Samsung Galaxy S9 Review: Still A Phone You’d Happily Recommend
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the first flagship phone for 2018, and it’s the first one to be released since the Galaxy Note 8 went on sale in the second half of 2017. Its predecessor was a very strong phone in its own right, and it looks like Samsung has finally recovered from its disastrous handling of the Galaxy Note 7.
The Galaxy S9 sticks with a familiar look: an all-screen front dominated by the curved display. The display is 5.8 inches, and it has a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 pixels. The screen has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which provides a generous 78 percent of the total screen area. That might not be as wide as the Galaxy S8’s display, but it’s still sharp and very nice to look at.
The Galaxy S9 is rated as IP68, which means it can survive being in water up to 1.5m deep for 30 minutes, so you can soak it or drop it in the shower and not worry about damage. The battery is a 3,500mAh battery with wireless charging, and Samsung includes a wireless charging pad in the box. This is also a phone that will use a MicroSD card, as standard. That means you can cram in 64GB or 256GB of internal storage if you like, although it doesn’t support MicroSDXC cards.
For more on the specs and features of the Galaxy S9, you can read our full review of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+ design, and display
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are very similar in looks and shape, although there are small differences to be found. The smaller model, the Galaxy S9, measures 5.7 inches in diameter, and it’s 68.7 x 166 x 8.5 mm. The Galaxy S9+ has a larger 5.8-inch display, but it is slightly taller and slightly thicker (71.6 x 158 x 8.5 mm and 78.7 x 163 x 8.5 mm).
Both phones have a regular lens and a wide-angle lens on the back phone. There are two cameras on the front: a wide-angle lens with an 8-megapixel sensor, and a telephoto lens with a 12-megapixel sensor. The sensors are arranged in a vertical orientation, and they each have an f/2.4 aperture. The rear cameras offer 4K video recording, but the front ones don’t.
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are a bit on the heavy side. The devices measure 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.5 mm and 173g. The battery is a bit smaller, but we haven’t tested the phone yet.
The devices have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. They’re both waterproof, which means they’re fully protected from water and dust. However, they’re not fully submerged in water, so you won’t want to dunk them in a pool or a bowl of water.
Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+ specs
Both phones feature an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset (the Galaxy S9 has four cores and the Galaxy S9+ has eight cores). There’s an Exynos 9810 CPU available for certain markets. That’s also a chipset that features an integrated GPU, so it supports all of the major gaming and VR apps you could want.
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ both have 4GB of RAM. The storage options are 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, and they can both have a MicroSD card inserted to boost the internal storage to a whopping 400GB. This is double the amount of storage you get on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ (the devices had 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB of storage). The Galaxy S9 has 4GB of RAM and an LTE Cat. 18 modems, while the Galaxy S9+ has 6GB of RAM and a Cat. 18 modems.
The cameras are one of the big focal points of the new Galaxy S9 phones. The cameras have a dual-lens array, and they each have an f/1.5 aperture, a low-light mode, and a dual-pixel autofocus sensor. The Galaxy S9 has a 12-megapixel camera and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens. The S9+ has a 12-megapixel camera and a 16-megapixel telephoto lens. The two phones also have an f/1.5 aperture. There’s also a new “Low Pass Filter” feature that’s designed to reduce blur and eliminate distortion around the edges of the lens.
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are also capable of showing a 120-degree image around the edges of the phone. That means you can see what the camera sees when you’re shooting something like a sculpture or a bottle of wine. These are meant for taking pictures of the outside of the device, so it’s not something you’ll use very often, but it’s still something you’ll see in some cases.