Earlier today, Samsung took the wraps off the highly-anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Without question, a lot is riding on the shoulders of the S8 as it follows hot on the heels of the mostly defunct Note 7. If all goes well, the Galaxy S8 is shaping up to be a redeeming device for the brand. Despite the positive view on the device, however, I don’t consider it worth the upgrade from the Galaxy S7 Edge that I already own.
While the Galaxy S8 does improve on a number of things, there are several specs left unchanged from the Galaxy S7. For one, RAM is the same 4GB across all four models. Battery size on the S8 is nearly identical to those of the S7 duo: the Galaxy S7 and S8 both have 3,000 mAh batteries, and the Galaxy S7 Edge and S8 Plus have a 3,600 mAh and 3,500 mAh battery, respectively. While the Galaxy S7 actually features the larger battery, it’s only marginally so; there’s basically no difference.
The rear-facing camera is another similarity. The cameras on the back of the Galaxy S8 are identical to those on the Galaxy S7, with the same 12-megapixel count and 1/ 2.5” sensor size. The Galaxy S8 did receive an upgrade to the front-facing camera, however, with an 8-megapixel camera over the Galaxy S7’s 5-megapixel shooter.
The Galaxy S8 still brings a lot of changes to the table, too. Its bezel-less sides and slimmer top and bottom bezels are an appealing aspect, giving the device a good screen upgrade with minimal increase to its physical footprint. There isn’t even a Samsung logo on the front of the device, which is surprising. The base amount of internal memory has also been boosted from 32GB to 64GB (although 64GB is the only variant available in the states), and the Galaxy S8 features Samsung’s new smart AI, Bixby. It hasn’t been mentioned whether Bixby will make an appearance on older Samsung devices or not, but for now the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have exclusivity. The Galaxy S8 is also the first to feature the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, making this one speedy device.
Another draw to the Galaxy S8, at least currently, are the rampant pre-order promotions that are becoming commonplace for Samsung’s flagships. Each Galaxy S8 will come with a pair of $99 AKG earphones by Harman. Many carriers are offering a free Gear VR headset with controller and Oculus pack, some are offering a 256GB microSD card, and Best Buy is offering $100 on top of other carrier-specific promotions. So, there’s a lot to gain from going the pre-order route, and if last year’s Galaxy S7 sales are any indication of what to expect from the Galaxy S8, these tempting promotions will continue to cycle throughout the year. In the end, you’re getting much more than just the phone for the $750 or $850 you’re paying.
But as great as the promos and small bezels are, I’m not sold on the Galaxy S8. Battery life is my biggest concern, and the S8 didn’t make any breakthroughs in that regard. The rear-facing camera and RAM being the same also makes this an easy decision for me. The Galaxy S7 and S8 are different, but they aren’t different enough in the areas I need them to be for me to feel like it’s a sensible upgrade. If I owned any other phone – even the Galaxy S6 – I would probably seriously consider it. As it stands, the Galaxy S7 already has all of the features I would want out of the Galaxy S8. It’s not a bad thing, I just don’t have an immediate need for slimmer bezels or a new AI assistant.
If you’re in the market for a new phone and considering whether you should get the Galaxy S8 or the Galaxy S7, it really depends on your wants and needs. The Galaxy S8 will cost you more, but will last longer (update-wise). You’ll also get a lot more in free accessories from pre-order promotions, whereas the Galaxy S7 promotions are likely to dwindle from this point forward. On the other hand, Galaxy S7 devices are probably about to start selling at liquidation prices. I’ve already seen some Galaxy S7’s go on sale for half their original price in the weeks leading up to today’s reveal. Not a bad deal considering how many similarities there are between the S7 and the S8.
Basically what I’m saying is the Galaxy S8 is a great phone, but the Galaxy S7, despite being a year old, is still a pretty great phone, too.