Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge: what we want to see

Making the best phone in the world better

Update: We now have a clearer idea of the screen and battery size of the Galaxy S8 Edge, along with what colors it might launch in. But it might not even be called the S8 Edge, with S8 Plus now looking more likely.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is for our money the best phone you can buy right now, coupling the sheer power of the Samsung Galaxy S7 with a bigger battery, a more eye-catching design and genuinely useful edge screen features.

But there's no such thing as a perfect phone, so there are still improvements which we'd like to see and will hopefully get with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, or, as it might be called, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.

With that in mind we've created a wish list for Samsung's next curvy flagship, along with rumors and predictions of what it might include and when we might see it.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung's next curvy flagship
  • When is it out? Early 2017
  • What will it cost? More than almost any other phone

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge release date

Hottest leaks:

  • A late March or April launch
  • A video tease at the end of February

Early rumors suggested we'd see the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus at MWC 2017 (Mobile World Congress) at the the end of February, which would have made sense, as the S7 Edge was unveiled at MWC 2016.

But this year it's not to be, as Samsung itself has confirmed that the phone won't be revealed at this year's show - though we may get a brief teaser video.

For the full announcement, current rumors suggest we'll be waiting until a March 29 launch event in New York, with the phone apparently set to hit shelves on April 21, though we've also heard talk of an April announcement.

Prior to that there had also been talk on more than one occasion that the phone had been delayed until April, and we've also heard rumors of an April 18 release date - following an announcement in late March or early April.

We'll at least know when the launch date will be soon though, as Samsung has promised to reveal that much at MWC.

TechRadar's take: A March or April launch date is looking all but guaranteed, but the exact date is still up in the air.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge news and rumors

You can look to the Samsung Galaxy S8 for an idea of what we're likely to see with the S8 Edge, since other than the obligatory curves and possibly some differences in screen and battery sizes the two phones are likely to be more or less identical.

A number of rumors are emerging for both phones though, all of which you'll find below, split into sections.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 6.1 or 6.2-inch curved screen
  • A QHD or 4K resolution
  • A built-in fingerprint scanner

The latest leaks suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will have a big 6.1 or 6.2-inch screen, which is a rumor we've heard more than once, and that the aspect ratio could be 18.5:9, rather than the more standard 16:9.

Of those two screen sizes 6.2 inches is looking the most likely, as an unnamed Samsung official has apparently said that's what size it will be.

We've also heard leaked dimensions of 159 x 74 x 8mm, which would make the S8 Edge larger than the 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm S7 Edge, but not by as much as you might expect with a screen of that size.

And it's likely to be an edge-to-edge screen, with no home button below, as you can see in the leaked image below.

You can see a similar design in the leaked screen protector shot below, but this provides a clearer look at the whole front of the phone, including what's likely to be an iris scanner above the screen.

Even if the home button is removed there are still likely to be buttons on the front, just they'll probably be on-screen ones, like you can see in the image below, which supposedly shows either the S8 or S8 Plus and was found in a system dump for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

(Image: © Android Police)

Removing the home button and placing the fingerprint scanner on the back would allow Samsung to keep the dimensions relatively manageable despite the larger screen, but growing the display does still seem an odd choice since it could impinge on the Note range.

So it's always possible that the screen will stay at 5.5 inches, just like the S7 Edge. Samsung has shown off a 5.5-inch 4K display and if it wasn't for the lack of curves this would seem an obvious fit for the Galaxy S8 Edge. 5.5 inches is how big the S7 Edge is and a 4K resolution is the next logical step after the QHD screens we're seeing now.

S7 Edge

The display has a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch, so it's incredibly sharp and while it hasn't specifically been linked to either the S8 or the S8 Edge, Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech reckon a 4K display of some kind will hit Samsung's next flagship.

That might sound like overkill, but it could be just what the next generation of smartphones need to really make the most of VR.

More recently we've heard rumors of a 5.5-inch curved panel, possibly with a 4K display, so that jump in resolution could well be happening, though a lot of rumors still point to a QHD panel.

Another possible change is having the fingerprint scanner built into the screen, as has been rumored on Weibo.

Similarly, we've now heard that Samsung is planning a 5.5-inch curved display with a virtual home button built in.

This rumor has gained ground, with a Samsung employee claiming that the company will launch a phone with a 90% screen-to-body ratio in 2017 - a feat which would basically require the removal of the home button, but it's more likely Samsung will position the fingerprint scanner on the back than placing it under the screen.

Other rumors suggest that all the buttons will be going soft touch, and that they'll have customizable functions, with the same source adding that the S8 could have a feature similar to the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch tech used by Apple.

TechRadar's take: We're sure to get a curved screen of at least 5.5 inches, and a jump to 4K resolution, while far from guaranteed, would help with VR. Don't count on seeing the fingerprint scanner built in, but a move to the back is likely, as is a larger, possibly 6.2-inch screen.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge design

Hottest leaks:

  • A similar but further improved look
  • A "slick" design

So far, other than a claim from Samsung's vice chairman that the standard S8 will have a "slick" design, the main S8 Edge design rumors stem from some leaked renders, based on factory CADs and showing the phone from all angles.

You can see that the design is similar to what's come before, with a metal frame and a glass back. There are volume and power buttons on the left edge and another button - likely for launching the Bixby AI assistant - on the right edge.

The bottom meanwhile has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a speaker and a USB Type-C port.

You can also see a similar design in this leaked case image above. This is likely for the standard S8, but we're not expecting any major differences in the appearance.

We're also starting to get an idea of what colors to expect the Galaxy S8 Plus in. Leaks so far suggest we could get jet black, purple, blue coral, pink gold, gold, white, black and silver shades.

TechRadar's take: While these renders could be wrong, there aren't any obvious red flags and the design is believable.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens camera
  • Could be up to 30MP
  • A 3,500mAh battery

Several different camera rumors are doing the rounds at the moment. According to Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge might have a dual-lens camera, though they don't specify whether that second lens will be for wide-angle shots like on the LG G5, monochrome like on the Huawei P9 or something else entirely.

S7 Edge

This rumor has popped up several times since, though more recent rumors suggest just a 12MP single lens camera, with optical image stabilization and an 8MP snapper around the front.

Another currently rumored possibility is that the S8 Plus will have a camera of between 18 and 24MP, with a wide f/1.4 aperture to let more light in. Samsung is supposedly building this sensor already.

While another source claims the rear camera will be 30MP, and the front one will be 9MP, so there are lots of possibilities.

Whatever the case, Samsung is likely to improve the camera over the already impressive snapper on the S7 Edge, and in fact the company's vice chairman has specifically said to expect improvements.

We've also heard that the front-facing camera might get an autofocus, which seems a bit unnecessary, but could help it stand out.

The latest battery rumor, which supposedly comes from a Samsung official, states that the S8 Edge/S8 Plus will have a 3,500mAh juice pack.

That would be smaller than the 3,600mAh one in the S7 Edge, despite this probably being a bigger phone, but after the Note 7's battery problems it's believable that Samsung would opt for a smaller size.

It's not confirmed though, and an earlier battery rumor points to a 3,750mAh juice pack.

TechRadar's take: A dual-lens camera and a 3,500mAh battery are both likely, and we doubt Samsung will change the megapixel count too drastically, so expect a snapper in the region of 12MP.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A top-end Snapdragon or Exynos processor
  • 6GB of RAM

Samsung could go one of two ways with the Galaxy S8 Plus. It might use one of its own Eynos chips (rumored to be the 3GHz Exynos 8895), or it might use whatever the latest Snapdragon processor is (probably the 835), or, more likely, it might use both, depending on which region you're in.

Whatever the case it's sure to have a top tier processor, likely coupled with 6GB of RAM, especially now the OnePlus 3 has packed that much in. But Samsung might go even further, as the company has created an 8GB mobile RAM chip, though with 6GB still a rarity we doubt it would jump that high. In fact, it's possible that we'll get just 4GB.

The S8 Edge could also offer a high-performance "beast mode", as Samsung has applied to trademark something with exactly that name. Such a mode could be a boon to VR - but probably at the expense of battery life.

TechRadar's take: Expect to get the Snapdragon 835 in the US and the Exynos 8895 elsewhere, coupled with probably 6GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge other features

Hottest leaks:

  • An AI assistant
  • Stereo speakers
  • An iris scanner
  • A desktop mode

A recent rumor suggests the Galaxy S8 Edge won't come with a 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead you'll have to use Bluetooth headsets or a USB-C adapter for wired headsets, though leaked renders (above) show the headphone port intact, so don't count on losing it.

But Samsung could also be adding some things, like the ability to plug the phone into a screen and use it with a mouse and keyboard, or optionally buy an S Pen stylus for it - both of which could boost productivity.

That desktop mode rumor is gaining ground, with another leak pointing to a DeX dock, which you would apparently be able to plug the Galaxy S8 Plus into and then from there plug it into a monitor using an HDMI cable.

An iris scanner is also looking like a likely inclusion at this point. Samsung has built one into the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and the feature has specifically been rumored for the Galaxy S8 too.

There's also talk of a mini projector and an AI assistant known as Viv. This is made by some of the people behind Siri, and Samsung has already purchased the company. Plus, Samsung's vice chairman has claimed the S8 will feature enhanced AI, so Viv's inclusion is all but guaranteed.

More recently, Samsung has applied to trademark the names Bixby and Kestra, leading to speculation that these will be the final names for Viv and that it will have both male and female voices.

Smart Glow

We could also see the Galaxy S8 Plus get a 'Smart Glow' feature, which Samsung introduced with the Samsung Galaxy J2. This is a ring of LEDs that circles the rear camera, lighting up to alert you of notifications when the phone is face down.

But it goes further, with customizable colors for different notifications and even the ability to have it light up when it detects your face - so you can take selfies with the rear snapper.

We may also see - or hear - dual stereo speakers, according to one rumor, which adds that they'll probably use Harman technology. That's a company that Samsung recently bought, so it's very possible.

The S8 Edge is also likely to include features from previous Samsung phones, like a USB-C port, a waterproof body and a fingerprint scanner. Plus, it could have up to 256GB of built-in storage, which would be a huge jump on the S7 Edge's 64GB max capacity.

TechRadar's take: We wouldn't count on seeing Smart Glow, as it hasn't been attached to the S8 Edge, while the talk of a mini projector seems a bit unlikely, but the AI assistant has been confirmed, while stereo speakers, a desktop mode and an iris scanner are all likely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps.