Samsung has officially unveiled its next flagship smartphone the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
Both phones will be available to pre-order now and will be available to buy from 28th April with a price of £689 for the S8 and £779 for the S8+.
Boasting a stunning design that evolves from the Galaxy S7 Edge, the S8’s biggest feature is its removal of the home button on the front of the handset allowing the S8 to have an almost bezel-less design.
Instead the S8 has a home button that’s integrated into the bottom third of the display and can be activated with a firm press on the screen, similar to the 3D Touch technology found in the iPhone.
Thanks to the increased real-estate for the screen the S8 manages to squeeze in a 5.8-inch display that boasts a resolution of 2960x1440. The S8+ meanwhile has a huge 6.2-inch display that also boasts a resolution of 2960x1440.
Both displays are the first to be certified HDR Premium which means that they should offer the same levels of contrast as some of the most state-of-the-art 4K TVs available today.
With the fingerprint sensor now kicked from the front of the phone to the back Samsung’s really pushing its iris-recognition technology as a means of locking your phone. The company claims it has made some significant improvements to both the accuracy and the speed of the system which should make it as fast, if not faster than using your fingerprint.
As we mentioned earlier the design is in many ways an evolution of Samsung’s previous phones and thus not a revolution. As such it has the same curved glass back and metal frame as the S7 Edge.
Samsung wouldn’t go too in-depth on the camera but it did say that it’s a 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel lens with optical image stabilisation.
Simply translated that means that when it takes a picture it will actually take three at different exposures and then combine them to give you the best possible image.
This should mean that it will handle low-light images with ease. Meanwhile on the front there’s an 8MP camera.
Both the Galaxy S8 and the S8+ are running a lightly skinned version of Android Nougat.
With the home button now gone access to the apps screen copies that of the Google Pixel and stock Android by swiping up from the bottom of the phone.
The biggest software feature however will be Samsung’s new personal assistant, Bixby.
Bixby is in effect Samsung’s version of Siri capable of answering questions and carrying out tasks within the device. An example we saw of Bixby was its ability to create a holiday album just by looking at the location data within each of the photos.
Bixby can also use the camera to help search for answers. In one instance we were able to point the phone at a bottle of wine and watch as it looked up information about its origins as well as tasting notes.
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Now for the bad news, Bixby won’t be available in the UK at launch. Instead Samsung’s going to be launching it in Korea first, then the US and finally the UK later in the year.
In addition to Bixby the Galaxy S8’s increased screen size means the phone can now functionally run multiple apps side-by-side.
Finally there’s Samsung DeX, a new business feature exclusive to the S8 that effectively turns it into a fully-functioning desktop computer.
Simply attach it to the DeX dock and the phone will boot a desktop version of Android, letting you open windows, run full-screen Android apps including Microsoft Word and Excel and more.
In a move that suggests Samsung won’t be removing any features from now on, the S8 and S8+ also contain some ‘legacy’ features that including being water resistant as well as supporting wireless and fast charging via USB-C.
In terms of storage the S8 and S8+ will launch with 64GB of storage and feature a microSD card slot for expandable storage up to 256GB.
If you’re worried about power, don’t be, there’s a 64-bit octa-core processor powering the S8 along with 4GB of RAM to help with that multi-tasking.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available from 28th April and will cost £689 and £779 respectively. It will be available in two colours: Midnight Black and Orchid Grey.
If you can look past the Galaxy Note 7 then Samsung could be onto a serious winner with this one. As a piece of design this is Samsung at its best, the Galaxy S8 is absolutely stunning.
Holding it you realise just how much you don’t miss the home button. Samsung’s caught on that if it can’t embed a fingerprint sensor into the display then it would have to go for the next best thing, and in this instance it’s iris recognition. It’s incredibly quick to setup and the phone unlocks instantly the moment you bring it up to face you. We’ll need to try it in the real-world but it honestly feels like a faster, more convenient way of unlocking your phone.
Bixby certainly feels like it could be useful (the ability to scan images for example) however we’re still not sold on the idea of people asking their phones to create photo albums when they’ve been happily doing it with their actual hands before. It also feels a little slow at the moment, of course this was a very pre-release demo so that could change by the time it launches in the UK.
Will the S8 be enough to take on the next iPhone? With Apple expected to produce another ‘iPhone 5 moment’ the pressure is most certainly on. Your move Apple.
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