Update: A VR-ready 4K screen is looking ever more likely, while a dual-lens camera and ‘Smart Glow’ features are other possible inclusions for the Samsung Galaxy S8.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 was almost everything we hoped for, with improvements throughout leading it to be one of the most powerful, stylish and all round accomplished smartphones on the market.
But there’s still room for improvement and it’s low on innovation, so we have a wish list for what we want to see from the Samsung Galaxy S8. We’d also love to hear what you think, so let us know in the comments below and we’ll pass on the best ones to Samsung!
The phone won’t be launching for a long time yet, but that just means Samsung should have time to implement some of our suggestions. Here’s hoping it listens.
We’re also collecting all the rumors and news about the phone, along with our own educated guesses, so read on for all the latest on Samsung’s upcoming flagship.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung’s next flagship smartphone
- When is it out? Early 2017
- What will it cost? It’s going to be expensive
Samsung Galaxy S8 release date
It’s too early to get too specific about release dates, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 is bound to launch in early 2017, since the beginning of the year is typically when Samsung rolls out its new flagships.
We can hazard a guess that it will arrive at or around MWC 2017, which is taking place from February 27 to March 2.
Samsung Galaxy S8 news and rumors
There’s very little Samsung Galaxy S8 news so far, but we can take an educated guess at what we might see.
We’ve divided our thoughts up into sections below, but likely highlights include a 4K screen, a Snapdragon 830 processor, 6GB of RAM and a massively improved camera.
There’s even a chance that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will have an iris scanner or a foldable screen, though they’re somewhat less likely.
Samsung Galaxy S8 screen
Samsung is making a big push into VR with its Gear VR headset and one thing it really needs to make the most of that is sharp screens on its phones.
QHD, as we have on the Samsung Galaxy S7, is more than sharp enough for using it as a phone but it’s not quite up to scratch for VR, so it’s likely Samsung will push the resolution up for the Samsung Galaxy S8, perhaps as high as 4K.
Even without the lure of VR a sharper screen wouldn’t be surprising, as a couple of generations of Galaxy devices have now had QHD ones, so Samsung is likely to want to push the resolution up further for the Galaxy S8.
In fact, the company has already shown off a 5.5-inch 2160 x 3840 screen, which comes in at a pin sharp 806 pixels per inch. There’s no guarantee the Samsung Galaxy S8 will get this screen, but it’s clearly been designed for premium mobile devices and phones don’t get much more premium than the S8.
Not only has Samsung developed such a screen, but according to Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech, the company specifically plans to equip the Galaxy S8 with a UHD display. They don’t specify who the source is though, so take this with a pinch of salt.
Samsung is also putting a lot of work into curved screens, so we’ll probably see a Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge as well.
But it might go one further and give us a foldable phone, especially as prototypes and patents for such a device already exist. In fact, it’s rumored that the company will launch a folding phone in 2017, but it’s unlikely to risk attaching the untested tech to its flagship.
The screen size could also change. While Samsung won’t want to encroach on its Galaxy Note phablet range the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 is one of the smaller flagships around right now and significantly smaller than even the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge which launched alongside it. Given that it recently showed off a 5.5-inch 4K display that could be the size the S8 comes in.
Samsung Galaxy S8 design
Samsung is on to something with the design of the Galaxy S6 and now the Galaxy S7. Its melding of metal and glass has led to one of the most attractive handsets around, so we don’t expect huge changes there.
On the other hand, people like to see changes, so at the very least the design will probably be refined. Samsung slightly curved the back edge of the Galaxy S7, so perhaps it will make the Galaxy S8 even more curved, so it sits even more comfortably in the hand, like the HTC One M9. Or maybe it will focus on making the phone thinner.
And a completely new design is always possible, but if it does have one it could take almost any form. Well, any form that’s basically a rectangle anyway.
Samsung Galaxy S8 camera and battery
Samsung is said to be working on a new camera, which will be between 18 and 24MP and have a wide f/1.4 aperture, where the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a narrower f/1.7 one.
That extra width could allow more light in and the jump in megapixel count could allow for more detailed images, though while Samsung is apparently working on this camera it hasn’t been specifically linked to the Galaxy S8 yet.
Another rumor, this time from Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech, points to a dual-lens camera. It’s not clear what role the second lens would play, but the sources claim it’s being built by Samsung Motors (Semco).
There’s no word on what size battery the Samsung Galaxy S8 will have, but hopefully the company won’t reverse the good work it’s done on the S7, which has better life than the S6 before it.
The Galaxy S7 has a 3000mAh juice pack and with any luck the battery in the S8 will be even larger, or at least more efficient. It might need to be if Samsung pushes the screen resolution up.
Samsung Galaxy S8 OS and power
The Snapdragon 830 isn’t official yet, but it has been rumored and is the likely name for the next major flagship smartphone chip from Qualcomm. It’s likely to be faster, smaller and more efficient than the Snapdragon 820 – or at least those are all areas Qualcomm is likely to try and improve.
That said, Samsung also makes its own Exynos chips and with the Galaxy S7 some regions got those and others got the Snapdragon 820, so the same may happen with the Galaxy S8, but whatever chip it comes with you can be sure it will be cutting edge, as the company usually puts the best tech in its flagships.
That extra power will really come in handy if Samsung plans to put a 4K screen on the Galaxy S8 or use it for high-end VR content.
We can also take a look at Galaxy Note 6 rumors to get some clues about what specs the Samsung Galaxy S8 might be packing. That phone is rumored to be coming with 6GB of RAM and if it does we’d wager the Samsung Galaxy S8 will too. Certainly a boost on the 4GB found in the Samsung Galaxy S7 is likely.
Samsung Galaxy S8 other features
Since then it’s even launched a tablet with an iris scanner, dubbed the Galaxy Tab Iris, but this is only available in India and it’s likely the company has bigger plans for the tech.
Samsung is also apparently working on a ‘Smart Glow’ feature, which would take the form of a ring of LEDs around the rear camera, which can flash in different colors for different types of notifications and even light up when they detect your face, so you can more easily take a selfie with the main camera. This hasn’t been linked to the S8 but is a likely inclusion.
Other than those features, a reversible USB Type-C connector is likely, since they’re becoming increasingly common, and Samsung is likely to continue offering the features its flagships are known for, like a fingerprint scanner, an always-on screen, a microSD card slot and a waterproof body.