The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have finally arrived in the market, and promises to be one of the top-notch smartphones of 2018 (without an actual notch, mind you). This duo pack some exciting new features like a variable aperture camera, HDR 10 display and much more. At first glance, these phones look exactly like the last year’s flagship but they pack some serious improvements under the hood. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what Samsung is offering us this year.
Design | Perfect-Sized With Slight Improvements:
The Samsung Galaxy S9 follows the same design class as the Galaxy S8 but is ergonomically much better with its improved screen to body ratio and the new metal frame with a matte finish around the edges which offers a lot more grip. The curved edges are improved to easily wrap our hands around this pretty gorgeous looking device. The biggest improvement in the design department is the repositioned fingerprint which is now placed in the middle just below the camera where it should actually be. The top and bezels are even smaller which allow fitting a similar size screen in a body smaller than Galaxy S8.
The back is still made up of glass and has the same glossy finish. The iris scanner and other sensors upfront are even better hidden for design improvements, the screen is also a touch darker to obscure the lines between the body and display a bit more to make the device look even more attractive. Other design elements and the button layout are all same as last year.
Display | The Best In The Biz:
There is no doubt that Samsung creates the best displays in the market and takes it to the next level with every new flagship. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ sport an incredibly gorgeous display that will instantly draw your attention the moment you look at it. It is a super AMOLED panel with a slightly taller 18.5:9 aspect ratio and 2950 x 1440p resolution. The color reproduction and contrast levels are really great, it even has screen customization option which offers default adaptive mode and a DCI-P3 color gamut covering ‘AMOLED cinema’ mode. You can also tweak colors according to your liking by changing the amount blue, green and red.
It also features HDR10 support which will allow you to stream HDR content from sources such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. This offers better contrast and enables wider gamut of colors in videos. The viewing angles on this device are also good. Overall the Samsung Galaxy S9 features the best-looking smartphone display on the market.
Hardware | Pretty Much The Same:
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are both powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 845 processor which makes the device 25 percent faster than its predecessor. However, in some market, you can expect to see Samsung’s latest Exynos processor. The Galaxy S9 comes with 4 Gigs of RAM and the S9 Plus comes with 6 Gigs of RAM; you get 64 Gigabytes of internal storage and even a micro SD card for expandable storage.
The phone has the same IP68 water resistance so you should not worry even if you drop it in a pool. The speakers support Dolby Atmos surround sound technology which now produces stereo sound and are 40 percent louder. You get a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can connect your favorite high-end wired headphones. The battery on S9 is 3000 mAh and on S9 Plus is 3500 mAh.
Camera | Redefines The Experience:
The Camera is the biggest change, the biggest new feature that you will be looking for in order to upgrade to the latest flagship. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are first phones to feature a mechanically adjustable aperture which can switch between very bright f/1.5 to a smaller f/2.4 depending on the lighting conditions. These phones are also the first ones to have this wide aperture which will allow you to shoot in extreme low light conditions.
The Camera app will automatically switch to the wider aperture if the exposure will be less than 100 Lux. You can also control the aperture and other camera settings manually using the pro mode in the app. You will know the importance of this feature especially if you are a photographer, and now you are going to have it on your smartphone.
The 12 megapixel sensor now comes with a second generation dual-pixel autofocus technology for faster and better focusing. The low light performance is now 30% better thanks to the improved multi-frame noise reduction technology.
Another great feature is that the camera can record videos in insanely hi FPS; especially in 720p you can record videos at 960 FPS which will allow you to make some slick slow-mo footage.
The S9 comes with a single camera while the S9 Plus features a dual camera setup for different effects like ‘Live Focus’. The S9 Plus’ secondary camera is same as the last year and does not feature a variable aperture, it is a telephoto lens with a fixed aperture of f/2.4.
Both the phones rock an 8 megapixel f/1.7 autofocus camera integrated with facial recognition technology. In the front camera mode, you will find Samsung’s take on the iPhone X’s Animoji, which it calls AR Emoji. This AR Emoji will capture the image of your face using over 100 points and will then convert it into a 3D character with your facial features, you can also change the style and hairs of your character. There are over 18 different expressions available that are accessible in the keyboard as GIF for use in messaging apps.
Software And Performance | Experience UI On Top Of Android Oreo:
The Samsung Galaxy S9 offers pretty smooth and snappy performance thanks to the Snapdragon 845 processor and the improved “Samsung Experience 9.0 UI”. Although f you don’t like the Samsung’s colorful user interface this might not be the phone for you.
It is running the latest version of Android Oreo out of the box. The Bixby is still present which is not that great and you will end up disabling it and will use Google Assistant instead. Some other minor tweaks have been made to improve the overall user experience.
Battery | Mediocre Battery Life:
The battery performance of this device is average. It will last a day a day, no more, no less. The S9 features a 3000 mAh battery while the S9+ feature a slightly bigger 3500 mAh battery. If you’re a power user, don’t expect to get through a day without charging up the Galaxy S9 but thanks to wireless and fast charging I don’t think that it is such a big problem.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a really impressive device that offers a stellar camera, great performance, and brilliant hardware. Although if you are using the Samsung Galaxy S8 don’t even consider upgrading at this point as you will not experience that much of a difference. That said, you can get your hands on the standard S9 for about $720 and the S9+ for about $870.