger sensors, which sound an awful lot like what’s being rumored for the Galaxy S8.
Likewise, the power and volume buttons are also rumored to be touch-based, with either no physical buttons anywhere on the device or just one: for calling up the AI voice assistant. However, the dedicated AI button has only been discussed in prototype stage, meaning it may very well not make it to the final design.
Besides the wraparound display, minimal bezels and button-less design, very little else is known about the “slick design” promised by Samsung’s vp of mobile communications. At this point we can’t say if Samsung has a major design overhaul up its sleeve or if the Galaxy S8 will follow the same refinement trajectory we’ve been seeing since the Galaxy S6. Either way, ditching buttons and going bezel-less is good enough for us.
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.
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.
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.
Samsung is, however, rumored 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. 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
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. However, Samsung might be tempted to keep the price right where it is – or even reduce it slightly – in order to attract as many consumers as it possibly can. Regardless, the S8 is Samsung’s flagship, so a high price tag is guaranteed. Depending on whether multiple storage options are introduced, you can at least expect to pay the same as the current Galaxy S7 range.
That would be $669 for an unlocked regular version with 32 GB of storage or $769 for a 32 GB Edge variant – but keep in mind almost all rumors say there won’t be a flat-screened Galaxy S8 option, making a $800 starting price tag entirely possible. It must be noted that many rumors put the base storage option on the Galaxy S8 at 64 GB too, which may also add a little to the price. The same goes for the possible addition of dual cameras and an iris scanner.
Are you excited for the Galaxy S8? What feature are you looking forward to most?