Now that Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, consumers and business users can immediately start preordering the devices for delivery beginning April 21.
Prices for the handsets, which made a splashy debut on March 29, vary by carrier, but range from about $720 for a Galaxy S8 to about $850 for a Galaxy S8+, according to announcements from the four major U.S. carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. All four carriers are also offering a special deal from Samsung that includes a free Gear VR headset and controller (valued at $179) and Oculus Bonus Content for preorder buyers, while supplies last.
The Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy S8 feature large displays with almost no bezels, powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 64-bit octa-core processors and still-developing integration with Samsung’s new Bixby intelligent virtual assistant.
The S8+ handset features a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED quad HD display (2,960-by-1,440 resolution, 529ppi), while the S8 has a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED quad HD display (2,960-by-1,440, 570ppi). Highlighting the displays are scaled-down bezels, leaving most of the screen area on the handsets dedicated to the screens.
According to Samsung, 83 percent of the fronts of the two handsets are now dedicated to the actual display by using shrunken bezels. The 4G LTE phones will be available in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray or Arctic Silver colors in the United States.
Other big changes for both new models include the deletion of the front-mounted home button found on earlier Galaxy models, providing more room to enlarge the screens. There are also facial and iris recognition security capabilities to supplement the fingerprint scanners that are a holdover from the earlier Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets. The home button for the phones is now located under the glass at the bottom of the displays and offers haptic feedback when pressed by users.
AT&T customers can preorder their S8 handsets now for pickup or delivery on April 21, according to an announcement by the carrier. On an AT&T Next calling plan, existing customers can get a Galaxy S8 for $25 a month for 30 months ($750 total) or a Galaxy S8+ for $28.34 for 30 months ($850.20 total). Buyers can also get up to $750 in credits toward another Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ as part of a Buy One, Get One Free special offer. The device fees are in addition to calling plan service charges.
AT&T wireless customers who sign up for an AT&T Unlimited Plus plan will get a $25 monthly video credit toward any AT&T video service, including DirecTV, DirecTV NOW or U-verse TV. New AT&T wireless customers can also receive up to $650 in credits when they switch to AT&T from another wireless provider and buy a new smartphone with eligible service on AT&T Next after trading in their old device, according to the company.
AT&T customers who purchase an S8 or S8+ smartphone are also eligible to buy a Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch for $49 with a two-year service agreement or a Samsung Tab E tablet and/or a Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch for 99 cents when activating a two-year service agreement.
Sprint customers can buy a Galaxy S8 handset for $750 or a Galaxy S8+ for $850, or can lease one on an 18-month agreement that allows them to upgrade their devices any time after 12 months, according to the carrier. An S8 handset can be leased for $31.25 per month for 18 months ($562.50 total), while an S8+ can be leased for $35.42 per month ($637.56 total) for 18 months. Calling plan fees are in addition to the phone purchase or lease costs.
The two new Galaxy handsets will also be available through Sprint’s no-contract, prepaid divisions, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, starting April 21.
T-Mobile customers will be able to buy a Galaxy S8 handset for $30 down and $30 a month for 24 months ($750 total) under an equipment installment plan, or a Galaxy S8+ phone for $130 down and $30 a month for 24 months ($850 total), according to the carrier. T-Mobile customers can then add T-Mobile ONE unlimited cellular service or other calling plans at additional cost.
Verizon customers can get a Galaxy S8 handset for $30 per month for 24 months ($720 total) or a Galaxy S8+ for $35 per month for 24 months ($840 total), or they can sign up for Verizon Unlimited service and trade in a working, eligible smartphone and receive a Galaxy S8 phone for up to 50 percent off or $15 per month for 24 months ($360 total). Verizon Unlimited calling plans start at $80 monthly for a single line or $45 per line for four lines.
The new Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones include the same high-resolution, 12-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel autofocus front camera used in the previous Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones, and both run the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The new phones also include the fast charging and wireless charging capabilities from the earlier models.
The S8+ includes a 3,500mAh rechargeable battery, while the S8 uses a 3,000mAh battery. Both models include 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and 64GB of built-in storage, which can be expanded to 256GB of storage through a microSD card. Both models also include Bluetooth V5.0 connectivity as well as WiFi capabilities and are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back of the devices.
The handsets are also IP68 water and dust resistant and include Samsung Knox security capabilities for enterprise users.
The new smartphones will also be offered for sale starting April 21 through Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk Wireless and U.S. Cellular, as well as on BestBuy.com and in Best Buy, Target and Walmart stores.
One of the most promising features of the latest devices is their integration with Samsung’s new virtual assistant, called Bixby, which is being developed to give users a wide range of capabilities through voice, touch and text commands.
Bixby is designed to help reinvent Samsung devices so they learn and adapt to the behaviors of their users, rather than requiring users to adapt to the devices.
Bixby will allow Samsung device users to get information, reminders, recommendations and other assistance as the system continues to be developed and added into Bixby-enabled applications.
Both new Galaxy S8 smartphones are also capable of communicating directly with other Samsung products, including home appliances, televisions and other internet of things devices, using Samsung Connect.
Enterprise users can connect with Samsung’s DeX desktop experience docking station, keyboard and mouse to bring the computing power of the S8+ and S8 phones to secure desktop computers that will allow them to do their work with Android applications. This will enable smartphone users to effectively extend their workplaces as needed.
The S8 and S8+ handsets are the first new top-of-the-line smartphones from Samsung since the release and eventual global recall last fall of the company’s Galaxy Note7 phablet. The Note7 was plagued by hundreds of reports of battery fires and explosions around the world shortly after its release.
Samsung is depending on the success of the new S8 models to regain confidence with consumers and prepare for what will likely be a release later this year of the Galaxy Note 8 to replace the troubled Note7.