First look: Samsung’s Galaxy S8 brings new features to smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ (KRON4/Slate)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, which offers impressive new features never seen on a phone before.

After the damaging recall of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7, the world’s biggest smartphone maker is using innovation to win back its Android user base.

Samsung claims their new smartphone has a better processor, longer battery life and is a faster overall phone than the S7.

KRON4’s Tech Reporter Gabe Slate got a hands-on look at the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and said that Samsung has out-innovated Apple, yet again.

“As long as it doesn’t catch on fire or explode, Samsung has designed a top notch smartphone that pushes the industry forward and will delight the Android user base,” Slate said.’

Samsung said the recall was a big learning lesson for them. To ensure the safety of their customers, they’ve looked at every detail of what happened and have redesigned the phone from the ground up to be “safer than ever.”

Samsung also introduced Bixby, a Siri-like feature that Samsungs says allows users do everything with their voice that they can do with touch.

“Any Samsung users looking to upgrade will love this new device,” said Slate. “It’s faster, lighter and packed full of fun and useful new features.”


DISPLAY

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ has a sleek look thanks to the new edge-to-edge “Infinity Display.” This means the display is the entire screen.

Samsung even traded in the smartphone’s physical home button for a virtual one.

Not only is the display bigger, it also seems to spill over the edge of the phone. This is thanks to a curved OLED display screen.

The smaller S8 has a 5.8-inch display and the larger S8+ has a 6.2-inch display, both are bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus 5.5-inch display. The smartphones are also taller, not wider, which helps to fit comfortably in your hand.

“It’s amazing how light the phones felt in my hand for how big the screens were,” Slate said. “The narrower taller shape was easier to hold than the iPhone 7 Plus.”


KEY FEATURES

The Galaxy S8 is water and dust resistant. And yes, it still comes with a headphone jack, unlike the new iPhones.

Samsung also beefed up security. The smartphones come with more security options including a feature that lets users unlock their phone with their face. Once the user hits the home button, the phone can recognize their face and open the phone.

Users can also use their eyes with the new iris scan security option. The Galaxy Note 7 was the first smartphone to have this feature before it was recalled.

Slate said that both the face unlock and the iris scan worked smoothly. This is thanks to an 8-megapixel front camera which is up from the 5-megapixel camera. The camera features an “auto face detect” which finds the user’s face and focuses for better, quicker selfies.

Samsung replaced the Micro-USB charging port for a reversible USB Type-C port.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also have a wireless charging feature. However, users will have to purchase a $50 charging station separately.


BIXBY VOICE ASSISTANT

Bixby is a built-in voice assistant for the Galaxy S8. Samsung calls it “a new way to interact with your phone.”

Bixby has its own button on the left side of the phone and has a new A.I. service built in. The voice assistant is used to make the things users do on the phone easier and more convenient. Unlike Siri, Bixby is designed to do more phone-oriented actions rather than just searching the web.

For example, Bixby can do things like turn up the volume, zoom in and out of a picture, lower brightness, and set an alarm. It also understands commands like “send last photo taken to wife” and “show me video from Brad at Tahoe last week.”

BIXBY VISION FEATURE

The Bixby Vision feature allows users to get information on something just by pointing their smartphone at it.

Point the back camera at a landmark and Bixby will tell you more about that landmark. Point it at a restaurant and Bixby will give you the menu and hours. Or point it at a book and Bixby will give you information on the book and let you order it online.


OTHER NOTES

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ comes in grey, gold, silver blue and black. It will have 64 GB of storage that can be expanded up to 256 GB.

It will available for pre-order on March 30 and will be in stores on April 21.

All smartphones come with a $99-premium set of earbuds thanks to their partnership with Harmon. All pre-orders come with a free Samsung Gear VR Headset with a new hand controller.

Samsung has yet to reveal the price.

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