This year’s big smartphone war is between two highly anticipated flagships.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 will fightApple’s iPhone 8. Collectively, the devices will look to win over customers willing to spend serious cash on the latest and greatest devices.
Credit: Gabor Balagh (left); Sam Rutherford (Right)
The Galaxy S8 (starting at about $750) delivers an all-new design that ditches the physical home button, expanding the screen size on the Galaxy S8 to 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches on the Galaxy S8+ (about $850. It also comes with a new assistant called Bixby.
According to the latest iPhone 8 rumors, Apple has some pretty big plans for its device as well, as it will reportedly including an OLED display, wireless charging a 3D camera that will
Based on what we know about the Galaxy S8 and rumors we’re hearing about the iPhone 8, here’s how we think the handsets will stack up, along with an early prediction for which device will have the advantage when the two finally clash later this year.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer a curved display that the company calls the Infinity Display. While the device’s chassis doesn’t look much different from the Galaxy S7, Samsung has reduced the bezel size above and below the display, eliminating the physical home button. The home button is now virtual and lives inside the handset’s software, along with other contextual keys.
Since the fingerprint sensor was previously on the home button, Samsung has moved the sensor to the back of the Galaxy S8 next to the camera. Watch out for smudging! At least you’ll get a 3.5mm headphone jack, something Apple ditched with the iPhone 7.
Apple’s iPhone 8 should boast a major redesign to celebrate the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. According to several rumors, the device will featurean all-glass enclosure in a design that might be inspired by the iPhone 4, with a metal spine to separate the pieces of glass.
Concept Credits: Mateo Gentile, Cult of Mac, TechConfigurations, Glaxon Paul, ConceptsiPhone, Handy Abovergleich, Imran Taylor
Apple is also reportedly planning to make the iPhone 8 the company’s first device to offer an OLED, curved screen. However, there’s some debate over whether the curved screen will look like the Galaxy S8’s and be functional or whether it’ll be a slight curve that adds a bit more design flair to the device. The home button might also be moved to inside the screen, eliminating the need for a physical button; this would allow the iPhone 8 to come with a display that nearly covers the device’s entire face.
Early Advantage: Draw. If the rumors are true, Apple’s iPhone 8 will set a new standard for Apple’s mobile design. But the Galaxy S8 is already stunning in its own right.
There had been some hope that Samsung would offer a dual-lens camera in the Galaxy S8, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, you’ll find a 12-megapixel sensor that the company says will bring in more light and improve picture quality in low-light conditions. Additionally, the Galaxy S8’s camera features dual-pixel technology that can more quickly focus on your target.
With help from a feature called Bixby Vision, your camera will get a little “smarter,” and be able to provide contextual information about what you’re viewing. On the front, you’ll find a selfie-friendly 8-megapixel camera.
It’s a similar story with the iPhone 8. Credible rumors about the handset’s camera have been a little hard to come by, but this phone, too, should retain the dual-lens camera added to the iPhone 7 Plus. There are some questions over whether the cameras will be aligned vertically or horizontally, but don’t expect a big update in terms of image quality.
However, Apple is reportedly working on adding 3D capabilities to its camera, which enable all sorts of augmented reality applications.
Early Advantage: Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S7’s dual-pixel autofocus camera offered superior image quality to the cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in our face-off, especially in low light. We expect Samsung to keep its lead in this category.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 comes with a curved display the company calls Infinity Display. The smaller of the two, the Galaxy S8, comes with a 5.8-inch screen. The larger option, the Galaxy S8+, offers a gigantic 6.2-inch display. Both screens offer quad-HD resolution.
Apple’s iPhone 8 is expected to come with a big display update. First off, it will likely be the first iPhone to use OLED instead of the LCD that’s always been used in iPhones. The screen will also reportedly be curved and may spill over both sides of the device.
Thanks to the curved design, the screen will likely be bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus’ 5.5-inch screen, measuring 5.8 inches. We know very little about the alleged resolution, however.
Early Advantage: Galaxy S8. One of the Galaxy S8’s screens will likely be bigger than the iPhone 8’s, and Samsung has been offering OLED screens for a long while.
The Galaxy S8 has a fingerprint sensor, but because Samsung ditched the home button on the front, this sensor has been moved to the back, next to the camera lens. That makes its placement a little more difficult to reach than you might like, and there’s a chance of smudging your lens.
The good news is that you can log in either via face recognition or an iris scanner, though apparently a photo can fool the former.
Most rumors say Apple will keep its Touch ID fingerprint sensor, but move it under the display. In fact, Apple is said to be testing technology that would bake Touch ID directly into the screen and potentially let users press anywhere on the display to activate its features.
However, one report says that Apple will follow Samsung’s lead and place the fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone underneath the camera.
Early Advantage: iPhone 8. If Apple can pull off Touch ID in the screen, Apple would win this round.
AI ASSISTANT: SIRI VS. BIXBY
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is the first to get the company’s brand-newvirtual personal assistant, Bixby. And it’s a major step forward.
Bixby offers all the features you’d expect from a virtual assistant, including reminders, the ability to set your alarm clock, and create events. But it does so much more. Using your voice you can accomplish tasks that would normally take multiple screen taps. For example, you can say “Send the last photo I took to my wife.”
Using the Bixby Vision app, you can aim your camera at a product you want to buy or learn more about, and Bixby will find prices online and provide more contextual information. Bixby can also learn your manner of speaking and will do a better job as time goes on learning what you say and how you say it to deliver more accurate results.
You can also aim your camera at a landmark and Bixby will get information about it. And if you point your camera at words in another language, Bixby will translate it for you on the fly.
Apple’s Siri is consistently getting smarter and will get some updates this year. According to one report from Digitimes, Apple is working on enhancing Siri in time for the launch of the iPhone 8.
There aren’t many details available, but one concept envisions Siri working in hand in hand with the camera to enable near-instant object recognition.
In addition, Apple acquired the machine learning company Turi in August 2016, a team that’s said to be working on Siri and other projects.
Early Advantage: Galaxy S8. Bixby looks more versatile than Siri, but we’re hoping Apple makes major strides this year.
Bixby leads the way in special features and is undoubtedly a huge improvement over the lame S Voice. The Galaxy S8 also shines on the security front, offering you an iris scanner and a facial-recognition scanner in addition to your fingerprint sensor.
[Need New Art Here] The Galaxy S8 also supports a new desktop dock called DeX that will let you plug your S8s in and get a PC-like experience, including multi-window support on a big screen, as well as mouse and keyboard support. In other words, you can use your Galaxy S8 as a mini PC.
In addition, Samsung Connect allows you to control multiple smart home devices from a single screen. However, if you want to control non-Samsung gear, such as Philips Hue lights, you’ll need to invest in an extra piece of hardware called the Samsung Connect Home, which is a combo router-SmartThings hub
It’s also worth noting that the S8 offers a microSD card slot for expanding the memory. Don’t expect that from Apple.
And yes, the Galaxy S8 is water- and dust-resistant.
The iPhone 8 should come with IP68 water- and intrusion-resistance. And there’s speculation that in this device, Apple will finally offerwireless charging. You can also expect an iris scanner up front for logging in.
Bloomberg has reported that Apple is investing heavily in augmented reality, and we could see some of those features built into the iPhone 8, especially around object recognition. The Wall Street Journalalso reports that Apple is working with suppliers to help iPhone 8 owners map their surrounding 3D environment for various applications, including AR.
But we’ll have to wait and see.
Early Advantage: Galaxy S8. Samsung and Apple both have compelling special features, but Samsung has thrown in a slew of new tools that could make you far more productive.
SPECS AND PERFORMANCE
Samsung is going all in on performance. The Galaxy S8 is has Qualcomm’s high-poweredSnapdragon 835 processor inside along with 4GB of storage.
Samsung’s flagship comes with 64GB of storage. The Galaxy S8 offers a 3,000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S8+ runs on a 3,500mAh.
We haven’t heard too much about Apple’s plans for the iPhone 8’s performance. The device is expected to be powered by an A11 chip, which could be built on a 10-nanometer process. Ultimately, it’s expected to offer much faster performance than the A10 and be more energy efficient.
On the storage side, look for Apple to offer up to 256GB internally. There’s also talk of Apple offering much better battery life in the iPhone 8.
Early Advantage: iPhone 8. The iPhone 7 proved to be the fastest phone around, and we expect Apple to take the lead in the fall once more.
This one’s important in light of the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. Samsung has worked hard to reassure customers that the Galaxy S8’s battery will be safe. The Galaxy S8 comes with a 3,000-mAh battery, and the 6.2-inch S8 delivers a 3,500-mAh pack. Those numbers are close to the 5.1-inch S7 (3,000 mAh) and 5.5-inch S7 Edge (3,600 mAh).
While your mileage may vary, Samsung says the Galaxy S8 will last 13.6 days on standby and 33 hours of continuous use before you need to recharge it. The Galaxy S8+ ups those figures to 14.3 days and 40 hours. The batteries, which can be wirelessly charged, also get a boost from the Snapdragon 835, which promises 25 percent better efficiency.
The Galaxy S8’s batteries are the first from Samsung to get the new inspection treatment to ensure their safety. Here’s hoping that process will work out.
Apple is also reportedly planning to offer a “big battery” in the iPhone 8. We don’t know yet how big the battery will be, but its higher capacity, coupled with the A11’s power efficiency, should combine to deliver far more juice than what you’d find in the iPhone 7.
Early Advantage: Draw. The iPhone 7 Plus lasted longer than the S7 Edge on our battery test, as did the iPhone 7 over the S7. We’re waiting to see who finishes on top in the ever-changing race for top smartphone battery life.
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ at a special press event in New York City on March 29 and started offering pre-orders on its site, as well as on carrier and retailer sites, on March 30. The handset will hit store shelves on April 21, though if you pre-order Galaxy S8 on Samsung.com, the company is promising to get it to your home on April 20.
Apple is reportedly planning to deliver the iPhone 8 in September, but it’s possible that shipments could be staggered throughout the fourth quarter in order to meet early demand. The phone will likely be made available alongside the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which are both believed to offer iterative updates over last year’s models.
Early Advantage: Draw. Samsung has the first-mover advantage, but Apple will have the benefit of launching closer to the holiday season and getting the buzz around the iPhone’s 10th anniversary.
There’s little debating that the Galaxy S8 is an expensive handset. Samsung is selling the Galaxy S8 for $750 and the Galaxy S8+ for $850. Pricing will vary a bit depending on the carrier you choose. For instance, Verizon is selling the Galaxy S8 for $720 and the Galaxy S8+ for $840. And, of course, all the carriers are offering the handsets on monthly installments if you don’t want to pay upfront.
Apple’s pricing won’t be revealed until the handset makes its debut later this year. But a recent report suggested that the smartphone would go for $1,000 or more. The price, the report claims, would be based on all of the advancements Apple is planning to offer in the device, including the OLED display, and would make the new phone the most expensive iPhone ever.
Early Advantage: Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8 costs a pretty penny and it’s quite likely the iPhone 8 will, too. But it’s very possible that Apple’s device will command an even higher premium.