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Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S7: New design, wireless charging, S Pen stylus and other changes

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S7: Although Samsung's big 2017 flagship phone hasn’t been officially launched, we’ve seen plenty of Galaxy S8 leaks in the past few weeks, to know what to expect. Here’s what you can expect from the Samsung Galaxy S8 and how it compares with Samsung's really rather good Galaxy S7 phone.

Samsung Mobile didn't have the best end to 2016, losing a rather large amount of cash and consumer confidence over the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. Which is why the launch of the new Galaxy S8 flagship phone in early 2017 is going to be super important for the company, to ensure it keeps its place as one of the biggest international Android phone manufacturers.

However, we're already confident that the Galaxy S8 will be one of the best Android phones of 2017, and every leak and rumour so far seems to confirm our optimism. But the big question is, how will the Galaxy S8 compare with this year's Galaxy S7, and will it be worth an upgrade for Samsung fans who already own the S7?

Here's our full Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S7 rumour breakdown and comparison.

Read next: Samsung Galaxy S8, the most disturbing rumours so far and the most exciting rumours so far

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Specs at a glance

Phone Samsung Galaxy S7 Samsung Galaxy S8
Screen size 5.1-inches 5.1-inches
Screen resolution Quad HD Quad HD (4K reserved for 'Plus' model)
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes, built into the screen
Iris scanner? No Yes
Water resistant? Yes Yes
S Pen stylus? No Yes
Processor Snapdragon 820/Exynos Snapdragon 835/Exynos chipset
Memory 4GB 6GB
Storage 32/64GB From 32GB
microSD? Yes Yes
Rear camera 12MP 12MP dual lens
Front camera 5MP 7MP

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Design

Originally we thought that Samsung wouldn’t mess too much with a winning design for the Galaxy S8. We expected the S8 to sport a very similar look to last year's Galaxy S7, complete with those sexy metal curves and a slender finish.

However, Samsung is now out to prove that it's still a mobile heavyweight after the Note 7 disaster. Which means that you can expect some genuine innovation when it comes to design, to help the Galaxy S8 to really stand out from the crowd.

Early word is that the Galaxy S8 will actually come packing Samsung's funky Edge Screen design, so you'll get the curved display and all of the usual Edge features usually reserved for the larger model. Even better, some leaks suggest that the S8's screen will take up pretty much the whole of the phone's front panel, with a built-in fingerprint sensor replacing the current home button. This seems to be confirmed by recent photos sent to us by MobileFun, showing the Galaxy S8 in a new official case.

Despite the death of the separate 'Edge' model, rumours from the Korea Herald suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will still come in a larger 5.5-inch flavour. This bigger version of the standard Galaxy S8 will most likely be known as the Galaxy S8 Plus, and is rumoured to cater to the VR crowd (see the next section for more info).

This seems to be the norm these days, of course. You've got the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus and so on. While smartphone use is obviously evolving over time and seriously pushing up the average screen size, we still like to have a smaller, more hand-friendly alternative, so a choice of two sizes is a definite plus in our book.

The other question is, will the Galaxy S8 be waterproof like the Galaxy S7? So far there’s no reason to suggest otherwise. The S7’s water resistance has proved a key part of the phone’s marketing campaigns and the handset has sold incredibly well. So if we had to bet, we’d say that the Galaxy S8 will keep that water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Screen and media

Samsung's Galaxy S7 sports a gorgeous 5.1-inch Quad HD screen that's beautifully crisp and pumps out punchy colours. We're expecting the Galaxy S8 to sport a very similar size and resolution Super AMOLED display, despite rumours of a 4K panel being introduced by Samsung.

If there is indeed an S8 Plus with a massive 5.5-inch screen, the main reason will likely be VR, something that Samsung is heavily pushing with its Gear VR headsets. Slot the Galaxy S8 Plus into a Gear VR and you’ll have a truly immersive experience, especially if those rumours of a 4K resolution are true.

Of course, we’ve only reviewed one phone to sport a 4K screen to date, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, and that handset's less-than-stellar battery life left us distinctly unimpressed. So here's hoping it really is just the S8 Plus that bumps up the resolution to UHD, while the standard S8 sticks with Quad HD.

Leaks have revealed that the Galaxy S8's display will not only be curved at the edges, like on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but also reach almost to the very top and bottom of the phone. That's because the fingerprint sensor is built into the screen, freeing up valuable real estate. 

With the Galaxy S7, Samsung corrected one of the only problems with its previous flagship phone, namely a lack of expandable storage. We’re hopeful that the Galaxy S8 will come packing a microSD memory card slot just like the Galaxy S7, so you can carry around a massive media collection as well as streaming your media on demand.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Stylus pen?

With the death of the Galaxy Note 7, we also lost the rather brilliant new water-resistant version of Samsung's S Pen stylus. Thankfully some leaked Galaxy S8 case photos show that the new Samsung phone might pack an S Pen of its own, almost certainly the same version we used in the Note 7.

In the picture below you'll spy a round slot on the bottom edge, alongside the speaker and mic holes. This could be for the S Pen stylus to be slipped in and out of the Galaxy S8's casing.

If true, that'll make the Galaxy S8 the first Samsung phone outside of the Note handsets to rock an S Pen. That's a big incentive for Galaxy S7 owners to upgrade, as it adds an extra dimension of control for business apps and creative tasks.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Performance and battery life

The Galaxy S7 came in two different flavours depending on your market; a Snapdragon 820 model, and an Exynos 8890 version. Both S7 models boasted slick, smooth performance, with no slowdown even when blasting through the latest games or editing video on the go.

You can of course expect benchmark-smashing performance from the Galaxy S8 too. The S8 is likely to come packing the freshly-launched Snapdragon 835 processor, which was designed in collaboration with Samsung. The Snapdragon 835 is some seriously impressive tech, boasting a reduced size and improved performance.

Otherwise if the Snapdragon 835 doesn't quite make it into the Galaxy S8, there's always the nippy Snapdragon 821, crammed inside Google's own Pixel phones. Once again you get pleasingly smooth performance, even when playing the latest games.

Chances are we'll also find the Galaxy S8 packs Samsung’s own Exynos processor in Asian markets. Question is, will an Exynos version of the Galaxy S8 sport better battery life and benchmark performance, just like the corresponding S7 model?

Speaking of battery life, the Galaxy S7 is sadly one of the slowest 2016 flagship phones when it comes to battery recharging, using Samsung’s rather ho-hum ‘Adaptive Fast Charging’ tech. The likes of Oneplus’ Dash Charge tech (found in the excellent OnePlus 3) is much faster, and we hope that Samsung can implement something similar in the Galaxy S8.

If the Snapdragon 835 is indeed packed inside then the Galaxy S8 could possibly use Qualcomm's nippy Quick Charge 4.0 tech, to power up the phone in just over an hour overall.

Some rumours have also indicated that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will power up using Qi wireless charging tech, possibly going so far as to completely ditch any kind of micro USB port. What that means for data transfer with computers is yet to be seen, but Samsung could possibly use a cloud solution instead.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Camera tech

The Galaxy S7’s camera is still one of the very best smartphone snappers out there, like the Galaxy S6’s camera before it, so we’re expecting great things from the Galaxy S8.

Rumours so far point to a dual-lens rear camera, something already found on the likes of the Huawei P9 and LG G5, although we’re not sure if these lenses will work together (like the P9’s) or separately (like the G5’s). Word is that both lenses will sport an f/1.7 aperture, which should make for even greater low light performance.

We’ll bring you more Samsung Galaxy S8 rumours as they roll in.

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