Samsung has just launched its Galaxy S8 flagship phone, which boasts updated camera features, a sleek new design and enticing features like the Bixby assistant. But should Galaxy S7 owners consider an upgrade? Our full comparison review will help you decide.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagship devices were two of the best Android mobiles of 2016. Between the leading camera tech, the gorgeous Super AMOLED screen and the wealth of bonus features, they provided a solid everyday experience and had almost no flaws.
The new S8 handsets build on the solid foundations of the S7 pair, with an even more gorgeous and impressively slender form factor – despite boasting much larger displays. Everything else has been tweaked too, from the internal specs to the 12-megapixel rear camera. But is it enough to warrant an upgrade?
Here’s our full Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S7 comparison now that we’ve spent some time with the new Galaxy phones.
Check out our massive Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus hub to see everything about these Samsung smartphones, including our reviews, guides and comparisons. We’ve also compared the Galaxy S8 against the very best phones of 2017.
Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: Specs at a glance
|Phone||Samsung Galaxy S7||Samsung Galaxy S8|
|Screen resolution||Quad HD (2560×1440)||QHD+ (2960×1440)|
|S Pen stylus?||No||No|
|Processor||Snapdragon 820/Exynos||Exynos chipset|
|Rear camera||12MP f/1.7||12MP f/1.7|
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 the Galaxy S8 really does stand out from the crowd with its seriously impressive near bezel-less design work.
The standard Galaxy S8 model comes 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, the S8’s screen now takes up pretty much the whole of the phone’s front panel, with a built-in home button to free up more space.
That means the Galaxy S8 can sport a much bigger screen than the S7, without making it a cumbersome device. In fact, although the S8’s display is 5.8-inches compared to the relatively compact 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 screen, Samsung’s new handset is still just about usable with one hand. Of course, the dimensions have increased, so lovers of mini mobiles should definitely look elsewhere.
The little-and-large pairing seems to be the norm these days. You’ve got the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Huawei P10 and P10 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. But when the ‘small’ handset is 5.8-inches, you’d better hope there’s some decent one-handed modes available. Thankfully that’s the case, with the option to shrink the Galaxy S8’s desktops on demand.
Like the S7 before it, the S8 is also fully water resistant. You can dunk it in the bath tub or other fresh water with no ill effects. That glass and metal frame seems pretty rugged too, although still prone to scuffing up with greasy fingerprints.
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. This has been updated on the Galaxy S8 with a new widescreen display that’s much bigger, at 5.8-inches.
The Galaxy S8’s gorgeous display is not only curved at the edges, like on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but also reaches almost to the very top and bottom of the phone. That’s because the home button is now built into the screen, freeing up valuable real estate. That ‘stretched’ aspect ratio (18.5:9) is better suited to movie viewing, while the support for Mobile HDR video playback makes it future-proof. Expect Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services to support this feature soon.
With the Galaxy S7, Samsung corrected one of the only problems with its previous flagship phone, namely a lack of expandable storage. Likewise, the Galaxy S8 also comes packing a microSD memory card slot just like the Galaxy S7, so you can carry around a massive media collection. There’s even 64GB of storage space built in as standard.
Check out our Galaxy S8 tips and tricks guide to see more about Samsung’s best hidden features.
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 comes packing 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? We’ll be sure to test this out in our full Galaxy S8 review.
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’s Galaxy S8 does a better job.
What we do know is that the S8 supports wireless charging out of the box, which is good news for cable haters.
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.
You once again have a 12-megapixel camera packed away on the back of the S8, with an f/1.7 aperture lens. Our test photos packed plenty of detail, with attractive results captured even in quite tricky conditions. The same clever Dual Pixel focus tech found on last year’s S7 and S7 Edge is again present, which helps provide a super-fast shutter action. And you again have Optical Image Stabilisation to counter hand judders, for a sharp final photo.
You can once again shoot up to 4K resolution video, along with hyperlapse and slow-motion footage.
Flip to the front and you get an improved f/1.7 aperture lens, just like on the rear. This can capture even more detailed photos in low light than the S7’s selfie snapper.
Check out our Galaxy S8 camera guide for a closer look at Samsung’s newest cameras.
Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: UK pricing
The Galaxy S8 will cost from £799 when it hits the UK in April 2017. By comparison, the S7 can be picked up from £450 to £500, so a damn sight cheaper.
Check out our Galaxy S8 best deals guide for more info.
Head to O2’s Galaxy S8 webpage to check out the tariffs and pre-order Samsung’s phone. All pre-order customers should receive the handset eight days before it goes on general sale, while O2 is also offering benefits such as a free JBL speaker worth £120.