Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ hands-on review

GSMArena team, 25 February 2018.


The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are here, official, unwrapped, and we go in full hands-on mode. We might be sending off another UNPACKED event preceded by weeks of overwhelming leaks, but we are surely heading towards a new chapter in the smartphone photography.

Samsung Galaxy S9 MWC 2018 review

Samsung is postponing the major redesign for yet another year. The Galaxy S9 duo refines the futuristic shape in a Cupertino-like fashion instead of taking a new path. And it's still fancy as it was on the Galaxy S6, we'll give it that.

But while the S9 may be lacking new looks, it makes up for that in hardware. New blazing-fast chipsets, Samsung's first camera with variable aperture, and an Xperia-like super-slow-motion video capturing at 960fps but done the right way - automatically. There are also high-quality stereo speakers - a highly-anticipated and long overdue feature.

For the first time ever the two models have one major difference besides the screen size - the main camera. The two models share the new sensor with variable aperture, but only the S9+ comes with a secondary telephoto camera borrowed from the Note8's back. This means no Live Focus on the S9, but looking at all those upgrades, we think we'll manage.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ at a glance

  • 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"/6.2" Super AMOLED Infinity, 2,960x1440px resolution, 18.5:9 (2.06:1) aspect ratio, 568/531ppi; HDR 10 compliant.
  • Rear camera: S9 and S9+: 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; 960fps super slow-mo with automatic motion detection. S9+ only: Secondary telephoto 12MP, Type 1/3.4" sensor, OIS and Dual Pixel PDAF, f/2.4 aperture, 52mm equiv. focal length
  • Front camera: 8MP, f/1.7 aperture, autofocus; 1440p/30fps video recording.
  • OS/Software: Android 8.0 Oreo; Samsung Grace UX; Bixby virtual assistant with Bixby Vision; KNOX with Intelligent Scan
  • Chipsets: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: octa-core CPU (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), Adreno 630 GPU. Exynos 9810: octa-core CPU (4x2.8 GHz 3rd-gen Mongoose + 4x1.7GHz Cortex-A55), Mali-G72 MP18 GPU.
  • Memory: S9: 4GB of RAM; S9+: 6GB of RAM; 64GB / 128GB / 256GB storage; microSD slot for cards up to 256GB, UFS cards support.
  • Battery: 3,000mAh/3,500mAh Li-Po (sealed); 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; AKG by Harman Stereo Speakers with Dolby Atmos; 3.5mm jack; bundled AKG headphones.

The software has received a major bump too. Starting with the latest Android Oreo Samsung seems to have built yet another impressive feature-rich Grace topping.

Bixby isn't going away, nor is its dedicated hardware button. Samsung is bringing new Bixby features such as live translation, places and food suggestions with burnt calories tracking.

Then there are the AR Emojis with 18 presets - a cool feature familiar from the iPhone X and its animojis. KNOX got smarter, DeX has new pad-support, the list goes on and on.

Let's get this hands-on session started, shall we?

Reader comments

  • AnonD-745670

Waiting for S 9 mini around 135-140mmx65-69mm x7mm 140-150 gm compact . The current galaxies are too big for comfortable handling. Even A 8 2018 edition does not fit the bill. Hope Samsung i Or for that manner any one else is listening?

But won't that have mostly the same design and the same processor and the same display? It would have just a better camera and the S pen right?

  • Alphasukatumba

Irish scan face scan finger scan pulse oximeter heart rate minitor bp check. What's Next ECG, X-ray, microscope, portable oxygen concentrator, ultrasound and defibrillator?... Wow that's cool