Several handsets were launched in various price segments at Mobile World Congress 2018. We witnessed some ground-breaking innovations in the form of the Vivo Apex concept and also experienced nostalgia with Nokia’s all-new banana phone, the Nokia 8110. But the most anticipated launch belonged to Samsung. The South Korean consumer electronics giant unveiled its much-awaited 2018 flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.
After an array of online leaks and renders, Samsung officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+ at a Galaxy Unpacked event at MWC. The latest flagship duo had been all over the news prior to the launch with online leaks and reports suggesting design, features, and price.
So let’s get started to know more about these new devices.
Galaxy S9 and S9+: Looks matter
Much of the design aspects of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have already been revealed through the innumerable leaked images and renders prior to the launch. Both devices mostly retained their form-factors and design from its last year’s predecessor, the Galaxy S8. Both the S9 and the S9+ sport a bezel-less edge-to-edge infinity display. The devices come with an ergonomic design that fits very comfortably in hand.
The fingerprint sensor continues to reside on the rear panel, but this time it’s placed just beneath the rear camera. In the Galaxy S8 series, the fingerprint sensor was right beside the camera, and the placement came in for much criticism.
Almost bezel-less display
Both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ sport a curved edge-to-edge display to provide a seamless visual experience with minimal distractions. Samsung during the event confirmed that the bezels on the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have been further narrowed from the S8 and S8+. The S9 sports a 5.8-inch AMOLED display whereas, the S9+ sports a 6.2-inch AMOLED display. Both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have a 3K QHD+ OLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels and an aspect ratio of 18.5:9.
It is interesting to note that the Galaxy S9’s infinity display has been awarded an “Excellent A+” grade by display evaluation experts at DisplayMate technologies. This makes the Samsung Galaxy S9’s display the best ever among all smartphones tested. Samsung also pointed out that the Galaxy S9’s OLED display hits a peak brightness of 1,130 nits, making it 10.7 percent brighter than the Galaxy S8.
Specifications and hardware
Speaking about the hardware and specifications of the devices, both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ offer an almost similar set of specifications minus the bigger display and dual-rear camera setup on the more expensive S9+.
Both devices are powered by the company’s own 10nm 64-bit Exynos 9810 Octa-core chipset in the European, Middle East, and African markets. The devices will be housing the all-new Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 845 chipset in the North American and Chinese markets. Both the S9 and S9+ come with a base storage of 64GB, which can be further expanded to 400GB via a microSD card. The Galaxy S9 features 4GB of RAM for multitasking and app-handling, while the larger S9+ is beefed up with 6GB of RAM.
As far as the connectivity options in these devices are concerned, they offer WiFi 802.11ac MIMO, 1.2Gbps (Cat-18) LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, and GLONASS. Luckily for some of us, unlike most of other smartphone makers, Samsung is still holding onto the 3.5mm headphone jack. Both the S9 and S9+’s audio is enhanced by AGK-tuned speakers to provide a thumping Dolby Atmos experience for all the content you choose to play.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is powered by a 3,000mAH battery, while the bigger S9+ comes with a 3,500mAH battery. Both these devices sport a USB 3.0 charging port with wireless as well as fast-charging abilities.
Both devices run the company’s proprietary TouchWiz UI on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. Samsung Galaxy S9 and the S9+ are offering AR emojis, with which users can create their own 3D avatar by scanning their faces. The device allows its users to create a range of emojis. All these emojis can be used as stickers and can be used on various social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. This is very similar to the iPhone X’s animoji feature.
Both devices come with a dedicated Bixby button. Bixby is Samsung’s AI assistant, which the company claims to have got smarter on these latest devices. With Bixby Vision on the Galaxy S9, users can now translate content real time just by pointing the camera at the content.
The devices also offer advanced locking mechanisms and include facial recognition and iris scanning, which is alongside the repositioned fingerprint scanner at the rear.
The camera is one of the major upgrades on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ compared to the previous year’s flagships, the S8 and S8+. Both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ offer an all-new dual aperture primary camera. The dual aperture on these devices integrates a mechanical aperture providing f/1.5 for low light and f/2.4 for brighter conditions. Samsung says that the dual-aperture allows the users to capture noiseless images even in low-light conditions.
The Galaxy S9 sports a 12-megapixels super speed dual pixel primary camera that is backed by Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) for better videos. The S9+, meanwhile, has a dual 12-megapixels primary camera for better depth effects in images. Both devices have an 8-megapixels secondary camera with an aperture of f/1.7 with auto-focus abilities.
Other interesting features of the devices include super-slow motion videos at 960fps and phase detection autofocus (PDAF). Samsung has also added an “auto-slo-mo” feature in the S9, which automatically detects the motion in the frame and records a slow-motion video of the moving object in the frame.
The Galaxy S9+ has received a whopping overall score of 99 on the DxOMark, which is the highest for any smartphone yet. The Galaxy S9+ dethroned the former champion Pixel 2 (which has a score of 98) and iPhone X’s 97. For the uninitiated, DxOMark is considered to be the best and most-regarded photography standard tool.
Pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the S9+ will hit the stores on March 16. Samsung has priced their flagships lower than what was expected. In the UK market, the Galaxy S9 starts from £739 and the Galaxy S9+ starts from £869. In the U.S., the S9 and S9+ start at $719.99 and $839.99, respectively.
Although Samsung resorted to the previous year’s flagship in terms of design, hardware (most of it), battery, and few other features, the latest S9 and S9+ have received best-in-class displays and cameras. Considering all these aspects, the aggressive pricing, and the features these two flagships offer, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are sure to attract the masses.
Photo credit: Samsung