Samsung has put the Note7 woes that plagued the company for six months behind them and come out swinging with the exceptional new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones that include innovative features and a stunning design.
The whole tech world was waiting for Samsung’s next move after the company showed grace under fire in dealing with the Note7 recall just weeks after it was launched last year.
That reply came in the form of a smartphone that raises the bar even higher with not just a new design but with new intelligence that redefines the idea of a digital assistant.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ have literally pushed the boundaries with its bold new design.
The S8 and S8+ have even larger screens – 5.8-inches and 6.2-inches respectively – yet they don’t have the size and bulk a device would usually have with a display of that size.
To achieve this engineering feat, Samsung went with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio display which is narrower and longer.
It also got rid of the physical home button for the first time.
Samsung calls the screen an “Infinity Display” because of the slight curve on either side that gives it an edgeless look.
In fact, the screens on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ take up 83 per cent of the front face of the devices.
The Galaxy S8 has a larger screen than last year’s Galaxy S7 Edge but is actually a smaller product.
Both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ have resolutions of 2960 x 1440 with an impressive 570ppi (pixels per inch) with the S8 and 529ppi with the S8+.
They also include an iris scanner so you can unlock the devices just by looking at them and facial recognition software for added security.
The devices can be pre-ordered from March 31 and will be priced at $1,199 (S8) and $1,349 (S8+) and will be available in three colours – midnight black, orchid grey and maple gold. They will go on sale on April 28.
“The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are testament to Samsung’s commitment to continually breaking new ground in what mobile technology should offer our customers,” says Richard Fink, vice president, mobile division, Samsung Australia.
“It represents genuine innovation that will transform how our customers will be able to use their smartphone.
“The design of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are not only beautiful to look at but also fit comfortably in, and are easy to use, with one hand. These smartphones are perfect for our mobile lives.”
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have the brains and intelligence to match its dazzling looks.
Another standout feature is the brand-new Bixby intelligent user interface that can do far more than set reminders and find information from the internet.
Bixby can be accessed using a dedicated button on the left edge of the device which can access the interface’s voice, touch and vision capabilities.
At first Bixby will work with Samsung’s native apps like the camera, contacts, gallery, messages and settings but will eventually be included in third party apps.
And the promise is Bixby can do whatever you can do with touch on the device with your voice.
It has awareness of what you’re looking at on your device and will also come up with suggestions based on your habits.
So, if you usually call your wife on the drive home from the office, the Galaxy S8 will remember this and ask whether you’d like to do that again.
You can ask Bixby to open your latest photo, send it in a message or email just by using natural language.
And not only can Bixby hear, it can see as well and identify objects through the camera.
You can get everything from where to buy the object you’re looking at to translating signs and text into one of 52 languages.
Its contextual awareness will also offer personalised help about what it learns about the user across devices, apps and services.
On the camera side, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ has stuck with the 12-megapixel dual pixel F1.7 rear camera with the front camera now offering 8-megapixel resolution and auto focus.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ is powered by the industry’s first 64-bit octa-core 10 nanometer processors and have 4GB RAM onboard.
There’s also 64GB of internal storage as well as expandable memory that can handle up to 256GB microSD cards.
And that remarkable computing power is put to use with a new feature called Samsung DeX which can turn the S8 into a desktop computer when it’s connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
This will allow mobile professionals to be even more productive while still working securely with the S8 smartphone.
With more smart home devices now a part of our lives, Samsung has added another feature to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ called Samsung Connect.
Samsung Connect allows users to take control of all their smart internet of things (IoT) devices in one place.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ also have an IP68 rating to make them water and dust resistant.
The S8 has a 3,000mAh battery while the S8+ has a 3,500mAh battery with both offering fast wired charging through the USB-C port along with wireless charging.
Samsung has also released an updated 360 VR camera that’s been re-designed and enabled with live streaming through Android smartphones and iPhones.
Gear VR has also been updated and now includes a remote control to make games even more fun and immersive.
Customers who pre-order the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ will the Samsung Gear VR with controller, valued at $199, and a $50 Oculus content voucher.
* Stephen Fenech travelled to New York as a guest of Samsung