According to Samsung over 2.7 trillion photos were taken in 2017, 5 billion Emoji’s are shared daily and 1 billion Gif images are shared every day – and it’s backed by this demand and usage they confidently launch the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2018.
Pre-sales begin today across the major telcos, with the device going on sale on Friday March 16. For the first time in a long time we’re seeing some serious colour variations in Australia, in fact the one colour not coming to Australia is the Grey, with both Coral Blue and Lilac Purple hitting our shores.
Prices start at $1,199 for a 64GB S9, up to $1,349 for the 256GB capacity. The S9+ starts at $1,349 for 64GB and tops out at $1,499 for 256GB of storage.
So, what’s new?
While it might look very similar to last year’s Galaxy S8, the S9 is all new top to bottom. On the front the screen is larger thanks to a reduction in the bezel top and bottom, while on the back the fingerprint sensor and cameras are vertically aligned to give a more natural location for the fingerprint reader.
Camera – Low Light
While the proof will be in the testing, under Samsung’s controlled testing environment we tested, the low-light performance on the S9 is exceptional. Now 28% more light coming in thanks to dual aperture cameras with both an f2.4 and f1.5 on board.
The software on board takes multi-frame noise reduction to a new level, resulting in 30% less noise in low light photos. The camera essentially takes 12 pictures at once to then analyse and produce the final result.
If this does perform in the real world like this when we test it, it will be the best smartphone camera on the market.
Camera – Super Slow Motion
Sony stole the show in 2017 with their 960 frames per second super slow motion capture in the Xperia XZ Premium. Samsung has upped their game to match that, going from 240fps to 960, except they have blown Sony out of the water with usability.
On the Galaxy S9, you choose slow-motion mode, then you choose an area of the screen to monitor. You can be filming as normal, but when something enters that area of the screen the 960fps kicks in and magic happens.
We tested this with bursting water balloons and the result was not only excellent to watch, it was easy to reproduce time and time again.
Videos can be edited to add sound, music and even export as simple to share GIF files – that’s a real winner.
While Apple has Animoji’s – Samsung has introduced AR Emoji’s which draw on the face recognition software on-board to capture your face and create your own emoji character.
For anyone who has Bitmoji it’s quite similar, except it’s created on the fly, you don’t need to design your own face.
You then choose hair style and colour, clothing and accessories and 18 unique AR Emoji “gif’s” become available on the keyboard for you to share.
A load of fun, and likely to be much more widely used than the Apple Animoji’s which seemed to wear off fast as a fad.
The camera based Bixby has been updated to allow you to use the camera to perform live translations.
Great for restaurant menus and signs when travelling, plus in some areas it will use GPS information to overlay local place data onto your camera screen – so you can simply point the camera and find out what’s what around you.
And, it can recognise food. Point it at a meat pie to find out how many calories you’re about to consume (Probably won’t recognise a meat pie, given the only example we saw was a donut)
Drawing on Samsung’s ownership of Harman, the sound on board is tuned by AKG giving a richer experience from the sound, with the addition of greater speaker quality too both top and bottom of the phone.
One would question the value of this though, given most people are listening with headphones!
The S9 features Gigabit LTE speeds, is still IP68 rated for water resistance, can handle up to 400GB of expanded memory via the MicroSD slot, and – as Samsung willingly points out – still has a headphone jack.
Globally there are four colours, Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple and Titanium Grey, with just the titanium grey missing from the Aussie lineup.
The S9 has a 3,000mAh batter, the S9+ a 3,500. The S9+ has Dual Optical image stabilisation on the rear cameras. Screen size is up to 5.8 inch on the S9 and 6.2 inch on the S9+, and the devices weigh 163g and 189g respectively.
|Galaxy S9||64GB||Coral Blue||$1,199|
|Galaxy S9||64GB||Lilac Purple||$1,199|
|Galaxy S9||64GB||Midnight Black||$1,199|
|Galaxy S9||256GB||Coral Blue||$1,349|
|Galaxy S9||256GB||Lilac Purple||$1,349|
|Galaxy S9||256GB||Midnight Black||$1,349|
|Galaxy S9+||64GB||Coral Blue||$1,349|
|Galaxy S9+||64GB||Lilac Purple||$1,349|
|Galaxy S9+||64GB||Midnight Black||$1,349|
|Galaxy S9+||256GB||Coral Blue||$1,499|
|Galaxy S9+||256GB||Lilac Purple||$1,499|
|Galaxy S9+||256GB||Midnight Black||$1,499|