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May 15, 2018

The S8 Lite appears to be Samsung’s response to a slowing flagship market

by John_A

It looks like Samsung may be looking to bolster its smartphone lineup with a revised version of last year’s Samsung Galaxy S8.

Samsung used part of its financial report for the first quarter of 2018 to warn investors that there’s a smartphone market slump on the horizon — warnings that seem to have been proven correct by a marked decline in global sales of smartphones. With Samsung’s apparent clarity on the subject, it doesn’t seem surprising that the company is trying something new to mix up its offerings and try to reinforce its position as one of the smartphone market leaders. Here’s everything we know about the budget Samsung Galaxy S8 Lite.

Design

It seems that Samsung had a whole lot of Galaxy S8 parts left over, because leaked press renders of the proposed Galaxy S8 Lite look almost exactly the same as a standard S8.

So if you’re a fan of the Galaxy S8’s design, but not its price tag, then there will be a lot to love here. There’s a Bixby key, the gorgeous Infinity Display, and the fingerprint sensor (unfortunately) to the side of the single camera lens. It seems that the phone will also be coming in two colors — red and black.

The recycling of the S8’s design isn’t a terrible choice by any means — Samsung lifted most of the same design choices for this year’s Galaxy S9 — but it’s still a tad disappointing to see the return of the fingerprint sensor to the side of the camera lens. It’s just too easy to miss and accidentally tap the lens instead, leading to smudged photos. Still, a good case helps to keep that at bay, and you do grow used to it.

Slashleaks

The display will be a 5.8-inch Infinity Display, as mentioned, and will presumably still be an AMOLED screen in order to achieve the Galaxy series’ celebrated curve. There have been some cutbacks made to the screen’s resolution however, with the S8 Lite only being able to display up to 2220 x 1080 — but that’s still sharp enough for most people.

The heart rate sensor from the Galaxy S8 (formerly on the opposite side of the camera lens, under the flash) has also disappeared, but is the sole physical casualty of the drop to a lower price range. At this time we’re not sure about the materials used in the build, so we can’t say for sure whether the glass and metal build of the S8 or its waterproofing will make their way to the S8 Lite. If these leaks are correct, then the S8 Lite could be a strong contender in the midrange market.

Specs

While rumors about the design of the S8 Lite leave the outside of the phone relatively unchanged, the whispers about the internals point to more drastic changes from the original S8.

While rumors say that the S8 Lite will be packing the same 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage space from the standard S8, the central processing unit will be changing from the Snapdragon 835 to a Snapdragon 660. That’s not likely to be as dramatic a drop in performance as the numbers might suggest — the Nokia 7 Plus uses the Snapdragon 660, and we found the performance on that snappy enough. While you’re not going to get the same level of speed as you would with a Snapdragon 835, we anticipate that the Snapdragon 660 should perform admirably — and provide some additional battery life thanks to its power efficiency.

Speaking of the battery, those same rumors say the S8 Lite will come with a 3,000mAh battery — the same as the standard S8. With so much staying the same, these whispers do seem likely.

Camera

At this time, most leaks point at the S8 Lite coming with a 16MP camera mounted on the rear — which may well be an upgrade from the Galaxy S8’s 12MP camera. While great on launch, the S8’s camera has slowly been outclassed by later smartphone releases, and while the S8’s camera can still hold up very well, there are definitely cameras that do it better now. The S8 Lite could be Samsung’s chance to send out a slightly updated version of that camera tech. There has been no confirmation yet that the S8 Lite will include the dual-sensor tech that allows single camera setups to perform “bokeh” selective blur trickery.

We always enjoy testing Samsung’s camera tech, and we look forward to giving the S8 Lite’s camera a spin.

Release

There is no solid information on whether this phone will launch in the U.S. — Samsung hasn’t even tehcnically admitted it exists yet — but leaks point to the phone being released in China on May 21. Pricing is another finicky area — but with the Galaxy S8 having seen significant price cuts that take it down to $600, it’s not at all unfair to assume that the Galaxy S8 Lite would be priced at $500 or below.

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