1. Fast wireless charging
You’d be right to dismiss wireless charging as slow and cumbersome, but Samsung has actively worked to change your mind. The Galaxy S8 supports wireless charging at almost twice the speed of most Qi wireless chargers – 2.4A, instead of 1.5A. That’s still not as fast as wired charging in combination with Adaptive Fast Charging or Quick Charge optimizations, but it’s quite workable.
If you want to take advantage of that, you will need Samsung’s Fast Wireless Charging Stand (Amazon, $90). It seems to be the only one on the market that delivers enough amperage to see the benefit. It also looks kinda rad and has a built-in fan to cool down your phone. Wireless charging tends to make back panels heat up, so a cooling system is quite welcome. Let’s hope it’s quiet, though!
2. Customize soft keys and color
Samsung said ‘goodbye’ to capacitive keys with style! The Galaxy S8 lets you personalize the software navigation keys by choosing a colorful background for them, or switching the layout between Recents – Home – Back or Back – Home – Recents. You can also tweak the amount of pressure needed to hard-press the virtual Home button. Speaking of the Home button…
3. The Home button is always available
Even if the Home button icon isn’t visible on screen, or the screen is off, you can still hard-press in its general location and get haptic feedback indicating you’ve triggered the Home button. This way, you can easily power the S8’s display, quit open apps, and glance at notifications when the phone is lying down, for example. Thoughtful!
4. Multi-frame image processing
There’s even more going on behind the camera scenes compared to previous Galaxy S flagships. Samsung has worked out a neat image processing algorithm where the Galaxy S8’s camera takes three photos instead of one. It chooses the clearest image as baseline and uses the rest to reduce blur. This applies to all images and happens so fast, you wouldn’t be able to tell. The result is supposed to be clearer, more detailed photographs.
5. One-handed control for camera app
Instead of adding a separate one-handed control mode for the camera app, Samsung straight-up optimized it so that using it one-handed comes naturally. Swiping your thumb in different directions triggers shooting modes, switches between front/rear cameras, and opens filter settings. Moreover, moving the on-screen shutter button to the left or right adjusts zoom.
An example of Samsung observing customer behavior and feedback. Most smartphone photos are taken in portrait orientation, one-handed.
6. The battery is slower to degrade over time
Improvements in technology have allowed Samsung to increase the Galaxy S8 battery’s longevity. If the Galaxy S7 maintained around 80% of effective battery capacity during a typical year of use (charging and discharging), the Galaxy S8 will hover at around 95%. Of course, such metrics can get quite “stretchy”, depending on how much you use your phone and how often you charge. But Samsung has clearly put in the work to make the S8’s battery last substantially more in the long run. Now if only they could think about two-day battery life!
7. Gigabit Internet
The Galaxy S8 is among the first smartphones – if not the first – to handleLTE speeds of up to 1 gigabit/s (125 megabytes per second). This owes to Qualcomm’s X16 modem built into the Snapdragon 835 chipset that powers the Galaxy S8 in the US. Alas, such speeds are only obtained within test settings for now, at least in the USA. But the technology exists and will become the backbone of future high-speed mobile internet.
8. High-saturation display
Much has been written about the Infinity Display’s forward-looking 18:9 aspect ratio. But it kind of flew under the radar that the Galaxy S8 boasts a ‘Deep Red’ OLED screen. According to DisplayMate measurements – confirmed and endorsed by Samsung – the screen’s color gamut measures 113% of the DCI-P3 and 142% of the sRGB color standards. The former is the cinematic default, and the latter is standard for use on monitors, printers, and the Internet.
What’s more, the Galaxy S8 is the first smartphone to get the UHD Alliance’s ‘Mobile HDR Premium’ certification. This is a set of performance requirements for resolution, dynamic range, color space, and bit depth as to ensure the best experience in viewing HDR content from Amazon, Netflix, and other content providers. You can read more the certification here. Alas, Netflix isn’t on board just yet, but it will catch up eventually.