Samsung Galaxy S9, Is the phone of the year?

It’s no surprise that Samsung announced a newflgship at MWC 2018 and it’s even less of a shockthat it’s called the Galaxy S9. The S8 was almost a perfect phone so can Samsung really make it even better? Read on to find out.

It’s immediately clear that the Galaxy S9 is very much a new version of the S8, rather than a radically new device. Like a point upgrade in software terms if you like, so this is essentially the Galaxy S8.1. With an almost identical design to its predecessor you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference,especially from the front – the bezels above and below the screen are a fraction smaller. The device is also a little shorter than the S8 and it’s a bit thicker and heavier at 8.5mm and 163g, but none of these are things you’ll really notice.

At the rear, the change is more obvious with the fingerprint scanner moving to below the camera. Samsung clearly listened to feedback on this, so not only does it look nicer, it’s also much easier to reach and use. You might still smudge the camera up occasionally but it’s bound to happen far less. Initially there will be three colours to choose from: Midnight Black, Coral Blue and a new Lilac Purple. We’ve also spotted what looks like Samsung’s Orchid Grey (see below) colour in some images, so perhaps this will arrive at a later date.

As we’ve touched upon, the Galaxy S9’s design isn’t very different in design from its predecessor, so is it a big jump in specs and new technology? Well not really, but Samsung has made improvement to what was already a very impressive smartphone.

The screen is one area that hasn’t changed since the Galaxy S8, so it’s still 5.8in on the regular model and jumps to 6.2in if you get the S9+ (page 21). Both phones have the curved Infinity Display, so you only need to choose which size you want. Samsung is sticking to its 18.5:9 aspect ratio, Quad HD+ resolution and Super AMOLED technology. It’s still one of the best screens on the market and compared to our S8, looks a little brighter.

Processor, memory and storage
With a new flagship comes a new processor and Samsung has fitted the Galaxy S9 with a new Exynos 8910 processor. It’s still an octa-core chip with four 1.7GHz efficiency cores, but the faster four have jumped from 2.4- to 2.7GHz. We’re confident the new SoC is perfectly capable of handling all you can throw at it, especially as we didn’t have any issues with the Galaxy S8 or earlier models.
Like the Galaxy S8, you get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, and although you can find more elsewhere (even in cheaper phones like the OnePlus 5T) it should be enough for most people. If it’s not enough storage, then there’s a 256GB option and a microSD card slot that can now take up to 400GB. If you are more of a power user, then the S9+ has 6GB of RAM with the same storage options.

Fingerprint and Iris scanners
The fingerprint scanner has been moved to a more convenient location below the camera. It’s also easier to register each new finger according to Samsung with only three swipes rather than many more touches needed previously. We’d rather the Galaxy S9 had the fingerprint scanner embedded in the screen as the tech is out there but it seems we’ll have to wait. Samsung hasn’t explicitly said the iris scanner is better than before, which is a shame, but the firm is keen to point out that it’s embedded in the front of the phone without a notch like the iPhone X. There’s also a new Intelligent Scan option, which combines iris and facial scanning. We’re keen to try this out when we have a sample in for review.

As you would expect, the Galaxy S9 phones come with Android 8 Oreo and Samsung’s own user interface. There’s not a huge change in the way things work compared to before, but that’s to be expected. There are still preloaded apps from Google and Microsoft, but Samsung has made a few tweaks here and there to tighten up the experience.

  • 5.8in (2960x1440, 570ppi) Super AMOLED capacitive display 
  • Android 8.0 Oreo 
  • Exynos 9810 Octa processor 
  • Octa-core 4x 2.8GHz Mongoose M3 and 4x 1.7GHz Cortex-A55 CPU 
  • Mali-G72 MP18 GPU 
  • 4GB RAM 
  • 64/128/256GB storage, microSD up to 256GB 
  • Iris/figerprint scanner 
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera: (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm,1/2.5in, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF), phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flsh 
  • 8Mp front-facing camera: f/1.7, autofocus, 1440p,dual video call, Auto HDR 
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi 
  • Bluetooth 5.0 
  • Micro-USB 3.1 Type-C 
  • Non-removable lithium-ion 3,000mAh battery 
  • 147.7x68.7x8.5mm 
  • 163g
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