Samsung Galaxy S8! Gear VR! DeX (yes, the X really is capitalized)! There's a lot of unpack from Samsung's big event. From news to hands-on to in-depth analysis, catch up on our coverage of Samsung's launch event right here.
Aug 24, 2017
Yesterday, Samsung unveiled its latest flagship, and now you can officially put in a preorder for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. In a limited promotional offer, the company is offering bundle deals for preorders that’ll include either its Gear 360 camera or a wireless charging pad and memory card, but you have to put in an order before September 24th.Read Article >
Before you speed off to get the new phone, know that carriers and retailers aren’t all offering up preorders at the same time. Here are the ones that are available as of 12 AM today and otherwise. We’ll update this article as more information comes in.
Aug 23, 2017
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is official, and it will be available for preorder starting August 24th. To sweeten the deal, Samsung is tacking on freebies for preorders within the first month. If you preorder / buy a Galaxy Note 8 any time between August 24th and September 24th, it’ll come with your choice of either a free Samsung Gear 360 camera or a charging bundle — specifically, the “Galaxy Foundation Kit” bundle, valued at $190, which contains a free 128GB EVO+ memory card and wireless charging pad. The promotional period includes the time when the preorders go out and when major retailers like Best Buy and Walmart and carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon begin to carry the Galaxy Note 8 on September 15th.Read Article >
Samsung offered a similar promotion with the Gear 360 in May when the S8 and S8 Plus were announced, bundling the 360-degree handheld camera with a purchase of a new phone for just $49 extra.
Apr 21, 2017
Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, launch today at carriers and retail stores across the United States (and globally). Availability of some models has already slipped to late April, so it seems Samsung has a hit on its hands and could be in for a successful bounce back from the Note 7 recall. And carriers are already bickering over which network the S8 runs fastest on.Read Article >
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about how to purchase the Galaxy S8.
Apr 1, 2017
Ask anyone to tell you where a smartphone's fingerprint reader should be and, though the answers will vary, you'll never be told "off center, right next to the camera lens on the back." But lo and behold, that's exactly where Samsung plopped its fingerprint scanner on the new (and otherwise delightful) Galaxy S8. It's a perplexing decision if we consider it as a deliberate design choice, but reports ahead of the S8's launch, which now seem validated by the device itself, suggest that it was a last-minute alteration enforced by the slower-than-desired development of more ambitious technology.Read Article >
A March 13th report out of Korea lays it all out lucidly. Samsung, working in collaboration with Synaptics, had initially hoped to build the fingerprint sensing tech directly into the screen itself. "Samsung poured resources into Synaptics’ fledgling technology last year but the results were frustrating," an informed source is quoted as saying. "With the production imminent, the company had to decide to relocate the fingerprint scanning home button to the back of the device at the last minute."
Mar 30, 2017
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are full of new stuff: a new display that stretches across more of the phone than ever, a new processor, a new digital assistant. One thing that isn’t really new, however, is the camera on the back of the phone.Read Article >
SamMobile’s Asif Iqbal Shaik points out that the S8 does appear to use new image chips, but the benefits are hard to pin down. There might be some improvements in low light, but if there’s an otherwise significant difference, Samsung declined to mention it during the S8 event.
Android Central‘s Alex Dobie made this point to me in the buildup to Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch yesterday: a 5.8-inch phone with the S8’s elongated 18.5:9 aspect ratio doesn’t have the same size screen as a 5.8-inch phone with the traditional 16:9. The two might share the same diagonal measurement, but in terms of area, the S8’s screen would be smaller. That’s because the change in aspect ratio breaks the linear scale by which we’ve compared almost all smartphones to date. If every rectangle has the same aspect ratio — the relationship between its height and width — then knowing its diagonal measurement gives us a rough way to compare or at least rank those rectangles by size.Read Article >
Samsung and LG have broken from the industry convention with their new phones this spring — with the Galaxy S8 and the G6, respectively — and their renegade actions are wreaking havoc with our casual shorthand for comparing display dimensions. But never fear, there is still a way to bring them back into line and do direct comparisons. We’ll just need a little bit of Pythagorean mathematics to help us.
Mar 30, 2017
Samsung originally bundled Microsoft’s Skype, OneDrive, and OneNote apps on the Galaxy S6 and S7, but it appears things are a little different this year. Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy S8 handset yesterday, and now Microsoft is planning to offer its own customized version. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft Edition is available for preorders today at Microsoft's US retail stores, and will include Microsoft’s range of apps and services.Read Article >
“A Microsoft customization is applied to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Microsoft Edition when the devices are unboxed and connected to Wi-Fi,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “This customization ensures customers a best-in-class productivity experience with Microsoft applications such as Office, OneDrive, Cortana, Outlook and more.”
It’s an occupational hazard among gadget geeks to fixate on new hardware, and yesterday’s introduction of the gorgeous Galaxy S8 by Samsung made that easier than ever. I could write for days about how pretty and pleasant that new handset is. But I also notice that the traditional competitive narrative of my smartphone versus your smartphone is starting to fade out of relevance. Samsung may still measure its mobile ventures by the iPhone yardstick, but its bigger challenges these days are coming from Google’s suite of connected services. Yes, the same Google on whose Android shoulders Samsung's Galaxy S8 stands.Read Article >
To appreciate the importance of software today, ask yourself what was more disruptive: Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant or the Echo speaker that was its first home? Is it Snapchat’s social sharing or the Spectacles camera-glasses that Facebook is trying to copy to death? And, as nice as the Nintendo Switch hardware may be, isn't it the marvelous Zelda: Breath of the Wild (and the promise of more excellent Nintendo games) that's pulling in the majority of new customers? Hardware serves as the foundation for each of those experiences, but it’s in the software that the biggest changes and revolutions happen. Software and the services it enables will be the thing that keeps Samsung going once all of its design and hardware optimizations have been tapped out.
Mar 30, 2017
Yesterday, Samsung showed off its new, nearly bezel-less Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones, and today you can preorder it through all four major carriers in the US and Best Buy. Preorder shipments should arrive on April 21st when the device will be available in stores. The S8 and S8 Plus prices vary across retailers (you can see full pricing in our post here), but most have the S8 for $750 and the S8 Plus for $850. Verizon is one exception — it’s pricing the S8 at $720 and the S8 Plus at $840 — and Best Buy promises a savings of up to $100.Read Article >
So why preorder and not just buy the phone when it’s out? All the carriers are offering a free Gear VR with any preorder, with some also offering the option of a $99 “Experience Box” with a Gear VR and Controller, Harman Kardon headphones, and a 256GB microSD card. Verizon is also offering various trade-in promotions. Happy Samsung day.
Mar 29, 2017
Just when I thought that great design was fading as a big point of differentiation among smartphones, Samsung has triumphantly proven me wrong with its new Galaxy S8. This phone, which I’d already seen from every conceivable angle courtesy of two solid months of leaked photos, wowed me today. Holding it in my hands for the first time, I suddenly shed all of my jadedness and cynicism, and I just felt happy that it existed. Yes, first impressions are fleeting and often misleading, but I don’t really care right now — my gadget lust has been reawakened by Samsung’s glorious new gadget.Read Article >
For most people, the big headline with the S8’s design will be the bezel-starved screen, but that’s just one part of the delightful first impression that this handset makes. The proportions, weight distribution, and symmetry of the Galaxy S8 are all expertly judged. If you feared that the elongated display might make for a weirdly tall phone (as I did), rest assured that it does not. It actually makes the S8 narrower than most flagship smartphones, which adds to the sense of it being impossibly small for the size of screen that it boasts.
Buried in the spec sheet for Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones is a wonderful bit of information: the new phones will be the first on the market with Bluetooth 5.0. The new wireless protocol should offer some great benefits over the latest standard, Bluetooth 4.2, which was released in December 2014.Read Article >
The most immediate gains will be in audio, speed, and range. Bluetooth 5.0 offers twice the speed and four times the range as Bluetooth 4.2, meaning you’ll be able to maintain connection up to about 800 feet (240 meters) away from the phone with compatible devices. (Of course, that mileage may vary depending on the environment you’re in.)
Mar 29, 2017Read Article >
The Samsung event has wrapped and the Galaxy S8, after months of leaks and rumors, is official at last. If you missed the keynote, we have all the crucial moments highlighted for you here, from the moment the S8 appeared onstage to Gear VR updates. Once you’re all caught up, you can check out our hands-on with the new device right here, or check out our roundup to see all the details from our coverage.
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After months of anticipation, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is finally here. And Samsung’s latest flagship is an incredible-looking device with what might be the best design we’ve seen from a mainstream smartphone.
Mar 29, 2017
Samsung’s shift to on-screen buttons has resulted in a beautiful bit of customization for longtime Android users: the ability to change the layout of those buttons. Yes, you’re now able to move the back button to the left side of the phone, which is where it’s supposed to be despite years of Samsung stubbornly switching up the default Android layout.Read Article >
As confirmed in this video from “Mr. Mobile” Michael Fisher, there’s a settings menu in the S8 that lets you reposition the button row of buttons. You don’t get much flexibility, really; you’ve got to pick between Samsung’s old, stupid way or the purist Android way. This is also where you’ll customize how hard of a press is required to activate the virtual home button from anywhere in the operating system.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus were announced today, as were new versions of the Gear 360, an updated Gear VR with a motion controller, and a competitor to Siri and Google Assistant. Months of leaks mean we had a pretty good handle on what basically all of Samsung’s new flagships and other announcements would look like. But now we finally have the full picture.Read Article >
The new phones are the obvious highlight. (They start at $720 and will be available for preorder starting March 30th, by the way.) But phones these days are more than just phones, and Samsung’s spent the last few years really building out the “galaxy” (get it?) of products and services that work with its flagships. That means much of Samsung’s event was spent talking about other things like virtual reality, or Bixby, Samsung’s new digital assistant, and even DeX, the new computer crossover dock.
Samsung just concluded its Unpacked event and it was light on virtual reality news, but the company is making up for it with a Gear VR ad that’s... quite odd. If you can’t or don’t want to watch the video above, the joke is that an ostrich (which, you may recall, is a flightless bird) puts on a Gear VR headset and launches a flight simulator inside it, after which said ostrich is literally able (I think?) to begin soaring above its bemused companions. “We make what can’t be made, so you can do what can’t be done,” reads the tagline, which would also be a decent slogan for Aperture Science.Read Article >
I could point out a various pedantic things about this video, like the fact that ostriches are probably unable to reach the Gear VR’s trackpad, or genuinely important ones, like the fact that we do VR a disservice by suggesting it’s interchangeable with real-world experience. But I’m too busy trying to figure out what that ostrich is seeing.
Mar 29, 2017
“We have a dream to overcome Apple.”Read Article >
With that simple, obvious statement, the air was sucked out of the large conference room in Samsung’s Suwon, South Korea, headquarters before the company even had a chance to show me the device I flew halfway across the world to see. It’s not often that you hear someone at Samsung actually verbalize the unsaid motivation for many of the company’s products — most executives won’t even mention Apple by name. Yet here was the company’s vice president of product strategy just blurting it out to a small group of journalists.
Oculus has tweaked the Gear VR’s home screen with faster load times, an avatar system, and a web browser you can use in virtual reality. The new Oculus Home still looks much like the old version, but it’s displayed at twice the resolution, and Oculus brags that it loads up to three times faster and uses 30 percent less battery than the old home screen. (To be clear, this doesn’t change the phone’s literal pixel density.) It includes support for Oculus Avatars, which came to the Rift last year and can give users a consistent persona across multiple apps. There’s also a VR web browser designed by Oculus, and support for playing videos straight from Oculus Home, instead of launching an app and then playing the video inside it.Read Article >
The Oculus Avatars, and other features to a lesser extent, take advantage of Samsung’s new Gear VR controller. With its limited motion-tracking capabilities, it lets people use their hands to point at on-screen options, instead of the more cumbersome process of tapping a button on their temple while moving their head. This makes it easier to type with a virtual keyboard, and the controller’s trackpad is better for scrolling through app lists or web pages.
Mar 29, 2017
Samsung is seriously upping its pack-in headphones with the Galaxy S8. The company’s latest smartphone comes with a pair of wired headphones from Harman’s AKG brand, which is known for putting out some high-quality audio gear.Read Article >
According to Samsung, the new headphones will feature a “comfortable hybrid canal fit” and an anti-tangle cord. S8 owners will get a pair free in the box with their phone, with the headphones set to be sold separately for $99, which seems to make it a pretty good deal — although obviously we’ll have to see how they sound in person before making any final judgements. Upgrading its bundled headphones puts Samsung in line with competitors like HTC and LG, who have been including great headphones with their smartphones for a while now.
Mar 29, 2017
Samsung, like Motorola and Microsoft before it, is trying to turn a phone into a PC. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will pair with a new Samsung Desktop Experience (DeX) dock accessory to morph into a desktop PC-like environment. The specialized dock, that looks like a candle holder, supports a monitor connection via HDMI, keyboard, mouse, and two USB ports to help expand the Galaxy S8’s capabilities. Samsung’s dock even has a special embedded cooling fan to help keep the Galaxy S8 cool when you’re using it to display Android apps on a monitor, and a USB-C connection to power it.Read Article >
Samsung’s desktop mode comes with an app drawer on the side, and supports Android apps with full access to notifications and resizeable windows. The whole interface looks a little like Chrome OS, but there’s no full desktop browser here. That means you’re limited to how well Android apps are supported on bigger screens, and most apps in the Google Play Store simply aren’t optimized for this type of usage. Samsung’s own browser, Microsoft’s Office apps, and Adobe’s mobile creative suite all work fine, but the vast majority will look like stretched phone apps on the big screen.
Mar 29, 2017
Samsung just announced a new version of its Gear 360 camera, which as the name suggests shoots video and photos in 360 degrees, and has a new design that’s supposed to make it easier for non-video-nerds to use. It is admittedly cute, and has a nifty stabilization ring. The big question is whether its new handheld design is a step forward in capturing 360 imagery, or whether we’re about to see a lot of really shaky 360 video in our feeds.Read Article >
The new Gear 360 camera is mushroom-shaped, with the spherical part of it extending into a built-in grip. Basically, it has an eye-like aesthetic that’s similar to the original camera, but now has a stalk below it. At first look it appears to be much easier for people to hold themselves — and presumably, take more selfies.
Move over Eero. And Google Wifi. And Orbi. And Plume. And HiveSpot. And Portal. And Velop. And AmpliFi. And Almond. Samsung is coming to mesh Wi-Fi router town with a new offering it’s calling Samsung Connect Home.Read Article >
That not-very-catchy name is attached to a very-catchy trend: replacing the big, antenna-laden router in your closet with a set of little white pucks you tactically place around your house to maximize your Wi-Fi signal.
Samsung’s new virtual assistant, Bixby, is a different sort of thing than what you’re used to. Where Siri, Google, and Alexa are focused on collecting and understanding information out on the internet and then answering your questions about it, Bixby is trying to help you use your own phone. Samsung’s goal is to make it so that if you don’t want to, you don’t have to touch your device at all — “anything you can do with touch, you can do with voice” is the common refrain we’ve heard from them.Read Article >
That’s an awfully ambitious goal, though, and it’s nowhere near complete. Right now, Bixby offers a much smaller subset of that goal — it only works with 10 or so of Samsung’s own Android apps — so we’ll need to wait to see how it’s updated over time. On stage, Samsung said that it will work with Google Play Music and other third-party apps — and really emphasized how it will work with Samsung Connect smart home devices.
Mar 29, 2017
Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 will have multiple ways to authenticate your device. It’s got a fingerprint sensor, an iris scanner, old-fashioned PINs, and now, a face scanner. Today the company announced its face-scanning feature, which it says will be its most convenient way to access your device. It’s fast and works from a distance, unlike the iris scanner, which requires you to put the phone close to your face to unlock it. It’s basically Windows Hello for your Samsung phone.Read Article >
This is also supposed to be the weakest form of authentication security-wise, so you won’t be able to use it for purchases, either through Samsung Pay or Android Pay. For that, you’ll need to rely on your current method to verify your identity. Can it be spoofed with a photo? We aren’t sure, but look out for our review where we’ll definitely put the scanner to the test.