Samsung introduced the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus at Samsung Unpacked 2018 in Barcelona this past February. While the phone takes after its predecessor in specs, with some improvements here and there, Samsung went all in on the S9’s camera. The Camera Reimagined theme was prominent in the February showcase as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are touted to feature the best mobile camera to date. The head feature of the new camera resides in its ability to handle low light shooting.
So let’s dive into the Samsung Galaxy S9 to see what we have here.
Build, Look and Feel
Samsung Galaxy S9 Specs
|OS||Android 8 (Oreo)|
|Display||5.8-inch Quad HD +
Curved Super AMOLED, 18.5:99,10 (570ppi)
|Body||147.7mm x 68.7mm x 8.5mm, 163g, IP68|
Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF
sensor with OIS (F1.5/F2.4)
Front: 8MP AF (F1.7)
|Processor||10nm, 64-bit, Octa-core processor
2.7 GHz Quad (or 2.8 GHz Quad) + 1.7 GHz Quad)
64GB/128GB/256GB12 + Micro SD Slot (up to 400GB)
|Connectivity||Enhanced 4X4 MIMO / CA, LAA, LTE Cat.18|
|Sensors||Iris sensor, Pressure sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint sensor, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, HR sensor, Proximity sensor, RGB Light sensor|
|Audio||Stereo speakers tuned by AKG, surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology|
On the surface, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is practically identical to the Samsung Galaxy S8 in its generally stunning appearance. It is a beautiful device that grabs attention with its soft color skus and curved screen. At a glance, considering button, sensor, and port placements, the only differences between the two lie in the S9’s new speakers and vertical rear camera arrangement. Other than that, you have to look deeper into the S9’s multi-media capabilities to see what makes the S9 stand apart from its predecessors.
Along the top-front strip of the Samsung Galaxy S9, aside from the front camera and earpiece speaker, you have an assortment of sensors. Here you have the proximity sensor, light sensor, and iris sensors. On the back, along with the S9’s main camera, you have an auto-focus sensor, flash LED, RGB sensor, heartrate sensor and fingerprint sensor. Along the left side of the S9, you have a volume button, and the Bixby button while on the right you have the device’s power button. At top of the phone you have the first of two mics as well as the microSD card and SIM card slot. At the bottom you have the 2nd mic, another speaker, the USB-C port and the coveted 3.5mm jack.
The earpiece and bottom speaker work in conjunction as stereo speakers, which are tuned by touted sound professionals AKG. Going deeper into sound, the S9 and S9 Plus also support Dolby Atmos, a Dolby sound technology that delivers a 360-degree sound presentation.
The device is easy to grasp and operate with just a single hand. While that glass body is absolutely gorgeous, it can cause just a tiny bit of anxiety if you employ some non-traditional phone-holding styles. Just as the S9 body looked slick, it also had the potential of feeling slick at times. That’s not to say that the S9 would simply fly out of the layman’s hands. No, not by a longshot. I would have just liked a smidgen more tactile feel to the overall body to alleviate that minor anxiety when flopping the S9 about. Of course, if you are in the large percentage of users out that employs phone cases on their smartphones, you can consider this a non-issue.
There was a small learning curve in adjusting to holding the Samsung Galaxy S9 in landscape mode, thanks to the placement of the Bixby button. I did find myself accidentally pressing the Bixby button when playing games on the S9, where my holding style had the top of the device facing the left. The Bixby button would be close to my pinky, so I had to take care as to not accidentally activate the assistant during some crucial moment of online play. Sure, flipping the phone’s orientation to the other side fixes that issue, however it puts the power button next to the pinky of my right hand. Through continued landscape use, this phone-holding learning curve ironed itself out in about a day or two.
Much like the Samsung Galaxy S8, you have the curved super AMOLED display that has become the Samsung flagship norm since the days of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The curved display allows these “edge” devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 to have a screen that is edge to edge, stretching around the bezel. This results in maximizing the screen real estate, giving you what could be the largest display possible on devices of similar size to that of the S9 and S9 Plus. Aside from a thin strip along the top for the camera, speaker and sensors as well as another strip along the bottom, there is very little bezel taking up the front of the S9 and S9+.
Otherwise, it is mostly just you and a vibrant and colorful AMOLED display that presents images sharply and brightly, even in the brightest of lighting scenarios. Colors pop with warmth while darker colors and shades of black are quite distinct, giving images plenty of contrast and life. Combine that with a loud and very clear stereo sound courtesy of the S9’s AKG-tuned speakers, and you’re in for an immersive and enjoyable media-indulging experience. The S9’s beautiful display and powerful sound encourage you to watch your favorite shows and movies straight off of the device, before you even consider connecting headphones.
Should you want to connect headphones however, the Samsung Galaxy S9 has you covered in that regard as well as many others thanks to the assortment of included accessories that comes straight out of the S9’s box. The Samsung Galaxy S9 comes furnished with a USB-C to USB cable, an AC adapter, a USB-C to USB female converter, and a pair of wired AKG earbuds.