Samsung recently announced their latest Galaxy S flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2018. The Galaxy S8 series was one of the most beautifully designed smartphones that we saw last year. Samsung hasn’t changed that bit on the new flagship models. And if you take the feature set, that hasn’t changed drastically either (at least on paper) except Samsung mending a few glitches and bringing newer hardware.
We already discussed the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S8 last week. Now it’s time to see how the new Galaxy S9+ differs from its predecessor S8+ as well as the tall Galaxy Note 8.
The design of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ hasn’t changed much, in fact, the design language on the new flagship hasn’t changed at all if you compare it with its previous iteration. Samsung claims to have slightly truncated the top and bottom bezels to offer a bit more screen real estate. If you compare it with the Galaxy Note 8, it’s sculpted out of glass and metal too but unlike the rectangular design on the Note 8, it has smooth curved edges.
But Samsung did patch a few flaws, preventing the image sensor from getting smudged. Confused? We are talking about the fingerprint sensor which was earlier located right next to the camera (both in Samsung Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8) it has now been nudged below the dual rear sensors. While leading OEMs are abandoning the much-needed 3.5mm headphone jack, thankfully, Samsung has retained the port on the Galaxy S9+.
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ inherits the same screen as the Galaxy S8+ featuring a 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display. The handset has the same resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels stretched across the fascia and pixel density of 529ppi. There’s hardly any point to compare between the Galaxy S9+ and its predecessor in terms of display. However, if you consider the Galaxy Note 8, it is slightly larger than the Galaxy S9+ hosting a tall 6.3-inch Quad HD+ screen.
The colours were vivid on the Galaxy Note 8 and even on the Galaxy S8+, they were pretty good. Talking about the pixel density, on paper, the Galaxy S9+ seems to have a sharper display with slightly higher 529ppi against the Galaxy Note 8’s 522ppi. But we would like to hold our view until we get through the new Samsung flagship detailed review.
The key highlight of this year’s Galaxy S9 duo is their imaging sensors. To add a cherry on top, Samsung has put two lenses on the Galaxy S9+ instead of a single sensor that was pitched on its predecessor. The tech giant has improved the camera software as well putting “Super Speed” Dual Pixel 12MP autofocus sensor.
The Galaxy S9+ now has a variable aperture that can shoot images at f/1.5 or f/2.4 aperture. That’s a benefit for those who like to tweak aperture and adjust it on varying lighting conditions. Notably, the Galaxy Note 8 also features a dual 12-megapixel camera, however, it didn’t have the facility to tweak the aperture, although its lenses have a different aperture.
Besides, the alignment has changed if you compare the Galaxy Note 8 with the Galaxy S9+. While the former has horizontally stacked camera sensors, the latter now features a vertical alignment for the same. Further, the slow-mo on the S9+ has jumped from 240fps to 960fps and we believe the device will be able to produce some striking slow-mo clips (at least that’s what we have observed on Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium).
Processing hardware (SoC, RAM, storage)
Besides the camera, Samsung has upgraded the SoC platform on the Galaxy S9+. The smartphone is now powered by Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 845 processor or Exynos 9810 (in most part of the world). Both the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy Note 8 accommodate Qualcomm’s previous flagship chipset, Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895.
The new processor is claimed to be 25 percent faster over its predecessor and while the S9+ carries similar battery capacity of 3500mAh like the Galaxy S8+, the SD845 is expected to deliver enhanced battery performance. The Galaxy Note 8 has a slightly reduced 3300mAh battery.
As for storage, Samsung this time around has brought only the 6GB RAM version. However, it has introduced a new variant packing 6GB RAM/256GB native storage.
Other changes (OS, sensors etc.)
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is launched with Experience 9.0 UI based Android Oreo right out of the box. The S8+ and even the Note 8 shipped with Android Nougat OS. The S8+ has slowly started receiving Android Oreo update, but details about the roll-out on the Galaxy Note 8 are yet to emerge.
The audio quality on the Galaxy S9+ is said to have improved thanks to AKG and Dolby Atmos codec. The device will now produce 40 percent louder output compared to its predecessor (as per the company) with its new speaker perched at the top on the front panel.
Samsung has also put Intelligent Scan that will utilise both iris and face unlock to open the most important apps. There are AR Emoji as well that you can play with and customise your character. The feature automatically creates GIFs once you save it.
In a nutshell, the changes on the Galaxy S9+ aren’t that drastic if you take the design, display size and resolution. The marquee features of the new flagship model are its imaging sensors that have the capability to shift between two apertures, more powerful hardware and also its enhanced audio quality. The comparison between the S9+ and the Note 8 is more justifiable as both have dual camera sensors.
Overall if you really want to upgrade from Galaxy S8 or the S8+ to the new Galaxy S9 family, we would recommend considering the Plus version over the standard variant. But if your preference goes for a bigger display than the S9+’s, the Note 8 would be a better option. The Galaxy Note 8’s S-Pen adds an extra point if you’re into taking notes or artistic sketching. However, the advantage of having the Galaxy S9+ would be its faster processor, dual aperture and a taste of the latest Android Oreo.