Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S7: What's the difference?

Samsung's latest debut is a Galaxy you'll definitely want to explore

Last year's Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge impressed us mightily, but despite the full number bump, both were half-step revisions – like Apple's own alternate-year updates.

That's definitely not the case with the Galaxy S8. Just revealed today, the Galaxy S8 retains some of the familiar form of the last couple flagships, but ushers in a dazzling new, screen-heavy design that manages to shed some bulk in the process.

In every way, the Galaxy S8 seems to improve upon the previous model, but not every enhancement necessarily warrants an upgrade. Thinking about swapping your 2016 handset? Curious how the Galaxy S8 compares to the Galaxy S7? Let's break it down.

Design: Stunning stuff

We should get this out of the way now: there's no flat-screen version of the Galaxy S8. Curved is the new standard for Samsung, it appears, and the regular 'ol Galaxy S8 is curved on the right and left sides of the screen. Likewise, the larger Galaxy S8 Plus is identically curved.

From the back and sides, the Galaxy S8 doesn't seem dramatically different from the Galaxy S7 Edge, (save for small differences), but that changes quite a bit with the front view.

It's very minimally adorned: no physical home button and no huge Samsung logo up top. Just screen: a beautiful, extra-tall screen with rounded corners and a seamless design that seems to blend into the very small top and bottom bezel. It's beautiful.

There's still a home button: it's pressure sensitive and built into the screen. You'll see a software button on the display, even when the device is on standby. And now the fingerprint sensor hangs out on the back, right by the main camera. And yes, the Galaxy S8 still has a headphone jack.

Screen: Bigger and better

The Galaxy S7 already had the top smartphone screen on the market, and believe it or not, the Galaxy S8 seems to best it in a few key ways.

Again, Samsung's using a Quad HD resolution AMOLED panel, but now it has a taller 18.5:9 aspect ratio, as opposed to the usual 16:9 approach (when held sideways). It's the same sort of thing the LG G6 is doing, as it gives you more screen space without adding width. In fact, the Galaxy S8 sheds a few millimeters compared to the also-curved 5.5in Galaxy S7 Edge, and is also narrower than the 5.1in standard Galaxy S7.

The Galaxy S8's screen is a 5.8in panel, while the Galaxy S8 Plus bumps up to a larger 6.2in display. Both should be just as vivid and striking as last year's model, but surely more so: that's thanks to the addition of mobile HDR support, meaning compatible video and games will show more extreme variance between light and dark. Netflix and other apps will be updated to allow for mobile playback of HDR content, and it ought to really pop on that screen.

And like with the LG G6, we're really taken with the rounded edges on the top and bottom of the screen, which pair well with the curved screen and minimal bezel.

Camera: Modest tweaks

Going hands-on at an indoor event isn't exactly the best time to try out the full range of camera upgrades, so we can't share a lot from experience just yet (soon, though). However, we can give a bit of insight on what to expect.

As with last year's phone, the Galaxy S8 packs a 12-megapixel back camera with a f/1.7 aperture, which means we should see sterling snaps with good lighting, and still-pretty-solid photos in lower-light scenarios.

Samsung's bigger focus here seems to be on improving the software side of the equation, with plenty of work done in an instant to give you better results. Three shots are taken with each snap for noise reduction, pixel binning, shake reduction, and sharpening, so the end result is one hopefully spectacular image.

We'll have to pit them head to head to get a better sense of how big of a different those tweaks bring to the table, but we imagine there will be some noticeable benefit over the Galaxy S7.

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