It’s true what they say – you don’t fix what’s not broken. And that’s what Samsung did for the Galaxy S9 – it didn’t change what was already great, it just tweaked specs wherever possible. And it has worked out just fine for them.
Futuristic is what we used to call the Galaxy S7 and S8 design, but now the iconic glass curves are just mainstream. You can see them shine on the cheapest of smartphones, even on knock-offs, all the way up to the current Galaxy S9 series. The shape might be wearing off, but Samsung has managed to keep its coolness for yet another year thanks to some stunning choice of colors.
There is a new chipset – Snapdragon or Exynos – and regardless which one ends up in the Galaxy S9 which is available in your region, it’s enough to know that they are both blazing-fast.
But the camera is where the company has really pushed the envelope. With a variable aperture of f/1.5 to f/2.4, now the Galaxy S9 should be able to rule the field in either bright daylight or after dark. We also appreciate the 4K at 60fps video recording and the 960fps slow-mo clips with automatic motion detection.
There are even more tweaks which may not be as apparent, but you would appreciate them once you start using the Galaxy S9. The loud stereo speakers tuned by Harman – a first for the Galaxy S lineup – promise immersive sound with Dolby Atmos support. The combined fingerprint, face, and iris recognition for versatile unlocking seems like something we need on every modern phone. There is more, of course, but before we kick off this review, let’s dig into the specs.
Samsung Galaxy S9 specs
Body: Polished aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 5 front and back; IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple color schemes.
Display: 5.8″ Super AMOLED Infinity, 2,960x1440px resolution, 18.5:9 (2.06:1) aspect ratio, 570ppi, HDR 10 compliant.
Rear camera: 12MP, f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, dual pixel phase detection autofocus, OIS; multi-shot image stacking; multi-frame noise reduction; 2160p/60fps video recording; 1080p/240fps; 720p/960fps super slow-mo with automatic motion detection.
Front camera: 8MP, f/1.7 aperture, autofocus; 1440p/30fps video recording.
OS/Software: Android 8.0 Oreo; Samsung UX v.9; Bixby virtual assistant with Bixby Vision; KNOX with Intelligent Scan
Chipset (review unit): Exynos 9810: octa-core CPU (4×2.8 GHz 3rd-gen Mongoose + 4×1.7GHz Cortex-A55), Mali-G72 MP18 GPU.
Chipset (US and China): Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: octa-core CPU (4×2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), Adreno 630 GPU.
Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64GB / 128GB / 256GB storage; microSD slot for cards up to 256GB, UFS cards support.
Battery: 3,000mAh; Adaptive Fast Charging; WPC&PMA wireless charging.
Connectivity: Single-SIM, Dual-SIM available in certain markets; LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.18 downlink; USB Type-C (v3.1); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0.
Misc: Fingerprint reader; iris recognition/face recognition; Stereo Speakers with Dolby Atmos; 3.5mm jack; bundled AKG headphones.
If recent indications floating around are to be trusted, the Galaxy S9 will be sending off a design that has inspired so many. Once a shape from the future, the Galaxy S9 have perfected everything there is to this body, including the fingerprint sensor position. And with the anniversary Galaxy S10 coming next year (please don’t call it X) we are probably enjoying this sleek glass shape in its current form for the last time.
Samsung Galaxy S9 unboxing
The retail package of the Samsung Galaxy S9 should be an example of a flagship treatment and we hope other makers (one Cupertino-based company in particular) take notes. Inside the Galaxy S9 box you’ll find a proper (fast) charging plug, a USB Type-C cable, a microUSB-to-Type C and USB-to-USB-C adapters.
There is also a premium AKG-tuned in-ear headphones with mic bundled with the Galaxy S9.
This complete accessory treatment is one of the things we hope other companies adopt. There is nothing sweeter than popping your phone out of the box and start using it right away instead of going on a shopping spree for adapters and cables.
Okay, we would have appreciated a protective case too, but we’re pushing our luck, we know.