Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge: what we want to see

Update: 8GB of RAM, a fancy new fingerprint scanner and a dual-lens camera could all be in the works for Samsung’s next curvy flagship. We also have a good idea of when it might be announced – that is, if it’s not been delayed.

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.

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 February 26 announcement
  • A possible two week delay

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was unveiled at MWC 2016 and there’s a good chance that the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will be announced at next year’s event.

In fact, it’s now been rumored that Samsung’s next flagships will be announced on February 26 – the day before MWC 2017 starts.

That said, we’ve also heard that development of the S8 series has been delayed by two weeks while Samsung investigates the causes of the Note 7’s overheating issues, though it’s not clear how much of an effect this delay would have on the announcement and release of the phone.

TechRadar’s take: The Galaxy S7 Edge was announced the day before MWC, so it’s a date that makes a lot of sense. Though don’t expect to be able to buy it for at least a couple of weeks after that.

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 already emerging for that phone and beyond that we can take some guesses at what we might see in the S8 Edge, all of which you’ll find below, split into sections.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 5.5-inch curved screen
  • A 4K resolution
  • A built-in fingerprint scanner

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.

Another possible change is having the fingerprint scanner built into the screen, as has been rumored on Weibo. This would allow Samsung to remove the home button, potentially shrinking the overall handset size or growing the screen without increasing the dimensions.

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 it’s possible.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge design

Hottest leaks:

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

So far there’s no news on what design Samsung might choose for the Galaxy S8 Edge, other than a claim from Samsung’s vice chairman that the standard S8 will have a “slick” design.

If we had to guess we’d say the company won’t stray too far from its current flagship design, as the S7 Edge is already one of the best looking phones around.

But equally it will want the new phone to stand out, so expect some changes, perhaps more curves or a slimmer shell.

TechRadar’s take: A similar but refined design seems likely, and we’d expect the phone will be water and dust resistant, just like its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens camera
  • Could be up to 30MP
  • A massive 4200mAh 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, and currently looks like the most likely option.

Another currently rumored possibility is that the S8 Edge 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. Of course these two possibilities aren’t mutually exclusive, the S8 Edge could use this sensor with a dual-lens setup.

However, there’s also been talk of 12MP and 13MP lenses on the back, 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.

The only battery rumor so far is possibly talking about the standard Galaxy S8 rather than the S8 Edge, but it’s claimed that the phone will have a 4200mAh juice pack, up from a 3600mAh one on the S7 Edge. If true, this should be one long lasting phone.

TechRadar’s take: A dual-lens camera and big battery are both likely, but it’s too early to predict exact specs.

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 Edge. 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 830, which is thought to run at 3.2GHz), 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.

TechRadar’s take: Expect to get the Snapdragon 830 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
  • An iris scanner
  • A mini projector

An iris scanner is 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 likely.

Smart Glow

We could also see the Galaxy S8 Edge 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.

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.

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 an AI assistant and iris scanner are both likely.

So far we don’t know a whole lot about the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, but we know what we want to see. From a competitive price tag to powerful speakers and more, here’s our wishlist for Samsung’s upcoming curvy flagship.

1. A lower price

As amazing as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is it’s also amazingly expensive, retailing for around £640 (US$750, AU$1,249). That makes it one of the most expensive phones on the planet, outside the extravagance of the Vertu range.

It’s understandable that it costs so much. After all it’s big, powerful, feature packed and has a premium design. But given that you could get a reasonably powerful PC or a high-end TV for the same money it can seem a bit much. It’s always going to be a premium range, but hopefully for the Galaxy S8 Edge Samsung can rein in the price just a little.

2. A better fingerprint scanner

S7 Edge

Samsung has vastly improved its fingerprint scanners since the Galaxy S5, but they’re still not perfect. With the Galaxy S7 Edge it’s not uncommon for the scanner to fail on your first attempt and it’s also limited in what it can do.

Yes, you can use it to secure your phone, but it would be nice if the Samsung Galaxy S8 let you lock individual apps too.

3. Game Launcher improvements

Samsung introduced its Game Launcher with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s a handy tool which groups all your games together in a special folder and gives you extra options like allowing you to mute notifications while playing, lock the recent and back buttons and record footage.

But it needs a bit of polishing. For one thing the Game Tools icon which gives you access to these options is permanently displayed on the screen. So while you can use it to prevent accidental presses of the back button, you could end up accidentally pressing the Game Tools button just as often.

It’s also missing some features. For example, while you can record footage you can’t live stream it, which is a big thing in the world of eSports. So it’s good, but it could be better.

4. More storage space

S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a respectable 32GB of built in storage. But while that’s a reasonable amount it can easily be filled up if you stick your music collection or a handful of big games on the phone.

There’s always a microSD card slot for more breathing room, but that requires both buying a card and relying on the typically slower speeds offered by them. So hopefully the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will have beefier built in storage, at least for those who want it.

5. Better battery life

The Galaxy S7 Edge actually has pretty good battery life and it’s a definite upgrade on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but it’s still far from the best around. If you’re buying a phone like this you’re likely to use it heavily, so the longer it can last the better.

With that in mind we hope the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will offer a true two days of life at an absolute minimum. If it can stretch even further than that then all the better.

6. An improved always-on display

S7 Edge

Speaking of battery life, one of the big features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is its always-on display. Yet while it can potentially save battery by not firing up the CPU every time you want to check the time, it uses around 0.8% of the phone’s juice per hour in itself.

So we’d like to see it get more efficient for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge. While we’re on we’d also like it to be a bit more useful, as currently it doesn’t support notifications for all apps.

7. Powerful speakers

Galaxy S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has hi-res audio support, along with the ability to upscale lower res tracks and even tune the sounds based on your own hearing. But the one piece of the audio puzzle its missing are great built-in speakers.

Which isn’t to say they’re bad, as it can pump out a reasonable amount of sound. But the single speaker grille on the bottom of the phone can’t match the likes of the HTC One M9 for quality and the positioning means it’s also too easily obscured when holding the phone.

So hopefully the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will have more speakers with more power and a better, ideally front-firing position.

8. A refined design

Galaxy S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best looking phones we’ve ever had the pleasure of using, but it’s not perfect.

For one thing the glass on the back is a fingerprint magnet, which can quickly make your shiny phone look dirty. We’d also like it if the glass felt more premium and less like plastic and if the camera didn’t protrude, though only if it can still be protected.

Samsung is sure to further refine the design for the Galaxy S8 Edge, so hopefully we’ll see some of these changes.

9. Full waterproofing

Galaxy S7 Edge

One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is its water resistance. It gives you peace of mind that you can use it in the rain or the bath and that if a drink gets spilled on it the phone will still work afterwards.

That’s all great, but with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge we’d like it to go a step further and offer true waterproofing. The S7 Edge already has a brilliant camera and being able to take it scuba diving to snap photos under the sea would be great. It’s a feature that might not get used much, but one which would further set it apart from the crowd.

10. A better front-facing camera

Speaking of the camera, while the rear snapper on the Galaxy S7 Edge is enormously impressive, the front-facing one is rather more average. It’s just 5MP and doesn’t have an LED flash (though the screen can be lit up as one).

Samsung definitely chose the right camera to focus on, but it would be nice to see the front-facing one catch up, especially as even mid-rangers offer similar specs.

  • Take a look at the rumors for the LG G6 too

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