Samsung Galaxy S9 hands-on review: A stunning phone with an impressive camera

Samsung has introduced its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9.

It is available in two sizes, with the bigger known as the Galaxy S9+. Up to now, so unsurprising. 

Truly, since there have been so many leaks earlier than the announcement, a lot of what was revealed was unsurprising. 


Final yr’s S8 was well-received in nearly each method, so it’s hardly a shock that this yr’s mannequin is extra of the identical. As earlier than, the entrance of the telephone is sort of utterly show, with slim bezels at prime and backside. In actual fact, this time across the bezels are fractionally smaller, so the screen-to-body ratio is even larger than final yr’s spectacular 83.6 per cent ratio. 

The S9 is 1.2mm shorter than the S8, as an example, and 0.5mm thicker. In different phrases, it’s onerous to identify the distinction. 

However there’s been one massive design change: the fingerprint sensor on the again is now not proper alongside the digicam lens, it’s been sensibly moved to beneath it, which is significantly better. In my transient time with the telephone, I discovered it a lot simpler to hit the sensor whereas trying on the entrance of the telephone and with out smudging the lens.

One of many issues that Samsung is happy with with this new telephone is the improved unlock system: now you can use facial recognition and iris recognition in tandem for a slick, quick, safe unlock.

The S9 and S9 + will likely be accessible in three colors within the UK: midnight black, coral blue and lilac purple. All look good, however telling the coral blue and midnight black aside indoors is kind of tough. 

The lilac purple is especially enticing, not least as a result of there aren’t many different telephones on this shade. 

Yet one more color, a lightweight silver end, can also be being made but when it involves the UK it would probably be a particular version or community unique, I think about.


Within the hand, the telephone feels comfy and stable, even should you plump for the bigger S9+ with its 6.2-inch show. Like final yr, this plus model feels a lot smaller than the declared specs. The S9 has a 5.8-inch show, and each screens have an 18.5:9 display proportion. This narrower ratio is likely one of the causes it feels comfy to carry. 

For comparability, the iPhone X has a 5.8-inch show, the identical dimension because the S9, although keep in mind it squeaks out into the sides across the digicam and sensor unit. The Apple telephone is a bit shorter, a bit wider and a contact thinner than Samsung’s telephone.

Samsung’s screens are higher-resolution, 570 pixels per inch on the S9 and 529 pixels per inch on the S9+. In reality, you actually can’t see the distinction as there’s a restrict to how a lot the human eye can see in common use, however the advantage of the additional pixels is clear if you’re utilizing the telephone proper up shut, like as a show in a digital actuality headset, as an example.

Each shows are vivid and vibrant, to not point out intensely detailed. 

Digital camera

This is likely one of the massive options on the brand new Samsung telephones and, just like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, there are variations between the 2 telephones. Particularly, the S9+ is the primary Galaxy S telephone to have twin digicam lenses on the telephone’s rear (the Note 8 featured them final autumn, too).

The S9+ has two 12-megapixel sensors, a wide-angle and a telephoto. Switching from one to the opposite successfully provides a 2x optical zoom. As on the Observe 8, you may also shoot each cameras concurrently, to create a luxurious bokeh depth-of-field impact. 

The S9 has one lens, equivalent to the wide-angle one on the plus-sized telephone. What’s intelligent about it’s it has an adjustable aperture.

It naturally sits at a gap of f/2.4, which is okay, but when the sunshine drops to beneath a sure brightness, roughly equal to an overcast day, the aperture routinely opens to f/1.5. That is exceptionally extensive and extremely helpful in low gentle. I’ve solely seen Samsung’s assessments to date, however each yielded vivid pictures in conditions the place I might see nearly nothing in any respect.

In Samsung’s demo, the S9 took clear pictures in conditions the place I might see nearly nothing in any respect

The good thing about this technique is that you simply’re not restricted to the super-wide-open aperture in vivid gentle, which would cut back depth of subject and due to this fact restrict how a lot of the picture is in sharp focus. 

Samsung’s earlier cameras have been glorious, and I’ve excessive hopes that this may do nicely. I’ll report again sooner or later. 

Beforehand, Samsung launched what it known as Twin Pixels, a part detection autofocus system which goals at delivering super-fast focusing. Now, the corporate is constructing on this by including processing energy which takes a number of frames in fast succession to create better-quality footage.

It signifies that as much as 12 frames will be shot, milliseconds aside, and mixed to create the perfect consequence. Within the case of low-light pictures, that is executed to cut back noise discount and it means it could possibly shoot in extraordinarily low gentle conditions.

There’s extra to the S9 digicam, together with tremendous slow-mo, capturing at 960 frames per second. Sony has already demonstrated this on its XZ Premium which launched final spring. Samsung has added a neat additional in order that it’s the appropriate little bit of video that’s slowed down – not simple when it solely data at this pace for 0.2 seconds. 

Earlier than you shoot, select a sq. space on the show the place you need the slo-mo magic to occur and when the telephone senses motion within the sq., it data at 960fps routinely.


To not be outdone by Apple with its Animoji on the iPhone X, Samsung has give you AR Emoji. You make a 2D picture of your self and the processor maps 100+ facial parts, creates a 3D picture and is aware of easy methods to add expressions.

Apple’s Animoji are intoxicatingly good enjoyable, however perhaps Samsung’s possibility will likely be enjoyable, too. 

Early verdict

Samsung’s new telephones look, on the face of it, similar to final yr’s fashions. However the extra you discover them, the larger the variations appear.

I haven’t even touched on the stereo audio system tuned by AKG (a part of audio firm Harman Kardon, purchased by Samsung not too long ago) with Dolby Atmos for a 360-degree sound impact. Or the enhancements made to Bixby, the addition of the SmartThings app to manage good residence equipment and background music and particular frames to enhance the tremendous slow-mo footage.

To not point out the continued presence of waterproofing, curved-edge shows and, oh sure, a headphone jack. 

I’ll be looking in additional element once I overview the telephones. Which shouldn’t be lengthy: pre-orders started because the telephone was revealed and begin arriving in prospects’ fingers on 9 March.

The S9 prices £739, which isn’t low cost, however the S9+ prices a whopping £869. As final yr, there will likely be trade-in offers accessible.

Click here for EE Mobile discount codes

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