Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are now official as the company showcased the two new phones in Barcelona, ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018. Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will compete against the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 series. With these new phones, the focus is on the camera. Samsung has not tinkered much with the design of the Galaxy S9 series, though it has reduced the bezels even further on the new phones.
The big change though is the Galaxy S9’s camera with Samsung introducing a super-slow-motion video option, and new dual-aperture feature to ensure the best low-light performance. Samsung has also gone with the Apple approach and limited the dual-rear camera feature to the bigger Galaxy S9+ variant rather than introducing it on both phones.
The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will also come with a new AR Emoji feature, which is the company’s own take on Animoji seen in iPhone X and Bitmoji, a well-known app. Samsung’s AR Animoji will scan the user’s face and create a cartoon version of them, which can then be shared on SMS, third-party apps like WhatsApp, etc. There will be 18 different expressions that a user can send, says Samsung. AR Animoji will let users customise the skin tone, clothes, etc of their character as well.
The Galaxy S9 will also come with dual-stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos surround sound capabilities to offer a much more immersive audio experience. The Galaxy S9 series continues with a 3.5-mm headphone jack as well and are IP68 water and dust-resistant. Samsung has also shifted the fingerprint scanner below the camera module and the face and iris scan feature is also present on both phones.
For the camera, the Galaxy S9 comes with dual aperture feature, which is f/1.5 and f/2.4 for low light and daylight performance. Samsung says this technology allows for 28 per cent more light to enter the sensor compared to the Galaxy S8 series. However, there is no ‘Bokeh’ style feature on the smaller Galaxy S9. In contrast, the Galaxy S9+ has dual cameras on the back with dual OIS and allows for the ‘Bokeh’ feature.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ camera is 12MP +12MP with dual OIS on the back. The wide-angle 12MP sensor has F/1.5 and F/2.4 aperture while the telephoto lens is also 12MP with f/2.4 aperture. The front camera on both phones is 8MP with f/1.7 aperture. Both Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will support super slow mode at 960 frames per second. When it comes to the slow motion feature, Samsung will automatically detect motion and alert user when the slow motion aspect has been recorded. Users will then have the option of adding background music to their slo-mo videos or they can convert them into GIFs for easy sharing. These videos can also be set as wallpaper on the Galaxy S9.
For battery, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ continue with the same size as the previous S8, which is 3000 mAh and 3500 mAh respectively. The new phones are powered by Android 8.0 Oreo with TouchWiz UI on top. Samsung has also introduced some new features to the Bixby camera. This is Samsung’s own virtual assistant. Bixby will now support live translation via the camera. A user can just point the camera to a sign or text written in a different language and it will be translated to whichever one they prefer. Indian languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Gujarati, etc are also supported. The Bixby camera can also be used to now point at food and it will tell how many calories are there in a particular item.
Samsung is also continuing with the DeX pad for the Galaxy S9 series and has introduced a new one for the flagship phones. This allows for a desktop-like experience from the Galaxy S9 by plugging it to the DeX pad and connecting it to a desktop monitor. Samsung will support Full HD and 2K monitors as well.
On the specifications front, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be powered by the Exynos 9810 octa-core processor in international markets, which includes India. In the US, the phones will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor. The RAM/Storage specifications for Galaxy S9 are 4GB RAM with 64GB/128GB/256GB, while Galaxy S9+ has the following specifications 6GB RAM and 64GB/128GB/256GB. The colour variants for the Galaxy S9 are Black, Blue, Titanium Gray and new Lilac Purple version.
Disclaimer: The reporter is in Barcelona attending MWC 2018 at the invite of Samsung India, which is paying for accommodation and travel.