Samsung Galaxy S8

OnePlus 5 vs everyone else: where the upstart stands

OnePlus 5 vs everyone else: where the upstart stands

The OnePlus 5 has finally broken cover and, with that, we are almost through this year's expected roster of flagship smartphones. While still waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the LG V30, the Moto Z2, and, of course, the iPhone 8, we can take stock of what we have so far and see how they measure against the smartphone that's promised to "Never Settle". Does OnePlus still have that special sauce that helped its meteoric rise to international fame, or in some cases, infamy? Or has it already fizzled out and has become yet another "also ran" phone? Let's see how it compares with the other runners in this race.

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Here’s when you can finally get Bixby Voice in the US

Here’s when you can finally get Bixby Voice in the US

Samsung has finally opened, though only slightly, the gates that would unleash one of its most promised and so far most disappointing Galaxy S8 feature: Bixby Voice. Owners of Samsung's latest flagship have started reporting the ability to finally control their smartphones using only their voice. Initial impressions seem to be positive so far, but we'll have to wait until next week to see if it will really hold p to its promise.

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This is the OTHER Galaxy S8

This is the OTHER Galaxy S8

Each and every high profile smartphone gets a round of leaks and speculation before launch. Especially when you're as high-profile as the Samsung Galaxy S8. Some of those might have been just wishful thinking, but others turned out to be actually planned features that were later scrapped. Such is the case, for example, with the Galaxy S8's rumored dual cameras. Another photo of an abandoned prototype again "confirms" that this was a planned feature that, sadly, never saw the light of day.

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This new Google Play Music feature is exclusive to the Galaxy S8 and S8+

This new Google Play Music feature is exclusive to the Galaxy S8 and S8+

Back in April, as we previously reported, Google Play Music offered some special perks for Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners, primarily the ability to upload 100,000 songs to the cloud rather than 50,000, plus an extended 3-month free trial. Now Google has extended another exclusive feature to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ -- a special personalized radio station that plays the latest hits, but only the ones you (probably) want to hear.

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Galaxy S8 Active might be close, pops up at Geekbench

Galaxy S8 Active might be close, pops up at Geekbench

While rumors claim that the Galaxy Note 8 might just be two months away, a different somewhat flagship smartphone might actually be closer. While Samsung has thankfully stopped making half a dozen "spinoffs" of its flagship brand, it still hasn't thrown in the towel when it comes to its "Active" line of smartphones. Yes, there will apparently also be a Galaxy S8 Active, at least based on this entry in Geekbench, revealing practically the same specs as the original.

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Galaxy S8, S8+ custom Android ROMs for those who dare to root

Galaxy S8, S8+ custom Android ROMs for those who dare to root

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and its larger Galaxy S8+ sibling are arguably two of the best-looking, and best-performing smartphones this half of the year. But as great as they are, they are by no means perfect. Even the Samsung faithful will admit, sometimes begrudgingly, that the Korean OEM can be a wee too "generous" when it comes to the extras, a.k.a. the cruft and bloat, inside the smartphone user experience or UX. If you're feeling adventurous, there are a couple of Android custom ROMs available for these devices to set you free from the clutches of TouchWiz (or now "Grace") and of Samsung's bloat.

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Galaxy S8 hasn’t exploded yet 50 days after launch

Galaxy S8 hasn’t exploded yet 50 days after launch

There is a saying that goes "no news is good news" and Samsung is using that adage to inspire confidence in its latest Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagships. The smartphones went to market on the 21st of April and in the 50 days it has been out in consumers' hands, there hasn't been any reported incidents regarding battery safety, let alone spontaneously combusting smartphones, that have plagued the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 before it.

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Download security updates for these phones ASAP

Download security updates for these phones ASAP

Google released a list of smartphones this week that includes every device touched by a Security Update over the last two months. This includes devices from a bunch of different manufacturers - everything from BlackBerry to Vivo. Samsung has a bunch in there, as does General Mobile and Google (with its Pixel and Nexus devices). I and we recommend that every device on this list should be checked immediately to make certain these security updates have been downloaded - that means, you, Janice from accounting!

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Galaxy S8 Pirates of the Caribbean Edition is official (and hard to get)

Galaxy S8 Pirates of the Caribbean Edition is official (and hard to get)

Remember that special 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Galaxy S8 variant we saw a couple weeks ago? It is back, and it is official this time. There's a big catch, though, that may disappoint fans located in the western world: it appears to only be available in China, making it particularly difficult to get in the US or similar regions. If you do find someone to send you a copy, though, expect to pay handsomely.

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Galaxy S8+ Rose Gold variant appears in leaked photo [update]

Galaxy S8+ Rose Gold variant appears in leaked photo [update]

The larger of the two Samsung Galaxy S8 handsets, the Galaxy S8+, has appeared online with a new look: a Rose Gold look, to be exact. The pink-colored variant recently surfaced on Chinese website Weibo, the same place we previously saw a gold variation appear. The shade appears very similar to the iPhone's Rose Gold option, though perhaps just a tad darker. The smaller of the two handsets is nowhere to be seen (in this color).

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You can now buy an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 in the US

You can now buy an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 in the US

Although there have been efforts to encourage consumers to buy their smartphones directly from manufacturers or retailers, carrier subsidies still held sway over the market. This was mostly because of the staggered payment system and warranties offered by carriers. OEMs like Huawei, Honor, and ZTE have recognized that pattern and have set up programs to match carrier offers. Samsung is doing likewise with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, selling unlocked models with financing and premium care perks.

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Is Bixby Voice on track for US? Samsung’s Siri-rival reportedly struggling

Is Bixby Voice on track for US? Samsung’s Siri-rival reportedly struggling

Samsung's Bixby Voice assistant on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ is still absent in the US, and there are now reports that the virtual agent will miss its expected launch window. Announced alongside the Galaxy S8 as Samsung's response to Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and the Google Assistant, Bixby promises not only natural language recognition for questions but full voice control over just about every aspect of the smartphone. However, come the S8's launch, and Bixby Voice was conspicuously missing.

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