After months of leaks, rumours and endless speculation, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is finally official, and you're definitely going to want one.
It's more than a little bit special: you can forget smartphones, the world's first superphone just landed. Having shaken off delays and the shadow of last year's combusting Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, the Galaxy S8 is a phone unlike anything that has preceded it.
With a massive screen squeezed into a relatively small body, it's a device that offers no compromise. There's oodles of power backed up by a near endless list of features and high-end components, plus software upgrades that have listened to consumer demand.
It's more than the mere sum of its parts, too. On first use, the Samsung Galaxy S8 isn't just shaping up as the phone of 2017 – instead, this will go down as a piece of smartphone history. Why? Well there's this market-changing lot for a start.
1. Its near edge-to-edge design
Wow. That's what comes to mind when you first see the Samsung Galaxy S8. Sure, it still looks like a traditional smartphone – there's the now customary combination of metal and glass – but this isn't just another phone.
Instead, this is a glimpse into the future, and one that's been made possible thanks to cutting down the screen-surrounding frame. The curved edge display technology that Samsung has been playing with over the past couple of years is now the only option, and has been squeezed within a body that features heavily reduced bezels.
This has been achieved by killing off the phone's physical home button, allowing the massive 5.8-inch screen to be fitted within a body barely any bigger than last year's 5.1-inch Galaxy S7. It might not sound like a big deal, but the impact is huge.
It makes the S8 look like a sci-fi accessory and a device that brings excitement back to smartphone design.
The S8 isn't alone either. The larger Samsung Galaxy S8+ slots a giant 6.2-inch display in to a phone with a smaller overall footprint than Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. It's a design that makes everything else look dated, and will surely be the mould in which all future phones shape themselves.
2. That stunning screen
The Samsung Galaxy S8's screen isn't just big, it's damned pretty too. The 5.8-inch panel features a stunning 2960 x 1440 pixel QHD+ resolution that delivers a razor sharp 570 pixels-per-inch image density. While this is all well and good, it's hardly ground-breaking.
What is more unique, however, is what else this "Infinity Display" has to offer. The S8's redesigned form has forced the screen to be stretched out, moving to a new, elongated 18.5:9 aspect ratio.
Why does this matter? Well, it makes the phone more enjoyable for watching video content, with those letterbox black bars that usually accompany on-the-move movie viewing disappearing in favour of all-encompassing visuals.
That's not all either. The S8's screen also features HDR abilities, supporting deeper, richer blacks, brighter colours and more a more natural, immersive overall image. Assuming you can find compatible content that is. Fortunately, with Netflix and Amazon Prime now offering HDR content, we're only going to see more of this moving forward.
3. Instant facial recognition
By ditching the traditional physical home button, the Samsung Galaxy S8 might have made room for a larger screen, but it has also seen the phone's integrated fingerprint scanner relocated to the rear of the device.
If you prefer your biometric security measures up front though, don't worry. Yes, you might not be able to get as finger-friendly with the face of the phone, but thanks to inbuilt facial recognition software, you won't need to.
Letting the phone learn your face, the S8 can use the intricate uniqueness of your mug to offer ever more robust device security. This isn't a gimmick either, it works brilliantly.
Using the phone's front-facing camera, it managed to read our face just by holding the phone in front of us. There were no mis-reads and false starts. Even as we moved from areas of light to shade, the S8 quickly and accurately unlocked the phone to the site of our face while keeping others out.
Smartphone security is becoming increasingly important, and with facial recognition this effective now possible, we'll all soon be wondering how we ever managed having to place our finger in certain places.
4. The best Android skin yet
Android is a great operating system in its own right, but when smartphone manufacturers get their handset on it, they all too regularly skin it in bloated custom interfaces that build on the basics but generally fail to add any meaningful improvements.
Samsung's heavy TouchWiz interface has been guilty of this in the past, but no more. The company's new Samsung UX is far more refined, giving the S8 a stylish, almost sophisticated look.
Unlike Apple's iOS which has always been beautifully simple but not the most customisable, the new Samsung UX ticks both boxes. It's also going to force rival Android manufacturers such as Sony, HTC and Huawei to follow suit.
The Samsung UX might give the S8 a tidier, more user-friendly experience than expected, but it's the platform's knock-on effect to the rest of the Android community that will be more telling. If the competition doesn't follow suit, Samsung will talk off into the sunset, a legion of smartphone users following it.
Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa and Google has the uninspiringly titled Google Assistant. Voice-controlled smart assistants are now a must have so, well, Samsung has added its own as part of the Galaxy S8: Bixby.
This isn't your standard Siri-a-like, however. Instead of focussing on bringing the great and the good of the internet to your phone, Bixby is more about making your phone's mass of features easier to access.
Using nothing but your voice, Bixby lets you do all the usual – play music, send a text and order an Uber – but, with contextual awareness, builds on this. You can ask it to find you photos taken in London, unearth that settings mode you were struggling to locate or check reviews of the wine you just bought using the camera and the internet.
It's not all about vocal cues either. Things run deeper. Take a photo of a landmark and not only will Bixby know where you are and what you're looking at, but be able to offer recommendations such as things to do or places to eat too.
It's early days for Bixby, not least because full UK support won't be available on day one, but the signs are strong for a smarter, more robust digital assistant having finally arrived.
6. A world first processor
OK, so processors aren't the sexiest of smartphone features, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 again goes above and beyond the norm to offer something special, the world's first 10 nanometre chip.
OK, bear with us here, this is a bigger deal than it sounds. Despite increasing processing power by 10% and graphical capabilities by more than 20%, the S8's chip is smaller than ever. This means it takes up less space inside the phone, allowing room for more features or slimmer devices.
It's also more efficient, helping boost battery life while still giving a massive octa-core push to whatever tasks you throw at it, making mobile gaming smoother and new VR functionality possible.
The whole smartphone industry is moving to 10nm processors, the Galaxy S8 just got there first and is doing great things with it. Bundled with the new Samsung DeX computer dock, the S8 is powerful enough to completely replace your PC, running its own desktop mode than when paired with a monitor, keyboard and mouse, makes this the only pocketable computer you'll need.
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