Samsung unboxed its much-anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus models at a ballyhooed live-streamed event in New York City yesterday and, in an age when product lifecycles are measured in a year or less, one prominent tech reviewer says it “looks like it beamed in from 2025.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Glenn Fowler continues: “This thing is nearly all screen. The S8’s bright pixels curve all the way to its edges, with just a sliver of metal at the top and bottom. Inside, there’s Bixby, a virtual assistant that promises to operate any aspect of your phone by voice. And if you want, the S8 can also double as — get this — a desktop computer.”
The Samsung Dex desktop dock “transforms the S8/S8+ into a mobile desktop computer,” explains Khor Sow Yee for The Star. “All users have to do is plug the phone into the Dex, connect to compatible monitors, keyboards and mice, and they can easily display, edit and save data from their phone.”
Now before you Erase All Contents and Settings and list that iPhone 7 on eBay, consider this: “I haven’t had a chance to test Samsung’s claims to determine whether the S8 is a good buy; I’ll do that ahead of its arrival in stores April 21,” the WSJ’s Fowler reveals.
But if it’s as good as it looks, the S8 models could go a long way towards making us all forget the PR disaster that was the Samsung Note 7, whose batteries tended to incontinently overheat, explode or catch fire.
“Note 7 definitely did some damage to the Samsung brand, especially for people who had little or no personal experience with Samsung devices,” Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson tells the New York Times’ Brian X. Chen. “But as long as the S8 does well and doesn’t suffer from any of the same problems, the memories of the Note 7 issues will fade and Samsung will recover well.”
Not that most of these reveals are a big surprise.
“Pretty much everything you’ve already read about the Samsung Galaxy S8 is true. And that’s a good thing,” writes Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “Whether by accident or design, the company did a truly abysmal job keeping its new flagship under wraps in the month or so following its likely intended unveiling at Mobile World Congress last month. The two models (S8 and S8+), the edge-to-edge display, the ditching of the physical home button — that’s all here as a deluge of leaks have foreshadowed.”
But longing makes the heart fonder, as they say. Good thing, too, because consumers can pre-order the devices but they “won’t be delivered until April 21st, when carrier-locked phones will be hitting shelves in retail stores. Unfortunately, if you want an unlocked version of the S8, you’ll have to wait until May 9th, as Samsung is delaying the release of unlocked phones until then,” reports Chris Mills for BGR.
“As far as pricing goes, the S8 starts at $750 through all the major carriers, while the S8+ sees a $100 premium and final retail price of $850. Each carrier has its own slightly different promotional pricing and deals,” which he details.
“Yes, the headline is the Galaxy S8 has added 0.7-inches of screen space while remaining almost the same size as the Galaxy S7. The same cannot be said for the Galaxy S8 Plus, which is both bigger and heavier than the Galaxy S7 Edge (which it replaces), but it is still by far the most compact 6.2-inch smartphone ever made,” writesForbes contributor Gordon Kelly. “… Both new Galaxies have curved ‘Edge’ panels which Samsung has re-christened ‘Infinity Displays’ and for once the hype is not overblown.”
The same may — or may not — be true regarding Bixby.
“Despite a crowded voice assistant market, Samsung insists Bixby is ‘fundamentally’ different from competitors like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. It remains to be seen how this will play out,” writes Kaya Yurieff for CNNMoney.
“Samsung touts the assistant as being able to ‘see, remind and recommend,’ but much of this functionality is already available with rival assistants,” Yurieff continues. “One potentially interesting feature is the ability to observe behavior patterns and add in reminders. For instance, if you usually call your mom at a specific time each day, Bixby will ask you, unprompted, if you'd like to call her at that time.”
As for its suffering the consequences it you don’t, perhaps that’s something for Elon Musk’s Neuralink to work on.