Samsung unveiled its newest flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus, pinning hopes on the flashy new launch and upcoming big-budget marketing campaign to rescue the company’s reputation.
Design and display
As with its explosive predecessor, the Galaxy S8 is one of the most attractive phones you can buy. The curved display covers almost the entire front of the phone, with only slim bezels at the top and the bottom. Samsung calls this its new Infinity Display, and it really is striking when you see it in person. Samsung was able to fit more screen on a phone body that’s smaller and better looking than the iPhone. (The S8 has a 5.8-inch screen and the S8 Plus has a 6.2-inch screen, and Samsung says the display covers almost 83% of the front.)
The body of the phone is also symmetrical on the front and back, so it feels much more natural in your hand. Even with such a large screen, the phone is easier to hold and pocket than the relatively chunky iPhone or Google Pixel.
Death of the home button
Another big change in the Galaxy S8 is the lack of home button. Instead, digital keys appear at the bottom of the display with standard Android system controls for returning back to the home screen and going back a page. The bottom of the display is also sensitive to pressure, so you feel some feedback when you press down.
The fingerprint sensor, which was embedded in the home button on previous Galaxy phones, is now on the back of the device, right next to the camera.
The Galaxy S8 also adopts the iris scanner that was introduced in the Galaxy Note 7. It can be used to unlock the device or access secure folders, and Samsung claims it’s even more secure than the fingerprint sensor.
Finally, the front-facing camera has built-in face detection that can also be programmed to unlock your phone when you look at it. It’s much faster than the fingerprint or iris scanners, but it’s not as secure. That’s great for quickly unlocking your device.
The other key feature in the Galaxy S8 is Bixby, Samsung’s new homegrown digital assistant that promises to let you control everything on your phone with your voice. But for now, Bixby, which launches with a dedicated button on the side of the phone, is limited to Samsung’s apps and system functions like brightness control. It also has a feature that can use the camera to identify objects and pull up search results and other information related to the item you’re looking at.
Bixby, Samsung is making it abundantly clear, is about more than just home assistance. Like Amazon before it, the company is hoping its new proprietary home assistant will be the start of something much larger. As such, there’s no limit to the number of ways users can access the assistant formally known as Viv on the phone, including the aforementioned button and a right-swipe from the phone’s screen.
I can’t speak personally to the completeness of the product, but it certainly seems ambitious, and it’s pretty clear why the company eschewed Google’s Assistant (and, for that matter, Alexa) in favor of its own home-baked solution.
Among other reasons, it’s clearly invested in building its own connected-home solution, and, unlike a majority of its competitors, Samsung’s got plenty of its own brand-named appliances to help build the smart-home automation process. Similar to Scenes created with Home Kit, users can tie together multiple automated moments to their comings and goings or the time of day — so, say, when you leave the house, the Samsung robot vacuum will fire up and the Samsung smart TV will turn off.
There’s a lot of promise on board that makes Bixby a compelling proposition, even in a world flooded with proprietary personal assistants. The company had added some interesting contextual information, so the assistant can get a better sense of what you want based on what else you’re doing in an app, for example. Samsung calls it “cognitive tolerance.” The company has also promised to open it up to all sorts of third-party compatibility with a goal of letting users do with their voice everything else they’re able to do in an app via touch.
The app also sports some compelling image and text recognition functionality. Through partnerships with retailers like Amazon, it’s able to pull up commerce links when you hold the camera up to a book cover or wine label. It also has text recognition with translation support for 52 languages. It’s still early days, and it feels like the company is more laying the groundwork stages for the assistant, but Bixby’s got the makings of an extremely ambitious addition to the Galaxy ecosystem.
- A 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
- 64 GB of internal memory. Expandable storage is available via MicroSD slot.
- Water resistance.
- The Samsung Connect app for controlling your smart-home devices.
- Fast charging via plug and wireless fast charging.
- A standard headphone jack and USB-C connector for charging and accessories.
- It comes with Harman Kardon earbuds, a $99 value.
A portable desktop computer
There’s a neat trick the Galaxy S8 can do: The phone can dock with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and act as a lightweight desktop computer running a modified version of Android.
The dock, called DeX, will be sold separately (Samsung hasn’t announced a price) and includes ports for HDMI, USB, and Ethernet. Once the phone is connected, it can run Android apps in a desktop environment. Some apps like, Microsoft Office and Adobe Lightroom, have been optimized for the desktop mode, and other apps will be free to do the same. Otherwise, your Android apps will appear in separate, smartphone-sized windows.
The phone-as-a-desktop isn’t a new concept. Motorola tried it years ago with the Atrix, and Windows is experimenting with its Continuum feature for Windows 10 phones. So far, no one has proved there’s a real demand for it, but that hasn’t stopped Samsung from trying.
Here Is the official video Samsung S8 features:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9uGlgL7jMs