Samsung has announced the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, two new flagship smartphones, looking to slay the spectre of the Galaxy Note 7 and establish Samsung's position as a smartphone manufacturer to be reckoned with.
This feature rounds up everything you need to know about the larger of the two flagship devices, the Galaxy S8+. You can read our separate feature on the Galaxy S8 if you want to know all about the smaller smartphone.
Take a deep breath, because there's a lot to get through.
Samsung Galaxy S8+: Design
- No physical home button
- Reduced bezels for 18.5:9 aspect display
- Rear fingerprint scanner
- 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm, 173g
- IP68 waterproofing
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is in many ways an obvious evolution of the Galaxy S7 edge and in other ways radically different. The dual curved edges to the display are instantly familiar, as is the metal edging making a sandwich of glass, continuing the evolution in design from the Galaxy S6. The IP68 waterproofing carries over from the SG7 too.
The face of the Galaxy S8+ is radically different however, expanding the display into those areas that were previously filled with bezel top and bottom. The display is now an 18.5:9 aspect rather than 16:9, making it taller than wider. The aim is the make the device easier to hold, giving you the space of a large display, without expanding the width.
The result is a phone that's only a little larger than a typical 5.5-inch phone, but with more display.
Expanding into the bezels means a big change to the navigation and the largest change since Samsung dropped the menu button on the front of the Galaxy S. There's now no physical home button as there isn't space, meaning the fingerprint scanner is also gone from the front and now located on the rear, next to the camera.
Instead of a physical button and capacitive controls, the Galaxy S8+ uses on-screen controls. However, the home button is pressure sensitive, so rather than just tapping a home key, you can deep press, with haptic feedback, making this a more tactile experience than many other Android phones.
This on-screen home button gives you some options, you can customise the navigation keys to a degree, as well as changing the intensity of the haptic feedback.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: Display
- 6.2-inch, 2960 x 1440 pixels, 529ppi
- 18.5:9 aspect ratio
- AMOLED Infinity Display
- HDR certified
The display is the responsible for the biggest change on this new device. As we've mentioned, it moves from a 16:9 to 18.5:9 aspect, meaning it's taller. That's what is responsible for the increase in the diagonal measurement, but you don't get the full screen area that you would if this was a 16:9 phone as it hasn't grown in width.
The aim is to give you a display that's easier to use one-handed, because you can stretch all the way across it with your thumb, meaning you should find it easier to do things like tap in messages with one hand.
The 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution results in a 529ppi, which is still one of the highest pixel densities you'll find on a smartphone. Samsung has stuck to its tried and tested AMOLED display, so it's punchy and vibrant, but it's also HDR capable. Samsung is making the claim that this is the first display to be certified by the Ultra HD Alliance for its performance, a claim that wasn't made on the recently-launched Galaxy Tab S3, or the LG G6.
One thing is certain: this should be a great display for watching movies on the move, although naturally, some will fit the 18.5:9 aspect better than others. Wider aspect movies will fit well and there is some 18:9 native content too, like Stranger Things on Netflix.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: Camera
- 8MP front camera, f/1.7
- 12MP rear sensor, f/1.7
- Multi-frame image processing
- AR, stickers and Bixby integration
- Iris scanning
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ doesn't see a huge change in cameras from the Galaxy S7 and unlike the iPhone 7, both sizes of device have the exact same camera setup. There's a 12-megapixel camera on the rear with an f/1.7 aperture. There's no dual camera gimmicks and after the great performance of the S7, we can see why.
It's joined by a front facing 8-megapixel camera, also with f/1.7 aperture, ideal for taking all those selfies.
The camera does offer Bixby integration however though a vision function that will let the phone identify things it sees. That can be used for OCR purposes, shopping or getting information.
Samsung's main boost to these cameras appears to be coming from a frame combining technology. When you take a photo, three frames are captured and information drawn from all of them to get better overall results.
Samsung has also added AR elements, a little like Snapchat and other fun features to add to your photos.
The front camera also support iris scanning for unlocking.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: Hardware
- Exynos 8895 or Qualcomm SD835 chipset, 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage with microSD
- USB Type-C and 3.5mm headphone jack
- 3500mAh battery
- Wireless charging
Samsung itself recently revealed details of its new Exynos 9 processor, the world's first to use 10nm FinFET technology. The company says it has 27 per cent performance boost and uses 40 per cent less power than the previous chip with 14nm technology. Samsung said of the S8 that you'd get a 20 per cent boost in graphics performance. There's 4GB of RAM to carry things along.
Rumours suggested that both Exynos and Snapdragon 835 would be used, but the company has yet to specify which markets will get which chipset. We'll update as soon as we know more.
There's 64GB storage as standard with support for microSD expansion as you'd expect.
The S8+ features a 3.5mm headphone socket on the bottom, alongside a USB Type-C, used to charge the 3500mAh battery. There's also wireless charging as there has been previously.
The fingerprint scanner, previously in the home button, has now moved to the rear of the handset. That means you'll have to tap on the back to get it to unlock, if you use this option. This change is perhaps behind Samsung's emphasis on the iris scanner as a convenient way to unlock.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus: Software
- Bixby confirmed for US and Korea at launch
- Android Nougat with TouchWiz
- Samsung DeX dock
- Samsung Connect smarthome integration
The Galaxy S8+ launches with Android Nougat with a complete reworking through TouchWiz. Generally speaking, the core software experience is the same as the Galaxy S7, presenting the same visual arrangement of menus and features. It sits on the top of Android Nougat.
TouchWiz is packed full of features, but the big new introductions are Bixby, Samsung Connect and the desktop experience enabled through the DeX dock.
Bixby is Samsung's AI service that's designed to bridge devices and offer all things from searching, identifying items, finding locations, controlling your device and changing settings. Bixby has its own dedicated button on the side of the Galaxy S8+, launching into the service rather like the Ok Google command might launch Google Assistant.
Samsung is aiming for wide integration with the service, with plans to launch an SDK for developers, but at launch there will only be integration from 10 of Samsung's own apps.
The bad news is that Bixby is only for Korea and the US at launch, with other countries promised in the future. For those outside of those two launch regions, you'll find that the Upday news aggregator now sits in an area called Bixby Home, serving up cards very much like Google Now and accessed through that button.
Samsung has also shown off a docking solution for the Galaxy S8+, using the new DeX - desktop experience. This lets you dock the phone on the accessory to use the S8+ as a desktop with attached monitor. You then get the advantage of multiple windows for running apps, desktop notifications and the ability to take calls and so on. For those who want more, there's a Citrix login option to access your desktop proper elsewhere - one for businesses, most likely.
Finally, and firmly back on the consumer front, Samsung is pushing Samsung Connect which is really about using the phone as a part of your connected home.
Samsung Galaxy S8+: Release date and price
- Launch: 29 March
- Pre-orders UK: 29 March-19 April
- Pre-order delivery UK: 20 April
- General availability UK: 28 April
- Samsung Galaxy S8+ price: £779
The Galaxy Unpacked event was on 29 March 2017 and pre-order for the new Galaxy S8+ will run from 29 March to 19 April. Pre-order deliveries will be on 20 April, so those pre-ordering should get their devices in advance.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ release date is 28 April when general availability starts.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ will cost £779, the regular Galaxy S will cost £689.
Great Samsung Galaxy S8 pre-order deals at Carphone Warehouse
- You can get the Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB in orchid grey or black: £79.99 up front, £45.99 per month on EE for 24 months, 5GB data, unlimited minutes and texts - get it here
- Those looking to go with Vodafone, can get the Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB in orchid grey or black: £100 up front, £42 per month on Vodafone for 24 months, 24GB data, unlimited minutes and texts - get it here
- If you prefer O2, the Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB is available in orchid grey or black. You pay £100 up front, and then £44 per month on O2 for 24 months, 5GB data, unlimited minutes and texts - get it here
Best Samsung Galaxy S8+ pre-order deals at Carphone Warehouse
- If you want to get the bigger of the two new Samsung flagship devicesEE has has the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 64GB in orchid grey or black. You'll pay £149.99 up front and then £45.99 per month on EE for 24 months, 5GB data, unlimited minutes and texts - get it here
- The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 64GB is available on Vodafone in orchid grey or black for £169.99 up front, and then £42 per month on Vodafone for 24 months, 24GB data, unlimited minutes and texts - get it here
- The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus 64GB is available from O2 in orchid grey or black for £150 up front, and then £44 per month on O2 for 24 months, 5GB data, unlimited minutes and texts - get it here