Here’s what we think of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

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As we wrote some time ago, the best smartphones at MWC, in our opinion was the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Why? Because with each new release of the Galaxy S series flagships, Samsung just keeps upping the ante and we too keep lapping up what they keep doling out

At a launch event held at the Hilton Colombo on the 19th of March 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ were officially launched in Sri Lanka. Naturally, this piques our curiosity. To quench our thirst for the latest and greatest in technological advancements and gadgets, we made our way over to the Hilton to await the launch of these flagship smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S9
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

After all the flashy introductions, speeches and the actual launch itself, we took a look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. For starters, we confirmed that Samsung actually did take what we drooled over the S8 and S8 Plus and made it better, or at least try to.

They’re mobile powerhouses

Both devices are powered either by Samsung’s latest Exynos 9810 or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. The reason to have the two variants is for different markets. In terms of performance though, they’re almost identical. So in real life, it won’t really matter.

The first thing you notice, of course, is the screen. The display on the new Galaxy S9 is the same 5.8” 18:9 display QHD display as the Galaxy S8. That being said though, the screen is quite impressive. The brightness, color gamut, and saturation are really well done and we just found ourselves staring at the bright light akin to a moth being attracted to a flame.

Samsung Galaxy S9
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

The display on the Galaxy S9+ is also the same as the S8+, capping off at 6.2”. The Infinity display returns once more to both devices, delivering quite a satisfactory experience. The phones actually do look and feel like they have no bezels. Thus far, initial impressions look good.

The Icing on the Galaxy S9 Cake

Apart from the bright display, where the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ shine, are in their new and updated cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S9 packs a 12MP rear camera. One of the main features that we’ve seen on the Galaxy S9 and not on any other smartphone is the variable aperture.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Ranging from f/1.5 to f/2.4, the Galaxy S9 is able to take some amazing snaps in well-lit conditions. That doesn’t mean that it will be a no-show in low light situations either. Rather, the Galaxy S9 offers extremely good lowlight performance to make sure that all your photos come out looking good. The Samsung Galaxy S9+ packs a dual 12MP camera setup in the rear. While one lens can go from an aperture of f/1.5 to f/2.4, the second camera is locked at f/2.4. The dual lens also means that the Galaxy S9+ packs a 2x optical zoom as well.

More fun with the Samsung Galaxy S9 camera

If you want to see the variable aperture in action, just take a look at the lens when you’re taking a photo and you will be able to see the mechanical movement of the lens itself. The camera interface has also been updated and is now a lot easier to use. You can unlock the full potential of the camera by going into Pro mode, or try any of the other modes such as food, Hyperlapse, and macro.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Camera
Testing the Samsung Galaxy S9 Camera

If you’re looking for some cool video tricks, then the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will not disappoint. With the ability to record 4K video at 60fps and full HD 1080p video at 240fps, both devices are also capable of a hopping 960fps slow-mo video recording at 720.

Emojis for everybody

You also get a new feature called AR emoji. This essentially takes a pic and then adds emoji to it. Touted to be the first smartphone to do this, we’ve actually seen this feature from Apple, Google, and even Huawei. Let’s just let Samsung have their moment for now.

Samsung Galaxy S9
The AR Emoji feature on both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

In short, both devices have the same processor. But you also get a bigger display, more RAM (6GB for the Galaxy S9+ versus 4GB in the Galaxy S9), and a dual-lens camera with the Samsung Galaxy S9+. The Galaxy S9 packs a 3,000mAh battery with its older brother packing 500mAh more. Both devices have a Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, fingerprint sensor and support fast battery charging.

They also bring support for Samsung DeX, which essentially converts your smartphone into a desktop-esqe PC. Both devices come with 64/128 or 256GB of internal storage with expandable storage capabilities of up to 400GB via the MicroSD slot.

One thing bothered us, though

While we liked all these features and loved the camera and display, we couldn’t help notice that the back of both devices felt plasticky. This was a bit of a letdown for us, considering that these two devices are premium flagship devices. If you’re paying so much for it, you may as well pull all the bells and whistles, right?

Samsung Galaxy S9
The back of the Samsung Galaxy S9 feels a bit.. cheap.

Speaking of price, the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be available at LKR 142,900/- for the 64GB model. The bigger Samsung Galaxy S9+ will retail for LKR 160,900/- for the 64GB model and LKR 177,900/- for the 128GB model.

You can also stay tuned for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy S9 soon

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