Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8: What's the difference and should you upgrade?

Alistair Charlton
Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8

After a brief interlude to clear up the exploding Note 7 fiasco, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has arrived. Revealed by Samsung on 28 March, the new flagship handset features a new, much larger screen, an almost bezel-free body and a display which curves over both sides.

Before we let the Galaxy S8 square up against the Google Pixel and iPhone 7, we thought we should see how it compares against its own bloodline. Last year's Galaxy S7 was a truly brilliant phone and, along with its curvy sibling the S7 Edge, was our favourite phone of the year.

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Is the Galaxy S8 worthy of you upgrading your contact? Read on to find out. First off, here are the specs of each handset to give you an idea of how they stack up.

Galaxy S7 Galaxy S8
Screen size 5.1in 5.8in
Resolution 2560 x 1440 2960 x 1440
Pixel density 577 per inch 570 per inch
Rear camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front camera 5-megapixel 5-megapixel
Storage 32/64GB 64GB
RAM 4GB 4GB
Footprint 142.4 x 69.6mm 148.9 x 68.1mm
Thickness 7.9mm 8mm
Weight 152g 155g
Expandable storage? Yes, by 256GB Yes, by 256GB
Water resistant? Yes, IP68 Yes, IP68
Battery capacity 3,000mAh 3,000mAh

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8: Design

The big change for the S8 is how Samsung has almost entirely removed all four bezels. With the S7 Edge we had become accustomed to smartphones having no bezels on the left and right, but now Samsung has stretched the screen up and down to eradicate wasted space there too.

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The result is a smartphone which is 9% (6.5mm) taller than the S7 but has a display 13% (0.7in) larger. And at 68.1mm across, the new phone is 1.5mm slimmer than its predecessor.

Elongating the display means there is no longer place for the home button and its integrated fingerprint scanner. The latter has been relocated to the rear, next to the camera, while the Home button now is on the screen and provides haptic feedback when pressed, similar to the iPhone 7.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8: Display

The larger 5.8in screen also gets a resolution boost compared to the S7, up from 2560 x 1440 to 2960 x 1440. Pixel density dips slightly from 577 to 567 per inch, but without a microscope no one is going to notice this.

In photographs the S8's screen looks a bit strange, but in person the extra length makes perfect sense - especially since the phone itself is actually smaller than the S7 Edge, despite the larger display.

Also new for the S8 duo is HDR, or High Dynamic Range, which boosts brights, contrast and saturation when playing HDR-ready content, such as the Ultra HD catalogues on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8: Cameras

Samsung has largely left the S7's cameras unchanged with the S8 and S8 Plus. The rear resolution remains the same at 12-megapixels and the front is also the same, at 5MP. The biggest upgrade is with the software, which now shoots three photos when lighting is poor; the S8 then picks the best and uses the other two to enhance its contrast and sharpness. Samsung has also tweaked the front camera to snap photos more quickly and recognise faces more accurately.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S8: Software

The major additions to the S8's software are Samsung Connect and Bixby. The former is a way for the phone to control smart home appliances like Samsung's FamilyHub fridges and light bulbs like those by Philips Hue.

Meanwhile, Bixby is a voice-activated personal assistant similar to Google Assistant on other Android phones and Siri on the iPhone. But unlike those, Samsung claims Bixby is better at understanding context; so you can ask to 'make this my wallpaper' when looking at a photo in the phone's Gallery app and it will do it.

Bixby can also be used to identify buildings and other landmarks with a photo, providing information on them and nearby amenities, and help you find items to buy online by showing Bixby a photo of them.

Otherwise, both the S7 and S8 run Google's Android 7 Nougat operating system and have similar versions of Samsung's own user interface draped over the top.

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