Internal Hardware and Features

Inside the redesigned Galaxy S8 and S8+ is either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC. The US and other regions that require CDMA capability will get the Snapdragon 835. We already have some idea of what to expect from the 4x4 big.LITTLE Kryo 280 CPU and upgraded Adreno 540 GPU after some preliminary performance testing. We know less about the Exynos 8895, which the rest of the world will receive. When we spoke with Samsung LSI at MWC 2017, a representative told us that while the 8895 comes with a Mali-G71MP20 GPU, the GPU configuration and operating points are set by the OEM, meaning it’s possible the S8 will not use all 20 GPU cores.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Series
  Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S8+
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US, China, Japan)
4x Kryo 280 Performance @ 2.35GHz
4x Kryo 280 Efficiency @ 1.90GHz
Adreno 540

Samsung Exynos 8895 (rest of world)
4x Exynos M2 @ 2.30GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.70GHz
ARM Mali-G71
Display 5.8-inch 2960x1440 (18.5:9)
SAMOLED (curved edges)
6.2-inch 2960x1440 (18.5:9)
SAMOLED (curved edges)
Dimensions 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm
155 grams
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
173 grams
NAND 64GB (UFS 2.1)
+ microSD
Battery 3000 mAh
3500 mAh
Front Camera 8MP, f/1.7, Contrast AF
Rear Camera 12MP, 1.4µm pixels, f/1.7, dual-pixel PDAF, OIS, auto HDR, LED flash
Modem Snapdragon X16 LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 16/13)

Samsung LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 16/13)
SIM Size NanoSIM
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MU-MIMO, BT 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
Connectivity USB Type-C, 3.5mm headset
Features fingerprint sensor, heart-rate sensor, iris scanner, face unlock, fast charging (Qualcomm QC 2.0 or Adaptive Fast Charging), wireless charging (WPC & PMA), IP68, Mobile HDR Premium
Launch OS Android 7.0 with TouchWiz

The new SoCs are paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, the same amount that’s in the Galaxy S7, S7 edge, and most other flagship phones. Internal storage is limited to 64GB with the option to add additional capacity via microSD card. While this will be enough to satisfy most people, it would be nice to see a 128GB option for a flagship in this price bracket.

Even though overall size and thickness have increased slightly compared to the previous generation, battery capacity has not improved. The Galaxy S8 comes with a 3000mAh battery, the same size as the Galaxy S7, while the S8+ comes with a 3500mAh battery, slightly less than the S7 edge’s 3600mAh capacity. It will be interesting to see how battery life compares, considering the S8s’ larger screens contain nearly 16% more pixels, increasing power consumption if not offset by panel efficiency improvements or power savings elsewhere, such as the new 10nm SoCs. Regardless, it’s disappointing that Samsung is still prioritizing thickness over battery life.

The overall camera experience has been a differentiating feature for the past couple of Galaxy generations. Samsung gave the S7 and S7 edge a new 12MP rear camera last year that improved low-light image quality. It was also the first phone camera to use dual-pixel PDAF, which vastly improves autofocus performance by using every pixel for phase detection instead of just a handful of phase detection pixels scattered across the sensor.

While most flagships—and even some mid-range phones—are moving to dual-cameras and adding hybrid AF systems to improve performance and attract consumers’ attention, Samsung is content to reuse the S7’s rear camera for the S8 and S8+ but with updated image processing software. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing a new camera every year, but the S7’s (and now S8’s) camera is still among the best available for phones. Its combination of features (object-tracking AF, auto HDR, HDR live preview, manual mode, 2160p30/1080p60 video), quick performance (camera launch, image capture, AF, HDR processing), and excellent image quality add up to a great overall camera experience. Adding a second sensor could enable additional features, such as depth sensing for bokeh effects, or further improve image quality, but Samsung is either not willing or ready to travel that path yet.

The S8 and S8+ do get a new front-facing camera, however. The higher-resolution 8MP sensor is paired with a fast f/1.7 lens that’s capable of shooting up to QHD (2560x1440) video, although HDR, EIS, and video effects are deactivated in this mode. Samsung’s Smart AF feature uses face detection and contrast-based AF to improve image focus for selfies.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, so you can read AnandTech in the bath.

The new Galaxy phones come with Android 7.0 and Google Assistant. TouchWiz gets a facelift with more rounded corners to match the screen, but the most interesting new software feature is Bixby, Samsung’s new virtual assistant. This “intelligent user interface” promises expanded voice navigation, allowing you to (eventually) substitute voice commands for any touch-based actions. It’s deeply integrated into the OS already, and Samsung has an SDK available for third-party developers.

There’s more to Bixby then just telling your phone to adjust the screen brightness or open an app, however. Tapping the Bixby button in Samsung’s Camera app activates Bixby’s object recognition capabilities, allowing it to scan QR codes, process business cards, perform language translation, and provide product information and shopping links. It also learns your habits over time and provides context relevant information, reminders, and suggestions. For example, if you call your significant other on your drive home every day, Bixby will recognize this and offer to automatically dial his/her number for you. Bixby is still a work in progress, though, and it’s not clear how many of its features will be functional when the phones begin shipping.

Samsung is also announcing some new accessories alongside the Galaxy S8 phones. There’s a new version of Gear VR that’s compatible with the S8, S7, S6, and Note5 families. First announced at MWC 2017, this new model comes bundled with a touchpad controller that also enables hand tracking. Samsung’s Gear 360 VR camera also gets a refresh. It’s now capable of recording 4096x2048 H.265 video at 24fps, a slight increase over the previous version’s 3840x1920 resolution at 30fps.

Samsung's DeX docking station is a productivity-focused accessory that allows a Galaxy S8 phone to drive a desktop experience. The puck-shaped cradle includes an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 100Mbit/s Ethernet port for connecting the phone to an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, and wired network. The phone’s external speaker provides sound.

Instead of a stretched-out phone UI, the S8 provides a desktop environment with support for multiple, resizable windows, copy and paste between windows, and an app drawer for accessing all the Android apps installed on the phone.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available in US stores beginning April 21 and will come with Harman AKG earbuds. Pre-orders will begin at 12am ET on March 30. As an additional incentive, customers who pre-order the S8 or S8+ will receive a Gear VR with Controller for free. There’s also a premium bundle that throws in a 256GB microSD card and AKG Bluetooth headphones for an additional $99. Colors for the US include Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, and Arctic Silver. Coral Blue and Maple Gold colors will also be available in select markets. In the US, the Galaxy S8 will retail for $750, while the S8+ will cost $850.

The new Samsung Gear VR with Controller will also be available on April 21 for $129.99. The Controller can be purchased separately for $39.99.

Design and Display
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  • artk2219 - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    Yup, because you were then either replacing a back or a battery, typically not the main unit.
  • PVG - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    Making stuff up to prove a false point, are we?

    My plastic S3 Mini has fallen countless times, flew apart almost every one of them, allways got back together.
    Is on it's 4th battery.
    Never had any cases or covers, apart from a screen protecting film and is still in one piece, without even a scratch on the screen.

    Is approaching 5 VERY USED years in my hands (or, Everything makers don't want).

    I dare anyone to get the same mileage from any of this modern "premium", sealed, resource wasting, pieces of crap.
    I know I can't, and will be lucky if my next phone lasts half as much.
  • Meteor2 - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    My S3 mini was a back-up phone that I hardly used... and expired after two years. The screen just shows random coloured dots.

    Anecdotes suck.
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    My Note II died the first week I had it, but the replacement has lasted fine all these years. I don't use it anymore, though, in lieu of a newer $200 phone.
    My glass-and-metal Surface Pro (1st gen), meanwhile, is still serving me fine as a home computer. So, again, anecdotes.
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, March 31, 2017 - link

    @ PVG

    Respect to anyone that can get such usage out of your devices, if it suits your needs.

    I only changed my GS5, because I needed dual-sim (tired to carrying around two phones). But I've a feeling I'd still be using it, had that not been the case.
  • Solandri - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    A dropped phone has the same energy whether it's designed to come apart or not. If your phone is not designed to come apart and you drop it, that extra energy which would've gone into bending retaining clips and flinging the pieces apart, instead goes directly into the phone's components. So the single-piece phone actually suffers more internal damage from an equivalent drop than a phone designed to come apart.
  • rabidpeach - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    if you can't put a battery in a phone, perhaps you are too stupid to wield the awesome power contained there-in. so yes it would be great if this bastard with moar money than brains was excluded from our mobile society.
  • bcronce - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    Gorilla glass is incredibly flexible. If you separate the glass from the frame, you can get about a third of the way to having the two ends touch. iPhone uses a "liquid" metal frame that is a modern alloy that is very strong and flexible. Requires a great deal of distortion before it permanently deforms or suffers catastrophic failure.

    We're not quite there, but if you want slim, you have to give up being able to open it up.
  • Jon Tseng - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    1) I'd need to check with Corning but pretty sure gorilla isn't that flexible. Were you thinking of Willow Glass?

    2) No the iPhone frame is not liquudmetal. It is aluminium, although there is some speculation about stainless steel in the 8. AFAIK liquudmetal has only ever been used by Apple in the SIM ejection tool.
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - link

    It's pretty flexible. I had the glass on one of my devices get shoved out at one corner, and the glass was curving up by a tremendous amount. Luckily, there was no damage and I got it back into place.

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