It was just a year ago when Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 and S8+, kicking off the “bezel-less” flagship revolution. Now, at MWC, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S9 and S9+. As we’ve seen from leaks, this year’s flagship keeps last year’s design with improvements to the camera, productivity software, and more.
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Last year, the two Galaxy S8 handsets were almost identical, other than the screen size. This time around, Samsung is differentiating its two smartphones internally and externally.
Starting off with the hardware, the smaller Galaxy S9 features the same 5.8-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ bezel-light display we saw last year, a single rear-facing camera, and a fingerprint reader placed just below the camera sensor. The Galaxy S9+ has a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ screen and a dual-camera setup (more on that later). Both also have the same 8MP f/1.7 front-facing camera.
Internally, we see a growing list of differences between the two flagships. While both phones will be powered by the Snapdragon 845 processor (Exynos 9810 internationally), the Galaxy S9 will include 4GB of RAM and 64GB (or more) of built-in storage.
you want a boost in power, you might be more interested in the larger Galaxy S9+. Internally, the handset will be powered by 6GB of RAM and 64GB (or more) of storage.
Also internally, neither the Galaxy S9 or the S9+ are getting much of a battery bump. The smaller of the two devices will have a 3000mAh battery while the larger S9+ gets a 3500mAh battery. Oh, and both are running Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.
One of Samsung’s marketing campaigns leading up to the S9’s launch was “The Camera. Reimagined.” As Samsung has just confirmed, this reimagining translates into the two flagship phones having a dual aperture camera. Being able to switch between f/2.4 and f/1.5, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will have the flexibility to take photos and videos in different lighting situations.
Also as expected, the Galaxy S9+ brings a secondary camera similar to what we saw on last year’s Note 8. This time around, the secondary camera will use a wide-angle sensor to capture more of what you’re seeing. The most significant difference is that the dual-camera array is now lined up vertically with the fingerprint sensor being placed below them.
Since Samsung didn’t change the S9/S9+’s physical appearance much at all, it put its focus and efforts into building new pieces of software and camera features. Some of the items that Samsung touches on specifically is the camera’s ability to capture super slow-motion video at 960 frames per second, enhanced low-light capture capabilities, and improved Bixby integrations.
One of the biggest additions, though, is something called AR Emoji:
Samsung lets users create an emoji that looks, sounds and acts like them. AR Emoji uses a data-based machine learning algorithm, which analyzes a 2D image of the user and maps out more than 100 facial features to create a 3D model that reflects and imitates expressions, like winks and nods, for true personalization. AR Emoji shares users’ real-life emotions not only in video but also with a range of stickers and uses a standard AGIF file format so users can share their emojis across most third-party messaging platforms.
If you’re interested in upgrading to the Galaxy S9 or S9+, both phones will be available on March 16 with pre-orders starting on March 2. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be sold on all major US carriers as well unlocked directly from Samsung. The S9 will be available for $720 while the S9+ will be sold for $840.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 will be available in Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Titanium Gray, and Coral Blue.