If you’re into Android, a Samsung phone is probably on your list. Here’s what to consider.
Since the debut of the Galaxy S2, Samsung has ranked as one of the top selling manufacturers of Android smartphones. Over the years, the South Korean company has managed to positively iterate on its flagship offerings by offering new features and a better interface with every new model.
This year, it’s the Galaxy S8 that takes the spotlight as the defacto Samsung device, but it’s not the only Galaxy offering you can choose from. Here’s a guide on the differences between the varying high-end Samsung devices you should consider adopting as your daily driver.
This article is updated periodically. It was last updated May 2017.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Released April 2017 The Galaxy S8 is just another prime example of why Samsung remains one of the top performers in Android land. This year’s marquee device release features one of the best smartphones displays with a vibrant color palette and 4K video content rendering capabilities. It’s equipped with a stellar 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with manual shooting abilities, as well as a 3000 mAh battery that will last you through the day. Samsung also continues to bundle in the “extras” you won’t always find on other devices, like a water resistant chassis and a microSD expansion slot.
You might notice the Galaxy S8 has a bit of an edge to its predecessors. This year’s refreshed model features what Samsung dubs as an Infinity Display — it refers to the fact that there is little bezel on either side of the display. The result is a larger, 5.8-inch narrow screen that’s bigger than what you’d typically get for a phone this size. And quite frankly, it gives the Galaxy S8 a bit of an edge in the design department, too.
The Galaxy S8 is also a prime example of how Samsung experiments. You may have heard of Bixby, the built-in device assistant that comes bundled with the Galaxy S8. Samsung is still working out the kinks with it, and at present its voice functionality is severely limited. But you will still have access to its other abilities, like Hello Bixby and Bixby Vision. Perhaps the Galaxy S8’s only major downside is that there’s an third hardware button for an ability that’s only half-baked — at least you can sort of remap that button if you like.
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Released April 2017 Need something bigger? The Galaxy S8+ has all the same innards as its smaller counterpart, but it builds on that foundation with a larger 6.2-inch display and 3500mAh battery to accompany it. It also comes packed with all the same goodies, including water resistance, an expansion slot, USB Type-C fast charging, wireless charging, and the ability to pay with either Samsung Pay or Android Pay.
Mind you, the Galaxy S8+ is slightly bigger than Google’s Pixel XL, but its narrower body makes it easier to wield, and you’re getting significantly more screen space despite the increase in chassis size.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Released March 2016 The Galaxy S7 may now be considered to some as old news, but you’ll save some money picking this one over its latest successor. It’s considerably smaller when you compare it to the Galaxy S8, however, not to mention it sports a smaller 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display. But it has a whole host of other wonders, like water resistance, Samsung Pay, an expansion slot, and what we’d still consider a very capable 12-megapixel rear-facing camera.
If something small and pocketable is simply more to your liking, and you don’t mind waiting longer for software updates, the Galaxy S7 remains a pretty good deal. Bear in mind, however, you will have to carry along a separate Micro-USB cable, since this particular device missed the bandwagon on USB Type-C.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Released March 2016 Like its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S7 edge is still an exceptionally good deal. It offers a bigger 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display, in addition to a 3600mAh battery to power it up. It also offers a little more edge to the Galaxy S7, namely in the sense that it offers the infamous Edge display, which also servers as an app dock and nighttime clock.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Released August 2016, cancelled October 2016 The Galaxy Note 7 was indeed taken from us too soon after its initial release, but for good reason. The batteries in this smartphone model were the cause of several random fires and explosions. After an initial recall, and the release of so-called safe replacement phones, devices continued to catch fire. As of October 2016, Samsung has stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7 and ceased production. However, there are a batch of refurbished Galaxy Note 7 units that will be made available in other markets.