No pair of smartphones make a bigger splash at the start of each year than Samsung’s Galaxy S line.
Year after year, whatever Samsung launches during Mobile World Congress (or after, like what happened in 2017), people all around the world take notice, while rival brands take notes.
For 2018, we have the Galaxy S9 and S9+. If this pair looks awfully familiar, we can’t blame you.
There are two models: The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of the two with a 5.8-inch AMOLED Infinity Display and 3000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S9+ has a larger 6.2-inch AMOLED Infinity Display and beefier 3500mAh battery.
Turn the phones around and you’ll find relocated fingerprint sensors. They’re no longer beside the rear camera and are placed in a more convenient spot below to prevent accidental smudges on the camera lens.
Look again and you’ll see that only the larger model has a dual-camera setup. Both sensors have 12 megapixels and optical image stabilization like on the Galaxy Note 8, with one lens having 2x optical zoom.
What’s special here — and this applies to the smaller Galaxy S9, as well — is the Dual Aperture feature. This means the primary shooter can shift between apertures f/1.5 and f/2.4. The former creates a larger opening and brings in more light, whereas the latter is sharper in bright environments.
To everyone’s delight, there’s still a 3.5mm audio port on board and IP68-rated water and dust resistance, as well as a new set of AKG Dolby Atmos stereo speakers.
It’s in the software where the Galaxy S9 pair really shine. All the features of the predecessors are carried over, including the fast login methods (iris scanner and face recognition), wireless charging, Live Focus mode (only available on the larger model’s dual cameras), and Samsung’s Bixby AI assistant.
New this time around are the software tricks you can do with the cameras.
The rear camera can shoot at 960 frames per second on a 720p resolution. That’s four times faster than what the Galaxy S8 could do. And to make things easier, there’s automatic motion detection to trigger the slow-mo mode while shooting. When you’re done, you can add background music with a few taps.
But the real highlight is AR Emoji. By using the 8-megapixel front-facing camera, you can create your very own emoji from a selfie. You may then turn it into a sticker to send to friends, or create a full video using your facial expressions and voice.
Finally, there’s Beautiful Bokeh mode, which allows you to change the shape of a subject’s background blur for even prettier portraits.
As you’d expect, you get nothing but the best specifications from the Galaxy S9. Both variants have a top-shelf processor — either a Snapdragon 845 or in-house Exynos 9810, depending on your region. Rest assured, they’re equally powerful.
For memory and storage, the Galaxy S9 only gets one version: 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. If you choose the Galaxy S9+, it comes with 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of storage, but if you pre-order, a 256GB storage model is available, as well.
Price and Availability
The Galaxy S9 will retail for US$ 720 while the Galaxy S9+ will start at US$ 840 for the lowest memory and storage configuration. Pre-orders begin on February 27 with shipments starting on March 16.
There’ll be four colors to choose from: Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple, and Coral Blue.
Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco Hands-On
Testament to Nokia’s craftsmanship
Two years after making its big comeback, Nokia is slowly filling in the pieces of its Android smartphone lineup. The star of course has to be the new Nokia 8 Sirocco, the most premium from the announcements at Mobile World Congress.
But our favorite is the Nokia 7 Plus, a near-borderless Android One phone with Zeiss optics and a beautiful build.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Review
Are these new features worth the price increase?
In our Samsung Galaxy S9 Review video, we hope to answer questions you may have to help you make an informed decision before buying the phone.
Is Dual Aperture a gimmick? How good is the S9’s camera? S9 or S9+? Is it even worth it?
YouTubers React to the Samsung Galaxy S9
Do they look like their AR Emoji?
A new color, internal camera upgrades, and a few minor changes here and there don’t necessarily make the S9 look or feel new.
But is retaining the same beautiful, sleek design such a bad thing? Are the subtle improvements worth the high price tag? Is AR Emoji a gimmick?
YouTubers Mrwhosetheboss, Joshua Vergara, GadgetsBoy, GadgetsJon, The Tech Chap, David Imel, PC Centric, and Isa Rodriguez tell us what they think about the the Samsung Galaxy S9.
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