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tech
16 May 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: What's new?

Samsung has taken one of the best phones around and made it even better with an impressive list of new features.

While the design may be the first thing you notice about the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, Samsung has included a number of improvements and new features to ensure their flagship devices will be talked about for years to come. 

Extra Wide-Screen Display

People are constantly demanding bigger and bigger displays, but at some point, that size becomes a serious detriment to easy one-handed operation. That's why the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus feature screens with an extra wide 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which offers considerably more real estate compared to similarly sized devices, but without requiring two hands all the time to control the phones. And with a Super AMOLED screen and resolution of 2960 x 1440, videos and pictures look great on both phones. 

Bixby

Samsung's new Bixby assistant can tell you the weather or who won the latest soccer game, but its real purpose is to serve as an extension of your phone's interface. Pretty much anything that you can touch or tap on your phone, you'll be able to control through Bixby with your voice. You can say 'send this picture to my mom' and Bixby will know exactly which photo you're talking about, and even ask which messaging service you'd like to use. 

DeX Dock

With Samsung's elegant and simple DeX dock accessory, you can turn the S8 and S8 Plus into a mini desktop PC for much less than what you'd pay for the real thing. All you have to do is hook the DeX up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and then set the S8 onto the built-in USB-C connector – you're ready to go. In use, the DeX offers a clean and simple interface, while also giving you the flexibility to use multiple windows or full-screen apps. The DeX dock even has Windows 10 compatibility, making it potentially attractive for business use. The DeX dock will set you back around R2400.

Samsung Connect

With the new Samsung Connect app built into the devices, your phone can be the control center for many of your smart home devices. All you have to do is pull down from the top of the screen to see a list of all your connected devices. Since Samsung Connect includes support for third-party gadgets, it's not limited only to Samsung products. However, you will need the Samsung Connect Home, a combination Wi-Fi router and SmartThings hub, to control third-party devices.

Fast Face Scanning

Authentication through facial recognition has been a feature on Android phones and laptops for years now, but this is the first implementation made by Samsung itself. This kind of face-scanning tech could easily become the default mechanism for unlocking your phone, but time (and other developers) will tell. 

8-Megapixel Selfie Cam

Although the back 12MP camera on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus hasn't changed much from the S7, although software improvements are apparently leading to some sharper looking images. Samsung has boosted the phone's front camera from 5MP to 8MP, and the new Smart autofocus feature will help your selfies look even sharper than before.

Virtual Home Button

With the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus moving to an almost completely bezel-free design, there's no room in front for a physical home button. Thankfully, Samsung has implemented a virtual touch button that serves the same purpose, complete with haptic (vibration) feedback that confirms the phone has received your instruction.