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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

If you've had enough of Apple, or you're just one of those people who obsessively buys every Samsung release the very second it hits the shelves, then 28 April is a date to mark in your calendar. That's when the Galaxy S8 (and its plus-sized companion piece) is officially launched in the UK, and to help you decide whether it's a purchase you need to make, we've put together this handy guide.

What's new?

The main enhancement on the Galaxy S8 is Bixby, which is essentially Samsung's answer to Siri: an integrated voice-responsive assistant which - in theory - permits hands-free everyday web browsing and general app navigation. Bixby is said to have a good memory, which means it quickly picks up your phone habits over time, and uses them to help you take time-saving shortcuts.

The design of the phone is a little different - virtually the whole of the front of the phone is the screen, with very little border. It's also more curved at the edges which means it fits nice and snugly in your palm and supports one-handed use.

Samsung have also rolled out greater PC integration capabilities - meaning you can hook your device up to a desktop to allow you to type out more detailed notes, for example. To get the best out of this, though, you'll have to purchase a pricey docking station alongside it.

Galaxy or iPhone?

In today's increasingly homogenised tech world, the differences between Samsung's flagship smartphone and that of its closest rivals are few and far between. There are a couple of things worth noting though.

Firstly, Samsung haven't followed Apple's lead on removing the headphone jack. You can still hook up a pair to the Galaxy, which means you won't have to worry about paying through the nose for expensive wireless accessories that are easily damaged or misplaced.

The phones continue to support different software and, by all accounts, Bixby is said to be a personal assistant capable of rivalling - and in some areas (contextualisation, for example) bettering - Apple's Siri (even though we can probably expect a few teething issues in the early goings).

Samsung are still sticking with plain colours like white and black where Apple have boldly branched out into rose gold and red - but in practice this is only a minor difference that probably won't inform your decision.

Don't forget there is now a third wheel in the smartphone race in the shape of Sony's Xperia XZ - which is also worth a look if you're prepared to test the waters with another company.

Our verdict

The Galaxy S8 is that most rarest of tech launches - it's actually a reasonably substantial update on its predecessor, and although there's no stand-out feature it should definitely be top of your shopping list if you're in the market for a new smartphone.