It has been almost a year since Samsung first revealed the Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a reason to buy them anymore. Quite the opposite. Both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have seen a noticeable price drop since they were first released. Plus the technology hasn’t gotten old or anything. So this is actually the perfect time to buy a brand new phone. I have had the opportunity to try out the Galaxy S9 model for the past week and below is what I think about it!
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is powered by the new generation 8 core Exynos 9810 processor and even though the S8 was far from slow with the older Exynos 8815 processor, it makes sense that they chose the newest technology. Especially since they have made the camera much more powerful, which does also require more from the processor. The amount of memory has remained the same, as in you get 4 GB of RAM. After a week of testing the phone, I have to say that it’s enough. I didn’t have any problems with apps running in the background. Everything was fast and smooth.
Another thing that has remained the same is the hard drive space. The Galaxy S9 has 64 GB of space and you can also use a MicroSD card to increase it. So in total, you can have 464 GB of space, which to me is insane. Then again I’m the type of person who loves using cloud services and my laptop only has 128 GB of space. So maybe I’m just the minority. Not to mention that Samsung also has a smart file compression system, which makes files even smaller. It even works with 4K videos.
The battery size has also remained the same with the S8 model (3000 mAh). Which again I had no problems with. On average I had to charge it at the end of the day. Which means that I could continuously use it for the entire morning, day and night. You can obviously get it to last longer if you use it normally.
And of course, the new Samsung Galaxy S9 has an IP68 waterproof rating. I can’t imagine the disappointment if they hadn’t added it.
The Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s first smartphone that has stereo sound, as in two speakers. It’s a long-anticipated feature as it’s pretty necessary to have in my opinion. Mostly because the volume was quite low on the previous Galaxy models. So you had a fantastic screen to watch videos with but the sound quality didn’t match that.
The new speakers have been designed with AKG and they support the Dolby Atmos technology. It creates a 3D effect when listening to music or watching movies. Obviously, you shouldn’t expect the same experience that actual external home theater speakers can produce. However when I still noticed the 3D effect when I watched movies that supported the Dolby Atmos feature.
According to Samsung, the new speakers are 1.5 times louder than the ones on the S8. And you can definitely hear that. And despite having the main speaker inside the bottom edge, the secondary speaker is still right inside the phone and it always faces you, which does improve the audio quality quite noticeably.
Intelligent Scan is Samsung’s new security function. In other words, it’s a next generation facial recognition system. They have taken the standard facial recognition system and combined it with iris recognition. This lets it open your phone faster and makes it safer as finding a person with a similar face and iris is incredibly rare. And despite being somewhat skeptical about these type of systems, I did discover myself using it more than the fingerprint reader. The reason for that is extremely simple. The phone screen just opened the second I lifted it near to my face. So I didn’t even have the opportunity to use the fingerprint reader.
That’s the key thing about these kinds of features. They need to be easy to use and practically unnoticeable. When I had problems with the S8 as I had to lift to an exact position every time, then the S9 also managed to read my face when it was facing me diagonally. Plus it even worked in the dark.
PS! You don’t need to have your eyes opened to use it. I also tried using a photo of my face to open the phone, it didn’t work.
S9 has the exact same 5.8” Super AMOLED Infinity Display screen as last year. It also has the same curved edges and a 2960 x 1440 resolution with the 18.5:9 view ratio. I’m actually not disappointed at all. Any upgrades in the screen technology would hardly be noticeable. After all, it’s already the newest technology. The greatest upgrade is that the S9 and S9+ phones can also be used in the landscape mode. This is a well-waited update for phones of this size.
Samsung has spent most of their development hours on making the camera better. The new Galaxy S9 has received a lot of new functions and features. The phone has an adjustable 12 MP rear camera that also has an optical image stabilizer. It can record videos in a 4K resolution and even Super Slow motion in Full HD. The Super Slow motion is recorded in 960 frames per second. Which means that 0.2 seconds turns into 6 seconds. In addition, there is also an 8 MP camera on the front, which takes some great selfies.
A camera with an adjustable opening is definitely a new thing in the world of smartphones. No other company has done it before Samsung. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ can adjust the opening automatically from f/2.4 to f/1.5 based on the lightning.
Samsung has also found a way to compete with Apples Animoji. It’s called the AR Emoji and it lets you control the emojis in your phone with your face. And unlike Apple, where the Animojis have already been designed, the S9 lets you design your very own AR-emojis. The phone will scan your face and create facial lines. After which you can add glasses, change the haircut and even the skin tone.
The AI called BIXBY that was introduced last year with the Samsung Galaxy S8 has gotten smarter and it can help people more than ever before. BIXBY is clearly important for Samsung, especially since they have added a button for it on the screen. Besides the basic virtual assistant functions, BIXBY can also translate foreign languages, display places nearby and read QR codes. It can even display information about wines.
All of these functions require using the camera. That’s why BIXBY has been deeply integrated straight into the camera. So you can just take a photo and BIXBY will automatically translate any foreign language that can be seen.
Overall the S9 looks very much like the previous model. I’m not personally against it. Especially since I have been a fan of their style for a couple of years now. When Samsung released the Galaxy S7 to be exact. Edge to edge Super AMOLED screen, an almost invisible frame around the screen and high-quality glass on the backside, make it a fantastic phone to both hold and look at.
The biggest change is the fingerprint reader, which has now been relocated from the side of the camera to underneath it. Which in my opinion is one of the best places for it. It’s basically an area where your finger is located anyways. So it’s already naturally there when holding the phone. Plus you don’t need to worry about smudging the camera with greasy fingers. At least for me, this was an issue with the S8.
Even though I have been using an iPhone for almost 5 years now, the Galaxy S9 is the first Android phone that I have been seriously considering for a while now. I liked that Samsung has listened to their customers and updated based on their feedback. For example the location of the fingerprint reader. But they have also reduced the Samsung Touch in Android, made the camera app easier to use and upgraded the facial recognition software. And they have finally added a second speaker, which has greatly improved the sound quality. No reason to even mention anything about the screen as there’s no actual competition here. Which is proven by the fact that even the iPhone X screens are manufactured by Samsung.
Sven Von Fawkes is a journalism student at USC. He enjoys writing smartphone & tablet reviews for Tenpire.com and he has previous experience from being a Product Manager at BestBuy.