Samsung has flown journalists from around the world to a swanky “Samsung Unpacked” event in New York City to show off the worst-kept secret in the tech industry: the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones.
And for everyone else who couldn’t make it, the event is being broadcast live on the internet. I’m currently at Shine Studios in Braamfontein, where Samsung South Africa is hosting a live-stream event so local journos can join in the fun.
When the time came, Samsung didn’t disappoint: the S8, on first impressions, looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. The S8 is probably the sexiest phone I’ve ever seen, because it’s just so different. Teeny tiny bezels adorn the top and bottom of the screen, with even smaller ones seen along the edges. Samsung emphasised how they’ve “unboxed the screen” and freed up more area for the display to occupy. They call this their “Infinity Screen”.
And because one of our HTXT peeps has seen the phone in person as he’s currently at the New York event, let me say this: the actual panel they’ve used is nothing short of amazing! That they’ve included HDR tech in a panel with a WQHD+ resolution and Samsung’s fantastic Super AMOLED tech is nothing short of astounding, and the fact that it has no bezels along its edge is really cool. And I say that as a cynical tech writer.
These amazing real-life looks make my job hard, because I can’t really show you just how incredible this phone’s screen is because you’re limited by whatever screen you’re reading this on. I think you’re just going to have to trust me – the phone looks amazeballs.
Samsung also showed off the phone’s ability to output to a huge screen, turning it into an Android-powered PC that uses a keyboard and mouse.
Headline features include:
- A super accurate iris and fingerprint reader
- Accurate facial recognition for instant phone unlocking
- Camera that takes sharp pictures even in low light
- An invisible Home button that responds to pressure just like a physical button would
- IP68 Water Resistance
- IoT-friendly functions
- Bluetooth VR controller support
Sadly, the thing I was hoping for the most – the scrapping of Samsung’s TouchWiz Android overlay – is not to be. Both S8s still use it; at least this latest version looks a bit better now.
CPU: Octa-core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10nm processor
Octa-core (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10nm processor
Storage: 64GB, supports SD cards up to 256GB
OS: Android 7
Screen: Quad HD+ (2960 x 1400), Super AMOLED
Battery: 3000maH (S8), 3500maH (S8+)
Connectivity: AC-class WiFi and support for new 5G networks, Bluetooth v5.0
Camera: 12MP front, 8MP rear
Specs aren’t everyone’s bag, and Samsung gets that, which is why Sammy’s people placed huge emphasis on the things people will be able to do with the new phone.
Samsung listed a bunch of new services that will be available to owners of the phone:
- Samsung HDR video content coming to mobile
- Bixby personal assistant – Samsung’s answer to Siri
- Netflix 4K
- VR Content, incuding 3D movies
- Support for an all-new Gear 360 camera
The new handsets will land locally on 5th May (April 21st overseas) but pre-orders will be open from tomorrow. Local pricing is expected to start at R15 499 for the S8 and R17 499 for the S8+.
Samsung tells us that Vodacom will be offering a “starter kit” which includes a wireless charger, screen guard and a clear back cover. MTN will have a similar offering but rather than the wireless charger it will include a battery pack.