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.
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.
The Best Gadgets You Can Buy In 2017
Xbox One S
If you own a 4K TV and also own an original Xbox One then the Xbox One S is the console for you. It is quite simply Microsoft’s best Xbox ever, it’s also the cheapest 4K Blu-ray player you’ll be able to buy this side of Christmas. Your games collection will look stunning and if you trade in your old console the relatively small cost shouldn’t sting while you wait for Microsoft’s uber-console Project Scorpio to arrive next year.
Apple iPhone 7
This is Apple’s best iPhone ever, and if we’re honest it’s one of their most innovative devices yet. Its exceptional camera, combined with with a slim, water-resistant body mean that while it's not a leap in design it is a leap in just about everything else. No it doesn't have a headphone jack, but wireless audio is finally ready.
Sky Q as a complete package is the future, not just one single feature.It’s knowing that everything you’ve ever recorded is available in every room. It’s knowing that you can download any recorded show onto your iPad. It’s also knowing that every Sky Q box also doubles as a WiFi hotspot.This is where Sky Q makes sense. This is an all-in-one system, it does literally everything. There’s no switching, no painful tinkering, it all neatly fits together and if there’s one thing us humans like it’s everything working just as it should.
This is Google’s iPhone. It’s that simple. As such there are achievements and compromises. If you’re after an incredibly well-built, powerful Android flagship, Google have given you a truly five-star smartphone. If you’re a photographer, the Pixel’s camera and cloud storage option make this a no brainer. This is Google's first 'made by us' smartphone and it's absolutely brilliant.
Hive Active Heating 2 Review
If your boiler is compatible and you’re willing to spend the initial £249 (including installation) then Hive is one of the most complete smart home systems we’ve ever seen. While Nest offers third-party accessories like Philips Hue, Hive almost fights back by keeping things simple: If it’s got the Hive logo on it you know it works. Components are reasonably priced and the entire system has been utterly rock solid, we haven’t had a single issue since installation.
Amazon Echo works best when you have other gadgets that it can utilise such as Hive, Nest or Philips Hue. On its own its an incredibly smart speaker, paired with these other gadgets though and it becomes the fully fledged conduit to your home. It’s also really good at doing homework. Alexa really is the first gadget we actually felt comfortable talking to.
Roli Lightpad Block
Don't be alarmed by its alien appearance. This is actually one of the most innovative music-making gadgets we've used all year. A large transparent gel-like surface is both touch and pressure sensitive allowing you to create music in a way that's both utterly unique and incredibly intuitive. The accompanying app is properly easy to use and once mastered the Lightpad can become the only tool you need to create an entire song.
Apple Watch Series 2
The Series 2 is the complete package. It’s the smartwatch that we feel Apple always wanted to make. It’s a fitness tracker, health monitor and wellness device that’ll help you stay fit and, just as importantly, calm in mind.
BeoPlay A2 Active By B&O Play
At £299 this is not a cheap option, however for that money you’ll get a product that’s just as happy being your main living room speaker as it is keeping you company on a road trip. The sound quality is truly room-filling and at the high standard you would expect for a Bang & Olufson product. The A2 Active is quite simply one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is powerful but won’t run out of battery, beautiful yet able to work underwater and capable of transporting you to alien worlds through the medium of virtual reality. If there’s a product that encapsulates all the of the best technologies on offer today it’s this one. Oh and it won't catch fire, so that's nice.
At the moment, if you own a PS4 and are desperately excited to get into virtual reality, PlayStation VR is the only place to start. It’s comfortable, gloriously easy to use and when the hardware and software work in harmony it’s an utterly breathtaking experience. Visceral, emotional and yet entirely accessible, it’s a technological marvel.
Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature
Anyone who wants an industry-leading sound but without the usually eye-watering price tag. Yes, these are £699, but when you think that the average audiophile will spend upwards of £1000 on a pair of HiFi-quality headphones these make every bit of sense. They’re B&W’s best headphones ever and they’re quite frankly one of the best pairs of headphones we’ve ever used.
PlayStation 4 Pro
If you’re looking for an affordable (it costs as much as the original PS4) entry into the world of 4K gaming then the PS4 Pro is a no brainer. Pair it with a 4K HDR TV and games look absolutely astonishing. At present most games are simply being given a new coat of paint but going forward there will be an army of titles designed with this console in mind.
The OnePlus 3T is simply a continuation of the ethos that makes OnePlus phones so good. It’s exceptionally well-built, powerful and offers you everything you could want in an affordable and meaningful package. No smartphone will give you more value for money.
Beats by Dre Powerbeats3 Wireless
Beats by Dre
While Apple's AirPods might have got most of the limelight in the post-iPhone 7 world it's actually Apple-owned Beats who have given us the ultimate solution to the lack of a headphone jack.The Powerbeats3 are ultra-portable, durable, wireless headphones that are a doddle to set up and last for days then we’ve found the pair for you. They sound great, they’re comfy, they’re perfect for sports and they last for days. These are very, very good.
TVs are massive these days. They're also really really expensive. The KS9000 then has a very special place in our hearts because at a very sane 49-inches it's the most living room-friendly TV we've seen in recent years. Oh and because it's part of Samsung's flagship range you're still getting probably one of the best 4K TVs on the market.
Sonos Play:5 (2nd Gen)
While it was released in December of 2015, Sonos' newest speaker has played an undisputedly important role in how we consume music in 2016. This was the year of wireless and Sonos continued to show us that when it comes to ditching those wires, they were one of the best.
Withings Activite Pop
This is the anti-fitness tracker of fitness trackers. Boasting a beautifully minimalist design the Pop is all about getting the job done without shouting about it. A simple measurement dial at the bottom shows you varying metrics for how active you're being while Withings' app reveals just how much data is actually being collected. While Fitbit has led the way in Fitness trackers, Withings has been offering even the most resistant consumer a change to start taking better care of themselves./