The new Samsung Galaxy S8

If you’re a tech geek, you’ll probably know that Samsung has just launched its brand-new smartphone: the Galaxy S8. If you’re not a tech geek, then there’s simply another fancy smartphone on the market to choose from. But reviewers would have you know that this isn’t just any old phone, it’s the ‘phone to beat in 2017’. That’s a big statement to make.

What’s so great about it?

Well, there’s ultra-smart facial recognition, if you’re too busy to type in your passcode. The recognition software on the iris detector also promises to be more responsive than on the previous S7, so anyone who struggled to get to grips with it should find it much easier. Samsung has also moved the finger-print sensor to the back, but it’s next to the camera and that might prove irritating for anyone with chunky fingers.

So, what else makes this the phone to beat? 

You’ll notice the S8 is pretty much all screen. Measuring in at 148.9mm x 68mm x 8mm (ever so slightly taller and heavier than the S7), giving you a lot of screen. And there isn’t a physical home button to take you back to the beginning. Instead, you just press the bottom of the screen and you’ll be rewarded with a vibration that tells you you’re in the right place, then the phone takes you home. It’s all done with haptic feedback, which is terribly clever…

The camera hasn’t been upgraded, so you still have (a pretty decent) 12MP front camera and 8MP rear camera. But despite the lack of new tech, the camera promises to take even better photos – and that’s because it will take multiple images and choose the best one.

The S8 also sees the introduction of ‘Bixby’, which is Samsung’s version of Siri or Google Assist. Bixby aims to make life easier and allows you to voice activate apps, so you won’t even have to press a button to make calls.

Bixby's ability

In the long term, Bixby aims to take virtual assistance tech to the next level, as it’s meant to learn as it goes along. The S8 won’t come with a fully functioning Bixby though – Samsung intends to refine the tool and roll it out as and when. There’s a special button on the side of the phone so you can get Bixby’s attention quickly and easily.

And let’s not forget Bixby Vision. Despite sounding like a bad 1960s pop group, it should prove quite useful. The S8 uses the camera as Bixby’s eyes (bit creepy), so you can point it at something and it will tell you all about it or where to buy it.

You can even use your S8 as a computer. Just plug it into the new Samsung DeX docking station (there’s no confirmed date as to when this will be available in the UK nor a definite price either), hook it up to a monitor and keyboard, and you have a smartphone-computer hybrid. It will let you do all the things you normally do on a PC, but powered by your phone.

And all the extras

But what about the important stuff, like battery life and processors? The new S8 might have all these fancy features, but does it need to be permanently plugged in to use them? Well, understandably, batteries aren’t Samsung’s favourite topic of conversation, but it’s understood that the S8 will have a similar battery life to the Galaxy S7 Edge. The chips that power the S8 will depend on where in the world you buy your phone, but they’ll use either Snapdragon or Exynos, which are both top notch so speed shouldn’t be an issue.

Of course, for anyone who likes their tech super-sized, then you’ve got the S8+ as well, which is a rather large 159mm x 74mm x 8mm . The battery is also bigger in the S8+ but, ultimately, there’s not a huge amount of difference between the two phones.

Summary

  • Ultra-smart facial recognition
  • Larger screen
  • Great camera on front and rear
  • Bixby virtual assistance

When can you get it?

So, when can you get your hands on a new S8 or S8+? They should be in stores from 28 April this year, although you can pre-order one and get it by 19 April if you can’t wait. In terms of cost, these are Samsung’s most expensive phones to date: the S8 can be yours for £689 and the S8+ will be priced at £779 .

If you don’t have several hundred quid to hand but still like the idea of a swanky new smartphone, then take a look at how far those pennies down the back of the sofa will go and comparethemarket.com for mobile phones.