Samsung surprises with early release of unlocked Galaxy S8

Samsung surprises with early release of unlocked Galaxy S8

Bixby Voice isn’t the only thing we’ve been waiting for when it comes to the Galaxy S8. While Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers have been enjoying their infinity displays for weeks, the rest of us have been patiently waiting for unlocked models to hit shelves so we can avoid carrier contracts, er, financing plans.

And now the wait is over. Samsung has announced that fully unlocked versions of the S8 and S8+ are now available through its website and Best Buy. The smaller phone will retail for $725 and the larger one for $100 more ($825), with all of the same features available on the carrier models. Like the rest of the U.S. models, the unlocked phones are powered by the Snapdragon 835 chip, not Samsung’s proprietary Exynos 8895.

While the phone is only available in the midnight black color, customers should be pleased that Samsung is releasing the unlocked S8 so early. Last year, the unlocked S7 didn’t go on sale until June 30, nearly four months after its launch date, but the S8 has barely been on shelves for three weeks.

The unlocked phones don’t come with any of the bundled carrier incentives, like gift cards or Gear VR headsets, though you can get a free Entertainment Kit through May 16, which includes a Clear View case, 64GB MicroSD card, and six months of Netflix. Also, a zero percent APR financing plan is available for purchases through Samsung.com.

Why this matters: While unlocked phones might still make up a small section of the U.S. market, it’s great to see Samsung responding to the demand so quickly. Maybe with the S9 they’ll actually be available on launch day, but we're not going to hold our breath.

IDG Insider

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