Samsung continues to be one of the most popular phone manufacturers in the world and with good reason. The company’s Galaxy S flagship smartphones often pack the greatest tech, innovative designs and easy-to-use functionality that users love.
With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 series expected on 11 February, we though it was a great opportunity to reflect on the history of Galaxy S devices, all the way up to the leaks surrounding the next collection of devices.
So scan the phones below and see how Samsung has changed its design philosophy as the technology has improved.
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Samsung Galaxy S
First released in June 2010, the Samsung Galaxy S ran on Android 2.1 and had an 800 x 480 Super AMOLED display. It also had a single-core 1GHz processor and 0.5GB of RAM.
The rear camera was 5-megapixels, while the front was just 0.3-megapixels. The thing that really stood out about it was the customisation of Android. Although we’d seen some of TouchWiz on other devices, it felt like it worked on the Galaxy S.
Samsung Galaxy S2
Also known as the Samsung Galaxy S II, the refreshed phone was released in April 2011 and sported a similar 800 x 480 screen as its predecessor. The processor got a bump up to dual-core and 1.2GHz, and there was 0.75GB of RAM.
The rear camera was 8-megapixels this time, with a 2-megapixel front-facing cam. Samsung embraced widgets with the Galaxy S II, something that rivals HTC was really pushing.
Samsung Galaxy S3
Again sticking with the Roman numerals, so therefore technically known as the Samsung Galaxy S III, this model came out in May 2012 and was the first in the series to have a HD screen. Its resolution of 1280 x 720 was pretty revolutionary at the time. It also sported Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
There was a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM on launch, although Samsung stuck with an 8-megapixel rear camera. It was slightly more sculpted than the previous phone and it felt like Samsung wanted to push the design a little harder.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Released in April 2013 and ditching the Roman numerals that nobody used when referring to Galaxy phones anyway, the S4 had a 5-inch Full HD display. It also upped the processing power to a 1.9GHz quad-core chip, with 2GB of RAM.
The rear camera had a jump too, up to 13-megapixels. The design sense that we’d had from the S3 really came through here: the Galaxy S4 was a great phone, it just looked and felt right.
Samsung Galaxy S5
Coming in April 2014, the S5 also had a Full HD screen but it was slightly bigger, measuring 5.1-inches (an LTE-A model eventually upped that to 2560 x 1440).
There was a 2.5GHz quad-core processor on board, with 2GB of RAM. And the rear camera was once again improved, to a 16-megapixel module. But the most interesting thing about the Galaxy S5 was around the rear, with a texture like a sticking plaster. Samsung was still using removable plastic backs at this time.
Samsung Galaxy S6
April 2015’s Galaxy S line was the first to offer two separate devices at the same time. The more standard Galaxy S6 featured a flat 2560 x 1440 Quad HD Super AMOLED display, measuring 5.1-inches, while Samsung moved to embrace the curved edges, resulting in the Galaxy S6 Edge and S6 Edge Plus. It was a defining moment for the Galaxy S series, something that continues there after.
It ran on a Samsung-made octa-core processor, had 3GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel rear camera capable of recording Ultra HD footage. A 5-megapixel camera was adopted for the front.
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Like its stablemate also released in April 2015, the Galaxy S6 edge had a 5.1-inch Quad HD screen, octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 16-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing cam.
Where it differed is that the sides of the display are curved and wrap around to give the illusion of no bezel – a radical alternative at the time.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The Galaxy S7 was announced in February 2016 and came with a 5.1-inch QHD display (2560 x 1440).
Like the S6 before it, it was the flat-screen version of two handsets, but added a dual-pixel 12-megapixel camera for better low light photography and faster octa-core processor.
Samsung Pay was enabled on the phone, which could work through NFC and magnetic strip systems.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
The Galaxy S7 edge was a true flagship phone in every respect. It too was announced in February 2016 and its 5.5-inch dual edge QHD display was simply superb.
All of the same features as the S7 were on board and the design was a touch rounder than the S6 edge that preceded it.
Samsung Galaxy S8
The Samsung Galaxy S8 was the first to introduce the Infinity Display, that referred to the fact it had an edge-to-edge display with virtually no bezels top and bottom. The fingerprint scanner was moved to the back, but the reduction in those bezels is what really stood out.
While there was also a second variant in the S8 Plus, which came with a bigger screen and better battery, but the standard Galaxy S8 came with curved edges as standard.
Samsung Galaxy S9
On the surface, the S9 looked very similar to the S8 from 2017. The phone still offered that curved edge design and comes with a 5.8-inch OLED screen size and was once again, waterproof.
The Galaxy S9 also offered AR emoji, which allows the phone to create a 3D avatar by scanning your face and creating a range of custom emoji for you. These can be used when chatting in WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, for example, rather than using basic emoji.
Samsung Galaxy S10
The 2019 flagship from Samsung features a lot of the same design facets we’ve come to know and love. There are also some enhancements with this model that include market-leading concepts like the UltraSonic fingerprint sensor. A triple camera system, smart auto-camera suggestions and wireless reverse charging also make this another flagship to beat. It also had a punch hole camera on the front.
Samsung Galaxy S20
The Samsung Galaxy S20 is expected to launch on 11 February, alongside the S20+ and S20 Ultra, presenting a full collection of devices at different spec and price points. We’d expect these to generally reflect the S10, S10+ and S10 5G of the previous year.
The big change that it looks like Samsung will push through is in the camera department, with leaks suggesting that there will be a triple camera system on the S20, quad on the S20+ and a totally different system for the S20 Ultra, with a massive 100X unit.