Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8 preview

Yesterday Samsung finally unveiled the Galaxy S8, and there are some key changes over the now year-old Galaxy S7, including a larger, higher-resolution, dual-curved-edge display, the introduction of Bixby, some faster core hardware, and a new take on the home button.

The Galaxy S8 is available to pre-order now, and will go on sale in the UK and Europe on 28 April 2017 at £689, but the Galaxy S7 could be yours right now and costs just £499 SIM-free (via Carphone Warehouse). So which Samsung Galaxy should you choose?

We've compared the specifications of the two handsets to work out exactly what is the difference in an effort to help you find the best phone for your needs. You can read in more detail about the Galaxy S8 features and specifications, and check out our Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 reviews.

What is the difference between Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8?

Price

If you purchase today you'll save £190 on the Galaxy S7 over the Galaxy S8 at SIM-free prices, which is certainly not to be sniffed at. 

Unlocked mobiles claims to have the lowest UK SIM-free prices - £674.98 for the Galaxy S8 - and the phone should be in stock 19 April.

If you're looking to buy on contract look to our articles on the best Galaxy S8 deals and best Galaxy S8 Plus deals.

Samsung phones have a habit of falling rapidly in value in the first few months after their launch, but even if the Galaxy S8 price drops 20 percent three months from now you'll still be saving more than £50 if you buy the Galaxy S7 instead. You'll save even more if you shop around at the likes of Amazon and eBay.

The fact is, though, most of us will get our next smartphone upgrade as part of a contract deal.

Whereas today you can get the Galaxy S7 on plans starting from £28.49 per month (via Carphone Warehouse), UK operators are listing the Galaxy S8 from £35.99 a month - but that's with a huge £199 upfront cost. The lowest upfront cost we've seen is £9.99, but you'll pay £60.99 per month. So, either way, the Galaxy S8 will cost you a lot more.

In many cases the Galaxy S8 is being sold as part of a deal in which you get a free Bluetooth speaker worth £99. That sounds great, but adds to its value only if you want or need the speaker. Check out the best Galaxy S8 deals.

It's worth pointing out that those prices for the Galaxy S7 are for the standard 32GB model, whereas the Galaxy S8 has 64GB of storage as standard.

If you want to find out about the latest and best Galaxy S8 contract deals, register below and we'll drop you an email as soon as they're announced.

(Your email will only be used to contact you about S8 deals. No spam or nonsense, we promise. We also need to know what country you're in so we send you the right deals for where you are.)

Models

The Galaxy S7 came in two versions: one with a standard 5.1in Quad-HD SuperAMOLED display, and an ‘edge’ version with a 5.5in Quad-HD AMOLED dual-curved-edge display.

For the Galaxy S8 the dual-curved-edge display is now standard across the range, hence the name change from 'edge' to 'Plus' for the larger of the two.

The only differences between the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are the price, screen size, dimensions, weight and battery capacity, so choosing between the two should be much easier this time around - you want the bigger one or you don't.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Design

The new Galaxy flagship has a lot more screen estate over its predecessor, and without a drastic change in the dimensions. As we’ve noted above the dual-curved screen is now standard across the range, but Samsung has made other changes, too.

Whereas the Galaxy S7 had a 5.1in screen, the Galaxy S8 now has a huge 5.8in screen. The resolution has also been increased, from Quad-HD to Quad-HD+ (2960x1440 pixels).

It's managed to increase the size of the display without making the chassis significantly larger - previously 142x70x7.9mm it is now 149x68x8mm - and it has done so by removing the physical home button from below the display. 

The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the rear, now found to the right of the camera, while onscreen buttons at the front are paired with a pressure sensor buried at the foot of the screen. Also see: Samsung Pay is now available in the UK!

The loss of the home button makes the Galaxy S8 look quite different to previous Samsung flagships, though the company has continued with the metal and glass front/rear design introduced in the Galaxy S6 and refined in the Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S8 has tougher Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection, too, but both Galaxy phones are IP68 waterproof. Also see: Galaxy S8 Active latest rumours

In the UK we'll get just two colours at launch - Midnight Black and Orchid Grey, with Arctic Silver coming soon - though there are five available in total. The Galaxy S7 also comes in five colours: black, white, gold, silver and pink gold.

Processor

Samsung has replaced the Snapdragon 820 inside the Galaxy S7 with a Snapdragon 835, which it has built in co-operation with Qualcomm. This 10nm chip integrates the Adreno 540 GPU, and promises improvements in performance (up to 27 percent higher), efficiency (up to 40 percent higher), and therefore battery life. It also supports Quick Charge 4.0, which is being marketed as able to give you five hours life from a five-minute charge.

RAM

Both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 come with 4GB DDR4 RAM, so no change here.

Cameras

The 12Mp, f/1.7 camera fitted to the rear of the Galaxy S7 is also seen in the Galaxy S8, but there has been some improvements to the selfie camera, which is now rated at 8Mp and comes with an autofocus feature.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Audio, ports and connectivity

Samsung has recently acquired audio firm Harman, which is well known for its Harman Kardon speakers. The Galaxy S8 substitutes the bottom-facing speaker on the Galaxy S7 with a stereo pair. It also ships with AKG earphones, and retains that 3.5mm headphone jack dropped by Apple and others.

The Galaxy S7's Micro-USB has been swapped out for USB-C, while Bluetooth has been upgraded to version 5.0.

A cool extra for the Galaxy S8 is compatibility with DeX, a new dock and desktop conversion system similar to Microsoft's Continuum. Simply plug your S8 into the (optional, expensive) dock and you can use apps on a monitor, keyboard and mouse set up.

Battery

As with the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 supports wired- and wireless fast charging. The battery capacity itself hasn't changed, and is still rated at 3,000mAh.

We'll have to wait to get the Galaxy S8 into our lab to see the difference in runtime - while the new Snapdragon 835 is more energy efficient than the S7's 820, the Galaxy S7 has a smaller, lower-resolution display.

Software

One of the most talked about new features in the Galaxy S8 is Bixby, a virtual assistant to rival the Google Assistant that is based on recently acquired Viv’s AI technology. Bixby is able to conduct mobile payments, control apps and even perform image search. Samsung outed Bixby ahead of the Galaxy S8 launch, and you can read more about it here.

The Galaxy S8 ships with Android Nougat, whereas the Galaxy S7 has Marshmallow out of the box with an update to Marshmallow available, so there will be little difference in the software.

Also see: Best new phones coming in 2017

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Samsung Galaxy S8: Specs

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5.8in Quad HD display (2960x1440), 570ppi
  • Dual curved edge display
  • Exynos 8895 octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Micro-SD card slot (up to 256GB)
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Pressure sensitive home button
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 16
  • Headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 dust & waterproof rating
  • 68x149x8mm
  • 155g
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5.8in Quad HD display (2960x1440), 570ppi
  • Dual curved edge display
  • Exynos 8895 octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Micro-SD card slot (up to 256GB)
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Pressure sensitive home button
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE Cat 16
  • Headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 dust & waterproof rating
  • 68x149x8mm
  • 155g

OUR VERDICT

The Galaxy S7 is a fantastic phone at a great price, and it is still one of the very best Android phones you can buy. Meanwhile the Galaxy S8 is comparatively expensive, but features the latest tech and totally looks the part. Key changes include faster performance, a better screen, enhanced audio and Bixby support. If you have to have the best and latest tech, you have no option other than to buy the Galaxy S8, but if you're not so desperate to be turning heads the Galaxy S7 remains a fantastic buy.

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