Samsung walked out of the ashes of the Note 7 debacle last year and came out with the Galaxy S8 and the S8 Plus, which had to be one of the best looking if not the best-looking phones we’d seen. Everything from that 18.5:9 aspect ratio infinity display that spills over the edge, to the glass back of the phone, it was something that screamed premium. Just when we were trying to digest all of this, the Note 8 was launched and it bumped up our expectations by that slight notch. So, it was a no brainer that these were going to be eclipsed by Samsung’s flagship for 2018.
This Sunday at the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Samsung unveiled its latest flagship phones, The Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus.
Now if you’re looking at these, you’re probably thinking that they look pretty familiar, and that’s because they do. They basically look exactly like the Galaxy S8 from last year, except for one major difference. You guessed it! The fingerprint scanner!
Samsung seems to have addressed our concerns regarding that odd placement of the fingerprint scanner on the flagships from 2017. So, for the Galaxy S9, Samsung fixed it! They moved it from next to the camera, to below the camera, which is way easier to reach, even on the larger model.
Other than that, in terms of design, they’re pretty much the same. They’re so similar that, at a glance one would find it almost impossible to differentiate between the two, the only caveat being that they were not kept face down. The S9 duos maintain that elegant, gorgeous and not to forget, a finger print magnet of a glass back. The size of the bezels remains the same as the last year’s models. This time they’re masked out a little better and they don’t stand out as much. It also maintains the tall 5.8 inch and 6.2-inch screens from last year. They come packed with the 18.5:9 aspect ratio Super Amoled screens from last year but are a tad bit brighter in comparison to the previous generation.
The dreaded Bixby button as well as the overall button placement layout has been carried on from its predecessor. At the same time, it’s good to see the 3.5mm headphone jack which hasn’t gone anywhere unlike the other companies which hopped onto the bandwagon driven by Apple to remove it altogether. Bixby now comes with a revamped UI and also has some added features to it including live signboard translation, object identification and many more.
Design similarities apart, there’s some significant changes that have been done under the hood. Starting it off with the small yet an appreciable change and that is the Stereo speakers. The top and the bottom speaker both work together to give you that stereo effect. While the difference is arguable small, the loudness has seen a noticeable bump by roughly 40%.
Now coming to the internal hardware changes, we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 powering the phone and is bundled with either 4 or 6 gigabytes of ram on the S9 and the S9 Plus respectively. Powering this beast of a phone is a juicy 3000 mAh battery on the S9 and a mightier 3500 mAh battery on the S9 Plus. Both of them have fast charging, wireless charging and are IP68 water and dust resistant. These duos come along with a 64 gigabyte internal storage and its bundled with a micro-SD card slot which is pretty rare to come by nowadays on smartphones.
The above might seem very familiar to S8 owners, but what isn’t familiar to them is the new and improved cameras that Samsung has been touting this year. On side by side comparison of the S9 and the S9 plus, you’ll notice that dual camera on the taller sibling which is very much like the cameras we’ve seen on the Note 8 while the shorter one just has a single lens. The dual camera lenses consist of your standard wide-angle lens and a telescopic lens which lets you get closer to the subject or do different types of blurring, which Samsung prefers to call , live focus effects. On both the phones however, you now have a variable aperture lens which goes from a bright f1.5 and you can close it down to a mere f2.4 in bright lighting conditions. To put it in layman terms, if you were in a very bright environment, you can shut down the aperture to get better photos and videos.
This is the first phone in the market to come with a mechanical, physically changing aperture. you can tweak it in the pro mode of the camera app. Along with that it comes with dual pixel autofocus which translates to a much smoother and quicker autofocus. Other changes include faster processing on chip which gives you better noise reduction in low light situations. More changes are present on the video side of things, with the camera now being able to shoot at 960 frames per second at 720p for short bursts which looks pretty promising on paper. Another feature is Samsung’s new ARemoji which is basically Samsung’s take on Animoji. It’s not quite the exact same thing but the effect is pretty similar.
Well that wraps it up for the Galaxy S9 and the S9 Plus which will be available for preorders on the 2nd of march and will be shipping on the 16th. They come in 3 color variants in the US, the Black, Coral Blue and a new Lilac Purple which doesn’t look that bad after all. There’s some rumors about a Silver Titanium International variant as well. The pricing should roughly be about the same as the Galaxy S8. If you’re in the market looking out for a new flagship smartphone, the S9/S9 Plus might just be worth your hard-earned green .