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Samsung Galaxy S8 – what we know so far

Samsung's new high-end Galaxy S8 smartphone is imminent. We'll be there at the launch - but in the meantime, here's what we know so far

Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S8 smartphone on 29 March 2017. All rumours point to a high-end smartphone with an eye-watering price tag.

We’ll be at the official launch, to bring you our exclusive first impressions of the new smartphone. We can’t wait to see how it compares to its predecessor, the S7 – and to find out how it fares in our tough tests.

For now, we’ve rounded up the key rumours about the S8’s design and specs, to give you a flavour of what you can expect. Read on to find out whether it’s a phone worth getting excited about.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 – design

Many expect the Galaxy S8 to have a huge 5.8-inch display. This would be noticeably larger than the S7’s 5.1 incher, though due to a thin bezel the phone shouldn’t be much bigger in physical size.

We’re also expecting a curved screen, which is being dubbed an ‘infinity display’, and it’s rumoured that there’ll be no physical home button on the S8 – rather, it will be on-screen. This means that the fingerprint scanner may be located on the rear of the phone for fast unlocking. This is paired with reports that the new phone will feature an iris scanner, so you’ll be able to unlock your phone and confirm mobile payments with your eyes.

Similar to the LG G6, the Galaxy S8 is anticipated to be just more than twice as long as it is wide, with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. LG said that this helps make the G6 easier to hold in one hand – so we’re waiting to see whether Samsung makes a similar promise.

We’d be very surprised if the S8 didn’t match its predecessor’s IP68 rating. IP68 means that a phone can survive thirty minutes of immersion into 1.5 metres of water – handy for those of us with memories of thoughtlessly dropping a phone down the toilet.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – camera and battery

We reckon we’ll see a 12Mp camera on the back of the S8, with an f/1.7 aperture. Aperture relates to how much light the camera lens lets in – the smaller the aperture number, the more light, and so the better the image quality. F/1.7 is quite small, so the S8 should take good photos.

The front-facing camera may well be 8Mp – an increase from 5Mp on the S7. Our tests will reveal whether the S8 takes clearer and more flattering selfies as a result.

It’s believed that the S8 will have a 3000mAh battery, the same as in the S7. However, it’s not necessarily true that the battery life on the S7 and S8 will be identical – battery life depends on more than just battery size. When we send the S8 to our test lab, we’ll be assessing how long it lasts to figure out exactly how it stacks up against its rivals.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – processor

We’re hoping to see the Snapdragon 835 processor in the S8. This is the latest chip from Qualcomm, and should help things tick along nicely.

Manufacturers often talk about the latest processors doing things faster than their predecessors. We don’t really doubt that claim – but we care more about what it means in real life. When we send the S8 to our test lab, we’ll be examining just how quickly it powers through everyday tasks – and whether you’ll notice much change from the S7.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Bixby voice assistant

A seemingly confirmed feature of the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the Bixby voice assistant. This is a new voice assistant launched by Samsung, which focuses heavily on being easy to use.

Many of us are aware of voice assistants on phones that you can use to make calls, send texts, search for recipes etc., through systems like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant and Siri. Samsung says that Bixby will be different, because it’s based on the philosophy that machines should learn from and adapt to us – rather than the other way around.

According to Samsung, Bixby will support almost everything that you can do on the phone via touch, as opposed to a select few tasks. Plus, it will be context-savvy to help you find the information you need more quickly and easily.

Samsung claims that the new voice assistant can take direction even if you provide incomplete information. This means that you shouldn’t need to remember exactly what you need to say – the gist should be enough to get you by.

It seems that Samsung will make Bixby a more central element of the phone than what you find on many other smartphones, allegedly with a physical Bixby button on the side so you’ll be able to access it with just one press. We have mixed feelings about voice assistants, but will keep an open mind when we look at how useful this actually is in our in-depth tests.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – price and release date

When the Galaxy S7 was launched, it cost around £569 to buy sim-free. It’s possible that the Galaxy S8 will be similarly priced – though some rumours suggest it could set you back by around £700.

As outlined above, Samsung is anticipated to announce the Galaxy S8 on 29 March 2017. But the actual release date will be later than this.

You can expect to find the Galaxy S8 on shelves by around 21 April. We’ll be buying it as soon as it’s on sale, to send it straight to our test lab – and will bring you our extensive results shortly afterwards.

It’s worth waiting for our fully tested review before splashing out. With the S8 set to be among the priciest smartphones you can buy, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

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