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What You Need to Know About the New Samsung Galaxy S8

by Alyssa Newcomb /

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Let the teardowns begin.

Samsung's Galaxy S8 and its slightly bigger sibling, the Galaxy S8+, are officially hitting stores on Friday, marking the company's first major release since the fire-starting Galaxy Note 7 debacle.

Samsung has been apologetic and transparent about what went wrong, letting customers know that all new batteries will pass a rigorous new eight-point battery check.

Werner Goertz, a research director at Gartner, told NBC News he expects some online teardown expert will take apart the new phones "to show that mechanical design changes were made to better accommodate the naturally occurring swelling process of lithium ion cells during charge."

 The Samsung Galaxy S8 at the launch of the Samsung Unpacked event in New York on March 29, 2017. Andrew Gombert / EPA, file

Related: Samsung Back With New Galaxy S8 After Exploding Battery Fiasco

So, are the new phones, which start at around $750 if you're not on a monthly payment plan, worth the price?

Well, for starters, they're missing one of the star features Samsung teased at the product's official launch — the voice-activated smart assistant, Bixby.

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With Bixby, customers will be able to access features such as vision, which lets your virtual buddy tell you about that landmark or item you're looking at; and home, which will give you smart reminders and other relevant information.

A Samsung representative told NBC News that voice support for the English language should be rolled out "later this spring."

With that snafu aside, the phones pack major screen real estate while taking up a smaller form factor than one would expect, thanks to a unified front and black bezel.

The new phones, coming in 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch models, include an iris scanner, letting you open your phone with just a quick glance. The iris scanner was one of the critically acclaimed features that debuted with the now deceased Note 7.

The home button is also gone and is instead replaced by pressure sensitivity at the bottom of the phone. The entire device is also 1.5mm slimmer than its predecessor — yet still manages to pack in half a million more pixels.

Mobile is Samsung's largest division, and the Note 7 fiasco hurt. Samsung reported a 30 percent decrease in operating profit for this segment during the July-September quarter, compared to the same period in 2015.

Despite the setback, many analysts agree that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ should be a hit for Samsung, which enjoys a tremendously loyal user base.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told NBC News he expects the new devices "will do better than any phone they have ever introduced.”
"This is a great phone. Not perfect, but a great phone,” he said.

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