Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ First Impressions

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Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ First Impressions

The camera is claimed to be one of the biggest improvements in Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

Highlights

  • Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ sport improved cameras
  • The fingerprint sensor's placement has been improved this year
  • Samsung says it has improved the audio performance with the two phones

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at the Galaxy Unpacked 2018 event in Barcelona on Sunday, grabbing headlines a day before the Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off. While the smartphones look virtually identical to their predecessors, they do pack in some significant upgrades in the camera department. We managed to spend some time with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ ahead of the launch event and here are some things that caught our eye.

Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ With Improved Cameras, AR Emoji, and More Launched

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it - that clearly seems to the principle behind Samsung’s design decisions for its newest flagships. From the front, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ look no different than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, though Samsung claims to have further reduced the size of the bezels at the top and bottom. We really liked what Samsung had done with the previous Galaxy S flagships in terms of design, and Samsung has gone and fixed the one complaint we had with them in terms of design/ ergonomics - the placement of the fingerprint scanner.

 

The quest for edge-to-edge displays has relegated the fingerprint scanner to the back of many smartphones, but instead of placing it below the camera module near the middle where it’s easily reachable, Samsung made the strange decision of putting it besides the rear camera module and flash on its previous generation flagships. This made the fingerprint scanner much harder to reach for most people and, often, indistinguishable from the camera module since you are reaching for it blind. With the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, the fingerprint scanner is back where it should’ve been all along.

Samsung Galaxy S9 full specifications

With no real upgrades in terms of the looks, Samsung designed to mix things up by introducing a brand new colour with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ - Lilac Purple. The colour will certainly grab attention and our initial impression is that Samsung has done a decent job executing a finish that will grab eyeballs without feeling over the top. The smartphones will also be available in Midnight Black, Coral Blue, and Titanium Grey colours, though at launch, not all colours may be available in all markets.

Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ Pre-Orders Now Open in India

Another small but potentially significant change is the addition of stereo speakers. In addition to the downwards-firing speaker, the earpiece will now double up as an additional channel to offer you stereo experience while listening to music, watching movies, or listening to your favourite podcasts. What’s more, Samsung has thrown in Dolby Atmos on the new Galaxy S9 as well as Galaxy S9+ and in the limited time that we spent with the devices, it seemed they were able to do a decent job of replicating the surround effect, given the obvious limitations of a smartphone. Of course this was as part of a controlled demo, so we will reserve further judgement on the  feature until we have a chance to test out the smartphones in detail as part of our review process.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ full specifications

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Samsung says the camera is one of the biggest improvements in Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

 

Like we said earlier, potentially the most significant upgrades the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ bring are in the camera department - super-slow mo recording at 960fps, dual aperture capability on the rear camera sensor, which is capable of shooting at f/2.4 when there’s plenty of light, but can switch to f/1.5 when the phone detects low-light conditions. This is supplemented by a secondary 12-megapixel sensor on the Galaxy S9+ for a dual rear camera setup. Needless to say, the time we spent with the Galaxy S9 duo on Sunday wasn’t enough to make any definite comments on their camera capability, and we look forward to testing them out in detail soon.

Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+: You'll Need to Look Closely to Spot What's New

Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for a detailed review of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ very soon.

Disclosure: Samsung sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the launch event in Barcelona.

We spoke about all the big launches of MWC 2018 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Excellent build quality and compact design
  • Stereo speakers
  • Good battery life
  • Snappy all-round performance
  • Very good rear camera
  • Vivid HDR display
  • Bad
  • Intelligent Scan feels clunky
  • Attracts fingerprints easily
Display5.80-inch
Processor1.7GHz octa-core
Front Camera8-megapixel
Resolution1440x2960 pixels
RAM4GB
OSAndroid 8.0
Storage64GB
Rear Camera12-megapixel
Battery Capacity3000mAh
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Excellent build quality
  • Stereo speakers
  • Good battery life
  • Snappy all-round performance
  • Very good rear cameras
  • Vivid HDR display
  • Bad
  • Intelligent Scan feels clunky
  • Attracts fingerprints easily
Display6.20-inch
Processor1.7GHz octa-core
Front Camera8-megapixel
Resolution1440x2960 pixels
RAM6GB
OSAndroid 8.0
Storage64GB
Rear Camera12-megapixel
Battery Capacity3500mAh
Kunal Dua Editor by day. Editor by night. Wannabe writer. Full-time cynic. More
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