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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ poised to retake the mantle

Mint — Abhijit Ahaskar Mint, New Delhi

April 19--Samsung is back, and anyone looking for the next benchmark Android smartphone won't have to wait much longer to get their hands on the new flagship Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones. The two smartphones will be available in India from 5 May at Rs57,900 and Rs64,900, respectively. Samsung is banking on the two devices to breathe new life into the flagship segment which saw a decline after the Galaxy Note 7 debacle last year.

Here are some of the key features to watch out for in the new Galaxy S8 and S8+.

Infinity display

What gives the two phones an unusually sleek look is the new Infinity display. It's a term used by Samsung to emphasise the fact that there are no vertical bezels around the display. So the display not just touches the edges of the front panel but also extends to the side panel, similar to the display on the S6 Edge and S7 Edge smartphones. It is one of the reasons why there are no Edge series phones this time. This curved display has allowed Samsung to keep the weight and width of the S8 and S8+ lower than any of the big-screen smartphones by rivals. The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display, while the S8+ offers a 6.2-inch display with a resolution of 2,960x1,440p on both.

Bixby personal assistant

The S8 and S8+ will be the first crop of Samsung smartphones to carry the new Bixby assistant. It is an AI-powered personal assistant like the Google Assistant and can be controlled through touch and voice commands. However, it is believed to offer greater control over the phones' settings and apps than Google Assistant. So if a user wants to reduce the brightness of the screen, switch on Bluetooth, or set a reminder on the phone, he can ask Bixby instead of doing it manually. Bixby will also work with a number of other native Samsung apps such as Camera, Gallery, Contacts and Messages. Users can activate Bixby by simply pressing the hardware button on the phone.

Samsung Knox

These are two of the few smartphones in the Android ecosystem which offer both software- and hardware-level encryption. Samsung has used a multi-layered technology called Knox which leverages a modern-day processor architecture called ARM Trust Zone. It has three different components--TIMA KeyStore, Real time kernel protection and Attestation. It works by checking for any potential changes to the software code and blocks them. It also encrypts sensitive data and keeps it away from casual files in a more secure zone.

Face scanning to unlock the phone

Face scanning as a security tool has been available on PCs, but is still a rarity when it comes to smartphones. The Face scanning on the S8 and S8+ add another layer of security to the two flagship smartphones. It allows users to unlock their smartphone by simply looking at the front camera from a close enough distance for it to match the face with the one configured on the smartphone. Users can also unlock the two phones with iris scan or the back-facing fingerprint sensor.

Bluetooth 5.0

One of the highlights of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is the new Bluetooth 5.0 standard which is two times faster and has four times better wireless range than Bluetooth 4.2. This means you don't have to hang closer to the device paired to the smartphone. It is also believed to be more power efficient so your phone' battery won't drain faster when Bluetooth is switched on. However, it doesn't support high-quality wireless audio yet.

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