Samsung has officially unveiled its newest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.
Business Insider attended the company’s press conference in Barcelona, and got some time to spend hands-on with both devices.
The S9 and S9+ will go on sale March 16, but customers will be able to pre-order it this Friday (March 2).
This article was originally posted on Business Insider.
Here are the key takeaways you should know about if you are considering buying either phone:
The design has remained virtually unchanged.
The first thing that’s immediately noticeable upon picking up a Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ is just how similar they are to their predecessors.
The same 5.8- and 6.2-inch displays (for the S9 and S9+ respectively) dominate the devices’ front; an aluminum strip goes around the edges, and a glass back shimmers.
If you didn’t notice the different positioning of the fingerprint sensor — which now comfortably sits below the camera, and not next to it — or stumbled upon one of the new colours, like the “Lilac Purple,” you would really have a hard time telling a Galaxy S9 and its predecessor apart.
Samsung’s new phone seems a lot like the “s” versions of the iPhones in years past — but that’s not to say that the design has any noticeable flaws. The in-hands feel certainly remains solid.
There are some important upgrades, but many of the specs are similar too.
The similarities between the two pairs of phones — if you compare the S8 and S8+ to the S9 and S9+ respectively — don’t end there, however.
Those “infinite display” panels are still QuadHD, the screen resolution first introduced with 2015’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, and while they still look as good as ever, they fail to impress anymore.
This is not a call for 4K displays on sub-7″ displays, but a QuadHD display alone struggles to add anything that previous smartphones didn’t have, and therefore the very first impression can’t be “wow.”
Samsung, in particular, has consistently had some of the very best panels on the market, so the slight improvements in brightness and colour accuracy of the S9’s get lost in the bulk of upgrades the Galaxy S8 already brought last year.
The S9 also retains the 3000mAh battery its predecessor had (3500mAh for the S8+/S9+), 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM for the base model — the S9+ has 6GB, but the differences in performance were unnoticeable in the brief stress test I made.
The most notable S9 and S9+ upgrades are in the processor, which is now the Snapdragon 845, the Note 8’s iris scanner, which can be used for face unlocking, and a new pair of stereo speakers, tuned by AKG.
Overall, however, much of last year’s Galaxy S8 has made its way to this year’s device, which is a slight refinement and not a rethinking of the Galaxy S brand.
There are some important spec differences between the two models.
Perhaps the biggest difference is not between the old and the new models, but between their respective gaps.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ were almost identical last year, whereas 2018’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ differ from each other more significantly.
(This might also translate in a larger price difference, but Samsung has not shared final details on pricing yet.)
There are four distinctions: Screen, battery, RAM, and camera.
The screen is 0.4 inches larger or the S9+, which is a nice real estate bump considering that the difference in size is negligible, at least in hands.
I use an iPhone X as my daily driver, which is a 5.8-inch device, and I still felt that the slightly larger S9+ got more value out of its added size than its smaller sibling.
The battery, on the other hand, is a full 500mAh larger (3000 vs 3500), which could translate in a solid battery life difference; and the extra 2GB of RAM, too, might come in handy as apps get bigger and the device’s battery wears off over time.
But the major difference is still the secondary 12MP telephoto camera, which is only present on the larger S9+.
The dual-lens system is borrowed from last year’s Galaxy Note 8, and Samsung again uses it to offer 2x zoom photos without quality loss and some bokeh effects to enhance portrait mode pictures.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider