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How much screen can you squeeze into a large phone without it feeling uncomfortably, unusably big?

That's the question Samsung is trying to answer with the Galaxy S8 Plus, a flagship Android handset that crams a 6.2-inch display into a body that's about the same size or just a little larger than handsets with 5.5-inch or 5.7-inch screens. I'm looking at you, iPhone 7 Plus. How does Samsung do it? Slash the bezels, pull the phone into a taller, narrower shape and curve the sides to complete the feeling of a trim, tidy package.

Some phonemakers use the larger model as the pro device, giving it features like a better camera or more impressive hardware, features the smaller phone misses out on. Not so with the S8 Plus. This phone is simply the Galaxy S8 with a larger screen -- 6.2 inches versus 5.8.

Its bigger size means slightly more weight, a bit more battery capacity to light up the display and, of course, a higher price -- $850 over $750 for the S8. (In the UK it's priced at £779, and AU$1349 in Australia.) All other specs between the two phones -- including the camera, processor and features -- are totally identical.

Sure, the S8 Plus will have a slightly lower pixel density that you may not even notice if you were to hold the two S8s side by side. That's because the S8 puts the same resolution as the S8 on a larger screen, which means slightly larger pixels and a slightly smaller number of pixels per inch. Regardless, I'd expect the S8 and S8 Plus to perform very similarly once we get them both in for side-by-side testing.

From what I experienced in my hands-on time with the S8 Plus, the proportions work, though the Plus definitely feels bigger than the S8. For some people, the more screen, the better. And I am a sucker for those curved sides in Edge and Note phones, even if they might be more prone to breaking on that axis (I strongly recommend getting a case for any phone).

Both Galaxy S8 phones can survive a dip in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

Morgan Little/CNET

As for the near bezel-less trend kicked off by Xiaomi's Mi Mix and the LG G6, which Samsung now adopts on both the S8 and S8 Plus, it's easy to see a battle forming around which company can put the largest screen in the smallest package. It'll be a game of millimeters.

So far, the Galaxy S8 Plus seems like a phone capable of bringing even more screen real estate to buyers who just can't get enough, but we'll have to wait for the final review unit to see how well it really fits and feels day to day, especially against big-screen rivals like the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL.

Hardware specs

What's different than the S8:

  • Screen size: 6.2-inch versus 5.8
  • Phone dimensions (a little taller, wider and thicker)
  • Larger battery (3,500mAh versus 3,000mAh)
  • Price: We don't have this yet

Galaxy S8 Plus and S8 versus the other guys

Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Google Pixel XL LG G6 Apple iPhone 7 Plus OnePlus 3T
Display size, resolution 5.8-inch; 2,960x1,440 pixels 6.2-inch; 2,960x1,440 pixels 5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels 5.7-inch, 2,880x1,440 pixels 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 570ppi 529ppi 534ppi 565ppi 401ppi 401ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.9 x 2.9 x 0.31 in 6.3 x 2.9 x 0.32 in 6.1 x 3 x 0.34 in 5.9 x 2.8 x 0.31 in 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.29 in 6 x 2.9 x 0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 149 x 68 x 8 mm 160 x 73 x 8.1 mm 155 x 76 x 8.6 mm 149 x 72 x 7.9 mm 158 x 78 x 7.3 mm 153 x 75 x 7.35 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.5 oz; 155g 6.1 oz; 173g 5.92 oz; 168g 5.7 oz, 162g 6.63 oz; 188g 5.57 oz; 158g
Mobile software Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Apple iOS 10 Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera (megapixels) 12 12 12.3 13 (standard), 13 (wide) 12 (telephoto), 12 (wide) 16
Front-facing camera (megapixels) 8 8 8 5 7 16
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz + 1.9GHz) or octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 (2.35GHz + 1.7GHz) Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz + 1.9GHz) or octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 (2.35GHz + 1.7GHz) 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 with Adreno 530 GPU Apple A10 chip (64-bit) 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Storage 64GB 64GB 32GB, 128GB 32GB 32GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB
Expandable storage Up to 2TB Up to 2TB None Up to 2TB None None
Battery (all nonremovable) 3,000mAh 3,500mAh 3,450mAh 3,300mAh 2,900mAh 3,400mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back Back Back Back Home button Home button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning USB-C
Special features Water-resistant (IP68); wireless charging; Gigabit LTE-ready Water-resistant (IP68), wireless charging, Gigabit LTE-ready Google Assistant; unlimited cloud storage; Daydream VR-ready 18:9 aspect ratio; wireless charging (US-only); water-resistant Water and dust-resistant; portrait image mode Dual-SIM, Dash Charging
Price off-contract (USD) $750 $850 $769 (32GB); $869 (128GB) AT&T: $720, Sprint: $708, T-Mobile: $650, Verizon: $672, US Cellular: $597.60 $769 (32GB); $869 (128GB); $969 (256GB) $439 (16GB), $479 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £689 £779 £719 (32GB); £819 (128GB) TBA £719 (32GB); £819 (128GB); £919 (256GB) £399 (16GB), £439 (128GB)
Price (AUD) AU$1199 AU$1349 AU$1,269 (32GB); AU$1,419 (128GB) TBA AU$1269 (32GB); AU$1419 (128GB); AU$1569 (256GB) Converts to AU$590 (16GB), AU$652 (128GB)