Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8 is going to be bigger and lot more powerful than the predecessor. It will be available in the US from 21 April onwards at a starting price of $720 (approximately Rs46,774).
It is not the only phone that the company will be launching this year. There is a S8+ with an even bigger 6.2-inch display, the prices for which start at $840 (Approx Rs54,560). The South Korean company understands that big screen phones are in vogue these days.
Also, after the Note 7 debacle there is still some uncertainty about the Note series of smartphones, but with the two new Galaxy S8 launches, there is hope that it’ll be able to regain the consumer confidence.
The Galaxy S8 with its 5.8-inch display is the more mainstream device and is likely to be compared to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. However, it is going to face a stiff competition from the likes of HTC U Ultra (Rs59,999) and Google Pixel XL (Rs67,000 onwards), in the Android smartphone space.
Truly big screen
The highlight of the Galaxy S8 is its almost bezel-less 5.8-inch Super AMOLED screen which also curves around the edges just like the Galaxy Edge series of smartphones. The display has a resolution of 2,560x1,440p and pixel density of 570ppi.
It is protected against scratches by Gorilla Glass 5 which can also survive drops from height of 1.6metres.
The Google Pixel XL offers the same resolution of 2,560x1,440p on a slightly smaller 5.5-inch AMOLED screen but has a lower pixel density of 534ppi. It uses Gorilla Glass 4 for protection against scratches.
The HTC Ultra has a 5.7-inch Super LCD5 display with screen resolution of 2,560x1,440p. It uses Gorilla Glass 5 on 64GB variant and Sapphire Glass on the 128GB model.
Big yet smaller than rivals
Samsung has managed to fit in a big display without compromising on the phone’s form factor. The Galaxy S8 is just 148.9 mm tall and weighs only 155g. How is that possible, considering the Pixel XL despite is slightly smaller screen stretches to 154.7mm in hand and weighs 168g while the U Ultra looks even bigger at 162.4mm and tips the scales at 170g. Also, the phone’s bezels are thinner than on any other phone we have seen.
The S8 has a shiny metal finish on the back and it provides better protection against dust and water compared to its two rivals. It comes with IP68 certification which means it can survive dips of up to 1.5 metres for 30 minutes.
More muscle power but available to few
The other area where the Galaxy S8 towers over its rivals is the latest Snapdragon 835 octa-core chip. It is Qualcomm’s newest and first 10nm architecture based chip. It can also be considered as one of the reasons for the S8’s sleek form-factor. The Pixel XL and U Ultra run on a powerful but slightly older 16nm architecture based Snapdragon 821 quad-core chip.However, the S8 with Qualcomm chip is likely to be available only in US. In other countries including India, Samsung often uses its proprietary Exynos chipset.
The Galaxy S8 runs Android Nougat 7.0 with Touch Wiz and an AI ready personal assistant called Bixby which can be activated in any app using the dedicated physical button on the phone. It will exist with the Google Assistant side-by-side and can be controlled through both voice commands and touch input.
HTC U Ultra runs Android 7.0 with its own AI enabled personal assistant called Sense Companion. The Pixel XL uses Google Assistant which can be accessed by pressing the home button. What we like more about the Pixel XL is that its runs the latest Android 7.1, with a clutter-free Pixel launcher, and will receive all Google updates on time.
The Galaxy S8 uses a 12-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/1.7 and has useful features like optical image stabilisation. It can save photos in RAW file format and record 4K videos at 30fps. The U Ultra also uses a 12-megapixle camera with aperture of f/1.8 and has optical image stabilisation too. it can record 4k videos too. The Pixel XL comes with a 12.3-megapixel camera with aperture of f/2.0 and can record 4k videos.