On Sunday, Samsung finally took the wraps off its next-generation flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy s9+. So far, the release date, specs, and even the pricing were anticipated for the Android handsets, but the smartphone still blew everyone away.
Here’s the thing you need to know first: The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are not an “S” upgrades, as rumored. The “S” upgrades are generally referred to Apple’s practice of releasing an identical smartphones but with upgraded intervals. Things have changed quite a bit, which will we dive into now.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are similar in design, but frankly, are not identical, as previously reported. The differences are quite noticeable, mind you. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ sport a design that’s very iterative, but you can see a number of differences. For example, the bezels around the Super AMOLED displays are much smaller, the new 7000 series aluminum is strong, and the the glass on the device is 20% thicker to offer better durability. Here’s something you should know: the phones are also not the same sizes as last year’s models. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are a bit stronger and narrower than their predecessors, but also slightly thicker.
Samsung has upgraded the internals to pretty much everything that can be upgraded. In the United States, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be powered by an octa-core 845 chipset from Qualcomm. The 10nm chip includes 2.8GHz quad-core processor as well as a 1.7GHz quad-core processor for Lowe power consumption during normal phone usage. The device display has also been upgraded as well. They are the same size — 5.8 inches for the S9 and 6.2-inches for the S9+ — but they are significantly brighter than their predecessors.
Both phones will offer 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options with microSDXC support, but they do have different amounts of RAM and rear facing cameras. The smaller Galaxy S9 will come with 4GB of RAM and a single-lens camera, while the larger Galaxy S9+ will feature 6GB of RAM and a dual-lens rear camera. Samsung calls its new camera a “Super Speed Dual Pixel” camera because it’s much faster than the Dual Pixel camera the company introduced on the Galaxy S7 and reused on the Note 7, S8, S8+, and Note 8. The new Super Speed version is better in almost every way possible, but there’s also new technology introduced as well.
Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ have dual apertures, which make it the first in the smartphone industry to introduce this. When shooting a scene with plenty of light, the camera uses a f/2.4 aperture. In low light, it will switch to a wide f/1.5 aperture to let in as much light as possible. In addition to this, Samsung’s Super Speed Dual Pixel camera comes with a dedicated DRAM chip. This means that image data is being processor right at the sensor instead of the phone’s main RAM. Pretty nifty, huh? The Galaxy s9+ includes a second 12-megapixel telephoto lens in addition to the main 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, and adding in two features that the smaller S9 won’t have: Optical soon and a “bokeh” background blurring effect. Both phones will offer very crispy photos and far less noise in any lighting situation.
Finally, onto the more interesting part: Samsung’s new twist on Apple’s Animoji. The feature is called AR Emoji on the Galaxy S9 and S9+. There are a number of different characters you are able to select that will mimic your mouth and facial expressions as you talk in front of your smartphone. In addition, Samsung has added Snapchat-like filters on its new camera app. Instead of selecting different AR Emoji from Samsung’s selection of characters, you can scan your face and have the phone turn your face into an emoji. You can then record animations with your own emoji, or use dozens of graphics to create one automatically.
Both Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be available for preorder beginning March 2nd, and every major US carrier will be selling them. Preorders will shop on Friday, March 16th, and that’s also when the phones will be released in-stores.
Pricing for the devices may vary depending not he carrier, but Samsung will sell unlocked models directly to users, with financing options available to those that want to go that route. The unlocked Galaxy S9 will run you $719.99 or $30 per month for 24 months, if financed. The bigger Galaxy S9+ will cost $839.99 or $35 per month for 24 months of financing.