They are the latest in Samsung’s famous Galaxy S series, which often lays siege to the iPhone and sets the benchmark for other Android flagships. And of course, they come with a considerably reinforced spec and feature sheet, as compared to their very successful and acclaimed predecessors, the S8 and S8+. In particular, the following seven features mark the new Galaxy S duo as being very different:
Base and plus – it is not just the size that’s different
Samsung has seemingly taken a page out of the book of one of its rivals by making the ‘Plus’ edition of its flagship the heavier specced one and the base version more modest in comparison. Unlike in the past, where both Galaxy S devices used to have largely similar specs apart from the display and battery (which were affected by physical dimensions), this time there are differences between the two. Yes, they share the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip and still have 18.5:9 aspect ratio Super AMOLED displays with 1440 x 2960 resolutions, but the 9+ has dual rear cameras, while the base model has a single one. Also, whereas the 9+ comes with 6 GB RAM, the 9 has 4 GB. Clearly, a spec line has been drawn between the Galaxy S siblings – they were twins before, now there is clearly a Big Brother.
The cameras – bringing in more light
Samsung wrestled back the phone camera high ground with the S7 and S8, and going by what we have seen at Barcelona, it is no mood to move. Yes, the megapixel count still stands at 12 as in the S8/8 Plus, but not only does the S9+ now have dual 12.0-,megapixel cameras (with one camera for 2x optical zoom), but the S9 and S9+ are the first high profile smartphones to come with an aperture that can actually change – mind you, it can switch from f/1.5 to f/2.4 and not to any values in between. This literally means that you can control the amount of light coming to the sensor, and should significantly improve low light performance. Slow motion has also been boosted up to an amazing 960 frames per second (at 720p resolution)! The selfie cameras, however, seem to be the same as their predecessors – 8 megapixels with f/1.7 apertures. But they have grabbed some extra software features like face unlock and AR emojis (which we will talk about a while later)
The chip – a new and more snappy dragon
This was perhaps the most anticipated change on the two new flagships – both get Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip, the Snapdragon 845, up from the 835 seen on the S8 and S8+. Of course, this processor will not be available in all markets – where it isn’t, consumers will have access to editions running on Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 chipset, which is a formidable performer too. Either way, users get a device powered by the newest silicon in flagship town.
The fingerprint scanner – you are safe, camera
The S8 and S8+ were great devices in terms of performance, but one feature that received a lot of flak was the location of the fingerprint scanner which was right next to the camera, leading to users often touching the camera lens and smudging it. Well, in the S9 and S9+, Samsung has moved the fingerprint scanner to a more routine location, just below the camera(s) on the back. No, there is no fingerprint scanner beneath the display (not this time), but the fingerprint scanner will spare the camera some smudges this time around.
Intelligent scan – when face and iris scanners meet
Yes, the S9 and S9+ also have face unlock, the latest fad in tech town, but the devices have blend it with an iris scanner, into a new method which is called Intelligent Scan. It is not complicated at all – the device uses your face or iris to unlock the device depending on light conditions. And the more secure iris scan is used for more financial and sensitive transactions. Of course, there is also the fingerprint scanner – there is more than one way to unlock this device!
AR Emojis – a virtual image is everything
We will not use the “Animoji” word here (oops, we just did), but Samsung has also jumped on the emojis that look like the user bandwagon. The front cameras of the S9 and S9+ capture an image of your face and using more than 100 points build a 3D avatar of you and 18 gif images which can be accessed from the keyboard and unlike Apple’s take on these, be used in any app. The emojis can be customized using spectacles, clothes and so on. There’s also a tie-up with Disney in this regard so watch this space.
Stereo speakers – for the sound of music
Stereo speakers finally come to the Galaxy S series, with one speaker on the base and the earpiece above the display also acting as a speaker. The duo also comes with Dolby Atmos sound, which means that these will be the best sounding Galaxy S devices in history. A sound move, we say. Pun thoroughly intended.
…and one thing’s pretty much the same
Should we cheer or shake our heads in disappointment? For the S9 and S9+ are dead ringers for their predecessors with the same blend of glass and metal, and almost the exact same proportions and not massively different weights. Yes, they still look outstanding, but that look now is so literally 2017! That said, there are new colours – lilac purple and titanium grey – apart from the more predictable midnight black and coral blue. And yes, they are still dust and water resistant (IP68).
So stay tuned for our detailed coverage of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ along with other new devices announced at the MWC 2018. You can follow us on YouTube and yeah, do participate in our Mi Mix 2 giveaway!