Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, is just days away. Samsung is hosting a special event in New York this week on March 29th to announce its latest and greatest smartphone, with a radical new design that could be the first major update to the company’s smartphone design language since the Galaxy S6.
It’s been a rough few months for Samsung’s smartphones after the battery scandal that surrounded the Galaxy Note 7. The S8 marks the first major phone released by the company since the ill-fated Note 7, and along with the usual pressures of releasing a new flagship in an increasingly competitive market, Samsung has to come out from the shadow of the Note 7 with the Galaxy S8 to win back consumers.
Fortunately, in the past few weeks, the trickle of leaks around Samsung’s upcoming phones has quickly become a fire hose, as pictures, videos, specs, and details about the new devices has made its way to the internet early. Here’s what we’re expecting to see from Samsung’s big event next week.
One phone, two sizes: The Galaxy S8 is expected to come in two sizes: a standard Galaxy S8 mode with 5.7-inch display, and a larger S8+ version that’s rumored to have a monstrous 6.2-inch screen. Unlike the S7, which offered a smaller, traditional model and a larger, curved screen Edge variant, both the S8 and the larger S8+ are expected to have edge-to-edge curved displays.
New bezel-less design: The biggest change to the S8 is the entirely new design. While the S7 line was virtually identical to the S6 that preceded it, Samsung is overhauling the S8 with a new design that dramatically reduces the bezels. Additionally, the display is expected to use rounded corners to maximize screen space.
No buttons: The increased screen size and smaller bezels do come at a price: Samsung is expected to be removing the capacitive and hardware buttons from the front of the phone, signaling the end of what has been a Samsung mainstay on its smartphones. As part of that change, Samsung will also likely be moving the fingerprint scanner to the back of the device.
Bixby virtual assistant: One of the biggest additions to the S8 is Samsung’s new Bixby digital assistant, which the company officially previewed earlier this week. While we still don’t know exactly how Bixby will be different or better than other virtual assistants, Samsung is said to be focusing on integrating Bixby into apps to help users get things done, instead of simply serving as voice-activated encyclopedias.
Improved hardware: The S8 is Samsung’s newest flagship, and the company is expected to be bringing some top-of-the-line hardware when it comes to specs. If the leaked spec sheet for the S8+ is to be believed, then it’ll offer a 12-megapixel camera, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, an iris scanner, 64GB of memory that’s expandable through microSD cards, and 4GB of RAM. Specs for the smaller S8 have (shockingly) failed to leak yet, but they’ll probably be pretty similar to the S8+, although we don’t know whether or not the regular S8 will also feature an iris scanner. Recent leaks have also shown off the native screen resolution of the regular S8, which will supposedly offer a 2960x1440 pixel display. Samsung is also expected to have the first phones on the market with Qualcomn’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor in both the S8 and S8+, although the company is expected to also use its own Exynos 8895 chip in some international models. And concerned Samsung fans can breath a sigh of relief — the S8 will supposedly keep the 3.5mm headphone jack.
New colors: The Galaxy S8 is expected to come in multiple colors, including black sky, orchid grey, arctic silver, coral blue, and an as yet unnamed gold version. If it’s anything like Samsung’s previous phones, though, expect to see more colors added to that list later on.
Price and release date: Surprisingly some of the only details that haven’t completely leaked out is how much the S8 will cost. According to noted leaker Evan Blass, the S8 will run for €799, while the S8+ will retail for €899, but it’s unclear how that will transfer to the US. As for when you’ll be able to buy one, the current word on the street is April 21st.
While the S8 is likely to be the star of the show, we’re expecting to get some new accessories to go along with the new smartphones.
Gear VR: If the rumor mill is to be believed, Samsung will be unveiling a new version of its Gear VR headset to accompany the S8 and S8+. While the new headset will obviously be designed to accommodate the larger displays on Samsung’s new phones, it’s also expected to add a separate motion controller similar to Google’s Daydream View headset for interacting with VR software. The new headset is said to also offer improved lenses and to maintain backward compatibility with Samsung’s older devices through the Galaxy S6.
DeX workstation: Samsung is also rumored to be working on a dock called DeX that will allow users to extend a Galaxy S8 into a full "Galaxy Desktop" computer, similar to Microsoft’s Windows 10 Continuum feature. Details on the dock have just leaked out, with the device rumored to offer HDMI output at up to 4K and 30fps, and offer two USB 2.0 ports and an ethernet port for connectivity. Per Evan Blass, the DeX will cost €150 (at least in Europe), but US pricing is still unknown.
Samsung 360: Lastly, Samsung could be announcing a new version of its Gear 360 camera. Not much has been said about the camera so far, but considering that the original model was announced over a year ago, it’s likely due for an upgrade.
Update March 22nd, 1:10PM: Added additional details on new rumors, including the DeX dock and the S8’s inclusion of a headphone jack.
Update March 27th, 9:51PM: Updated post with latest rumors, including new colors and clarifications.