Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 is probably the most desirable Android smartphone on the market right now. Announced in late March, the latest flagship smartphone from Samsung is quite a significant upgrade over the Galaxy S7 in a number of areas. However, in a few other areas, the Galaxy S7 is still competitive and the Galaxy S8 doesn’t boast any major improvements in those areas. If you own a Galaxy S7 and are on the fence regarding ordering a new Galaxy S8, our Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7 specs comparison should help you make a decision.

We have pitted the Galaxy S8 against some of its rivals in our recent comparisons, but today will be a little different. Quite obviously, the Galaxy S8 is definitely a better smartphone than the Galaxy S7. Our comparison today will focus on the differences between the two smartphones and give you an idea of the various improvements that Samsung has made with the Galaxy S8, and whether or not those improvements are enough to convince a Galaxy S7 owner to upgrade to a new Galaxy S8.

For the Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7 specs comparison, we will be using the same format as our previous versus battles. The two handsets will be put to head-to-head against each other in ten different categories. In the end, the smartphone that manages to reign supreme in the most number of categories will be declared the winner. While we do expect the Galaxy S8 to come out as the victor in most categories, the margin of the victory is what we will need to look at. Let’s get stated.

Dimensions

Until a few years back, most consumers would probably pay no attention whatsoever to the dimensions of a phone. However, in the recent past, manufacturers have started to experiment with designs and have tried to make phones more compact than earlier.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is 148.9mm tall, 68.1mm wide, and 8mm thin. Its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, measures 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S8 weighs in at 155 grams while the Galaxy S7 weighs 152 grams.

The numbers above would have you believe that the Galaxy S7 is a clear winner here. However, you should keep in mind that the Galaxy S7 has a 0.7” smaller display than the Galaxy S8. Despite sporting a much bigger display, the Galaxy S8 is only slightly taller but less wide than the Galaxy S7. This has been made possible due to the maximized display area on the front. In fact, the Galaxy S8 is one of the smallest smartphones with a 5.8-inch display. That makes it the clear winner of the dimensions round.

Display

In addition to display size and resolution, manufacturers have also been working hard on improving the quality of the panels used in flagship smartphones. Samsung has in fact been the clear leader in the display department, continually improving its Super AMOLED displays over the years.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 features a 5.8-inch dual-curved Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2960 QHD+ resolution, resulting in a high pixel density of 570 pixels per inch. Protecting the display is the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5. While the display size has gone up significantly compared to the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 isn’t much bigger than its predecessor, thanks to the bezels getting much slimmer. Thanks to the dual-curved panel, there are no bezels on the sides. The top and bottom bezels too are near non-existent, as Samsung has done away with the physical home button on the front. With very tiny bezels on the top and bottom, almost the entire front is dominated by the “Infinity Display”. The Galaxy S8 display comes with HDR support as well, with Mobile UHD Premium certification. Unlike the LG G6 however, the Galaxy S8 only supports the HDR10 standard. You will be able to enjoy HDR content on the Galaxy S8 display from streaming services such as Amazon Prime. Always-on Display, a feature that Samsung debuted last year with the Galaxy S7 duo, has been retained as well. The feature basically lets you glance at the clock, missed notifications, and remaining battery percentage without having to turn the entire screen on. But of course, the feature does drain battery life, so it is probably not a great idea to leave it enabled when you don’t actually need it. Moving on, the panel used in the Galaxy S8 is a significant upgrade over the previous generation panels in terms of brightness. Samsung has managed to get the brightness hit the 1,000 nit mark according to DisplayMate testing, making it the brightest AMOLED panel yet. Sunlight legibility is also slightly improved, which makes it much better than other smartphones with an LCD panel when used outdoors on a bright sunny day. As far as colors go, the Galaxy S8 display covers nearly 113% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, higher than any 4K television on the market currently. The combination of the high peak brightness and wide color gamut coverage will allow the Galaxy S8 to deliver a fantastic HDR viewing experience, on par or better than most new 4K televisions. Like previous Galaxy flagships, Samsung does give you a choice of different display modes under Display Settings.

Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution, which gives it a pixel density of 577 pixels per inch. On top of the display is a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which helps protect it against scratches and other forms of damage. While the Galaxy S7 display isn’t as bright as the Galaxy S8 display, it still offers an impressive peak brightness of around 700 nits and boasts impressive sunlight legibility. AMOLED displays have always been impressive when it comes to outdoor legibility, so the Galaxy S7 display is definitely great for those of you who live in regions that get plenty of sun throughout the year. In terms of colors, the Galaxy S7 display offers remarkable accuracy, although by default it doesn’t display very accurate colors. To change that, you will need to make your way to the Display Settings and change the Display Mode to “Basic”. There are three other modes to choose from – AMOLED Photo, AMOLED Cinema, and the default Adaptive Display. As we mentioned above, the Galaxy S7 was Samsung’s first flagship smartphone to come with the Always-on display feature. However, using the feature does result in battery drain, so we don’t recommend using it unless you find it truly useful.

Overall, the Galaxy S8 display is definitely a big improvement when compared to the Galaxy S7. Not only has the resolution and screen size gone up, Samsung has made many improvements to the key panel characteristics as well. All the changes in fact make the Galaxy S8 display arguably the finest on a smartphone yet. So if you are someone who does care a lot about display quality, then the Galaxy S8 is definitely worth the upgrade. For the average consumer however, the difference may not be very noticeable. Still, the Galaxy S8 wins this round comfortably.

Processor

Now let’s talk about the processor under the hood. While Samsung smartphones may not offer the smoothest possible Android experience, their flagship smartphones are always equipped with best-in-class SoCs.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core SoC under the hood in the US market, while the international variant of the smartphone runs on the Exynos 9 8895 octa-core SoC, developed in-house by Samsung. Both the chipsets are manufactured by Samsung on a 10nm process node, so they are both more efficient than flagship mobile SoCs from last year. Let us talk about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 first. It is an octa-core SoC with custom Kryo 280 cores, which are an improvement over last year’s Kryo cores used in the Snapdragon 820 and 821 SoCs. The four high-performance cores are clocked at 2.35 GHz while the efficiency-oriented cores are clocked at 1.9 GHz. The Adreno 540 GPU handles the graphics, boasting significant improvement in performance when compared to last year’s flagship Adreno 530 GPU. In other markets, the Samsung Galaxy S8 runs on Samsung’s in-house developed Exynos 9 8895 octa-core SoC with four custom M2 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores for efficiency. In terms of graphics, the chipset integrates the powerful ARM Mali-G71MP20 GPU, delivering impressive performance in graphics benchmarks. Speaking of benchmarks, the Galaxy S8 performs significantly better than last year’s flagship smartphones in all benchmarks, although the difference isn’t quite as large as some you would hope. Graphics performance is definitely improved though, thanks to the new more powerful GPUs.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 too is powered by two different SoCs, depending on the market. In North American, the Galaxy S7 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core SoC while the international variants are powered by Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 8890 chipset. Both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 as well as the Exynos 8890 chipset are manufactured by Samsung on a 14nm Low Power Plus node. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 is a quad-core 64-bit SoC featuring the company’s custom Kryo cores. The two high-performance Kryo cores are clocked at 2.15 GHz, while the two efficiency-oriented Kryo cores are clocked at a more conservative 1.6 GHz. Handling the graphics is the Adreno 530 GPU, which still remains a powerful GPU even in 2017. The Exynos 8890 is an octa-core SoC with four custom M1 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores. The quad-core M1 cluster is clocked at 2.3 GHz, while the efficiency-oriented ARM Cortex-A53 cores are clocked at 1.6 GHz. The SoC integrates the ARM Mali-T880MP12 GPU clocked at 650 MHz. In terms of graphics benchmarks, the GPU inside the Exynos 8890 is slightly less impressive than the Adreno 530, although the difference isn’t very significant at all. Both the chipsets are very capable and deliver a smooth experience.

While the two chips powering the Galaxy S8 are not a huge upgrade over the chips powering the Galaxy S7 in terms of performance, they do bring relatively impressive performance as well as efficiency gains. Needless to say, the processor round sees the Galaxy S8 pull off a strong win over its predecessor.

Battery Life

Battery Life is something that most buyers do care about. While modern smartphones offer the convenience of fast charging, there is still no replacement for battery capacity. And unfortunately, this is one area where the new Galaxy S8 proves to be a bit of a disappointment.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 features a 3000mAh capacity battery, identical in size to the Galaxy S7. The main reason why we think Samsung did not equip the Galaxy S8 with a larger battery is the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. In its investigation, Samsung had found that one of the reasons why the Galaxy Note 7 batteries exploded was the little gap left for the battery unit for normal expansion. This is probably why Samsung decided that it shouldn’t take any risk with the Galaxy S8 and instead concentrate on getting the maximum out of a smaller capacity battery. On the downside however, the Galaxy S8 features a significantly larger 5.8-inch display, which quite obviously draws more power than the 5.1-inch panel used in the Galaxy S7, despite a nominal increase in efficiency. However, battery life tests have revealed that the Galaxy S8 actually performs slightly better than its predecessor in terms of battery life, mainly due to the more efficient hardware components inside.

The Samsung Galaxy S7, as we have mentioned above, features the same 3000mAh capacity battery. In terms of battery stamina, the Galaxy S7 is a relatively decent performer, thanks to the great software optimization by Samsung. Both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 come with fast charging support, using Samsung’s Adaptive Charging technology. In addition to fast wired charging, the two smartphones are also fast wireless charging capable, over the WPC and PMA standards. That means you can enjoy the convenience of both wireless charging as well as fast charging at the same time. This combination is not offered by other Android OEMs, so if you love the idea of wireless charging, then both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 are going to impress you.

Overall, the Galaxy S8 is only slightly better than its predecessor in the battery life department. So while it does win this round, the Galaxy S7 isn’t far behind. And if you are a power user, both the handsets are going to disappoint you.

Camera

Camera is one area where most manufacturers put maximum emphasis on when developing new flagship devices. Samsung however, hasn’t made any significant hardware changes this year, so the Galaxy S8 retains a similar 12MP rear-facing camera with Dual Pixel autofocus technology. While the resolution of the sensor remains unchanged from the Galaxy S7, the sensor itself is all-new. Like previous Galaxy flagships, Samsung is sourcing the sensor from two vendors – Sony and Samsung’s own System LSI division. Some units feature the Sony IMX333 sensor, while others feature the Samsung S5K2L1 ISOCELL sensor. Both sensors are very slightly larger than the sensors used in the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, although with the same 1.4 micron pixel size. The lens remains similar as well, with an f/1.7 aperture. The bright aperture helps the sensor receive more light, boosting performance in low-light. The sensor includes optical image stabilization as well, which also helps with the low-light performance as well as shooting steady videos. Another similarity is the single-LED flash at the back. While the single-LED flash used by Samsung is no doubt very powerful, we do wish the company switches to a dual-tone LED flash in the near future. Moving on to the software, the camera app offers manual controls for advanced users, which means you can tweak settings such as the ISO, Shutter Speed, White Balance, Exposure, and more. The ability to capture in RAW format is supported as well. And for moments where you have very little time to capture a shot, you can make use of the Quick Launch feature. By pressing the power button twice in quick succession, you will be able to launch the camera app and take a shot in mere seconds. You also get all the usual features such as Panorama shots, burst mode, tap to focus, and 4K video recording. On the front of the Galaxy S8 is an upgraded 8MP resolution selfie snapper with an f/1.7 aperture lens and autofocus tech. In terms of video, the selfie snapper captures videos at up 1440p resolution. If you wish to take selfies in low-light, you do get the option of using the screen as a flash.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 12MP resolution camera at the back, featuring the Dual Pixel autofocus tech. Samsung uses two sensors for the Galaxy S7, some units using a Sony sensor while others using a sensor developed in-house by Samsung’s System LSI division. Both the sensors are of the 1/2.5” type and boast 1.4 micron pixel size. To help with low-light performance, the sensor is paired with an f/1.7 aperture lens. The rear camera comes with Smart Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which not only aids in shooting steadier videos but also improves low-light performance. You get a single LED flash at the back and support for video recording at up to 4K resolution. Other key features offered by the primary camera include Quick Launch, Auto HDR, Motion Photo, Motion Panorama, Hyperlapse, face detection, and more. Manual controls are available as well, along with RAW format support. The front-facing camera on the Galaxy S7 is a 5MP fixed-focus unit that has been paired with an f/1.7 aperture lens. It can capture videos at up to 1440p resolution and offers various Beauty modes as well.

Overall, the camera hardware at the back is almost identical on both smartphones. However, Samsung has made some changes to the image processing on the Galaxy S8, which allows it to perform slightly better than its predecessor. The front-facing camera is a serious improvement though, so if you are someone who takes a lot of selfies every day, then the Galaxy S8 will definitely please you. Still, the difference here isn’t very significant, so the Galaxy S8 is definitely not a convincing upgrade in the camera department. But, since it does deliver slightly better camera performance, it wins this round as well.

Connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band VHT80 MU-MIMO (1 Gbps ready), 1024QAM, Wi-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, USB Type-C, NFC, MST, ANT+, and LTE Cat.16 (maximum download speeds of up to 1Gbps). Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand is equipped with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, ANT+, Micro USB 2.0 port, and LTE Cat.9 (maximum download speeds of up to 450 Mbps). Both smartphones include a fingerprint scanner, but the positioning is different on the Galaxy S8. While the Galaxy S7 fingerprint scanner is embedded inside the physical home button on the front, it is positioned next to the rear camera lens at the back on the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8 also offers facial recognition and an iris scanner for biometric authentication.

Quite clearly, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a huge upgrade over the Galaxy S7 in terms of connectivity features. In fact, the Galaxy S8 is superior to pretty much any other smartphone on the market currently in the connectivity department. A clear win for the Galaxy S8 here.

Memory

When it comes to memory, the new Galaxy S8 isn’t a particularly big upgrade over its predecessor. Samsung is not offering any choice this year in terms of onboard storage. In all markets, the Galaxy S8 ships with 64GB of internal storage. Initially, Samsung actively advertised the fact that the Galaxy S8 uses newer UFS 2.1 storage, but the company has now removed all mentions of UFS 2.1 memory from the Galaxy S8 pages on its website. This could possibly mean that not all Galaxy S8 units come equipped with UFS 2.1 storage. UFS 2.1 offers slight advantages over UFS 2.0 storage used in previous Galaxy flagship handsets, such as improved transfer speeds and greater efficiency. The memory is expandable, thanks to a dedicated microSD card slot in the single SIM versions and a Hybrid Dual SIM slot in the Dual SIM versions. For multitasking, the Galaxy S8 comes with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which isn’t all that impressive when compared to a few other flagship handsets that include 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM. Samsung’s own Galaxy C9 Pro too features 6GB of RAM.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with storage options in most markets – 32GB and 64GB. In other markets, Samsung only sells the Galaxy S7 with 32GB of internal memory. Thankfully, the Galaxy S7 does offer memory expansion, so you will be able to expand the storage easily by up to 256GB. And once they are available, you can even use a 2TB microSD card. Similar to the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S7 uses fast UFS 2.0 storage, which provides impressive transfer speeds for swift system performance. As for the RAM, Galaxy S7 features 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which delivers a decent multitasking experience.

While both the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S8 are equipped with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, they aren’t the best devices out there for a great multitasking experience. Samsung has made improvements to its memory management, but it still isn’t ideal, affecting overall multitasking performance. On the whole, the Galaxy S8 is only a slight upgrade over the Galaxy S7 in the memory department. Another ‘small’ win for the Galaxy S8.

Design

While the Galaxy S7 was only a minor refresh over the Galaxy S6 in the design department, the Galaxy S8 is quite a major step-up in design over its predecessor. The front of the handset is almost entirely dominated by the Infinity Display, with very slim bezels on the top as well as the bottom. As a result, the Galaxy S8 boasts a screen-to-body ratio of over 83%. There are no physical buttons on the front, so the fingerprint scanner is moved to the back of the handset, next to the rear camera lens. For navigation, Samsung has switched to virtual on-screen keys, something that a few other Android OEMs have been using for a few years now. Coming to the build, the Galaxy S8 uses an aluminum frame in the middle and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front as well as the back. Just like the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 features an IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, so you can even take it along with you to the pool without worrying about anything. Color options include Orchid Gray, Midnight Black, Arctic Silver, Maple Gold, and Coral Blue.

Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand is very similar to the Galaxy S6, with only a few minor changes differentiating the two. The frame in the middle is made out of Series 7000 aluminum, while the front and back feature Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Perhaps the most significant difference between the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S6 is that the rear camera lens doesn’t protrude out as much on the Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S7 happens to be slightly thicker as well, mainly due to it being equipped with a larger battery than the Galaxy S6. The smartphone comes with IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, protecting it against liquid damage. In case you aren’t aware, an IP68 certification means a smartphone can survive without damage when submerged in fresh water up to 1.5 meters deep for a period of 30 minutes. The Galaxy S7 comes in Black Onyx, Pink Gold, and Gold Platinum color options in the US.

While both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 offer a premium build quality, the design of the Galaxy S8 id undoubtedly more attractive and looks quite unlike any other smartphone that Samsung has produced so far. That makes the Galaxy S8 more desirable of the two in terms of visual appeal. A clear win here for the Galaxy S8.

Operating System

The Samsung Galaxy S8 sadly runs on Android 7.0 Nougat operating system currently, which isn’t the absolute latest version available. Most other 2017 flagships run on Android 7.1 Nougat, while a few mid-range handset have also been updated to Android 7.1 in the recent past. On top of Android 7.0, Samsung is using the latest version of its Grace UX, with less bloatware than previous Galaxy handsets. The company’s efforts to make its custom UI layer lighter has resulted in a smoother software experience, with no lags whatsoever. Perhaps the most exciting addition is Bixby, Samsung’s newest virtual voice assistant. Unfortunately, Bixby Voice is currently not available in most markets, while in the US it is expected to be enabled in the near future. If you do not live in the US, you will need to wait until Q4 2017 to be able to utilize the Bixby Voice functionality. All the other components of Bixby do work though.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 in most regions has now been updated to Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. With the new update, Samsung has added a number of new design tweaks as well as features to its Grace UX. While it may not be as light as the version used in the Galaxy S8, the skin used in the Galaxy S7 is much lighter than earlier, so it doesn’t suffer from any performance issues whatsoever. You do get the entire suite of Samsung-specific features such as Smart Manager, S Voice, Quick Connect, S Health, Download Booster, and more.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is superior here, which is to be expected from a newer flagship device.

Price

Samsung Galaxy S8 is currently available in the US from all major carriers as well as leading retailers. Most carriers and retailers are selling the flagship smartphone for a full retail price of around $750. On a 24-month contract, you will need to shell out close to $30 every month. AT&T on the other hand is selling the Samsung Galaxy S8 for a monthly fee of $25 on a 30-month installment plan.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 can currently be purchased for a full retail price ranging from $549 to $679 from the major carriers in the US, although retailers are selling it for significantly less. On a 24-month installment plan, the Galaxy S7 can be yours for a monthly payment of around $20 from Verizon and Sprint. AT&T on the other hand is selling the Galaxy S7 for roughly the same $20 every month for 30 months.

Being the older device, the Galaxy S7 certainly has the edge when it comes to price. If you don’t mind purchasing from a retailer, you should be able to grab a new Galaxy S7 for as low as $450, which is a significantly lower price than what you would end up paying for a new Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S7 wins this round.

Conclusion

As we expected, the Samsung Galaxy S8 managed to emerge as the clear winner in our versus comparison today, winning 9 out of 10 categories. However, in many categories, the Galaxy S8 did not prove to be a huge upgrade over the Galaxy S7. So if you aren’t too keen on spending upwards of $700 on a new smartphone, the Galaxy S7 is still a great choice. It offers a fantastic display, decent battery life, almost the same camera performance as the Galaxy S8, and a premium build quality.

On the other hand, if you are someone who upgrades to a new phone every now and then, the Galaxy S8 is definitely a great choice. The ‘Infinity Display’ is quite unlike anything else on the market right now and the software package on offer is vastly improved when compared to previous generations. What remains a bit of a concern is software support. While Samsung does support its flagship handsets for at least 2 years, updates are usually rolled out quite late.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S8? Do you think it is a worthy upgrade over the Galaxy S7? Leave a comment down below and let us know.

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