Update: A massive screen, no home button, a versatile AI and a powered up selfie snapper could all be in the works for the Galaxy S8 Edge.
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
- A February 26 announcement
- A possible two week delay
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.
Since then there’s also been talk that the phone has been delayed until April, so a delay is looking ever more likely.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s also possible that the screen could grow, with one rumor suggesting Samsung will launch 5.7 and 6.2-inch versions of the S8 – at least one of which would probably be attached to the S8 Edge, though we’re sceptical of this, as it would impinge on the Note range.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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 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
- 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
- An AI assistant
- An iris scanner
- A mini projector
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.
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.
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. 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 an AI assistant and iris scanner are both likely.