Samsung announced the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge in March 2016 and the two devices received huge amounts of praise for their design, powerful specs and great cameras. No smartphone is perfect though. There will always be a few specs in the rumours that never see the light of day, leaving some disappointed and wanting more.
Don't worry though, more is on its way. Here is what we hope to see, what we think might appear and what some rumours suggest might appear on Samsung's 2017 flagship phones.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Release date
- March or April launch
- Not likely to appear at MWC
Previous release patterns would suggest the Samsung Galaxy S8 would launch at Mobile World Congress 2017, suggested by Ricciolo on Twitter and Phone Arena. As months have past however, an MWC announcement is looking less and less likely, especially as the LG has now taken Samsung's traditional date and time slot.
Samsung is therefore now thought to be avoiding MWC 2017 and hitting the Big Apple instead, with the SGS8 launch in New York City in April. Slashleaks has claimed the rumoured date is 18 April, but ET News has said it will be 15 April and there has also been more recent talk of 29 March. This date was suggested by Ricciolo again, who also claimed the device will be available on week 17, which is 24 to 28 April, for £849.
Supporting this, SamMobile noted a report from ET News that said Samsung has confirmed it will produce 10 million units of the S8 in time for an April launch.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Two phones?
- No flat models rumoured, with two curved instead
- A 6.2-inch device called S8 Plus suggested
- Other model claimed to be 5.7-inches
One recent rumour claimed that instead of releasing two devices, one with a flat bezel, the other curved, Samsung will break from tradition and stick with just the latter this time around. After all, it only offered the curved display on the Galaxy Note 7 and a leak from Phone Arena only talks about a dual edge curved display device, with no mention of a flat alternative, while a leak of front panels also suggests two curved handsets.
SamMobile reported that its insiders have claimed there will be two models, which are being referred to internally as Dream and Dream2. They are said to have the model numbers SM-G950 and SM-G955. The Galaxy S7 has the model number SM-G930 and normally Samsung jumps up by 10 for a new model, though apparently the number 4 is bad luck in South Korea, hence the jump to 950 over 940.
South Korean news outlet The Bell has also claimed Samsung is making two models, one with a 6.2-inch display and the other with a 5.7-inch display. It says both will be curved and will be called the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Design
- No home button and minimal bezels rumoured
- Similar dimensions to S7 and S7 edge rumoured, despite screen increase
- Could offer Harman-branded, dual speakers
It has been reported that a dedicated side-mounted button will make its way onto the Galaxy S8, which will launch Viv, the personal assistant developed by Siri founder Dag Kittlaus. Although the assistant has been confirmed by the company, the dedicated button hasn't as yet.
Bloomberg has claimed Samsung will ditch the physical home button, suggesting the company will create an "all-screen front" for the Galaxy S8. A number of renders have been created by Veniamin Geskin and shared on Twitter, showing what the S8 might look like based on recent rumours and the device pictured in the renders has no physical home button. These renders were then followed by a leak on Weibo showing a physical device claimed to be a gold S8 and almost an exact match to the renders, as well as a number of case leaks which have been followed by further renders from SamMobile.
In other reports, SamMobile has reported the a USB Type-C port will be on board for charging and audio and it's also been claimed the 3.5mm headphone jack will be ditched, like the iPhone 7. The site recently leaked some Samsung-made in-ear wireless earbuds, like Apple's AirPods, supporting the removal of the headphone jack. A report from Fone Arena also adds fuel to this fire, claiming the Galaxy S8 will offer dual speakers and they may be Harman branded.
Samsung acquired Harman in November 2016 so the claim is a reasonable one, especially as both LG, HTC and Apple have made moves in audio in their recent handsets so it's an obvious area for Samsung to focus on to keep in line with competition.
We'd love to see the S8 slim down a little and it would be interesting to see what an all metal build would offer compared to metal and glass. The Bell claimed that despite the increase in screen sizes, the two devices rumoured will have similar dimensions to the S7 and S7 edge, suggesting a good screen to body ratio.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Display
- Size increase rumoured for both models
- Screen to body ratios expected to improve
- Resolution rumoured to increase
The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge both offer Quad HD displays for pixel densities of 575ppi and 534ppi, respectively. The S7 has a 5.1-inch size while the S7 edge has a 5.5-inch size. As mentioned, this is rumoured to change for the S8 however, with 6.2-inch and 5.7-inch displays reported.
We're expecting the screen to body ratios to improve too, especially after a Samsung Display spokesperson was quoted saying the company would roll out a full screen display with a ratio of more than 90 per cent next year. It isn't clear if this edge-to-edge display will be found on the new device or if it will be seen on a prototype only, but as The Bell suggests the S8 and S8 Plus will have similar dimensions to the S7 and S7 edge despite their larger screen sizes, it's thought this full screen display could appear on the new models.
A Bloomberg report also supports this idea, with its claim of an all-screen front, as we briefly mentioned earlier. The report claims the display will be wraparound and there will be a virtual home button buried into the lower section of the glass.
Resolution might also increase. With VR becoming more and more popular, higher resolution displays are more important. The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium might be expensive, but if you're into smartphone-controlled VR, its 4K display offers a great experience. As Samsung is already in the VR business, it would make sense to offer a compatible device with a higher resolution display for the Gear VR or any further VR devices.
Chinese blogging sources suggest the company has shown off a 5.5-inch 4K AMOLED display offering a pixel density of 806ppi and the Phone Arena leak suggests the S8 will come in this size and resolution with the dual edge design, supporting The Bell's suggestion of a larger display for the traditionally smaller handset.
Another leaked set of specifications has claimed the Galaxy S8 would offer a 5.2-inch display with a 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution. This would not only make it slightly bigger than the current Galaxy S7, but it would also put its pixel density at 891ppi. Contradicting all these reports however is SamMobile, who claims the S8 will retain a 2K display but it will be better than the S7, and offer a noticeable improvement for virtual reality.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Camera
- New 1/2.3-inch sensor with f/1.4 aperture rumoured
- Dual-camera with 12MP and 13MP sensor claimed for Galaxy S8, plus 8MP front camera
- 30MP rear sensor with 9MP front camera also rumoured
There has been a rumour to suggest the company is working on a new 1/2.3-inch sensor that will be combined with a f/1.4 aperture. This would deliver even better low-light capabilities than the current flagships but whether it will appear on the S8 or S8 edge is unclear yet. The rumours also claim Samsung's goal is to deliver a 1/1.7-inch sensor eventually, suggesting it has no intention of stopping improvements in the camera department.
Other claims have also suggested the Galaxy S8 might appear with a dual rear camera, with two different sensors - one at 12-megapixels, one at 13-megapixels. This is something we have already seen on the LG G5, Huawei P9, and more recently, Apple's iPhone 7 Plus. The same tipster also claimed the front camera will be 8-megapixels, which ET News has also suggested.
Contradicting these rumours however, is another leak from a different source claiming the Galaxy S8 will have a 30-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilisation, coupled with a 9-megapixel front-facing snapper. We'd certainly like to see the front have optical image stabilisation too, following in the path of HTC with its latest flagship, though no rumours currently mention this.
ET News has also reported that the front-facing snapper of the Galaxy S8 could have auto-focus rather than fixed. It wouldn't be the first device to offer auto-focus on the front, with both the Sony Xperia M5 and the HTC Desire Eye both offering the feature, but it would be welcome.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Hardware
- Qualcomm SD830 chip rumoured with 6GB RAM
- Retina and fingerprint scanners claimed
- 4200mAh battery suggested
With every new flagship, comes new hardware. A faster, more powerful processor will certainly be on board the Galaxy S8 and S8 edge, and possibly a jump in RAM. Ice Universe claims we will see 8GB of RAM, while another leak says can expect a 3.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 chip, supported by 6GB of RAM. A Phone Arena leak lists two processors - Exynos 8895 chip and the Snapdragon 830 - and 6GB and 8GB of RAM, suggesting there could be different versions for different regions again.
It's likely Samsung will keep microSD support on board, as it didn't go down so well when it removed it for the S6 and S6 edge, though it has been claimed it would be offered in 64GB and 128GB models. This suggests the company still won't offer support for Marshmallow's Flex feature, allowing users to combine the phone's internal storage with the storage of the SD card.
A bigger battery capacity is always welcomed, but even if the capacity itself isn't increased for the S8 and S8 edge, we'd like to see software improvements to help with power management. Samsung already does a good job in this field but it can always be better when it comes to battery life. Rumours claim the Galaxy S8 will have a 4200mAh battery and there is also predicted to be fingerprint and retina scanners, as well as a built-in mini projector.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Software
- Viv personal assistant confirmed for S8
- Android Nougat base software expected
Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 edge both feature Android 6.0 Marshmallow, overlaid with the TouchWiz software. There are some handy features with TouchWiz, but we would still like to see some more refinement for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 edge.
Vanilla Android will probably never happen and that's ok, but it would be great to see the best of TouchWiz on top of a close to pure Android experience. HTC launched it's latest flagship with a refined version of Sense over Android and it works well, delivering a cleaner experience with less duplication. We'd love to see Samsung do this too for its next flagships.
As we mentioned, we can also expect to see Viv on the Galaxy S8. Details are thin on the ground as to what Viv will be able to do, other than provide answers and actions, but it has been confirmed by Samsung that it will appear on the new flagship. Sam Mobile has said the Bixby voice assistant, powered by Viv, will feature in all native apps on the S8. In other software news, the site also claimed the S8 would have an always-visible status bar.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge: Conclusion
What will appear on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge or S8 Plus? Who knows at the moment. We have months of waiting ahead of us but it would be interesting to see a change up in design, more improvements in camera capabilities and software refinements.
There is a good chance of a more powerful processor and more RAM, as well as the potential for a larger battery capacity too, as is normally the case with next-gen flagships.
We will be keeping a close eye on the rumours of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 edge as and when they appear so keep checking back for updates.