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Samsung Galaxy S8 Review - Verdict

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Black (6)

Value For Money

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is available for £635 sim-free, or £719 sim-free for the S8+ which makes it one of the most expensive phones available. Other premium smartphones include the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (£719 sim-free), LG G6 (£649 sim-free), HTC U Ultra (£649 sim-free), Google Pixel (£599 sim-free), Huawei P10 (£569 sim-free), and Sony Xperia XZ (£499 sim-free). If you want the same camera, but don't mind the previous design, then the Samsung Galaxy S7 is excellent value for money at £419 sim-free.

Here's a round-up of some of the alternatives to look at:

  Sensor Lens OIS Screen WP GB Price
Kodak Ektra Smartphone 21mp f/2.0 Y 5.0 N 32 £449
Samsung Galaxy S8 12mp f/1.7 Y 5.8 Y 64 £635
HTC U Ultra 12mp f/1.8 Y 5.7 N 64 £495
OnePlus 3 16mp f/2.0 Y 5.5 N 64 £330
LG G6  13mp f/1.8 + Y 5.7 Y 32 £420
Sony Xperia XZ 23mp f/2.0 N * 5.2 Y 32 £399
Sony Xperia X Compact 23mp f/2.0 Y 4.6 N 32 £430
Moto Z 13mp f/1.8 Y 5.5 N** 32 £499
iPhone 7 Plus 12mp f/1.8 ++ Y ++ 5.5 Y 32 £719
iPhone 7 12mp f/1.8 Y 4.7 Y 32 £599
Google Pixel 12mp f/2.0 N * 5.0 N 32 £599

+ LG G6 - has two rear cameras, a standard 13mp, and an ultra wide-angle 13mp camera.
++ iPhone 7 Plus - has two (rear) cameras, a wide-angle (28mm equivalent with OIS) and a telephoto (56mm equivalent without OIS) lens
* Google Pixel / Sony Xperia XZ features electronic image stabilisation, using a gyro sensor
** Moto Z features a "water repellent coating" but is not classed as waterproof

Have a look at more smartphones in our Top 10 Best Smartphones for Photographers. You'll also need to buy a MicroSD memory card and a case or bag to keep your smartphone safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags, or have a look at the Best Samsung Galaxy S8 Cases.


Samsung Galaxy S8 Verdict

It seems strange that changing the screen ratio has made such a huge impact on the enjoyment of a smartphone, but a taller, narrower screen, means you've got plenty of space for apps, but you can also reach from one side to the other with one hand, and I'm able to reach the top and bottom of the phone with my thumb. The Samsung Galaxy S8 makes all other phones seem bulky with large frames, like when flatscreen TVs first came out and had huge frames. 

The style is excellent, with a thin, and smooth body, with curved edges everywhere you look, even in the corners of the screen. All of this is quite quickly ruined by the addition of a case, needed to protect the phone. Unfortunately, ours is already scratched on the back, after only a few days ownership, and we'd recommend a Ringke Fusion S8 case as a good budget option. You could go for the official Samsung S8 case, which makes it easier to identify where the fingerprint sensor is. The curved screen is also more difficult to find protectors for, and when text ends up going into the far left and right of the screen the curved design can make it more difficult to read the text, so there are some drawbacks to the design. But drawbacks we're happy to live with.

The S8 has all of the benefits of the S7, including the same camera, waterproofing, MicroSD card slot, but with exceptional design improvements, increased memory and storage, as well as improved performance. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has one of the best cameras on a smartphone available, and the S8, with effectively the same camera, gives similarly excellent results, with one of the brightest lenses available at an impressive f/1.7. The camera is also capable of taking sharp, detailed images that look great, with colour that pops. With optical image stabilisation, ultra-fast phase-detection focus, and a 12-megapixel sensor, combined with a bright aperture, the S8 performs admirably in low-light.

The camera app gives excellent control, particularly in the Pro mode, where you can change manual settings, and shoot raw images. There are numerous shooting modes and effects, as well as the option to download additional features straight into the camera app. Add in the fact that you can use the camera underwater if the opportunity comes about, and you have an extremely capable camera, and smartphone, at your disposal.

If you want to shoot photos with your smartphone, and want one of the best possible cameras available, as well as a phone that impresses with a large 5.8inch screen, and a stylish design, then the Samsung Galaxy S8 is definitely at the cutting edge. For those that don't like the recent trend of smartphones growing in size, the Samsung Galaxy S8 offers an impressive screen size, whilst remaining compact thanks to the tall, but narrow display.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Pros

  • Beautiful screen and phone design
  • Bright f/1.7 lens for front and rear cameras
  • 4K (UHD) video recording
  • Extremely fast camera focus
  • Adobe DNG raw shooting
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • Waterproof

Samsung Galaxy S8 Cons

  • Rear glass design attracts fingerprints 
  • Rear glass more likely to shatter compared to metal
  • Rear fingerprint sensor position
  • High price sim-free

Overall Verdict

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