Whew! Galaxy S8 lets you move the back key and adjust the home button feedback


With the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Samsung finally ditched the retro physical home button, and got on with the times by introducing on-screen navigation like every self-respecting Android that wants to come with good screen-to-body ratio. Samsung, however, went a step further, and introduced a very intriguing hybrid home key that is still a virtual endeavor, yet has a pressure-sensitive layer and haptic feedback engine underneath it. This way, you can still feel as if you are pressing a physical button of sorts, and you can call the home key from any app by just hard-pressing the respective area at the bottom of the display.

Pretty genius move, if done right, as this allowed Samsung to drastically shrink the bottom bezel, in addition to the top one, and achieve the record 83% screen-to-body ratio that the Galaxy S8 has in its top-shelf class. We say "if done right," as Apple utilizes a similar pressure-sensitive Touch ID button on the iPhone 7, but it's still a dedicated bezel area with ridges you can feel and press. Samsung is at a disadvantage here in terms of ergonomics, with a polished clear glass that simply projects the home key icon underneath. Thankfully, it has provided a way to adjust the haptic engine intensity upon deep press or a light touch, as you can see in our photo of the S8 settings above, so you can mix and match to your heart's desire, until you achieve the perfect balance for your particular finger-bending abilities.

That's not where the ergonomics adjustments end, though, as the other advantage of having on-screen buttons is that you can move them around, or remap them as you see fit. Unlike stock Android, for instance, Samsung puts the back key on the right, which we approve, as we only have to stretch our thumb down to go back, instead of trying to reach all the way down and across to the other end of a big phone each time we want to move to the previous page while using the handset with one hand. Some folks, however, swear by the left placement of the back key, as that's how they are used to, so Samsung provided a setting to move the back button from the left to the right, too. Smooth moves, Samsung, smooth moves.

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(24h 3G talk time)

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31 Comments

1. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Is it just me or do the software buttons look ugly?

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

still looks better than square-circle-triangle

10. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

I just feel at odds with the design of the new Touchwiz. The neon-like design doesn't appeal to me at all. I prefer the Material Design aesthetics of the previous version.

29. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That's why there are themes and launchers.

27. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

PlayStation though!!!!!!!!!!! lol

8. peace247 unregistered

Those software buttons are the best I've seen. But that's my personal choice.

2. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1844; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Pre-order complete, hopefully T-Mobile sends these out next week so I can play with these new features!

17. thxultra

Posts: 470; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Ya hoping T-Mobile ships early. They did last year with the S7 :)

20. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

What else do you get besides the phone? Im thinking of pre-ordering the S8 Plus and Im hearing that you dont get the 256GB MicroSD Card with it

28. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Did my pre-order @ 12:01. I could only order one, because one of my Jump devices was just purchased a month ago. But we will jump it to the needed 50% before the pre-order time is up so we can get 2 free gifts. I am up scaling mine for the headphones and GEar VR. Wife just want the phone. Finally gonna dump my last Note 7 until the Note 8. I have my iPhone 7+ and will have my S8+ to keep me company until Note 8. Then the S8+ gets gifted or sold.

3. mikehunta727 unregistered

A form of Force Touch on the button, I like that

4. paynekiller

Posts: 152; Member since: May 24, 2010

I would advise future Galaxy S8 owners to let the back button stay on the right side, that's where it is for most all other google phones. (assuming you're open to using other brand android phones) When I upgraded from my Galaxy S3 to the LG G2 it allowed me to move the buttons around and moved the back button to the left cause that's what I was used to, but I eventually moved it to the right so that I don't get confused when using other phones, I feel better off now.

5. twens

Posts: 1182; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I planned keeping my s7 edge for another year but damn it I can't. This phone is so sleek, I'll have to get one.

7. paynekiller

Posts: 152; Member since: May 24, 2010

Slightly disappointed that Samsung hasn't added any extra buttons with the now on-screen buttons, like LG has options for instant screenshot, notfication pull-down etc. But I suppose since they have the pressure sensitive home area they have to keep they layout like that

9. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Love those bezels and no i am not an Android or Samsung fanboy! Apple should learn from this, the iphones are really ugly with massive bezels!

11. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

By no means are the bezels on the iPhone ugly. Apple doesn't need to learn something they don't need.

15. cmdacos

Posts: 4313; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

They are hideous in my opinion. As are the pixel 's

22. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

iphone bezels are ugly as hell, old standard for crappy phones. Small bezel or even bezel less is the feature and not those hideous large bezels!

31. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

1000's of people have voiced the same. So they can't be wrong or right and neither are you. It's an opinion. If you are ok with it, then be ok with it. They are really big considering the screen size and the home button and speakers aren't that big. Even the bezel on older Samsung phones are smaller than they are on the iPhone Plus model. The iPhone is a "very nice" phone and overall a good looking thin lightweight device. But it is not perfect. All one has to do is hold the S7 Edge or even the regular S7, or the Note 7 next to an iPhone Plus and see its terrible. https://flic.kr/p/S8pwaf Note 7 vs iPhone 7+. Which one looks like it came out recently? The Note 7 has a larger display and yet is physically smaller than the iPhone. The iPhone looks like an oversized 5S. The Not eis a bit thick, but its nearly as thin as the iPhone and has a battery that is 40% larger. The camera has a bump too. But at least its centralized, so the phone woobles equally on both sides, not one side like the iPhone. FACT - Something overall can be "pretty", but can still have something ugly about it. When the iPhone comes this year with smaller bezels and a resolution os HD+ or something stupid knowing Apple, you will then see the iPhone 6/6S/7 have ugly bezels. Because it takes Apple to make something better than their own stuff, for blind fanboys to see anything.

18. thxultra

Posts: 470; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Love the large screen and smaller form factor of the phone. Hoping this doesn't cause issues when holding the phone. preordered a S8 to replace my iphone 7 plus. Smaller phone with a bigger screen...

30. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yep! Even next to the Not e7, the iPhone looks like an over-sized phone from 2010

12. Joms_US

Posts: 201; Member since: Oct 02, 2016

Le Pro3 does switching of hardware (capacitive) buttons =D You can even assign tasks when you hold any of those buttons for a sec or two.

13. middlehead

Posts: 464; Member since: May 12, 2014

Losing the capacitive keys lost them a sale here. They're about the only reason I picked the S7 over the G5, and dumping them means I have no incentive to ever take Samsung again.

21. paynekiller

Posts: 152; Member since: May 24, 2010

mind if i ask what do you prefer about the static capacitive keys?

14. tokuzumi

Posts: 1953; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Finally. I'm so used to Nexus style devices, that I hate having to re-adjust to remember the back button is on the right on Samsung devices.

16. shield

Posts: 863; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

LG Better button. More change settings.

19. Theonick

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 24, 2015

Another pointless article!. Between 70 percent to 95 percent people are "right-handed" the back button is the MOST used button. Why is it still so strange the back button is "was" placed ( on the right ) where it's easiest accessed and used most? Y'all are soooooo annoying.

23. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

I think people are creatures of habit. Back button on the right makes the most sense for sure in all aspects, not just ergonomics. When you are already on the home screen, which is the middle button, there's nothing to back into because you are already at the furthest you can go back, so it makes no sense for the back button to be ahead of the home button. Also, we are left to right people, where the left is the beginning of a page so it makes more sense to go back from the right and not the left. Take the following for example: The dog runs. So if you wanted to back or delete the period, the S, or the word run by touch. Does it make more sense to press "runs" or the "The"? Of course runs.....common sense.

25. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

It's more about design language consistency. You see, when you have the option to "undo", "go back", "backward" and "proceed", "Ok", "forward" these are placed left and right respectively, because when we're advancing we think of right and going back we think of left, just like when you're writting or reading. Google designing the back button to be on the left is just keeping consistency. Samsung putting it on the right is somewhat rebelious the same as Microsoft with Windows. Even Apple keeps the back button on the left as most apps do, those that have the back button on the right simply doesn't know about designing standars

24. Stappy3

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

I agree.. Samsung Icons have never been the most attractive bunch, but the new ones are something else.. I miss the kitkat look of the Nav bar. Distinct icons to clearly say what they do. I will admit I do enjoy the lollipop change with the shapes, but alot of "older" users of stock android that I've talked to said that they had a hard time at first knowing what a "square" did.

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