As in recent years, Samsung offers two models to choose from with its latest Galaxy S launch. And just like in the past, that choice will likely come down to just how big a screen you want and whether you're willing to pay up for the larger model. But there are a few other things that separate the Galaxy S8 and S8+ that you may want to consider, especially now that we've had the chance to review those new phones.
Samsung has taken at least one differentiating factor off the table with this round of flagship smartphone releases. Unlike last year, when you could opt for the flat Galaxy S7 or the curved Galaxy S7 Edge, both the S8 and S8+ have curved screens that stretch from one end of the phone to the other.
Here’s how the two new Galaxy models differ.
Let’s start with the most obvious difference: The Galaxy S8 and S8+ feature very different screen sizes. In the Galaxy S8’s case, that’s a 5.8-inch display, while the S8+ features a seemingly endless 6.2-inch display.
Both of those screens are bigger than what Samsung offered with the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and 5.5-inch S7 Edge. As a result, expect a significantly greater viewing area on the new phones, no matter which size you prefer.
While the sizes on the S8 and S8+ may be different, the resolution is the same. Both new phones feature a Quad HD+ display (2960 x 1440) with support for HDR videos.
Size and Weight
You want a bigger screen, you’re going to need a bigger phone to house it. So it’s no surprise that the Galaxy S8+ is the larger of the two models.
The S8+ is 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches and tips the scales at 6.1 ounces. In contrast, the more slender S8 measures 5.9 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches, with a weight of 5.5 ounces. Because the widths of the new phones are more or less unchanged from the Galaxy S7 lineup, even with the larger screens, the S8 and S8+ should be easy to hold with one hand.
Battery Size and Battery Life
A bigger phone demands a bigger battery, so Samsung put a 3500-mAh battery inside the larger Galaxy S8+. Interestingly, the S7 Edge has a 3600-mAh battery, but the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform inside the S8+ manages power more efficiently than last year’s phone.
The Galaxy S8 is powered by a 3000-mAh battery.
As you would expect, the bigger battery in the Galaxy S8+ means it lasts longer than the S8. In our testing, which involves continues web surfing over T-Mobile's LTE network, the Galaxy S8+ held out for 11 hours, 4 minutes. Still, the Galaxy S8 is no slouch when it comes to battery life, lasting 10:39 on our test. Both S8 models improve upon the battery life of Samsung's S7 phones.
You didn't think two differently sized phones would cost the same, did you? As you'd expect, the Galaxy S8+ is the more expensive of the two models, costing between $840 and $850 depending on which carrier you go with. The Galaxy S8 starts at $720 if you get it through Verizon, while AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are charging $750. Starting April 21, you can get the S8 for $729 through MetroPCS, and the phone is coming to Cricket Wirless and Boost Mobile as well.
|Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
|Display (Pixels)||5.8 inches (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED||6.2 inches (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED|
|Camera (Back)||12 MP, f /1.7 aperture||12 MP, f /1.7 aperture|
|Camera (Front)||8 MP, f/ 1.7 aperture||8 MP, f/1.7 aperture|
|Biometric Scanning||Facial recognition, iris scanner, fingerprint reader||Facial recognition, iris scanner, fingerprint reader|
|CPU||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|microSD||up to 256GB||up to 256GB|
|Battery||3,000 mAh||3,500 mAh|
|Battery Life (4G)||10:39||11:04|
|Size||5.9 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches||6.3 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches|
|Weight||5.5 ounces||6.1 ounces|
|Colors||Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver||Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver|
|Android Version||7.0 Nougat||7.0 Nougat|
|Charging||USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Wireless Charging||WPC and PMA||WPC and PMA|
What’s the Same
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ actually have more in common than they don’t. Here are the key specs shared by the two phones.
• Processor, RAM and Storage: You’ll find that Snapdragon 835 processor inside both the Galaxy S8 and S8+. In our testing, the Galaxy S8 is the best performing Android phone by far, though the iPhone 7 Plus still tops it in some benchmarks.
Samsung's new phones come with the same amount of memory (4GB) and on-board storage (64GB), the latter of which you can expand via a microSD card.
• Camera: As with the Galaxy S7 lineup, the S8 and S8+ have the same 12-megapixel rear camera. Up front, both new phones feature an 8-MP shooter, an upgrade over last year’s model. The 12-MP rear camera is roughly the same as the one found on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, though software improvements have helped with image processing. The new Galaxy S8 and S8+ are now our favorite camera phones.
• Bixby: Google Assistant isn’t the only voice-powered feature on the S8 and S8+. The two phones also include support for Bixby, Samsung’s in-house digital assistant for using voice commands to carry out tasks. (Unfortunately, voice control over smartphone functions isn't available right now. Samsung plans to add that feature via a software update.) Each phone also supports a dedicated button on the side for summoning Bixby.
Which Galaxy S8 Should I Get?
Given what the Galaxy S8 and S8+ have in common and what separates the two phones, here are several scenarios — beyond just your desire for the biggest screen possible — in which either phone makes sense.
You like watching a lot of movies or playing a lot of games on your phone: While the 5.8-inch display and 2960 x 1440 resolution on the Galaxy S8 will certainly be up to binge viewing and gaming, a 6.2-inch phone is even better suited for immersing yourself in your favorite movies and apps. Get the Galaxy S8+.
You want something that’s relatively compact: It may seem odd to describe anything with a 5.8-inch screen as "compact," but the S8 certainly is when stacked up next to the S8+, although both are easy to operate with one hand compared to most other phablets. Get the Galaxy S8.
You need a phone that lasts all day on a charge and then some: Both Galaxy models offer improved battery life. Still, it’s hard to beat a larger battery, and the 3500-mAh power pack in the S8+ figures lasts a bit longer than the smaller battery in the other Galaxy phone. Get the Galaxy S8+.
You have money to spend, but you still want to keep an eye on your budget: Look, neither Galaxy model comes cheaply. But with the Galaxy S8+ costing anywhere from $100 to $120 more than the S8, the choice is clear if there are limits to what you're willing to pay. Get the Galaxy S8.