As always the first company to show its hand in the smartphone race for top spot is Samsung. This time it’s the turn of the Samsung Galaxy S9 to set the bar for 2018. Coming into the year the Galaxy S8 was a solid phone and considered top tier by many joining the ranks of iPhone X and Google Pixel 2, the Samsung Galaxy S9 looks to build on this and I take a look at what’s new.
Looks wise not much has changed for the new Galaxy S9. It still rocks the super AMOLED 18.5:9 aspect ratio infinity display, coming in at 5.8inch and 6.2inch sizes for the S9 and S9 Plus respectively. One significant improvement made from the S8 was moving the fingerprint scanner that was located next to the camera lens, to a more traditional placement below the lens. This avoids mistaking the lens as the fingerprint scanner and leads to a more natural finger placement in general. Galaxy S9 also now boasts stereo sound speakers giving you 40% more volume and according to Samsung better clarity in output.
Aside from those changes, the externals stay the same with the retention of a dedicated button for Bixby along with volume rockers and startup button. Taking a shot at iPhone the Galaxy S9 keeps the 3.5mm headphone jack port, no need to go wireless or buy adaptors here.
As expected the internals of the Galaxy S9 got a nice refresh. It will run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, which will be coupled with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM for the S9 and S9 Plus respectively. The Galaxy S9 will come with 64GB of storage which can be expanded via microSD cards, a feature not seen very often these days in smartphones. This will all be powered by 3,000mAh (S9) or 3,500mAh (S9 Plus) battery. IP68 water and dust resistance returns along with fast wired and wireless charging to give a quick boost to the already hefty battery packs. These internals puts the Galaxy S9 on top of all new phones that have been released in 2018.
Samsung is hoping the deciding factor that will make buyers jump on the S9 is its camera. The S9 and S9 Plus will come with single and dual lens set-ups respectively. It will feature a new camera system that makes it the first smartphone camera to be able to switch mechanically between apertures. The S9 will be able to switch between f/1.5 aperture for low light situations to the f/2.4 aperture for more detailed captures in brightly exposed environments. The switch between apertures can be done manually in the pro mode of the camera settings or the phone will automatically configure it based on exposure and the scene it is viewing.
Adding to the apertures available to the user, the S9’s 12-megapixel camera setup comes with second-generation dual-pixel autofocus tech for faster and more reliable focusing, improved multi-frame noise reduction for a claimed 30 percent better low-light performance, and the ability to record slow-motion video at up to 960 frames per second.
The top-notch front-facing selfie camera of the S8 makes a return to the S9 with no changes made.
Being Apple’s main rival in the smartphone market Samsung seems to always take cues from the iPhone and in the S9 it’s no different. Integrated into the camera app is Samsungs take on Apples Animoji seen in iPhone X, called AR Emoji. AR Emoji captures an image of the users face and using over a 100 points of detection from the image it creates a 3D character of the user based on the image and data collated, it’s a glorified Bitmoji.
Bixby came to fruition in the S8 but a year on it’s still lagging behind Siri and Google Now in being a smartphone assistance. In the S9, Bixby can be accessed via its dedicated button and it comes with a few more improvements and features. One of the key new features is the partnerships Samsung have struck with retailers to enable the user to purchase from them via Bixby. Even with the new features on a phone where Google Now is present, it’s still difficult to pinpoint the real advantage of Bixby.
Overall the S8 was a great flagship in 2017, Samsung took that and refined and boosted specs to be left with the Galaxy S9. At this present moment, it looks to be the best phone on the market but the jury is still out on how great the new camera set up is and whether this refinement is enough when facing releases from competitors further down the line in 2018.
Tech Off Melon!!