Samsung on Wednesday finally unveiled its new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship smartphones, and every single Android fan on the face of the planet breathed a sigh of relief at the exact same time. After months of leaks and rumors that have been simultaneously generating tons of buzz and trying everyone’s patience, Samsung’s new flagship phones are now official. Are they everything we hoped they would be? Yes… and so much more.
We already covered all of the key details like the release date and specs, and we also gave you a much closer look at the new phones in our in-depth Galaxy S8 hands-on preview. Now it’s time to line up Samsung’s new smartphones against their toughest rivals and take a look at 10 key ways the Galaxy S8 and S8+ outshine Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Samsung calls it an “Infinity Display.” We call it flat-out gorgeous. Apple has been a bit behind the times for several smartphone generations now when it comes to its flagship phones’ screen-to-body ratio, mainly because it has used the same iPhone design for three consecutive years. The gap between Apple and its rivals has never been wider than it is now, of course, thanks to the new LG G6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+.
The new Galaxy S phones feature faces that are each 83% screen. The side bezels are barely there, as was the case last year, but the real story is the significantly thinned bezels above and below the display. This new design dramatically enhances the user experience, and it looks great as well. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that Samsung’s new Quad HD+ Super AMOLED displays are the most stunning smartphone screens yet.
Samsung’s first smartphone with a curved edge was a total gimmick. In 2017, however, that’s no longer the case. The symmetrical curved front and back glass on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ make the phones feel so much thinner than they actually are. They’re so comfortable in the hand, and reach is improved as well, thanks to the curves.
Meanwhile, my go-to smartphone, the iPhone 7 Plus, isn’t comfortable at all to use with one hand. Also of note, it has a display that is smaller than the screens on both new Galaxy S models, and yet the phone itself is about the same size as the Galaxy S8+.
With the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, consumers inch closer to a future without any need for traditional computers.
Samsung’s new DeX Station accessory allows users to dock their Galaxy S8 or S8+ and connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. The desktop-optimized Android experience is lightning fast — it actually looks and feel a lot like Chrome OS, for obvious reasons. While any app is accessible in desktop mode, Samsung’s own apps have been optimized for the Desktop Experience. Some third-party apps have as well, most notably Microsoft’s mobile Office suite.
Apple changed the game when it introduced the first iPhone with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, and now every flagship phone out there has a scanner for quick unlocking and payment authentication. Of course variety is the spice of life, and you can never have too many options when it comes to mobile security.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ include the iris scanner from last year’s ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, and it can be used to unlock the phone or to gain access to the handset’s Secure Folder.
Speaking of new security options, the S8 and S8+ also include full facial recognition enabled by the upgraded 8-megapixel front-facing camera. For the time being, face recognition can only be used to unlock the phones.
Bixby AND Google Assistant
Sticking with the theme of “choice,” Samsung is also giving users their choice of virtual personal assistants. Google’s popular Google Assistant is included on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, as is Samsung’s own new personal assistant Bixby. iPhone users have access to third-party voice assistants as well, but they’re severely crippled since Apple doesn’t allow developers to access key components of iOS.
An extension of Samsung’s new Bixby solution, Bixby Vision uses object recognition, text recognition and location data to add another layer of functionality to its personal assistant. Using the phone’s camera, Bixby can “see” objects or points of interest and offer information pertaining to them. Bixby Vision can also translate text in real time in more than 50 languages.
Third-party developers will have access to Bixby Vision as well, so the possibilities are endless.
New 10nm processor
Apple is THE leader when it comes to smartphone chipsets, but Samsung beat Apple to the punch with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Both the Snapdragon 835 and the Exynos 8895 are 10nm chips, offering dramatic improvements in both performance and efficiency. Apple is working on a new 10nm SoC as well, but it won’t be found in any iPhones until this coming September.
Wireless charging is another feature Apple is working on for its next-generation iPhones, but Samsung phones have supported wireless charging for years. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ ship with wireless charging support as well, of course, including Qi and Samsung’s own fast wireless charging tech.
Did someone say fast charging? The large 3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh batteries in Samsung’s new phones fill up in no time thanks to support for the latest available fast-charging technologies. Meanwhile, iPhone users continue to buy 12W iPad power adapters just to charge up their iPhones slightly quicker.