Samsung Galaxy S9 Review
Samsung Galaxy S9
- Premium water-tight design
- Top-notch screen with no notch
- Great camera performance
- A headphone jack!
- 960fps slow-mo, automatic motion detection
- Excellent retail bundle
- Among the fastest Android phones
- No major change since last generation
- Facial recognition is not there yet
- Average battery life
- Lacks the Plus’ dual cameras
- Recycled design
- Only 720p resolution for 960fps and really limited duration
- Quite pricey
Samsung Galaxy S9 Review – The revolutionary camera that adapts like the human eye.
Samsung Galaxy S9 has camera that takes beautiful photos in different kinds of light.
Take photos without thinking twice—no matter the time of day. With two f-stop modes, the category-defining Dual Aperture adapts to bright light and super low light automatically, like the human eye. And you can flex your artistic side, toggling the aperture to create a mood.
Shoot at incredible speed: 960 frames per second, thanks to the super speed sensor. Show off your directorial skills by adding Super Slow-mo bursts to a video or spotlighting one moment.
Create captivating Super Slow-mo videos to share with your friends. Add music to your video with a random selection from preloaded choices or use a song from your own playlist. You can also make it a GIF with three styles of looping: reverse, forward, or swing.
|Dimensions||147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm (5.81 x 2.70 x 0.33 in)|
|Weight||163 g (5.75 oz)|
|Build||Front/back glass (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame|
|Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|- Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)|
|- IP68 certified - dust/water proof (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)|
|Display||Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|5.8 inches, 84.8 cm2 (~83.6% screen-to-body ratio)|
|1440 x 2960 pixels, 18.5:9 ratio (~570 ppi density)|
|Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|- HDR10 compliant|
|- 3D Touch (home button only)|
|- Always-on display|
|OS||Android 8.0 (Oreo)|
|Chipset||Exynos 9810 Octa - EMEA|
|Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 - USA & China|
|CPU||Octa-core (4x2.7 GHz Mongoose M3 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A55) - EMEA|
|Octa-core (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver) - USA & China|
|GPU||Mali-G72 MP18 - EMEA|
|Adreno 630 - USA & China|
|Card slot||microSD, up to 400 GB (uses SIM 2 slot) - dual SIM model only|
|Memory||64/128/256 GB, 4 GB RAM|
|Primary Camera||12 MP (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm, 1/2.5", 1.4 µm, Dual Pixel PDAF), phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, check quality|
|Geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 9MP image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, Auto HDR, panorama|
|Video||[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], HDR, dual-video rec., check quality|
|Secondary Camera||8 MP (f/1.7, 25mm, 1/3.6", 1.22 µm), autofocus, [email protected], dual video call, Auto HDR|
|Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|- 32-bit/384kHz audio|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO|
|Radio||FM radio (USA & Canada only)|
|USB||3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector|
|Sensors||Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery (11.55 Wh)|
|Disclaimer||If you see any error or incomplete data, please Contact Us.|
I had hoped that, after exhaustively going over all the ways the S9 is new, I’d find the updates here to be more significant. But I still don’t. The new camera features aren’t must-haves unless you plan on shooting in darkness a lot, and you can get basically all the new Bixby stuff by installing third-party apps. Plus, Samsung plans to roll out the Bixby updates to S8 and Note 8 owners eventually.
But even though these changes feel incremental, the S9s are still strong flagships. If you’re looking to upgrade from an older Android phone, these are worth considering thanks to speedy performance, capable cameras and long-lasting batteries. As the first flagships launched in 2018, the S9s are competent, if unexciting. It’ll be more interesting to see how they measure up to flagships from Apple and Google later this year.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are subtle upgrades to last year’s S8 line. The most significant improvements are found in the fingerprint scanner position, the new intelligent face scan feature, the AR Emoji 3D avatars, and the camera, but only for the S9+, which gets the secondary zoom camera of the Note 8. In any case, if you’re a current Galaxy S8 user, we’d say an upgrade to the S9 would be completely unnecessary, but that’s expected. For owners of older devices, like the S7 or S6, the Galaxy S9 will feel like a major step forward.
Samsung has once again managed to craft desirable handsets with the S9 and S9+; one can hardly find anything remotely as elegant, as advanced, and as polished, all in a single product, on the Android market. The closest it gets to that are LG’s V30 or Google’s Pixel 2, but each of these has certain drawbacks that position them a step below Samsung’s impressive package.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is two things: first, it’s a very impressive smartphone, and likely to be one of the best in 2018. Second, it’s a disappointing upgrade over the Samsung Galaxy S8.
The reason it can be both these things at once is that the Samsung Galaxy S9 was a brilliant phone, marred only by the biometric issues that made it hard to actually unlock the handset. In solving those issues Samsung has righted a big wrong from 2017, but beyond that there isn’t really much that impresses.
And that’s important, as the Galaxy S8 is still going to be on sale for a lower price, thus making it a tempting alternative for those thinking of getting the new Samsung phone.
With the Galaxy S9 offering the same design and screen as before, and only a few minor upgrades, Samsung is going to have a tough time convincing people they should go for the improved model.
That said, those upgrades are mostly things that will actually benefit the user. The Galaxy S9 camera is exceptional in low light, which you’d expect given the innovative dual-aperture technology Samsung has used in this phone.
The improved materials used in the construction offer a stronger phone, and while you won’t feel that when picking it up, you’ll be thankful for it a year or two down the line.
The relocation of the fingerprint scanner, combined with the far-more-accurate Intelligent Scan unlocking system, makes the Galaxy S9 eminently more usable than the Galaxy S8 – if you can’t unlock your phone easily, it’s pretty useless.
AR Emoji has been given a big marketing push, but it’s largely a novelty, and an uninspiring one at that. It needs more weighty hardware and software behind it to work effectively, so if you’re enticed to buy the Galaxy S9 by this feature we’d advise against it.
The extra speed on board is nice to see, but it’s not really adding anything at this stage – what we did want to see was improved battery life, and we didn’t get that.
The Galaxy S9 once again proves Samsung’s formula of a gorgeous 5.8-inch screen, sexy dual-curved design and terrific camera for well-lit shots can’t go wrong. Whiplash-fast speeds, wireless charging and water-resistance complete the package. And it looks stunning in purple and blue.
Low-light photos often look blurry and lack the fine texture and contrast of competing phone cameras. The Galaxy S9’s camera frequently, accidentally switches between modes. 3D avatar software is tragically bad and a new face-unlock tool is inherently insecure. The Galaxy S9 costs more than last year’s Galaxy S8.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a nice incremental upgrade, but its low-light camera isn’t a game changer and some new features fall far behind the iPhone X. S8 owners can skip, but it’s a good upgrade from older Androids.
Without a new design or other new obvious advancements in technology to distract from Samsung’s usual problems, the software issues on the S9 become more obvious than they were with the S8. The upshot of most of this is that you can ignore Samsung’s marketing-focused gimmicks and really enjoy the Samsung Galaxy S9 (and none of them fall to the level of other Android manufacturers’ software problems). You can turn off Bixby, never bother to use AR Emoji or super slow motion, and disable most of Samsung’s apps. That leaves Samsung’s poor software update history as the big sticking point for a lot of people.
The rest of the S9 and S9 Plus is as great as we’ve come to expect. It has a head-turning design, fast performance, a great screen, and a very good camera. Outside of the display, the S9 isn’t a class leader in any category, but it’s good enough in all of them that the whole package makes for a great phone.
Owners of the S8 probably don’t need to upgrade this go-around — the differences aren’t great enough to warrant splurging on the S9 — but if you’re using a Galaxy S7 or any other phone from two years ago, the S9 is a significant step up in every respect.
Predictably, Samsung has made yet another excellent flagship phone. But, just as predictably, it still has plenty of room for improvement.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a comfortable and compact phone that offers a fantastic camera and great performance, but is it one of the best smartphones on the market?We do think the S9 Plus is worth it for the second, versatile camera, but the S9’s perfect size makes it hard to ignore.
Is there a better alternative? Maybe. The Google Pixel 2 is another small phone with fluid performance and an excellent camera, and you get fast Android version and security updates. The problem is that it doesn’t feature a bezel-less design, so it looks quite dated.
If you don’t care about operating system, there’s always the iPhone X, which is smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, or the iPhone 8. Both are excellent phones with similar strengths as the Google Pixel 2, and the iPhone X has that contemporary, stylish look you want.
The upcoming Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact is another phone to keep an eye on, and we’ll have a review up closer to its release date in April or May. Check out our best small phones guide for more.
How long will it last? Expect the Samsung Galaxy S9 to last you three or more years. It’s IP68 water- and dust-resistant, so it will survive dips in the pool, but it’s covered in glass, so you might want to protect it with a case. Samsung issues software updates for two years, so you will start to see performance dips by then, especially since the battery will start to depreciate.
Should you buy it? Yes. If you don’t care about the extra camera on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is an excellent device with a stellar camera, great performance, and brilliant hardware.
If we had to choose, we’d recommend the smaller Samsung Galaxy S9. Both are great phones — don’t get us wrong — but the S9 is easier to hold without sacrificing too much screen, and it still comes with most of the new camera features Samsung introduced this year. Sure, the S9 Plus is the obvious choice if you want dual cameras, a bigger battery, or more screen, but we think the smaller model will be the right choice for most people.
However, they’re not perfect — Samsung needs to get better at software updates, or at least launch its phones with the most recent version of Android. They also lack the level of polish found in the Pixel 2 and iPhone X. AR Emoji are a bit buggy, and there’s still no compelling use case for Bixby. Luckily, those things can be fixed with software updates or by simply not using them.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are predictable, iterative devices. But is that so bad when their predecessors were two of the best phones of last year? We certainly don’t think so.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 ticks most of the boxes with regards to what most folk want in a new phone: good camera, attractive design, stunning screen and plenty of interesting features to play with.
Yet it feels like Samsung could have done more. I’m not talking about another complete redesign – that was never going to happen – but with the iPhone X being such a radical departure for Apple, and the Pixel 2 having such an amazing camera, it feels like Samsung has played it safe.
Still, expect this to be the top-selling Android phone of the year – and with good reason. If you’re coming from a Galaxy S7 or older then you’ll appreciate what’s on offer here. I even prefer this smaller variant to its Plus-sized brother; it feels better in the hand and there’s no other Android phone of this size that can do this much.
At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S9 looks unspectacular, because apart from the repositioning of the fingerprint sensor, Samsung seems not to have changed anything on the surface. Only after you hold the Galaxy S9 in your hand and compare it side-by-side to the Galaxy S8 are the changes in detail noticeable. In addition, Samsung gave the Galaxy S9 a useful hardware update under the hood. Especially the camera with its dual aperture and Super Slow Motion function, along with the stereo speakers, make the Galaxy S9 a very interesting smartphone for the first half of 2018.
Overall, the Galaxy S9 is more consistent than the Galaxy S8. Samsung has addressed many of the critiques of the Galaxy S8 and changed things with the S9. In addition, Samsung seems to have looked around the market and observed where the trends are going. The slow motion function and AR Emoji certainly belong to these trends. Bixby has potential but needs some work in the software, and unfortunately the battery leaves a lot to be desired, something that is more difficult to change. We now know that the S9 and S9+ will be updated even before they are released to stores, but this isn’t likely to bring any drastic changes.
The Galaxy S is not the trendsetter it once was, but the S9 is the only continuation that could ever be. Samsung is proficient in refining enough in hardware and user experience each year, and when there is nothing groundbreaking to show off, the surprises may come from unexpected places.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 may be failing to wow with the design but makes up for that with performance and new camera skills. And while it may not be a bokeh king, the S9 excels where it matters – in still and image quality.
The truth is the Galaxy S9 can’t be a meaningful upgrade to any S8 user. But we live in some interesting times, where incremental upgrades do happen, and regular users are best upgrading every two years, at least theoretically.
The ninth Galaxy S is cutting-edge no two words about it. Design, screen, and performance are top of the line, while the camera is unique enough to make even some Apple users jump ship.
It’s just that the S9 omits the aura of excitement any headliner should come with. It was an entirely predictable device – blazing fast, with enough hardware updates, but didn’t make enough progress for a meaningful generation jump. It’s more of a Galaxy S8S than S9 but we are glad it re-introduced the variable aperture snappers to the market, and we hope it makes them the next big thing. Because the S9 just isn’t that.