Samsung Galaxy S9 review

Samsung Galaxy S9 review

Samsung Galaxy S9 review

Samsung Galaxy S9: Buy It For The Camera, Hate It For The Emojis.

Key Points

  • Samsung’s new flagship smartphone comes in two sizes: the 5.8-inch S9 and the 6.2-inch S9+.
  • Both phones have a 2K resolution screen, that’s higher than most TVs and the best displays we’ve ever seen on a smartphone.
  • It is the first smartphone to have a dual-aperture camera which means you can take incredible pictures in the dark. It can also shoot super slow-mo video at 960fps.
  • AR Emoji turns you into an animated emoji (think Bitmoji meets Animoji). The recreations are fairly accurate and while they’re slightly endearing they’re absolutely not a reason to buy an expensive phone.
  • The S9 and S9+ are both made from glossy glass and metal. They look beautiful for about 20 seconds until your disgusting hands get fingerprints all over them.
  • There are differences between the S9 and S9+. The smaller S9 loses some notable camera features so something to consider.
  • The S9 costs £739 and the S9+ costs £869.

The Verdict

Lets just get this out of the way right now, if you own the Samsung Galaxy S8 you should in no way consider the S9 a ‘must buy’. While the phone does have new features, in the week I’ve been testing the S9+, none of them have stood out as reason enough to buy a new phone a mere 12-months after the last one.

If however you’re someone who maybe hasn’t upgraded their phone in a while and is looking to splash out, there’s a lot to like here.

The S9 and S9+ both look and feel almost identical to the previous model. That’s absolutely fine – the S9 is a really good-looking gadget, as long as you don’t mind constantly wiping fingerprints off the all-glass body. The S9 and S9+ are also water-resistant so they’ll survive a dip in the bath or even a few underwater photos in a swimming pool. There are three colours, Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple.

They both offer excellent battery life; in the time I’ve been testing the S9+ it hasn’t once struggled to make it though the day. It also comes with fast wireless charging.

The S9 feels like the perfect size for a smartphone, it’s sturdy but not too heavy and thanks to the slim bezels the screen just floats in your hand. The larger S9+ however feels a touch too heavy and frankly too long – as I discovered to my peril earlier this week through a heart attack-inducing drop, it is not a phone for one-handed typing.

The screens are also very similar to last year’s model, albeit they’re now taking up slightly more of the front of the phone. They’re 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch 2K AMOLED displays respectively, which in plain English means they’re higher quality than most modern TVs. Colours are lavishly bold while the contrast ratios mean you get an almost infinite black as well.

In addition, you now get stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos which should in theory boost the sound quality and even create a ‘virtual’ surround sound experience. I’m not entirely sure why I would want surround sound on a smartphone but the quality of the speakers is admittedly excellent.

Next is the camera, which is arguably where Samsung has made the biggest change. The S9 and S9+ now have dual-aperture cameras, meaning that the camera can physically alter the amount of light it lets in. The end result is that you should be able to take pictures in the dark without the image being blurry or full of that static noise that often ruins pictures.


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