The Galaxy S8 is Samsung's best value for money phone yet

Galaxy S8 Exploded View

IHS Markit has torn apart Samsung's latest flagship device in order to understand how it was made, what's inside and how much money it would have cost to build.

And the headline finding is that with an estimated bill of materials (BOM) production cost of $307.50, the Galaxy S8 genuinely is a premium phone, especially considering that buying one off the shelf without a contract costs $720.

For instance, the estimated BOM is $43.34 higher than that for the S7 and $36.29 more than for the Galaxy S7 Edge.

"The higher total BOM costs for the Galaxy S8 seem to be part of a trend that reflects something of an arms race in features among Apple, Samsung and other phone manufacturers, as they all try to add new and distinguishing hardware features," said Andrew Rassweiler, IHS Markit senior director of cost benchmarking services.

As well as premium components -- 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage as standard, a Gigabit LTE modem, plus of course its biggest single selling point, that curved 5.8-inch AMOLED display with a heavy-duty haptic engine that can convince uses that touching the screen is the same as ‘clicking' a home or back button -- Samsung hasn't scrimped on casing materials. The back panel is glass and the sides are metal and the whole device is 1.5mm thinner than the Galaxy S 7.

However, during the teardown, IHS noticed that this reduction in thickness -- to make single-handed use easier -- plus the drastic reduction in screen bezel, may have stopped the phone from being even better.

The handset has the same single-lens camera system found on last year's flagship when the iPhone has moved to a dual-camera setup. This is because, according to IHS, Samsung was forced to put the phone's fingerprint sensor on the device's rear. The screen design meant that integrating a fingerprint scanner on the front was not possible.

Gutting the latest Samsung also has the added benefit of getting a clearer idea of what to expect, internally at least from the next-generation iPhone, expected to launch this September.

"While there are new non-hardware features in the Galaxy S8, such as a virtual assistant called Bixby, from a teardown perspective the hardware in the Galaxy S8 and that of the forthcoming new iPhone is expected to be very similar," Rassweiler said.