Every year the Samsung Galaxy flagship is the most anticipated Android device. And Samsung does enough every year not to disappoint hardcore fans and to show direction to the rest of the industry. This year it has launched the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. Samsung has had some good success with the S8 series and the Note 8, so it makes the Galaxy S9+ a bit of a challenge as the Korean tech major has to offer something new. Here is our review of the Samsung Galaxy S9+.
One thing you cannot expect from Samsung now is a design that will be break the mould for its flagships. Samsung has been playing safe with the design and even the iPhone X, which went against the conventions Apple has set for itself, has not been able to change the mind of designers at Samsung. Yeah, if you were waiting for a breath of fresh air, then you have been hit by a desert storm. The Galaxy S9+ looks like the Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S7+. But then the Lilac Purple is stylish and suave, though I feared it would be just too loud. But there is no doubt here is that Samsung is playing a bit safe with the design.
While everyone is looking inside the hood, we tend to ignore the display, which is the most crucial part of a phone. If Samsung knows something, it how to make the best displays in the world. It is both stunning and functional. The display is subtle enough for the always-on screen to tell you what’s happened when you were busy. Bright enough for the phone to be useful under the harsh Delhi sun. The Curved edges are not just style, and add value as you can tuck away some apps there for a quick glance. The curved edges though are not new and have been present on Samsung flagship for a few years now. There is no doubt that one will love consuming video on this phone.
If you saw how Samsung has launched the S9+ and promoted it since, you will be forgiven for thinking this phone does not even have a processor inside. Samsung has not spoken a word about the processing power, though it has the company’s top of the line Exynos 9810 processor for the units selling in India. But it’s not about the specs while you use a phone, it is all about the experience and that is one area you will have no complaints with the S9+. This is flagship performance all the way and benchmarks show this phone is right on top when it comes to numbers.
What I liked
The phone does not stutter or become sluggish when overloaded with work
Multi-tasking is something the phone does instinctively
Gaming with high end graphics, shooting 4K video and processing super-slow motion video, the phone can do it all
Samsung Galaxy S9+ camera review
Samsung wants you to look at this phone for its camera capabilities. That is where the engineers in Seoul are pushing the envelope. Of course, the S9+ has dual lens, but it also has a dual apertures. This Samsung style reimagining of the smartphone camera gives you a clicker that is the best in low-light. The camera shifts seamlessly from F1.5 when it low light to F2.4 when it gets too bright. This is the sort of thing a smartphone camera is not expected to do.
With the Pro mode helping you take full advantage of this camera, I would say the S9+ has the best Android camera, especially when it comes to low light. To give you an example, I shot a tree at around 10 pm with hardly any light around. The image clearly showed the red flowers on the tree, which was not visible to the naked eye.
That’s not all. Samsung has also pushed super slow motion to this camera. However, the feature is limited by the way Samsung has made the app, and hence you lose out on spontaneity. Still if you plan a shoot with the right light, the results can be good. Remember, slow motion is not something you want to try out in low-light.
What I do not like
Adjusting settings in the Pro-mode ends up changing the mode if you are not careful.
Super slow-motion does not work in free flow. If you don’t have the subject in the box, you don’t have the super slow-motion video.
Unless you are good with the Pro-more, there is no natural mode which you could use in low-light. Pictures will be brighter than the actual scene.
The AR Emoji feature is fun. And that’s about it. The emoji makes me look nothing like me and is similar to every other person who has a camera. Samsung is just plotting certain types of faces to certain emojis and that kills what this feature could actually have been. Why would I want to share an emoji that does not look like me, I would rather share the poop emoji, no?
By the way, I am not surprised that my AR emoji was so bad. In fact, the phone struggled all along to read my face and unlock, especially when the light was not that good. The FaceID on Apple iPhone X meanwhile works even when you are waking up to check the time in the middle of the night.
Smartphones are supposed to be smart. But then the Galaxy S9+ is smarter, and thank Bixby for that. I would love to have it on my phone just for its ability to translate languages by just looking at it. Yes, it is a bit patchy at times, but it is magic still. This is what technology should be.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ verdict
Samsung might not have gone for any big gimmicks, that is if you can forget and forgive, the AR emoji. But in the process, it has made the Galaxy S9+ a solid phone with top of the line processing, the best Android camera and the best iteration of almost every other feature that you want in a flagship phone. This is clearly the Android flagship to beat this year. Buy it if you are on a phone that is two years old. For those on last year’s Samsung flagships, it might be better to wait another year.