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29th Mar 2018

Samsung Galaxy S9 Review : The Best of All Things Samsung


Fresh on the market is the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, a flagship phone from one of the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers. For Samsung/Android devotees, this is an excellent device, packing all the great features Samsung users know and love, many at their best ever. There’s not much that’s strikingly different about the Galaxy S9, but it’s a polished device that could be a fantastic upgrade for your next mobile.

Let’s dive in.

The Specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Processor
  • 5.8” (S9) 6.2” (S9 Plus) Super AMOLED Display, resolution: 2960 x 1440 pixels
  • 4GB RAM (S9)
  • 6GB RAM (S9 Plus)
  • Operating System: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Dimensions: 5.81 x 2.70 x 0.33” (S9) 6.22 x 2.91 x 0.33” (S9 Plus)
  • 64GB internal storage with a microSD expansion card slot
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • 3,000 mAh battery (S9)
  • 3,500 mAh battery (S9 Plus),
  • Quick Charge 3.0 and fast wireless charging
  • Colours: Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray
  • Water resistance: IP68 water and dust rating

The Look:

The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a massive infinity display, stretching an impressive 5.8 inches across the phone (6.2” with the S9 Plus). With its curved edge, the device has a wraparound screen, an effect which is quite pleasing to the eye. Many expert opinions have proclaimed it as the best smartphone display currently available. The S9 Plus boasts a screen-to-body ratio of 86.2%, which means this display is definitely a commanding presence!

The glass and metal composition so popular in smartphone design today adds a premium look to the S9. Unfortunately, this does sacrifice some durability, and, like other Samsung devices, the S9 may be prone to collecting fingerprints and enduring scuffs or scratches. For this reason, it’s a smart idea to invest in a skin as well as a case to add extra protection to your device.

The S9 and S9 Plus: a stunning, sleek mobile phone from Samsung.

This device has a nice hand feel and an appropriate weight. It sits well in your hand and the curved glass (something of a Samsung signature) allows the phone to sit snugly in your palm.

While there’s not much variation in the S9’s look when compared with the S8, you may notice smaller, less obtrusive bezels. This is a nice touch, as it gives the phone a more streamlined appearance. The black outer edges also appear to be a more seamless part of the whole package.

In many ways, the S9 is an iteration of the S8. Placed side-by-side, the two models look nearly identical from the front. But there’s a new placement of the fingerprint scanner on the back, which lots of reviewers are already really excited about. This shows that Samsung has listened to customer criticism, taken note, and made the requested changes. There are also a few upgrades with the new S9 and S9 Plus, the jewel of which is the added camera features. We’ll talk about these elements next.

The Performance:

Want to watch gorgeous videos in Quad HD? This is the ideal device for that. With a super vivid screen across the entire front of the phone, you can enjoy sharp, dynamic high-quality video. The colours pop and  You’ll have to head into settings and make an adjustment to be sure you’re taking advantage of this Quad HD, however, as the device out of the box will be displaying in full HD+ resolution.

You can turn your screen up 15% brighter than with an S8 device. This is startling brightness; you may want to reserve that level of brightness for outdoor phone usage. But you can also dim the brightness down to a very comfortable setting, which is perfect for reading in bed at night.

Audio is quality, too. With the S9, Samsung is now introducing stereo speakers, a radical change from the S8 Plus. The sound is crisp, clear, and even fuller, creating an overall enjoyable listening experience.

General performance of the S9 is quick and dependable. The Snapdragon processor makes for very fast usage speeds,

Multiple security features are found in this device, including an iris scanner, rear fingerprint reader. This sensor has been moved to the middle of the phone, instead of directly next to the camera, which is appreciated by many Samsung users. This makes it easier to avoid accidentally touching the camera with your finger. The sensor is also raised slightly, so you can identify it more easily. Registering your fingerprint requires a quick roll over the sensor and it reads it extremely quickly.  

Iris scanning is now a security feature for the S9, and while this is a slightly slower process, it’s more secure than face scanning alone. There’s also intelligent scanning, which combines both facial recognition and iris scanning for access, depending on which will perform better in the given light conditions.

The battery life is solid for the phone, though with heavy use throughout the day, the battery power tends to run out by evening. Fortunately, the phone is equipped for fast charging and wireless charging, so you can grab a quick boost during the day.

The Camera:

Of all the fresh updates to this new flagship Samsung, the camera is perhaps the most exciting. The Galaxy S9 is the first modern smartphone to feature a variable aperture camera. On the S9, this is one single 12-megapixel camera on the back, and on the S9 Plus, there’s the addition of a second 12-megapixel camera with a 2X telephoto lens.

The dual-aperture camera is an exceptional feature. Capable of moving between f/1.5 or f/2.4 (the default), the variable aperture will adapt based on the amount of light in the environment. Much like a DSLR camera, the phone adjusts to let in more or less light. In a low light situation, this means a wide open aperture that minimises grain in the photo and creates a smoother, brighter image. With an f/1.5 aperture, you can also achieve that slightly blurry background look, that ‘bokeh’ style that is popular with many photographers both amateur and pro.

The front camera has a wide-angle selfie feature that includes solid edge recognition.

A fun and unique element is the S9’s super slo-mo mode, which will allow you to record 960 frames per second. This generates a fascinating slo-mo video which is a lot of fun to play around with.

There are lots of options for video recording, so taking videos of your family and friends is simple and yields excellent quality results. Filming is very stable in 4K, shooting up to 60 frames per second.

Some Unique Features of the S9

One feature that may yield a few complaints is the Bixby button on the side of the phone. It’s difficult to avoid accidentally pressing that button multiple times per day and calling up the Bixby screen. However, you can actually disable this Bixby button. When disabled, only the single press function will cease, which means accidental presses of the button will be avoided (yay!).  But you can still press and hold the Bixby button to enable voice commands---quite handy if you need to set an alarm or perform another simple task.

Bixby can provide a useful feature as part of your alarms, too. If you enable Bixby Briefing on a given alarm, after your alarm sounds you’ll be read weather reports, daily news, and more. This is a smart tool for those who find waking up in the mornings to be a bit of a challenge.

Do you use your mobile device to track your health? There is an endless number of apps that can help you do this, and your phone itself can assist. Past Samsung devices have boasted a heart rate monitor. The S9 includes, for the first time, a blood pressure sensor. It’s still early days for this feature, and while it’s definitely not as accurate as a standard blood pressure cuff, the addition of this feature is still pretty forward thinking.

The Conclusion:

Samsung has focused heavily on the camera features in its marketing for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. If a quality camera intrigues you, the S9 could be a nice device for you. It’s going to be especially beloved by those who are already Samsung devotees, as the Galaxy S9 is in many ways, the culmination of all that is excellent about Samsung.

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