Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge: news and rumors
Update: A 4K screen, a dual-lens camera and an innovative Smart Glow feature could all be in the works for Samsung’s next curvy flagship.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is for our money the best phone you can buy right now, coupling the sheer power of the Samsung Galaxy S7 with a bigger battery, a more eye-catching design and genuinely useful edge screen features.
But there’s no such thing as a perfect phone, so there are still improvements which we’d like to see and will hopefully get with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge.
With that in mind we’ve created a wish list for Samsung’s next curvy flagship, along with rumors and predictions of what it might include and when we might see it.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung’s next curvy flagship
- When is it out? Probably not until early 2017
- What will it cost? More than almost any other phone
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge release date
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was unveiled at MWC 2016 and there’s a good chance that the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will be announced at next year’s event.
MWC 2017 is set to take place between February 27 and March 2, so we’ve likely got a long time to wait.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge news and rumors
You can look to the Samsung Galaxy S8 for an idea of what we’re likely to see with the S8 Edge, since other than the obligatory curves and possibly some differences in screen and battery sizes the two phones are likely to be more or less identical.
A number of rumors are already emerging for that phone and beyond that we can take some guesses at what we might see in the S8 Edge, all of which you’ll find below split into sections.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge screen
Samsung has shown off a 5.5-inch 4K display and if it wasn’t for the lack of curves this would seem an obvious fit for the Galaxy S8 Edge. 5.5 inches is how big the S7 Edge is and a 4K resolution is the next logical step after the QHD screens we’re seeing now.
The display has a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch, so it’s incredibly sharp and while it hasn’t specifically been linked to either the S8 or the S8 Edge, Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech reckon a 4K display of some kind will hit Samsung’s next flagship.
That might sound like overkill, but it could be just what the next generation of smartphones need to really make the most of VR.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge design
So far there’s no news on what design Samsung might choose for the Galaxy S8 Edge, but if we had to guess we’d say it won’t stray too far from its current flagship design, as the S7 Edge is already one of the best looking phones around.
But equally it will want the new phone to stand out, so expect some changes, perhaps more curves or a slimmer shell.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge camera and battery
Two different camera rumors are doing the rounds at the moment. According to Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge might have a dual-lens camera, though they don’t specify whether that second lens will be for wide-angle shots like on the LG G5, monochrome like on the Huawei P9 or something else entirely.
The other currently rumored possibility is that the S8 Edge will have a camera of between 18 and 24MP with a wide f/1.4 aperture to let more light in. Samsung is supposedly building this sensor already. Of course these two possibilities aren’t mutually exclusive, the S8 Edge could use this sensor with a dual-lens setup.
No battery rumors have emerged yet, but we’re hopeful that it will have at least a 3600 mAh one (the same size as the S7 Edge) if not bigger.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge OS and power
Samsung could go one of two ways with the Galaxy S8 Edge. It might use one of its own Eynos chips or it might use whatever the latest Snapdragon processor is (probably the 830), or it might use both, depending on which region you’re in. Whatever the case it’s sure to have a top tier processor, likely coupled with at least 6GB of RAM, especially now the OnePlus 3 has packed that much in.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge other features
An iris scanner is looking like a surprisingly likely inclusion at this point. Samsung has built one into a tablet and there’s evidence for it moving beyond slates, such as a screenshot of an iris scan option on what appears to be a smartphone display.
We could also see the Galaxy S8 Edge get a ‘Smart Glow’ feature, which Samsung is said to be working on for future phones. This is a ring of LEDs that circles the rear camera, lighting up to alert you of notifications when the phone is face down.
But it goes further, with customizable colors for different notifications and even the ability to have it light up when it detects your face – so you can take selfies with the rear snapper.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge: what we want to see
So far we don’t know a whole lot about the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, but we know what we want to see. From a competitive price tag to powerful speakers and more, here’s our wishlist for Samsung’s upcoming curvy flagship.
1. A lower price
As amazing as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is it’s also amazingly expensive, retailing for around £640 (US$750, AU$1,249). That makes it one of the most expensive phones on the planet, outside the extravagance of the Vertu range.
It’s understandable that it costs so much. After all it’s big, powerful, feature packed and has a premium design. But given that you could get a reasonably powerful PC or a high-end TV for the same money it can seem a bit much. It’s always going to be a premium range, but hopefully for the Galaxy S8 Edge Samsung can rein in the price just a little.
2. A better fingerprint scanner
Samsung has vastly improved its fingerprint scanners since the Galaxy S5, but they’re still not perfect. With the Galaxy S7 Edge it’s not uncommon for the scanner to fail on your first attempt and it’s also limited in what it can do.
Yes, you can use it to secure your phone, but it would be nice if the Samsung Galaxy S8 let you lock individual apps too.
3. Game Launcher improvements
Samsung introduced its Game Launcher with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s a handy tool which groups all your games together in a special folder and gives you extra options like allowing you to mute notifications while playing, lock the recent and back buttons and record footage.
But it needs a bit of polishing. For one thing the Game Tools icon which gives you access to these options is permanently displayed on the screen. So while you can use it to prevent accidental presses of the back button, you could end up accidentally pressing the Game Tools button just as often.
It’s also missing some features. For example, while you can record footage you can’t live stream it, which is a big thing in the world of eSports. So it’s good, but it could be better.
4. More storage space
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a respectable 32GB of built in storage. But while that’s a reasonable amount it can easily be filled up if you stick your music collection or a handful of big games on the phone.
There’s always a microSD card slot for more breathing room, but that requires both buying a card and relying on the typically slower speeds offered by them. So hopefully the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will have beefier built in storage, at least for those who want it.
5. Better battery life
The Galaxy S7 Edge actually has pretty good battery life and it’s a definite upgrade on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but it’s still far from the best around. If you’re buying a phone like this you’re likely to use it heavily, so the longer it can last the better.
With that in mind we hope the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will offer a true two days of life at an absolute minimum. If it can stretch even further than that then all the better.
6. An improved always-on display
Speaking of battery life, one of the big features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is its always-on display. Yet while it can potentially save battery by not firing up the CPU every time you want to check the time, it uses around 0.8% of the phone’s juice per hour in itself.
So we’d like to see it get more efficient for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge. While we’re on we’d also like it to be a bit more useful, as currently it doesn’t support notifications for all apps.
7. Powerful speakers
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has hi-res audio support, along with the ability to upscale lower res tracks and even tune the sounds based on your own hearing. But the one piece of the audio puzzle its missing are great built-in speakers.
Which isn’t to say they’re bad, as it can pump out a reasonable amount of sound. But the single speaker grille on the bottom of the phone can’t match the likes of the HTC One M9 for quality and the positioning means it’s also too easily obscured when holding the phone.
So hopefully the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will have more speakers with more power and a better, ideally front-firing position.
8. A refined design
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best looking phones we’ve ever had the pleasure of using, but it’s not perfect.
For one thing the glass on the back is a fingerprint magnet, which can quickly make your shiny phone look dirty. We’d also like it if the glass felt more premium and less like plastic and if the camera didn’t protrude, though only if it can still be protected.
Samsung is sure to further refine the design for the Galaxy S8 Edge, so hopefully we’ll see some of these changes.
9. Full waterproofing
One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is its water resistance. It gives you peace of mind that you can use it in the rain or the bath and that if a drink gets spilled on it the phone will still work afterwards.
That’s all great, but with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge we’d like it to go a step further and offer true waterproofing. The S7 Edge already has a brilliant camera and being able to take it scuba diving to snap photos under the sea would be great. It’s a feature that might not get used much, but one which would further set it apart from the crowd.
10. A better front-facing camera
Speaking of the camera, while the rear snapper on the Galaxy S7 Edge is enormously impressive, the front-facing one is rather more average. It’s just 5MP and doesn’t have an LED flash (though the screen can be lit up as one).
Samsung definitely chose the right camera to focus on, but it would be nice to see the front-facing one catch up, especially as even mid-rangers offer similar specs.
- Take a look at the rumors for the LG G6 too