Samsung Galaxy S9 is a familiar phone with incremental updates

By : |February 26, 2018 0

When Samsung took the wraps off its latest flagship Galaxy S9, the smartphone looked quite familiar with very little that could be called spectacular. Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, on a passing glance look exactly like their predecessors. The S9 pair maintain the S8’s attractive and efficient design, with extra tall 18.5:9 screens, curved sides, and glass front and backs. The 5.8-inch (S9) and 6.2-inch (S9 Plus) screens are the same Super AMOLED panels with 2960 x 1440 pixel resolutions, though Samsung says they are slightly brighter this year.

This however, doesn’t mean that there is nothing new in the latest phones but the changes are only incremental. Besides the S9’s new camera system, which comes as a single lens on the S9 and a dual camera on the S9 Plus, the minor changes in the design include a well-hidden iris scanner, a properly placed fingerprint reader, and a changed grille for the bottom speaker.

Let’s start with the camera. S9 is the first Galaxy S flagship with dual cameras (and dual optical image stabilization). The setup here is similar to the Note 8: two 12-megapixel cameras with one wide-angle and one telephoto lens, and it offers similar extra tools like Dual Capture and Live Focus. The camera is also Samsung’s first with a mechanically adjustable aperture, which can switch between a very bright f/1.5 to a smaller f/2.4 depending on exposure conditions. The bright aperture lets in 28 percent more light than the S8’s f/1.7 lens, and the f/2.4 aperture is said to help prevent overexposure in bright scenes.

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The S9 and S9+ can also shoot some serious slow-mo. Samsung took a page right out of Sony’s playbook, adding 960fps video capture. That’ll create clips that are four times slower than the S8 could take.

Integrated into the new camera app is Samsung’s take on the iPhone X’s Animoji, which it calls AR Emoji. It lets you capture an image of your face, and using over 100 points, it builds a custom 3D character with your features. The app then creates 18 animated GIF “stickers” that are accessible in the keyboard for use in messaging apps. You can customize the look of your character with different hairstyles, glasses, and outfits, as well.

Another area of improvement is Bixby — specifically in the augmented reality Vision section. Besides interface tweaks that make Bixby Vision look more in tune with the camera app, Samsung also added three new modes — Live Translate, Makeup and Food. The previously available shopping and landmark recognition features are now individual modes, too.

Both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will run on the latest Exynos 9810 everywhere but North America and China. The new SoC has an octa-core processor with a quartet of third-gen Mongoose cores at 2.8GHz and a quartet of Cortex-A55 at 1.7GHz.

In the US, both the S9 and S9+ will have Snapdragon 845 CPUs, with the smaller phone packing 4GB of RAM while the larger handset carries 6GB. They’ll ship with Android 8.0 Oreo, too. The batteries remain the same as S8’s i.e. 3,000 mAh for the S9, 3,500 mAh for the S9 Plus. Also, they’re just as durable and water-resistant as their predecessors, and will still support fast wireless charging.

The S9 has a price tag of $720, and the S9 Plus will cost you a full $120 more, at $840. The phones go up for pre-orders on March 2 and start shipping the 16th.

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