We’ve had nine years of Samsung Galaxy S phones, and the amazing Android devices have changed a lot since their introduction in 2010. Come with us as we dive into the history of Samsung’s flagship smartphone…
The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S did more than introduce a slick new smartphone to the market. Its sleek design, excellent performance and all-round brilliance saw Samsung cement its place among the higher echelons of manufacturer royalty, offering Android users everywhere a high-end device that could compete with the huge success of Apple’s iOS alternative.
With the Galaxy S9 now gracing palms around the world, and with a Samsung announcement slated for 20 February, it’s a great time to look back and see just how much the range has evolved since we first caught a glimpse of it way back in 2010.
How well do you know your Samsung Galaxy S history? To find out, join us for a tour through the series’ rich history, and recall just how far we’ve come…
Samsung Galaxy S | 2010
The device that launched it all. The original Galaxy S exceeded all expectations, with over 10 million handsets sold in 2010 alone. Though, in hindsight, its success isn’t really a surprise. Boasting an at-the-time impressive 5-megapixel camera, a 1GHz processor and a generously proportioned Super AMOLED touchscreen, the Galaxy S arrived at the front of the Android pack, while also boasting a comparatively reasonable price point. Its success ushered in a major new player among the top brands and the rest, as they say, is history.
Samsung Galaxy S2 | 2011
Those concerned that Samsung would suffer from the sophomore slump had their fears quickly allayed when the Galaxy S2 arrived just a year after its predecessor. A sleeker, more modern device, the S2 boasted a much-improved 8-megapixel camera, a speedy dual-core 1.2GHz processor and a glut of other features that made it not just a worthy Android champ, but a vast improvement on the already stellar original.
From its slim design to its excellent, larger screen and crystal-clear call and recording quality, the S2 still stands up as a classic device that was well worth the plaudits it earned upon release.
Samsung Galaxy S3 | 2012
Okay, now we’re talking. While the Galaxy S and S2 were incredible smartphones, there’s the sense that Samsung was simply laying the groundwork for the S3: arguably one of its best-loved devices ever, and one that catapulted the S series from a success, to an outright phenomenon.
Warmly received by critics and users alike, the S3 was a roaring success from the off, with sales topping 30 million the year of release. Its pebble-shaped design became the standard bearer for many Android phones that followed, while it managed the feat of feeling both robust and delicate, with its pleasingly compact design still able to house a generous 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen – which was absolutely massive at the time. The ripples of the S3’s innovation are still being felt today, and no wonder: this is a device to cherish.
Samsung Galaxy S4 | 2013
Having introduced the Android world to some serious design beauty with the S3, Samsung proceeded to add brawn to its 2013 follow-up – offering a device so packed with features that you could practically feel the handset thrum in your palm.
With a seriously-specced 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen and a rapid 1.9GHz quad-core processor that enabled us to push it to its limits – from gaming to HD movies without a stutter – there were very few devices around that could touch the S4’s performance. The inclusion of features like the IR Blaster, which turned your S4 into a universal remote, gave the device an extra sheen that many of its contemporaries could only strive for.
And, while it arrived on a wave of hype, the S4 saw Samsung deliver a handset so feature-rich that it actually surpassed user expectations, and again cemented the S series’ place as the Android smartphone to beat.
Samsung Galaxy S5 | 2014
With Samsung striking upon a winning formula with the appealing design established with the S3 and the comprehensive feature set of the S4, it was now a case of evolution rather than revolution, and the S5 beautifully sums up this continued refinement.
Boasting better performance thanks to its quad-core 2.5GHz processor, longer battery life, and improved display, the S5 was a lesson in doing the little things right. There were also more notable uphauls elsewhere, including a major tweak to Samsung’s well-established TouchWiz UI, freshening up the Android skin that had become so synonymous with the Galaxy S series. It also boasted waterproof casing for the first time, and some minor design tweaks.
The S5 was also notable for its inclusion of a fingerprint scanner – a feature that’s fairly standard now, but up until 2014 had been pretty buggy. The S5 put paid to that, with a scanner that worked as more than a gimmick, actually improving the device’s security features. The next major step forward, however, would come in 2015.
Samsung Galaxy S6 | 2015
With smartphone sales down in 2014, and the S5 suffering as a result, we waited with baited breath to see what Samsung would pull out of the bag for the S6. And it didn’t disappoint. The S6 was met with immediate acclaim, and with good reason: Samsung’s metal and glass device was a thing of beauty, adding a real sense of luxury to a well-loved design. At just 6.8mm, the handset felt weighty without feeling bulky, and fit neatly in both your hand and your pocket.
The S6 was more than just a pretty face, though. The upgrade to QHD screen resolution made it one of the sharpest displays you could get your hands on. Running Android 5.0 for the first time in the series, the S6 also saw everything from system fonts to wallpapers getting a new lick of paint, while Samsung’s decision to opt for the Exynos processor paid dividends, offering the device staggeringly high-level performance.
Samsung Galaxy S7 | 2016
2016’s S7 still stands up as one of Samsung’s very best handsets. Refining the stunning design of the S6’s glass and metal casing with a subtle curving to better fit your hand.
The display may have appeared similar to the S6 in terms of specs, but the contrasts were more refined, giving the S7 a distinct edge over an already-stunning screen. The Exynos 8890 octa-core processor built on the power of its predecessor, adding a welcome boost to performance. TouchWiz was once again refined, too, offering a smoother interface made better still by the sheer speed at which the phone operates.
There was also the reintroduction of a microSD slot – something that’d been missing from the previous iteration – and the waterproof design that proved so popular with the S5. Even the fingerprint scanner was noticeably improved. As an all-round package, the S7 was hard to beat. And yet…
Samsung Galaxy S8 | 2017
The S8 is arguably one of Samsung’s most beautiful phones; many of the standards we’d come to expect from the S series were discarded in favour of something altogether sleeker. The Samsung logo was nowhere to be found on the front display, and a virtual home button replaced the trusty plastic oblong we’d grown so accustomed to.
While curved edges had been seen in the series’ previous iterations, never had there been quite so much screen and quite so little bezel surrounding it. Its 18.5:9 aspect ratio and 5.8-inch display feels vast, while the HDR image quality is outstanding. It was, and is, a thing to behold.
While the camera and healthy battery life remain much the same as its immediate predecessor, there’s real improvement in performance. The S8’s octa-core processor ensures a smooth experience, while a glut of features, from the introduction of Bixby (Samsung’s AI), to its heart-rate monitor and iris-scanner, show that Samsung is still happy to load its devices with quality extras. Put simply: it’s still one of the best devices on the market.
Samsung Galaxy S9 | 2018
Samsung’s latest Galaxy S release, the S9, highlights just why its brilliant series has remained at the top for so long. Most noticeable here is the camera, which is no surprise given the hype before launch of ‘The Camera Reimagined’. The 12MP dual-aperture rear camera system, coupled with super slow-mo 960fps video recording, means that any budding snappers or directors should have a field day.
In terms of appearance there’s been some streamlining here and there, with a wider, shorter screen making it a more pebble-like device, while the shifted fingerprint scanner, now found on the phone’s rear, is a nice touch.
The S9 also sees Bixby get a considerable upgrade, while the speakers and audio have improved, now supporting a form of Dolby Atmos to ensure any film-watching or game-playing is as immersive as possible. This is all aided by what’s under the hood, with an Exynos 9810 processor offering up performance that should support even the most demanding of mobile games, while 64GB of internal storage rounds out a supremely impressive package.
The next Galaxy | TBC
After nine years, the S series continues to deliver. But what’s coming next? Samsung has a big event scheduled for 20 February, with speculation suggesting a new device could be on the way. Either way, keep it locked to Vodafone Social for more.
Want to learn more about the S9? Check out our behind-the-scenes look…