It’s here! Or rather, they’re here, because (as expected) the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes in two forms.
They’re both rather lovely, and packed with new tech guaranteed to leave fans salivating.
1) There are two versions
The whole every-flagship-comes-in-two-versions thing reaches ridiculous heights with the S8 - literally.
The standard version of the S8 has a 5.8in screen, while the S8+ has a surely-that’s-too-big 6.2in display. That means that (in terms of screen size, at least) the S8+ is actually a fair bit bigger than last year’s ill-fated Galaxy Note 7; indeed, so is the regular S8.
That might sound like Samsung’s gone too far down the bigger-is-better route, but in dimension terms they’re actually not that vast. Both phones have an 18.5:9 display ratio, which makes them taller than the competition but keeps the width down. Plus, they’re impressively thin.
For comparison, the 6.2in S8+ is around the same height as the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus and considerably slimmer.
Other than screen size, the only difference between the phones is that the S8+ gets a bigger battery. Oh, and the price.
2) They're both beautifully curved
No, that’s not an S8 Edge you’re looking at above - it’s the regular S8, because this year there’s no Edge version, and those curved sides are instead present on both models of the phone.
It’s a sensible move, because price aside we always preferred the Edge version of the S6 and S7. The Infinity Display, as Samsung terms it, wraps round the sides of the phone so it appears to trail off into nothingness and the whole thing looks impossibly futuristic. From the front, the S8 and S8+ are almost entirely glass.
The fingerprint sensor has been moved (more on that below) and there’s no discernable border between bezel and screen. They look fantastic.
3) They have superb screens
The S8 and S8+ both get 2K screens with 2960x1440 resolution - Samsung’s leaving the 4K thing to Sony and its Xperia XZ Premium. There are still more than enough pixels for a great viewing experience though, and it’s further helped by Samsung’s usual AMOLED screen tech, which gives you great colours and brightness.
What’s more, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are also packing HDR. In fact, they’re the first phones of any kind to be certified for HDR Mobile Premium, meaning they’ll be expertly placed to showcase Netflix and Amazon Prime when they launch their respective mobile HDR streams.
It's also an always-on display, so you get quick-glance access to notifications without needing to constantly tap the screen.
4) There's no home button (sort of)
There’s no home button on the S8 and S8+ - or rather there is, but it’s not a physical one.
This is a big change for Samsung, which has always had that distinctive button down the bottom of its phones, but this year it’s instead gone for a software button built into the glass. It has haptic feedback - as on the iPhone - so that you know when you’ve pressed it.
To make it all possible, Samsung’s moved the fingerprint sensor round to the back of the phone, which is likely to be a Marmite decision. Some people hate rear fingerprint sensors, but on the plus side...
5) They'll scan your eyes
...maybe it won’t matter that the fingerprint sensor is now on the back, because the eye-scanning tech that first appeared in the Note 7 reappears here.
The idea is that the S8 takes a few photos of your face, stores it in its memory, then recognises you when you glance at the screen and pops into life. We loved it on the Note and provided it works as seamlessly here it should massively reduce the number of times you need to use a fingerprint anyway.