Wednesday marks day three of Mobile World Congress, one of the largest dedicated mobile trade shows of the year. But with only a handful of flagship smartphone announcements and buzz that has already faded, you wouldn’t know it. MWC 2017 has been the weakest show in recent history, but it was through no fault of the GSM Association. Samsung, the star of the show in years past, decided not to take the wraps off its next-generation Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship phones in Barcelona in 2017.
Well, if Samsung isn’t going to unveil the new Galaxy S8 during Mobile World Congress this year, BGR will.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a non-stop barrage of leaks and rumors focused on Samsung’s upcoming new Android flagships. As sleek as the new LG G6 looks — read our hands-on LG G6 preview to learn about the phone — the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are the most hotly anticipated Android smartphones in the world right now.
We’ve seen a handful of sketchy photos leak on Chinese forums, and it remains unclear if they are the real deal. Then, on Wednesday morning, an official marketing render was posted by gadget leaker Evan Blass. The render shows a beautiful phone that aligns well with descriptions we’ve read in various reports over the past couple of months, but it’s still just a render.
There’s nothing like the real thing, and BGR has obtained photos of an actual Samsung Galaxy S8.
The phone pictured here is the smaller version of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone duo. The larger Galaxy S8+ version features a 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display compared to the 5.8-inch screen on the S8, and the battery in the plus model is larger as well. The two phones are otherwise expected to be just about identical.
The new S8 lineup features a design much like last year’s Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, highlighted by a curved AMOLED display and glass that slopes down on either side of the phone. The glass back on the S8 and S8+ is also rounded on the sides so the phones sit comfortably in the user’s hand. Despite the large displays on both models, the phones are narrower than expected thanks to a design that is nearly edgeless on either side of the screen.
Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 will be powered by a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset in the US, while international models like the one pictured here are powered by a comparable Samsung Exynos processor. All models will get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage as well as microSDXC support. As is the case with rival phones, the Galaxy S8 supports microSD cards up to 2TB in size, though 256GB is currently the largest available capacity.
A 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera sits on the back of the Galaxy S8 alongside the flash and sensor array, as well as a newly relocated fingerprint scanner. The oblong home button on the front of the phone that used to house the fingerprint reader has been removed, allowing Samsung to substantially shrink the bezels above and below the screen. The result is a wonderfully sleek design that pushes us closer to realizing the “all-screen” smartphones users have been clamoring for.
Above the screen lies an 8-megapixel front-facing camera and the iris scanner that was first introduced on the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. Power and volume buttons sit on one side edge, while the other is home to a button believed to be tied to Samsung’s new virtual assistant Bixby. On the bottom of the phone lies a speaker, a USB-C port and yes, a 3.5mm headphone jack. Some early rumors suggested the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ might follow Apple’s lead and nix the standard audio port, but that isn’t the case.
Apple is believed to have removed the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus for two reasons. The first was to eliminate a legacy port and free up internal space for other components. The second was to simplify the process of making the phones water-resistant. Although Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ still include the 3.5mm headphone jack, both phones will be IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, which means Samsung’s new phones are even more resistant to water than the IP67-rated iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
Samsung will formally unveil the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ during a press conference in New York City on March 29th, and the phones are expected to launch globally on April 21st.