The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are the best reviewed Galaxy S handsets for a long time.
But as you’d expect for a premium phone, there’s a premium price to pay. Especially if you’re buying it off-contract.
Fancy the S8 SIM free? You’re looking at £689. Want the larger S8 Plus instead? That’ll be £779. By anyone’s standards, that’s a big lump sum to find.
The good news is there’s help at hand. With Samsung’s Upgrade Programme, you can get your hands on the S8 right now and spread the cost in monthly payments. So there’s no need to blow a big hole in your budget.
That’s not all, though. As the name might suggest, the biggest selling point of the Upgrade Programme is that it allows you to upgrade to next year’s top-of-the-range Galaxy S phone when it arrives.
So how exactly does the Upgrade Programme work? When can you upgrade to the new model? And how much is going to cost you? Read on as we outline everything you need to know.
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What is the Samsung Galaxy Upgrade Programme?
Samsung’s programme is designed with two things in mind:
- 1) To make it easier to buy a phone SIM-free and off-contract
Normally if you want to buy the Galaxy S8 SIM-free, you’ve got to find a lump sum of £689. Not with the Upgrade Programme.
Like hire purchase schemes that you’ll no doubt be familiar with, the Upgrade Programme lets you spread your payments. So there’s no need to fork out for the whole thing in one go
- 2) Make it simpler to upgrade
After 12 months of your contract has elapsed, you’ve got the option to swap your handset for an up-to-the-minute model. That means you’re not stuck with ‘last year’s phone’ when there’s a newer, slicker handset on the market.
How does the upgrade part work?
Buy the S8 on Samsung’s Upgrade Programme and 12 months after signing up, you’ll get a message giving you the option to get a newer Samsung phone instead.
If you decide to upgrade, you’ll have to return the S8 to Samsung. Once they’ve checked the handset and have deemed there’s no ‘excessive damage’ and it’s not ‘beyond repair’, you’ll be eligible to upgrade.
At this point Samsung will close your current contract. Then after a credit check, you’ll start a new contract a month later, with the option to upgrade to a new phone after 12 months if you want to.
What about if I don’t want to upgrade?
There’s no obligation to upgrade, if you don’t want to.
When you buy a handset on the Samsung Upgrade Programme, you sign up for a 24-month contract.
If, after 12 months, you’re happy with the phone you’ve got you can keep hold of it and see out the remaining 12 months of your contract. At which time, the phone belongs to you outright.
How much will it cost to buy the S8 on the Upgrade Programme?
As we’ve said above, the scheme works a bit like hire purchase. So you pay a bit more than you would you do to buy the phone outright. But that extra is for the right to spread your payments.
By way of example, if you were to pick up the standard version of the S8 now, you’d pay £29.76 per month spread over 24 months with an interest rate of 14.9%, plus a one-off deposit of £68.90.
Over the course of 24 months that works out at £783.14, compared with the standard retail price of £689.
If you exercise the option to upgrade after 12 months, you’ll have paid £426.02. Samsung then uses the value of the phone you’re trading in, so there’s nothing to pay to upgrade to the new model.
As well as not having to find a big lump sum, the extra outlay also buys you the freedom to swap network/SIM provider whenever you want.
That’s in contrast to networks’ early upgrade schemes, such as O2 Refresh. These also allow you to upgrade after a year, but only if you stick with the network you’re currently contracted to.
Ready to get the S8 on the Samsung Upgrade Programme now? Find out more and pick it up here.
How good is the Galaxy S8?
The S8 is a real breath of fresh air. That’s thanks largely to Samsung’s decision to adopt a radically different design from what we’re used to.
The crystal-clear QuadHD+ Infinity Screen takes up the entire front of the phone. That means Samsung has managed to equip the S8 and S8 Plus with large screens, without making the phone itself any bigger.
Just as noteworthy and new this year is the Bixby voice assistant. It’s designed so that everything you do with a touchscreen, you can do with voice commands alone. Whether that’s checking what the weather’s going to be like, searching for a perfect restaurant or taking photos on command.
And there are better cameras too. Although both the S8 and S8 Plus retain the same high-grade 12-megapixel camera as the S7, this time around it’s got a larger 1.7f lens to let in more light. So you can expect better results in low light conditions.
To help you get the best shot possible, it’s also equipped with multi-frame processing. This neat feature means that every time you take one shot, the camera takes three. Then blurs them together, so you’ve got the optimal image.
Want more about the S8's Bixby voice assistant? Here's the five key things you need to know.