Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone is finally here, boasting iPhone X-beating specifications and a lower price point to court wavering Apple loyalists. But does it live up to the hype, or is this just another iterative update that doesn’t offer much more than its predecessor?
The Galaxy S9 is being advertised to consumers based on its photography features, with a 12 megapixel camera on the rear boasting a cutting-edge aperture which responds to ambient light levels in real time. This means it should be able to capture great snaps in most conditions. Early tests suggest that it can easily outdo rivals like the Pixel 2 XL in this arena, which could be a big selling point for people who are obsessed with Instagram. The video capture capabilities of the S9 are also on point, as it can record in 720p resolution, at frame rates of up to 960fps. Similar features are available on Sony’s latest XZ1 device, but it is good to see Samsung keeping up with the competition. Samsung’s Bixby personal assistant service gets its own photographic abilities on this device. It can translate text from foreign languages into the user’s mother tongue in real time, which will make life easier for people who regularly travel abroad. It can even tot up the calorific content of a meal in a restaurant just by scanning the menu, so it should appeal to people who are watching their weight. The 8 megapixel front-facing camera is a little less impressive, but it does the job and will be suitable for selfies. It is also linked with the augmented reality emoji software, which echoes features found on the iPhone X. Users can create their own avatars to share with friends, taking in everything from facial expressions and hair styles to clothing and more. It may be gimmicky, but in the race to stay ahead of the curve, it is a noteworthy inclusion on the S9.
Like its predecessor, the latest Galaxy phone comes with a 5.8 inch Infinity Display that disappears over either edge and makes the handset look stunningly modern. The bezel has been trimmed down even further at the top and bottom, giving the screen all the attention it deserves. And with AMOLED panel technology, colours are rich and contrast levels are unbeatable. Samsung has even tweaked the way that the user interface works when the phone is held in landscape mode, making it more natural and intuitive in this orientation. So for people who will be watching a lot of media on this phone, the experience will be a little slicker and more cohesive than in the past. Of course, with the screen taking up so much of the S9, buyers will want to get cheap phone insurance to avoid having to shell out if they drop the device or scratch its surface. Gadget insurance can cover accidental damage of all kinds, which leaves you with less to worry about when you are on the move.
Power & battery benefits
One slight disappointment is the fact that the S9 retains the same 3000mAh battery capacity as its predecessor, which means it should not offer any extension on battery life from a single charge. Of course, with the modern Exynos 9810 chipset onboard, it should run a little more efficiently, which might make a difference. 4GB of RAM will keep apps and the latest version of Android feeling responsive, while 64GB of storage is the standard inclusion, which is a solid amount of space for most purposes. Since the S9 costs almost £250 less than the iPhone X, it is an upgrade that should give Apple a run for its money. Just remember that mobile phone insurance is still important if you are thinking about buying any flagship device.