The Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ have been officially introduced in India. The next generation flagship phones aren’t radically different on the outside compared to Galaxy S8/S8+ but are loaded enough on the inside to feel exciting (and relevant).
Highlighted improvements include a “reimagined camera”, powerful stereo speakers, new fingerprint sensor position, and AR emojis. The screen size isn’t the only difference between the two screen models. The Galaxy S9+ gets an extra camera, more RAM and more battery, which mark it superior to its compact sibling.
We went up close with the new Galaxy S9+ and have been testing it in our own space. Read on our Samsung Galaxy S9+ hands-on review to know our first impressions.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Specifications
|Model||Samsung Galaxy S9||Samsung Galaxy S9+|
|Display||5.8-inch Quad HD+ (2960 × 1440 pixels), S-AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5, HDR 10, 570 ppi||6.2-inch Quad HD+ (2960 × 1440 pixels), AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5, HDR 10, 529 ppi|
|Processor||Octa-Core Samsung Exynos 9 Series 9810 processor||Octa-Core Samsung Exynos 9 Series 9810 processor|
|RAM||4GB LPDDR4X||6GB LPDDR4X|
|Internal Storage||64GB/256GB (UFS 2.1)||64GB/256GB (UFS 2.1)|
|Software||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Primary Camera||12MP Dual Pixel rear camera with LED Flash, f/2.4-f/1.5 variable aperture, 960fps super slo-mo||12MP primary rear camera with f/2.4-f/1.5 variable aperture, LED Flash, 960fps super slo-mo, 12MP secondary rear camera with f/2.4 aperture|
|Secondary Camera||8MP, F/1.7 aperture||8MP, F/1.7 aperture|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor||Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor|
|Battery||3,000 mAh, wireless fast charging||3,500 mAh, wireless fast charging|
|Others||4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5 (LE up to 2Mbps), GPS with GLONASS, USB 3.1, NFC, MST||4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5 (LE up to 2Mbps), GPS with GLONASS, USB 3.1, NFC, MST|
|Starting Price||Rs. 57,900/ Rs 65,900||Rs. 64,900/ Rs. 72,900|
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Design and Build
Last year, Samsung set new benchmarks with its Infinity display design. The full-view display indeed turned out to be what consumers wanted and started an industry-wide onslaught against the seemingly innocuous ‘bezel’.
We weren’t expecting another major design rewrite this year and that’s how things turned out. The S9+ is the familiarly beautiful phone with the best in business curved glass display Samsung, however, fixed the only major gripe we had with its 2017 flagships – the fingerprint sensor is now mounted below the camera module where it’s more accessible.
- The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is a beautiful and ergonomic phone. In spite of the 6.2-inch screen, it feels like a regular-size-phone and is easy to operate.
- Of course, the S9 should serve well if you are looking for a particularly compact phone.
- There is Gorilla Glass 5 on front and rear. Both Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are IP68 water and dust resistant certified.
- The front is most display (84% screen-to-body ratio) and the curved side edges is a design element that rivals haven’t managed to imitate with much success.
- The phone also retains 3.5mm audio jack. It shares bottom edge space with USB Type-C port (3.1), and loudspeaker. The MicroSD card slot is the hybrid type.
- You will still need to get used to not hitting the Bixby key while turning down Volume. Having said that, if our experience with Note 8 is anything to go by, you will get used to it after some time. Or, you could just disable it.
- Samsung also bundles a soft TPU case in the Galaxy S9/S9+ retail box.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Display
Samsung makes some incremental improvements to its Super AMOLED panel. These should suffice, since Samsung already makes the best displays in the industry. Needless to say, you are in for the best display experience with the 6.2-inch panel on the Galaxy S9+. If you need more assurance, DisplayMate recently quantified its gorgeousness with the highest ever A+ grade.
- The Infinity panel on Galaxy S9+ is HDR 10 compliant. It can get around 11 percent brighter than the Galaxy S8 display.
- There is no notch and the display is, simply put, uninterupted.
- You can toggle resolution between 2K and HD+.
- You can choose between several accurate color profiles from display settings.
- The Always On display now has more style options. The virtual 3D touch-enabled Always On home button is a delight that you’d get used to in no time.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Camera
The major talking point of the Galaxy S9+ remains its camera hardware. Samsung uses a DRAM between camera sensor and SoC for faster processing, and the S9+ also benefits from high-end camera support added in new generation Exynos 9810/ Snapdragon 845 chipset.
All the boxes are checked here: You get OIS, dual focus pixels, an extra sensor (Live focus, 2X zoom), a unique variable aperture lens, super slow motion videos, Multi-frame noise reduction, 4K recording at 60fps and also AR Emojis.
Even with our limited testing, we can notice substantial camera improvements. The portrait mode or the Live focus mode, for instance, works better than it does on Note 8. We will still reserve our verdict for another few days.
- The camera switches to wide f/1.5 aperture in low lighting and to f/2.4 aperture in broad daylight.
- You can switch apertures in the pro mode and even notice the aperture changing on the rear camera. This is certainly a cool addition.
- Don’t expect much out of Slo motion videos (720p, 960 fpS) in indoor and low lighting, but you will be able to capture some fun results in adequate outdoor lighting.
- The AR Emojis can be fun, though they aren’t deal makers or deal breakers. At least, not as of now. There are many apps that can give you your lookalike emojis, but AR Emojis can be animated and shared across all major platforms.
- The 8MP selfie camera with f/1.7 aperture looks like a great performer.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Performance Expectations
The performance wasn’t much of an issue on the last generation Samsung flagships, and the Exynos 9810 brings several more improvements to the table. The Galaxy S9+ has 6GB of RAM and that’s kind of important on the Android side of things. With the heavy custom skin, the 6GB RAM option should be a safer bet in the long run.
The Experience UI 9.0 based on Android 8.0 Oreo shows some refinements and a few new features. Two of our favorites are the new App shortcut menus and the new Always On display widgets. The Edge launcher remains a value addition, and Bixby is something we often use to dive deep into phone settings on our Note 8.
- The S9+ comes with 6GB RAM, which marks it as a superior option to S9 (more than the dual camera does, in our opinion).
- As of now, the phone feels extremely snappy but we will need to spend more time with the phone to know if it holds.
- Samsung Experience UI 9.0 is based on Android 8.0 Oreo. Since the OS is based on project treble, the wait for Android P will perhaps be shorter.
- The fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate and is now readily accessible. The iris scanner and Face Unlock are as unreliable as they used to be.
- The stereo-speaker output is remarkably loud. The quality feels excellent too. Certainly a very important upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ Quick Review: Should you buy it?
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ doesn’t look radically different but the major and minor refinements it packs within are thoroughly tempting and exciting. Based on our initial time with the device, this sure feels like a step in the right direction.
Samsung improves the Camera, which is the defining flagship trait and puts some much-needed weight on Audio output. The GS 9+ is also one of the rare few flagships with an Audio jack.
Our initial reading is that the Samsung Galaxy S9+ will be tough to beat for the major part of the year, at least until September when we get to see the next generation of tier-1 flagships.
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ Price in India:
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ Price: Rs. 64,900 (64GB); Rs. 72,900 (256GB)
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Price: Rs. 57,900 (64GB); Rs. 65,900 (256GB)
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ launch offers:
- Paytm Mall and HDFC cards cashback of Rs. 6000
- Extra 6000 off on exchange of old Samsung phones
- No cost EMI options
- Career offers from Airtel, Jio, and Vodafone reducing effective cost.