5 signs of Samsung Galaxy S8 at MWC 2017

The Samsung Galaxy S8 wasn’t at MWC 2017, but there’s a lot we can tell about the much-hyped smartphone, even in its absence.

We tried to ask Samsung about its impending launch – no dice. All of its official statements were laser-focused on the new Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book.

Samsung didn’t leave us hanging completely. There was a Galaxy S8 teaser video at its MWC press conference that gave us some insight into the design.

Furthermore, there were telltale signs of what the Samsung Galaxy S8 will look like and how it’ll be sold based on what we saw at MWC. It’s all about context.

1. Matching LG’s 18×9 screen

If Samsung and LG had a song, it would be “Anything you can do, I can do better.” The neighboring South Korean tech giants are always introducing the “world’s first” gadgets – at the same time.

At MWC, LG introduced the G6 with a brilliant-looking 18:9 display, breaking from the traditional 16:9 widescreen format on smartphones. It provides more room for screen viewing and less needless bezel.

Samsung is rumored to match LG’s new display format with one of its own, tipped to be 18.5:9. It would be just a smidgen bigger and it’ll almost certainly use a Super AMOLED display instead of an LCD panel. The LG G6 nearly bezel-less display won’t go answered.

2. Samsung Galaxy S8 launch date confirmed

Further evidence of the Galaxy S8 design came from the official teaser video at Samsung’s press conference, where it revealed the launch date: March 29, 2017.

Samsung briefly flashed this launch date right after debuting its new tagline – Unbox your phone – inside a silhouette of what we expect the S8 to look like.

With just the top and bottom showing, it’s the closest we’ve come to officially confirming that the next Galaxy S phone will have a curved, all-screen display.

In other words, you’re unlikely to find a flat, non-curved S8 when Samsung shows off the phone at its now confirmed New York and London launch events.

3. Samsung Gear VR Controller tie-in

We got to play with the Gear VR Controller at MWC and we called it the “missing link” for Samsung’s popular virtual reality headset. A controller in the palm is way better than tapping a touchpad on the side of the Samsung Gear VR headset.

When will the Gear VR Controller launch? How much will it cost? Samsung didn’t have those details for us yet (although did confirm it would come in the box with all-new Samsung Gear VR headsets).

But these are questions we will likely see answered on March 29 at its Unpacked event.

Samsung has previously launched its VR headset at the same time as new phones. This happened with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and again when it launched the ill-fated Note 7.

You may see Samsung Galaxy S8 deals at various carrier stores that bundle the phone with the tweaked headset and new controller. Don’t worry, if you’re not ready to upgrade your phone or headset, the controller is also going to be sold separately, and it’s compatible with old Gear VR headsets.

4. Qualcomm 835 processor

Samsung Galaxy S8 is poised to launch with the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, at least in some countries, and we saw growing signs it’ll be the first smartphone with the chip.

Sure, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium was announced at MWC 2017 as the first phone with Qualcomm’s new 10nm System on a Chip (SoC).

But Sony’s release date is said to be further out: “late spring.” And the ZTE Gigabit phone with the same chip was only kind of, sort of demonstrated. That’s a huge sign that everyone is waiting on Samsung.

It’s no surprise to us. Samsung factories are making the Snapdragon 835, so it’s now pretty obvious that the Galaxy S8 is due to premiere the SoC.

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3’s HDR feature

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 was our top tablet at MWC, and it keeps on giving. It also offer us at least one important design cue for the Galaxy S8.

We’re likely to see an HDR screen from the S8 now that the more vibrant display feature has made its way to the Tab S3.

We only got a taste of mobile HDR when it briefly came to the recalled Note 7.  If the Galaxy S8 is really about being a showy all-screen phone, Samsung’s next flagship device is likely to take on the stunning HDR format.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

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