While its formal launch is still a few days away, an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session made its way to Reddit to report the early impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S9 from someone who claimed to have played around with the upcoming smartphone for about 20 minutes. In other news, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ cases have been put on sale in a variety of colour options that confirm the presence of a back-facing fingerprint sensor. The flagship Galaxy models are expected to debut at a pre-MWC press conference in Barcelona later this month.
The initial impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S9 that are publicly available on Reddit essentially details its design. The device in question is claimed to be a "very close to production" Galaxy S9 unit that has been specifically designed for the US market. This means it should have a Snapdragon 845 SoC, unlike the Exynos 9810 SoC-featuring global Galaxy S9 variant. The very first things that Redditor praised in the AMA session were the stereo speakers of the new Galaxy handset. The sound from the speakers is said to have "a major improvement" compared to the Galaxy S8, though there reportedly isn't an impressive surround sound option.
On the part of designing, it is reported that the Galaxy S9 design is quite similar to the Galaxy S8, though there is a "slightly better placed" fingerprint sensor on the back, which is still small in size and let users accidentally touch the camera sensor. We can certainly keep some of the recently leaked renders in mind while assuming the design of the next Samsung flagship. Further, Samsung hasn't reportedly ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack, so your old aux cables can still be useful if you're thinking of picking up the Galaxy S9 this year.
In case you don't want to interact with Google Assistant, the Galaxy S9 is said to have a dedicated Bixby button to help you talk to Samsung's proprietary voice assistant. This is again something that we saw on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. For photography, the Redditor claims that the front and back cameras of the Galaxy S9 aren't as good as the ones on the Pixel 2 XL. The smartphone, though, supports 4K video recording at 60fps, 720p at 480fps, and 1080p at 240fps. That's some way off from Sony's Exmor RS sensor seen in the Sony Xperia XZs, which is capable of 720p 960fps. There is also a dual aperture feature that allows you vary the aperture size to adjust the amount of light for a particular shot. Some initial reports suggested that the dual aperture feature could be limited for the Galaxy S9+, but the AMA host stated that it will be a part of both Galaxy smartphones.
The Redditor also confirmed the availability of 3D Emoji that are presumed to take on Apple's Animoji, which you can experience on the iPhone X. However, the source said that it is "not a direct ripoff" of Animoji, "more like a mix between Animoji and Bitmoji" and "looks less polished than Apple's version."
Coming towards the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ cases, which are now available for purchase through UK's online mobile accessory retailer MobileFun, the new smartphones aren't likely to be completely redesigned offerings by Samsung. The cut-outs on the cases confirm that the new Galaxy phones will continue to have a rear-facing fingerprint sensor and a module that will include an LED flash and a heart rate monitor. The cases for the Galaxy S9+ also highlight the availability of a dual rear camera setup with two sensors placed horizontally, similar to the ones featured on the iPhone X. Likewise, the cases confirm an Always On mode on the new Galaxy models.
The cases for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are available in a list of material and colour options, including Hyperknit Grey and Red as well as Silicone cases in Grey, Black, and Pink, and Clear View Stand Cover models in Black, Blue, Gold, and Purple variants.