The Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ were undoubtedly the Android flagship torchbearers of 2017, and why change something that works well? Samsung clearly doesn’t want to tinker with a winning formula, and that is perhaps why this year’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ take a lot of inspiration from the predecessors. The phones will start rolling out in stores in some countries from 16 March onwards, with prices very similar to the launch prices of the S8 and the S8+.
The S9 and S9+ have the same bezel-less designs with the tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio screens. The 5.8-inch screen in the S9 and the 6.2-inch screen in the S9+ are the same Super AMOLED panels as before, but Samsung claims to have boosted the brightness levels this time around. While the design remains the same, the new phones are slightly different in terms of the dimensions, which means if you are upgrading, the same cases and covers may not work.
While some markets will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 4GB or 6GB RAM, other markets such as India will get Samsung’s latest Exynos processors.
The big change this time around is the camera system in the S9 and the S9+. The S9 has a single camera while the S9+ has a dual camera. The S9 is the first flagship phone from Samsung that features a mechanically adjustable aperture which can switch between f/1.5 for low light situations and f/2.4 for better lit environments. Till now, the LG V30 had the widest aperture in a smartphone thus far, with its glass lens capable of f/1.6 aperture. This, Samsung claims, lets in 28% more light than the S8’s f/1.7 aperture. The S9’s 12-megapixel camera sensor also has a new dual pixel autofocus technology called Super Speed Dual Pixel, which is faster and locks focus more reliably, reduces noise and distortions and can record up to 960 frames per second of slow motion video—something that is straight out of Sony’s Xperia camera handbook.
Samsung has a slightly different take on the animated emoji feature, also seen in the Apple iPhone X. Samsung calls this AR Emoji, and instead of a lion or a monkey, this maps over 100 points of your face using the front camera and lets you animate your own face. You can then customize this with different hairstyles and more.
Samsung has upgraded the Bixby virtual assistant as well, with a new augmented reality vision section. There is a live translate feature that uses Google’s Translate service, while the service now links up better with some of the camera features too.
It is quite a guarantee that the S9 and the S9+ will again be the Android flagship phones that will set the pace this year, and are a tough act to follow for any competition.