Samsung Galaxy S8 price, specs, release date & features: Samsung's Bixby voice assistant is not ready for launch

Bixby was meant to be ready for a spring launch but now looks like it will be released in the summer

29/03/2017:Samsung has officially unveiled its new flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

Thanks to a virtually uncountable number of leaks in the months leading up to the launch, fans already had a near-complete picture of what the finished device was going to look like.

As expected, the company has moved from a physical home button to a software-based equivalent, which has in turn enabled it to fit the S8 with a display that reaches almost every edge of the device.

Samsung has also neglected to release a flat-screened version of its latest device, and both models will feature the company's signature curved edge. As such, the phone manfacturer has also done away with the now-redundant 'Edge' branding.

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The S8 range will be available in Midnight Black and Orchid Grey. A possible third colour, Arctic Silver, will be announced "in due course", Samsung said.

Rather than increasing the resolution to 4K, Samsung has sensibly kept the S8 and S8 Plus to a QHD+ resolution, with a pixel density of 570ppi and 529ppi respectively. Both devices also use a slightly unusual resolution of 18.5:9 - virtually the same as the LG G6. This means that the S8 will be tall and thin, and Samsung is touting its capacity for multi-tasking with two apps on the screen at once.

Samsung also claims that it's the world's first HDR-enabled phone, which is what LG also saidabout the G6. It seems that both phones will be set for a major showdown later on this year.

Performance-wise, it's nothing we didn't expect; the S8 features an octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 2.3GHz and a further four clocked at 1.7GHz. It also comes with 4GB of RAM, which isn't quite as much as some of its rivals; last year'sOnePlus 3T, for example, had a whole 2GB extra. Still, we expect Samsung to squeeze class-leading speeds from it.

It ships with Android 7.0 out of the box, and uses USB Type-C for charging. The Galaxy S8 packs a 3,000mAh battery, while the S8 Plus has a larger 3,500mAh cell. 64GB storage comes as standard too, which is always nice.

Features are also unsurprising. As expected, it comes with expandable MicroSD card storage and an IP68 waterproof rating, as well as wireless and fast charging. It's also borrowed the Note 7's iris recognition technology.

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Finally, Samsung has introduced a couple of unusual features with its latest devices. The most immediately attention-grabbing is its Bixby digital assistant, an AI-powered helper in the vein of Cortana, Alexa and Siri. Bixby will help you organise your calendar, answer questions and interact with various apps. This will be rolling out to Korean users first, followed by the US and the rest of the world.

The S8 will include a brand new productivity feature as well, in the form of the new DeX mode. Short for Desktop eXperience, DeX is a docking station that allows S8 owners to plug their phone into it and use it as a full desktop experience. Users will be able to use a monitor, mouse and keyboard to interact with apps, similar to Windows 10 Continuum.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S8 looks like a seriously impressive piece of hardware. With a gorgeous design, crowd-pleasing features and interesting selling points, Samsung's flagship might well be the phone to beat for 2017.

UK pre-orders open today and last until 19 April, and will be fulfilled from 20 April. The S8 will launch in the UK and Europe on 28 April, priced at 689 - the S8 Plus will cost 779.

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