The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the only smartphone to have ever made us look at our iPhone's Retina display with disgust. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also undoubtedly the best smartphone on the market right now. Assuming it isn't prone to catching on fire, Samsung's onto a winner, and Apple should be pretty worried about it.
Best in class display, gorgeous design and compact for a 5.8in smartphone, slick performance, excellent camera, decent battery life.
Awkward rear-facing fingerprint sensor, the price.
Performance and storage
Samsung has been quick to tout the Galaxy S8 as the first 10nm smartphone on the market, having arrived ahead of Sony's Snapdragon 835-powered Xperia XZ Premium.
Galaxy S8 buyers in the UK won't find Qualcomm's flagship chip under the hood of their handset, and will instead find Samsung's homegrown octa-core Exynos CPU running four cores at 1.7GHz and four at 2.3GHz. Samsung is claiming a load of gubbins, such as a '30 per cent' increase in performance, but all you need to know is that it's fast. Incredibly fast. We've been using the S8 for just shy of a week, and haven't yet managed to cause it to show any signs of stuttering or slowdown.
The S8 blows the competition out of the water when it comes to benchmarking, too. The phone's multi-core CPU benchmark score came out at 6880 in Geekbench 4, trumping the 5228 scored by the Galaxy Note 7. While there's few, similarly-specced smartphones to have come out this year to compare this against, the Google Pixel XL scored 4086, for example, and the OnePlus 3T 4321. Yep, the Galaxy S8 is a powerhouse.
On the storage front, the Galaxy S8 comes with 64GB storage. There's a 128GB model, too, but Samsung has for some reason decided to make this available in China and Korea only. We can't complain, though, as there's a built-in microSD slot that means the storage can be expanded up to 2TB. If 2TB microSD cards existed, that is.
The words 'Samsung' and 'software' in the same sentence have never filled us with my joy. However, it seems the firm is trying to shake its reputation for loading up Android with bloatware and widgets and is offering a stripped-back experience on the S8 and, believe it or not, we're actually fans of it.
One of the most noticeable changes on the S8 is to the app tray, in that, er, there isn't one on the home screen. However, swipe your finger up or down from the main display and you're taken to your apps, which feels like the most natural way this has been implemented on an Android phone yet. In a way, it's more iPhone-like and makes getting to apps quick and easy.
The app icons themselves are sharper and more rounded, and the general look and feel of the menus are more fluid than before, with fewer angular shapes and more of a 'natural' feel. Again, more iPhone-like.
Thankfully, Samsung hasn't shoved too many of its own apps onto the S8. Of course, you'll find the usual Calendar, Email and Health apps, along with Samsung's Knox security suite which let's biz users set up a standalone secure work environment. It has added some nifty software touches, though, and we found ourselves using the split-screen mode, that lets you use two apps simultaneously, quite frequently. Oddly, though, this isn't turned on by default.
Of course, though, Samsung's most notable software addition is Bixby, its long-awaited rival to Apple's Siri. The much-hyped Bixby Voice functionality isn't yet available in the UK, and probably won't be for some time, but Bixby Home, Reminder and Vision will be up and running at launch.
Bixby Home, which will fire up when the dedicated Bixby hardware key is pushed (and is also accessible by swiping left on the display), is an HTC-style homescreen, filled with things Bixby 'thinks' you'll want to see, be it your daily schedule, recent news, emails, and activity stats.
While we've long-avoided HTC's similar feature, we found ourselves checking Bixby Home multiple times a day - and while we haven't been using the S8 for long, it's noticeably started to learn out routine and show us more relevant information.
Bixby Reminders does what it says on the tin, although it only works with a handful of Samsung's own apps at present, while Bixby Vision is a nifty camera feature, that lets you scan an object to receive more information about it, or to be offered up a link to buy it online.
Beyond Bixby and a sprinkling of software touches, which also includes a one-handed mode, power saving functionality and a handy screenshotting Smart Capture features, the Galaxy S8 serves up a largely intact Android experience. What's more, a long-press of that virtual home button now serves up Nougat's impressively-contextual Google Assistant.
Next: Cameras, battery life and verdict