Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge were announced back in 2015, taking things to a whole new level for Samsung in terms of design, especially in the case of the edge model. They were the first to offer a more premium design with their glass and metal sandwich, taking a huge leap away from the plasticky devices that went before them.  

Two years on and Samsung has done it again. Where the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge only offered minor changes to the S6 models, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus put Samsung back in the spotlight, for all the right reasons.

Here is what has changed between 2015 and 2017 and how the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus compare to the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, for those of you considering upgrading.

  • S8 and S8+ have slimmer bezels, no home button and rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • S8 and S8+ have IP68 waterproofing
  • S6 and S6 edge are slimmer and smaller overall, but only just

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus offer identical designs aside from physical size. They both feature a metal and glass body that redefines what we thought we wanted from a smartphone with an almost all-screen front and super slim bezels. The Galaxy S8 measures 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm and weighs 155g, while the S8 Plus is a little larger at 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm with a weight of 173g.

There is no physical home button on the new devices, with built-in pressure sensitive controls placed into the lower section of the curved displays instead, while the fingerprint sensor has moved to the rear of the devices on the right of the camera lens. Both devices are IP68 waterproof and they both feature iris scanning capabilities. 

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge also feature an aluminium frame with glass for the front and back panels. They have a similar design but the Galaxy S6 edge has a dual-edge display, differentiating it from the standard flat model. Both have a physical home button on the front with a built-in fingerprint sensor.

The Galaxy S6 measures 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm, while the Galaxy S6 edge's dimensions are 142.1 x 70.1 x 7mm, meaning they are both slimmer than the S8 and S8 Plus, though the S6 is wider and taller than the S8. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S6 weighs 138g, while the Galaxy S6 edge hits the scales at 6g less, meaning they are both lighter than the new models.

  • S8 and S8+ have much larger displays despite similar footprint to S6 devices
  • 18.5:9 aspect ratio on S8 and S8+, as well as Mobile HDR Premium
  • S8 and S8+ have Quad HD+ displays, but S6 devices higher pixel densities

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display, while the Galaxy S8 Plus has a 6.2-inch display. They have aspect ratios of 18.5:9 rather than the standard 16:9, which allows them to fit in a similar footprint to the S6 and S6 edge, despite offering significantly larger screens. The displays are taller but not wider, which means you'll still be able to use both devices one-handed.

Both the S8 and S8 Plus have Quad HD+ resolutions, 2960 x 1440, which results in pixel densities of 570ppi and 529ppi, respectively. They also both offer AMOLED Infinity Displays, which translates to bright and punchy curved screens and they both have Mobile HDR Premium, certified by the Ultra HD Alliance. This means the two new devices will be compatible for watching HDR content from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Video.

The Galaxy S6 has a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display 2560 x 1440 that features a pixel density of 577ppi, which is the same as the Galaxy S6 edge. The Galaxy S6 has a standard display, while the Galaxy S6 edge features a dual-edge design, as we mentioned.

Both the 2015 models have wider bezels than the new models and while their displays were excellent at their time of launch, they aren't quite as special as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. They do offer sharper screens on paper, but they miss out on Mobile HDR as well as the wider aspect ratio and lovely slim bezels.

  • S8 and S8+ 12MP rear camera, 8MP front with autofocus
  • S8 and S8+ have Bixby Vision
  • Multi-frame processing on S8 and S8+, as well as wider aperture

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus feature the same rear camera as the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which is a 12-megapixel Duo Pixel snapper, sporting optical image stabilisation, phase detection autofocus and an aperture of f/1.7. Samsung introduced multi-frame image processing on the new models however, meaning the camera will snap three photos and combine the information to produce one final, more detailed image.

The company also added filters, augmented reality (like Snapchat) and stickers to the rear camera of the S8 and S8 Plus, while also offering a feature called Bixby Vision. This last feature allows you to scan various things in order to get information or shopping options. In terms of the front camera, the S8 and S8 Plus have an 8-megapixel front snapper with autofocus.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge on the other hand feature 16-megapixel rear cameras, both have an aperture of f/1.9, as well as Auto HDR and OIS. The two devices also have a 5-megapixel front camera, which too features an aperture of f/1.9, which is a little narrower than the new devices and there is fixed focus instead of autofocus.

  • S8 and S8+ have faster, more advanced processor and more RAM
  • S8 and S8+ have 64GB storage and microSD 
  • Larger battery capacities and USB Type-C on S8 and S8+

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus both come with either the Exynos 8895 chip, or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, depending on region. It has not yet been detailed which country will get what processor. All models will have 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and microSD support for further storage expansion.

There is a 3000mAh battery capacity under the hood of the Galaxy S8 and a 3500mAh capacity in the Galaxy S8 Plus, both of which are charged via USB Type-C and support both fast charging and wireless charging. A 3.5mm headphone jack is also on board and the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus come with AKG in-ear headphones in the box. 

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge both have the Exynos 7420 processor and 3GB of RAM. They were snappy and really fast at the time of launch, offering a great experience, but the S8 and S8 Plus will no doubt deliver a big and noticeable improvement in performance. When it comes to storage, the Galaxy S6 comes in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB on-board storage variants, with no microSD card support. The S6 edge is available in 64GB with 128GB options, again with no microSD support.

In terms of battery capacity, the Galaxy S6 offers a 2550mAh battery while the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge has a very slightly bigger 2600mAh capacity, though both are smaller than the S8 and S8 Plus. The S6 devices are charged via Micro-USB, but they do have wireless charging. A 3.5mm headphone jack is also on board, though when the S6 models launched, whether the headphone jack would or wouldn't have been present wouldn't even have been called into question.

  • Android Nougat for S8 and S8 Plus with continuing updates
  • Bixby and Samsung DeX for S8 and S8+
  • S6 and S6 edge will miss out on some features

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus launch on Android Nougat with the TouchWiz interface on top, offering a familiar but much more refined experience with several additional tweaks and features. Bixby is the biggest change in the new devices, a new AI system that is similar to Google Assistant but it wants to take things one step further. It can be launched via the new dedicated on the left of the devices.

The S8 and S8 Plus are also compatible with Samsung Connect Home, as well as Samsung DeX, the latter of which allows you to use a special dock to link your phone up to a monitor for a desktop view of Android. Once docked, you'll be able to see notifications, take calls and view apps on a desktop computer.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge launched on Android 5.0 Lollipop with what was a lighter version of the TouchWiz interface at the time. They are in line for Nougat update, but it isn't known whether they will then receive the next Android update. The software experience will be similar across these four devices, but the S6 and S6 edge will miss out on several of the new features. 

  • S8 and S8+ cost £689 and £779
  • S6 and S6 edge both now available for £375

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will cost £689, while the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will cost £779. Both are available to pre-order from 29 March and will go on general sale on 28 April.

The Galaxy S6 started at £599.99 when it originally launched, though it is now available for around £375. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge started at £760 at the time of launch, but it can also now be bought for around £375.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer a big change up in terms of design compared to the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, but don't let that put you off. The two new devices are beautiful, while also offering improvements in every department.

They have larger and more advanced displays, camera enhancements, software improvements and faster, more powerful hardware.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge were both excellent devices when they first launched, but technology moves fast and the S8 and S8 Plus embrace many of the new trends, while the lovely 2015 devices are now lacking in some useful features. The S8 and S8+ are expensive however and if you aren't sure about the big display or lack of physical home button, you could always consider the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge.

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