Samsung has a lot to make up for after the the debacle that was the Galaxy Note7. In the next month or so, it’ll have the perfect chance to do so with the launch of its next flagship phone. Here’s everything we’ve gleaned in the last 11 months of rumours and speculation — and the occasional leak — about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 and its larger S8 Plus sibling.
There’ll be two size variants, like the iPhone. Every Galaxy phone since the S6 in early 2015 has had two sizes available — the S6 and S6 Plus, and the S7 and S7 Edge. Everything we’ve seen points to this continuing on the upcoming S8, but supersized. As technology improves across the board, we see bigger screens make their way into phones that are no larger physically than last year. The S7 had some pretty skinny bezels but the S8 should take that to the next level. We like big phones and small phones equally, and choice is always good.
It’ll have a bigger, curved screen in a similar body size. Reports around the ‘net seem to agree that the Galaxy S8 and its larger S8 Plus variant will have larger displays than the outgoing S7 and S7 Edge. Where those Android phones used a 5.1- and 5.5-inch screen respectively, we’ve seen a series of rumours — most recently from GSMArena — that suggest comparatively massive 5.7- and 6.3-inch screens in phones barely larger than the previous generation. That’s a big jump
It will use a USB-C charging and data connector. This one is almost a certainty, given that the Galaxy Note 7 was the first Samsung phone to make the jump to the newer USB standard connector, which is reversible, and supports much higher data transfer speeds as well as native video output and audio support. Samsung produces a lot of gadgets, and we’re in the middle of a difficult transition period between microUSB and Type-C, but we’re confident that the S8 will use USB Type-C and will push the standard itself out to many
It won’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack — sorry. There are two reasons for this to happen, as much as we’re annoyed about losing trouble-free connectivity to our favourite wired hi-fi headphones. Partly because USB-C supports audio out (at the same time as slow charging, too, if you have an appropriate dual-port adapter) and partly because the increasingly thin size of phones, the 3.5mm connector is slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur. If you’ve got Bluetooth headphones already you don’t need to worry at all, but it’s also almost certain that Samsung will include a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box — just leave it attached to your headphones.
It’ll use Samsung’s (and Qualcomm’s) latest processor. Samsung’s mid-year flagship phones generally have the newest and most powerful mobile system-on-chip processors available until the late-year Note release, and we’re expecting this year’s Galaxy refresh to be no different. US versions of the phone will probably use the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which Qualcomm is producing at Samsung’s own foundries like Apple does for its iPhone chips. International version of the Galaxy line-up usually use Samsung’s own in-house-developed Exynos chips, and the latest of those is apparently the incredibly fast Exynos 8895 quad-core.
It’ll be waterproof, and have expandable storage. Waterproofing is almost certain given its existence on even the mid-range Galaxy A series. Expandable storage was a notable exclusion from the Galaxy S6 and Note5 series of phones, and consumers — enthusiasts especially — decried the lack of future extra space. Its return on the Note7 was a big enough deal that Samsung even threw in a 256GB microSD card for pre-orders. With that in mind, we think it’s a no-brainer for the S8 and S8 Plus to include microSD.