Samsung Galaxy S8 review: The best phone on the market comes at a cost

 Samsung has had a hell of a year. A few months ago, the head of the company – Lee Jae-yong – had been arrested over South Korean governmental corruption scandal (not great). Before that, the company launched a smartphone that had the very real potential of exploding in your hand (absolutely not great). With all the setbacks, you can see why the Samsung Galaxy S8 needed to be a great device. So is it? Well, yes  – although it’s not as simple as that.

Samsung Galaxy S8 review main

The Samsung Galaxy S8 represents the pinnacle of smartphone technology in 2017. It’s beautiful, fast, has an insanely good camera, a fantastic display and a tonne of extra features – some good, some bad. In short, all the ingredients in place for this to be the best smartphone ever made.

However, things like Bixby (Samsung’s personal assistant) not being ready for launch, the fingerprint sensor is located in a less-than-ideal position, and the battery not being as good as its predecessor, make the phone frustrating.

Samsung Galaxy S8: Tl;Dr

  • Incredible camera
  • Sumptuous design
  • Placement of the fingerprint reader awkward
  • It’s blisteringly fast
  • But…it’s very expensive

Samsung Galaxy S8 review: Price and competition

At £610, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is in a rarefied company and currently only the LG G6 (£550), Google Pixel XL (£719) and iPhone 7 Plus (£679) breathe the same air. If you’re willing to take a drop in screen size, the regular Pixel and iPhone 7 are both cheaper at £599 and £579 respectively, yet offer a similar, but not identical, set of features.

Is it worth it? If you want the very best smartphone on the market, then yes. It’s cheaper than the Pixel XL, quicker, has waterproofing and a camera that’s very nearly as good. It’s better looking than Google’s phone, too, has a microSD card slot so you can expand the storage, and there’s more storage as standard as well. It’s better than the LG G6 and the iPhone 7, too, in almost every respect.

Even then you might say the price is too high, and I hear you on that front. However, the Samsung is not alone in raising UK prices to this level, as you can see by the prices of its rivals. In fact, it’s part of a general trend that has going on for some time now. You might not like it, but this the reality right now; in a year paying £700 or thereabouts for a top-end smartphone will seem normal.

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus deals

Best Samsung Galaxy S8 deals UK:

  • Vodafone – £42/month + £50 upfront (24 months)
  • Unlimited mins & texts | 16GB (4G) data | Total cost £1058
  • Buy now from Carphone Warehouse
  • EE – £42.99/month + £49.99 upfront (24 months)
  • Unlimited mins & texts | 5GB (4G) data | Total cost £1081.75
  • Buy now from Carphone Warehouse
  • O2 – £44/month + £49.99 upfront (24 months)
  • Unlimited mins & texts | 5GB (4G) data | Total cost £1105.99
  • Buy now from Carphone Warehouse
  • Three – £49/month + £49 upfront (24 months) – Get the first 6 months half price
  • Unlimited mins & texts | 12GB (4G) data | £1078
  • Buy now from Three

Samsung Galaxy S8 review: Design

There will be no Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge this year. Why? Because the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the device the S8 Edge would have been. Samsung’s new flagship is a phone with curved edges, and there’s no alternative.

The result is the best-looking phone on the market. Samsung has created an 18.5:9 “Infinity Display” that looks like no device you’ve ever seen before – well, none since the LG G6, anyway. The front of the phone is 100% glass, with the slimmest of bezels nestled above and below, resulting in an impressively high screen to body ratio of 84% (the Samsung Galaxy S7’s screen-to-body ratio was 72%).

This is a phone that feels great in your hand. It’s slim, smooth and light. However, it’s also slightly over-engineered. It’s a tall phone, which causes some problems during use. Hold the phone in your hand as if you want to unlock it using the rear fingerprint sensor and you’ll struggle to reach the home button without readjusting your grip. Grasp the device so you can reach the home button, however, and icons at the top of the screen become unreachable.


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