Galaxy S8 Launch Day: All the Features to Expect

Editors' Note: No need to search for rumors about the Galaxy S8 anymore. Samsung has unveiled the phone and we've had a chance to go hands-on with the Galaxy S8 and some of its new features like the Bixby digital assistant. Take a look at the final specs for the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and then you can decide if you want to order the new phone.

The guessing game is just about over. After months of rumors, it's time to finally see what Samsung's been working on with the Galaxy S8.

Samsung is holding its press event today (March 29) starting at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT, when we'll finally get a glimpse at the Galaxy S8. Based on the rumors and leaks surrounding the device, look for two models — a 5.8-inch phone and a giant 6.2-inch S8 Plus. You can also anticipate a built-in digital assistant named Bixby and a display that takes up most of the phone's front.

Here's a rundown of all the rumors in advance of Samsung's March 29 Galaxy event, including a look at the anticipated specs for the Galaxy S8

Latest News and Rumors (Updated March 29)

• A Last-Minute Leak: Just before the March 29 unveiling, we're getting what looks like a final glimpse of the new smartphone. Published by SlashLeaks, the two images show both the front and back of a phone matching the rumors we've heard about the S8. The back of the phone features a glossy back finish while the phone's front sports a curved, edge-to-edge screen like the one that has been rumored for months to be included on the Galaxy S8.Credit: SlashLeaksCredit: SlashLeaks

• A Money-Back Guarantee: The Galaxy S8 launch will be Samsung's first big unveiling since the Galaxy Note7, which didn't work out that well for the company. To ease any concerns about the safety of this new phone, Samsung may offer a money-back guarantee on the Galaxy S8. According to the report by Sammobile, you'll be able to return your S8 for any reason within the first three months of buying the phone.

• A Very Powerful Processor:
The Snapdragon 835 mobile platform will likely power the Galaxy S8 — at least for the version of the phone that will ship in the U.S. (Other versions of the phone look like they're getting Samsung's Exynos 8895.) We've finally gotten an extended look at the Snapdragon 835, having a chance to benchmark Qualcomm's processor, and it could make the Galaxy S8 one of the fastest phones we've seen.

• More Desktop Dock Info:
In addition to the Galaxy S8, Samsung is expected to release a dock accessory that lets you plug the phone into a monitor and keyboard, allowing you to use it as a desktop replacement. We've heard new details about this product, rumored to be called the Samsung DeX: It will allegedly feed content to a display at up to 4k resolution and cost €150.

Samsung Galaxy S8: Rumor Roundup

When Is the Official Release Date for the Galaxy S8?

While we know Samsung is hosting a Galaxy S8 event on Wednesday — the company announced that last month in a teaser video — we don't have an official release date for when you'll be able to go out and grab a phone.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Teaser Video

If Samsung follows past phone rollouts, the Galaxy S8 will begin to ship to consumers a few weeks after its Unpacked event in New York. That means the new phone likely won't wind up in your hands until mid-April.

A report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo published by 9to5 Google suggests the phone could go on sale April 21; other reports we've seen suggest an April 28 release. For what it's worth, BGR cites a source claiming an April 28 release date for the S8 in Canada, which would confirm that date for the U.S. as well, if the report proves correct. A leaked Target sales circular spotted by The Coupon Couple suggest that you'll be able to place preorders for the Galaxy S8 by April 2.

MORE: Best Galaxy S6 and S7 Trade-In Deals

Samsung will stream the event live on its website. We'll also be on hand in New York to cover the Galaxy S8 launch.

What Galaxy S8 Models Will Samsung Release?

For the past two years, Samsung has offered at least two variants of the Galaxy S line — a standard flat-screen phone alongside the curved Edge option. That looks like it's going to change with the S8, as no less a source than Koh Dong-jin, Samsung’s head of mobile, has said the company would like to go with an all-Edge lineup. And leaked images suggest that's exactly what Samsung has done.

Credit: GSMArenaCredit: GSMArenaLeaked renders on GSMArena showing the new phones’ dimensions list the models as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. That would be a name change from what Samsung currently calls its phones, but given that the renders show both Galaxy models with huge displays, Samsung may be trying to differentiate the new lineup from last year’s models. A leaked photo that first appeared on SlashLeaks before winding up on Android Headlines claims to show the S8 Plus alongside a Galaxy S8 and squares with what we've heard about the screen sizes for the new phones — a 6.2-inch display for the S8 Plus and a 5.8-inch screen on the S8.

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For what it's worth, Samsung published a since deleted support page that referred to a Galaxy S8 Plus model, seemingly confirming the name change.

Don't expect the larger screens to mean an oversized phone. Sketches obtained by SlashLeaks suggest the new Galaxy models will actually be relatively slender, especially when stacked next to Apple's current iPhones. It sounds similar to the approach LG took with its new G6 phone, which also features a bigger screen, but in a more slender form factor that makes it easy to hold the phone in one hand.Credit: SlashLeaksCredit: SlashLeaksBased on leaks posted by Evan Blass, you can expect the Galaxy S8 to be available in Black Sky, Orchid Gray and Arctic Silver. Another leak posted by SamMobile claims there will be Violet option as well. Another Evan Blass leak shows the Galaxy S8 in black, grey and gold.

Credit: Evan Blass (@EVLeaks)Credit: Evan Blass (@EVLeaks)

What Are the Specs for the Galaxy S8?

Nothing's official yet, but we've got a pretty good idea of what to expect from specs posted on SlashLeaks and from a series of leaks via VentureBeat's Evan Blass. A lot of those specs have also been confirmed by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in recent research notes.

Credit: Evan Blass/VentureBeatCredit: Evan Blass/VentureBeat

First, Blass offered a pretty thorough round-up of likely S8 specs in his report that included a leaked image of the phone. He followed up that with a tweet containing specs for the S8 Plus. Those reports have been augmented by details from Korean news outlet ITcle and Sammobile, giving us a pretty good picture of what Samsung will reveal on March 29.

Screen Size
Cameras (Rear/Front)
Galaxy S8
5.8 inches
Snapdragon 835
Galaxy S8 Plus
6.2 inches
Snapdragon 835

Based on these reports, look for the Galaxy S8 to feature:

  • A Snapdragon 835 processor or an Exynos chip (possibly the Exynos 9 if this Samsung Exynos tweet is accurate) depending on which market the S8 appears in;
  • 4GB of RAM, though some rumors suggest a configuration with 6GB;
  • 64GB of on-board storage in the base model, though some rumors have Samsung offer a 128GB version of its phones (with the option of adding more capacity via microSD);
  • WQHD+ resolution (2960 x 2400) for the OLED screens on both Galaxy S8 models; and
  • A 3000 mAh and 3500 mAh battery, depending on whether you get the S8 or S8 Plus.

MORE: Snapdragon 835 Unveiled: Everything You Need to Know

Early rumors suggested Samsung might follow the lead of Apple, LG and Huawei by adding a second camera lens to the back of the S8, but Blass's leaked S8 image shows only one camera. Blass says you won't see too many changes to the camera hardware (though the front of the phone will likely feature an 8-megapixel shooter, which would be a step up from the Galaxy S7). Blass expects the camera to add image and text recognition features that will help with searches using the Galaxy S8. The rear camera is almost certain to feature the dual-pixel technology Samsung introduced with the S7 for superior low light shots.

If you're looking for a camera feature to get excited about, a Korean tech site called Naver says that the S8's camera will able to capture video at 1,000 fps in support of a killer super slo-mo feature.
This Galaxy S8 render boasts an edge-to-edge screen. Credit: iPhone-Crash/YouTubeThis Galaxy S8 render boasts an edge-to-edge screen. Credit: iPhone-Crash/YouTube

What Features Will Appear in the Galaxy S8?

Samsung hasn’t confirmed anything just yet, but rumors paint a clear picture of what to expect with the Galaxy S8.

• A digital assistant:Bloomberg first reported last year that the Galaxy S8 would come with an AI-enabled assistant based on technology developed by Viv Labs, which Samsung bought in 2016. Samsung has now confirmed that "Bixby will be a new intelligent interface on our devices." The assistant is expected to integrate with the built-in apps on the S8, letting you control tasks with your voice. More significantly, Samsung says you'll be able to operate Bixby without using specific voice commands as the assistant will be intelligent enough to respond to natural language. That would give Samsung's tool a leg up on competing voice assistants like Siri and Cortana. Expect Bixby to eventually make its way to other Samsung phones, Sammobile says.

MORE: Best Galaxy S8 Alternatives

• An edge-to-edge screen: As noted above, the S8 is going to feature a lot of screen space, so much so that the new phone will likely feature a very small bezel. The Korean Herald reports that Samsung hopes to deliver a phone in which the display covers 90 percent of the Galaxy's body, similar to the look of the Xiaomi Mi Mix, which has already achieved a 91.6 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Galaxy S8 concept design (Credit: Benjamin GeskinGalaxy S8 concept design (Credit: Benjamin Geskin• The return of the S Pen: It increasingly looks like this one might not pan out, but there's a slight possibility Samsung could offer the S Pen from its discontinued Note 7 phablet as an accessory for the new phone. There's little to substantiate this rumor — just some chatter on Chinese microblogging site Weibo spotted by Android Headlines. Samsung also made the S Pen part of its Galaxy Book and Galaxy Tab S3 product launches at Mobile World Congress, which could signal a move by the company to make the pen a feature of its Galaxy lineup. It would certainly be a welcome addition: the S Pen has a number of great capabilities like highlighting and translating text or taking memos even when your screen was off that we'd love to see in the Galaxy S8.

• Iris scanning and facial recognition: Even if the S Pen doesn't make the leap to the S8, another Note 7 feature could see a return in Samsung's next phone. Citing a pair of sources, the Guardian says the security feature could appear in the Galaxy S8, letting you unlock the phone and secure mobile payments with your eyes. (That same Guardian report also backs the notion that the S8 will have an edge-to-edge display.) Meanwhile, a report in Korean Economic Daily claims that Samsung will complement the S8's iris-scanning feature with facial recognition technology that will also let you unlock your new phone, while Bloomberg says you'll also be able to use those capabilities to verify mobile payments.

• A Continuum-like feature: All About Windows Phone was the first to float this possibility after it got its hands on a slide that shows the Galaxy S8 offering a PC-like extended desktop experience in which you could plug the phone into a monitor and use it like a PC. That sounds an awful lot like the Continuum experience Microsoft offers on Windows phones like the HP Elite x3.Credit: All About Windows PhoneCredit: All About Windows PhoneBoth The Guardian and Evan Blass have since picked up on the likelihood that the Galaxy S8 will be able to double as a desktop with the help of a DeX dock. The Dutch site WinFuture says the DeX dock will support up to 4K video and cost around €150. In addition to an HDMI port, you'll also get dual USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port, suggest the DeX Dock could be a laptop replacement.

Will the Galaxy S8 Have a Home Button?

If that rumor about the nearly bezel-free Galaxy S8 pans out — and it increasingly looks like it is — Samsung will have to find a new place to put its home button. Initial reports suggested Samsung might put the S8's fingerprint sensor under the front display. However, a report in The Investor spotted by Sammobile suggests that Samsung was unhappy with how this approach performed, instead moving the sensor to the back of the phone.

Credit: WeiboCredit: WeiboIndeed, the leaked image from Evan Blass shows a fingerprint sensor next to the camera on the rear of the S8. And leaked images of apparent Galaxy S8 cases published at Phonearena also suggest the fingerprint sensor will move next to the camera.

Credit: WeiboCredit: WeiboLeaked photos from the Chinese site Weibo that Sammobile posted give us a hint on how you'll navigate a home button-free S8. The image shows a strip at the bottom of the display that's differently colored than the screen real estate above it, which could mean we're looking at a function section featuring virtual navigation buttons. And that virtual home button may take a page out of Apple's 3DTouch playbook by being pressure sensitive, Sammobile claims. That means different commands will appear based on how hard you press on the virtual button.

Will the Galaxy S8 Have a Headphone Jack?

Initially, it sounded like Samsung would join the Apple, Motorola and HTC in phasing out the 3.5mm headphone jack. Sammobile reported that the headphone jack will likely disappear from the Galaxy S8 in favor of a USB Type-C charging port that you'll also use with headphones. The move would allow Samsung to add stereo speakers and a larger battery.

Credit: WeiboCredit: WeiboHowever, the leaked image posted by Evan Blass shows an audio jack as does a leaked image posted to Weibo (and spotted by TechRadar), so we may have dodged that bullet. Still, Samsung will reportedly ship a pair of wireless, noise-canceling headphones at the same time it releases the Galaxy S8.

What Will the Galaxy S8 Look Like?

Our best view of the Galaxy S8 have come via leaked images, such as the latest look at the S8's potential colors from Evan Blass.Credit: Evan Blass/@evleaksCredit: Evan Blass/@evleaks

BGR also posted a photo of an all-screen phone that also introduces a new side button (presumably dedicated to the Bixby personal assistant).Credit: BGRCredit: BGRAs we get closer to the March 29 launch date, the pace of images purporting to show off the Galaxy S8 has picked up. A series of images from SlashLeaks show off the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus with a glassy back finish. The latest leaks mirror the iPhone's Jet Black look (as well as the black option Samsung added to the Galaxy S7), though BGR notes that the devices are likely mockups developed by third-parties based on leaked schematics.

Credit: SlashLeaksCredit: SlashLeaksA teaser video, posted by accessory retailer Mobile Fun, also claims to show a Galaxy S8 in action.

Galaxy S8 Video from Mobile Fun

Another image from SlashLeaks gives us a good look at what could be the Galaxy S8's edge-to-edge screen. With the phone inside a clear case, we get a pretty good view of what the S8 coud look like.Credit: SlashLeaksCredit: SlashLeaks

While many of the leaked images focus on the hardware, the Galaxy S8 software looks like it will get a refresh, too. Sammobile posted leaked images showing minimalist launcher and app icons, including an app icon with an arrow that's going diagonally up and to the right — we assume that's the icon for Bixby.Credit: SammobileCredit: Sammobile

How Much Will the Galaxy S8 Cost?

It looks like we're in for a price hike from last year's models. he rumored specs — edge-to-edge displays, for example — are pretty high-end and could command premium prices above the $699 Galaxy S7 and $795 Galaxy S7 Edge. Evan Blass has said the new models could cost €100 more than their S7 counterparts when they ship in Europe, and the latest rumors seem to bear that out: The Galaxy S8 is rumored to cost €799 while the S8 Plus could cost €899.

It's unclear how those prices would translate to the U.S. market, though carriers often set prices a little bit lower than the exchange rate. (As of this writing, the S8 and S8 Plus prices would translate to $850 and $966, respectively.) With Apple's iPhone 8 is also rumored to have a price tag in the neighborhood of $1,000, we could be heading into an era of more expensive premium handsets.

Will There be a Galaxy S8 Active?

Since Samsung hasn’t even announced a Galaxy S8 yet, there’s no word on the more rugged Active version of the new phone. Last year, the waterproof S7 Active made its debut three months after the S7 arrived. Should the S8 not arrive until April as rumored, that might push back the S8 Active’s launch deeper into the summer.Galaxy S7 Active (Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide)Galaxy S7 Active (Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide)

What We Want to See in the Galaxy S8

The single biggest item on our Galaxy S8 wishlist would be a phone free from hardware woes like the ones that plagued the Note 7, which the company now blames on battery design and assembly problems. (Samsung will reportedly move much of the battery production for the S8 in house to avoid those issues from happening again.) Samsung has outlined plans for keeping the S8 safe, and we're also eager to see what kind of battery life the new device has in light of these precautions.

As for cameras, the S7 and S7 Edge continue to be our favorite smartphone cameras more than half-a-year after their release. We hope the S8’s cameras can push mobile photography even further. We're happy to hear that the possibility of losing a dedicated headphone jack is fading, and the ability to convert the S8 into a portable computer intrigues us. We're also hoping to see what Bixby can do that Siri and Google Assistant can't.

As for that screen, we're eager to see how a super-sized Galaxy S8 will fit in our hand. LG got 2017's big-screen party rolling at Mobile World Congress with the G6. But it changed the aspect ratio on that 5.7-inch phone, so that that you can operate it with one hand. We're curious to see how the S8 and S8 Plus compare.

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  • I_am_Robot
    I hope the explosion feature is more powerful; we can rely on Samsung for that!