It’s that time of the year again. The time when it starts getting all juicy for many smartphone lovers. It’s normal for the CES event to pass without some people noticing, but the MWC is something else. And it’s only a little over a month away. Unlike last year, Samsung will be at this year’s event to unveil two of the most anticipated smartphones of 2018 – Galaxy S9 and S9+.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are almost a year old and fans have already started wondering what the pair’s successors will be like. The company released the Galaxy Note 8, but then its main rival Apple announced the new iPhone X. Hence, the battle to deliver the best smartphone ever starts once again and there’s no doubt that the next big thing from Samsung is the Galaxy S9.
With the Galaxy S8, Samsung introduced the Infinity Display. So, what will it be with the Galaxy S9? Here’s what the rumors and leaks say about the next flagship from Samsung, all that you need to know, including the specs, features, price, release date and other tidbits.
It’s only a week and a half and Samsung will be in Barcelona to unveil the Galaxy S9 and S9+. As usual, plenty of leaks, rumors and speculations are still in the air, but the Korean company is also playing its part in hyping the S9 launch.
Through a series of short video teasers, the company is basically giving fans an early look into some of the features to expect from the S9.
One video is obviously about how good the Galaxy S9 camera will be in low-light conditions.
The second video showcases the phones’ qualities in capturing fast and slow-motion videos.
The third video is for the selfie lovers, who will reportedly get an 8MP sensor, just like last year’s S8.
The last video, unlike the others, came courtesy of Samsung Italia’s president, who posted a video on Twitter showcasing what would be the recently-rumored Animoji-like feature. You can also watch the video below and make of it what you will.
— Carlo Barlocco (@CarloBarlocco) February 14, 2018
Galaxy S9 and S9+ design and display
Over the past few months, we’ve seen plenty of Galaxy S9 and S9+ renders and images. From the look of things, you can expect Samsung to use the same bezel-less Infinity Display on the next Galaxy smartphones, but with slightly thinner bezels and thus a smaller footprint. While there are rumors that Samsung may follow in Sony’s footsteps and finally give fans a 4K resolution display screen, this seems a little too far-fetched.
Samsung will stick to the same 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch QHD+ panels used on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and there’s nothing wrong with that because they are the best on the market right now. Design-wise, the Galaxy S9 twins will stick to the same looks as the Galaxy S8 pair, at least on the front panel.
Images of Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have been leaked by the notorious Evan Blass. As per the images, there won’t be wholesale design changes compared to the S8 and S8+, which is expected considering how gorgeous the 2017 pair looks. If anything, Blass’ leaks only confirm previous rumors, as you can see in the image below.
Blass’ leaks did not give us a look at the back, but it’s known that the biggest design change is expected to take place on the rear panel. Following the backlash the company faced after relocating the fingerprint scanner to the back, expectations were high that it will make amends this year and debut the Galaxy S9 and S9+ with in-display fingerprint scanners. However, this won’t be the case because the pair will stick to a rear-mounted scanner, only that it’ll be in a much better position, just below the main camera, like shown in the video below.
As the launch day of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ draws closer, more details about the phone keep showing up. The latest comes from MobileFun, which has over the recent years been making videos of phone cases ahead of their launch. While they had some mixed results with the S8 and S8+, they seem to have nailed it as far as the S9 and S9+ are concerned.
From the leaked video, it appears that Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will have the same dimensions as their predecessors, meaning the only design change will be on the back panel. As for the rest of the cutouts, they fit perfectly with the S8.
Other information we can gather from the leaked cases is that the phones will indeed be known as Galaxy S9 and S9+, the latter will ship with a vertical dual-lens camera and that the duo will be sold in the usual color variants of black, blue and gold alongside a new purple-pink finish. You can watch the video below.
Even more images of Galaxy S9 and S9+ cases have appeared online alongside a wireless charger. The images corroborate previous leaks, confirming the single-lens and dual-lens camera setups expected on the S9 and S9+ respectively.
Like their predecessors, the S9 twins should also come with support for fast wireless charging technology.
More images of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have been outed by none other than Evan Blass and accompanying them are the color variants to expect. You will be able to buy the two phones in any of Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple.
Apparently, the brand new Lilac Purple will be available for purchase in the U.S. from day 1 alongside Midnight Black and Coral Blue, but there’s no word on when Titanium Gray will be available stateside.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ performance specs
Once again, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are poised to be the first Android smartphones to feature the next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset. As usual, a Samsung made Exynos 9810 chipset will be used in international variants of the Galaxy S9 and S9+.
Apparently, the standard Samsung Galaxy S9 will get the same RAM as its predecessor, but the bigger Galaxy S9+ will get a humongous 6GB RAM to match the Galaxy Note 8. Where the standard S9 will ship with 64GB of expandable storage, the S9+ will be equipped with twice this amount and still support microSD card storage. There had been talks of a 512GB variant, which only time can tell if they’ll materialize.
Despite increasing the screen size of the S8 and S8+ from 5.1 inches and 5.5 inches used on the S7 and S7 Edge to a monstrous 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches respectively, Samsung did not up the battery capacities of the 2017 models in relation to their predecessors. In fact, the bigger S8+ even got a slightly smaller battery than the S7 Edge.
Apparently, the story won’t be much different with the upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9+, where the pair will keep the same battery units as their predecessors. This detail comes following leaked batteries of the two phones that show off a 3000mAh unit for the S9 and 3500mAh for the S9+. From the leaked materials, we can also confirm that Samsung will still be using batteries made in China and assembled in Vietnam.
What appears to be the Galaxy S9+ has been spotted in benchmarks with some mind-blowing scores, at least compared to the S8+. According to a discovery made by leaker Ice Universe, the alleged Snapdragon 845-powered S9+, which is paired with 6GB RAM and Android 8.0 Oreo, clocked a single-core score of 2,378 and multi-core score of 8,132.
Compared to the Snapdragon 835, this is a significant jump, but it still trails Apple’s A11. However, with better software optimizations, the Snapdragon 845 may just get better.
After benchmarks of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 leaked online, many fans were definitely eager to see the same results for the Exynos 9810, the chipset that will power most non-U.S. variants of the Galaxy S9 and S9+.
Thanks to the same person who found the SDM845 benchmarks, we now have similar details for the Exynos 9810 and as expected, the difference is quite significant.
During single-core tests for the Galaxy S9 (SM-960F), the Exynos 9810 managed a score of 3648 and for multi-core tests, the score was even more impressive than its counterpart, clocking 8894 compared to the SDM845’s 8132. Even more interesting is the fact that the SDM845 is paired with 6GB RAM while the Exynos 9810 has been paired with 4GB RAM.
Of course, benchmarks are in no way a true representation of real-world performance, but from these figures, we can say the Exynos 9810 is indeed a beast. Unfortunately, Galaxy S9 users might never get to enjoy the full power of the chipset because it’ll likely be underclocked to match the SDM845.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ software and camera
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a gradual shift from a complete full-of-bloatware to an almost no-bloatware UI from Samsung. TouchWiz UI has given way to Samsung Experience UI on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. The new UI is lighter, has less clutter and bloatware and provides a much better user experience.
Expect Samsung to improve on this and provide an even more polished and smoother UI on the Galaxy S9 and S9+. It will be based on Android 8.0 Oreo, which means you get all the new features and a bunch of other Samsung-specific features. Samsung is also expected to come in with significant improvements for Bixby, the digital assistant that made its debut with the S8 and S8+ but has yet to take off in any notable ways.
The world of mobile photography now mostly revolves around dual camera setups. 2017 was the year of their official inauguration on Samsung phones and it’s only going to get better this 2018. The Galaxy Note 8 features a dual camera setup, so it is only natural that the Galaxy S9 will feature it too, unfortunately, this will only be true for the Plus variant.
We can also expect improvement in low-light photography thanks to the wider f/1.5 aperture, which Blass has also confirmed. Apparently, the 12MP sensor on the S9 will be able to mechanically switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, which is pretty cool. The Galaxy S9+ will get a second 12MP sensor on the back, but it’s only the primary sensor that will support variable aperture.
With this move, Samsung is definitely positioning itself better to compete with the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 in the camera department, which means users will reap the benefits. If anything, Samsung is indeed reimagining the smartphone camera.
Samsung is said to be moving on with the iris scanner for biometric authentication, but like the reimagined camera, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will also come with “reimagined” facial recognition technology. Apple’s iPhone X has been causing waves in the smartphone industry with its 3D face recognition technology and being the leader in the industry, Samsung wouldn’t want to see Apple taking all the glory.
As a result, the Korean company is said to be coming in with what is known as Intelligent Scan. Strings relating to ‘Intelligent Scan’ have been found in an APK teardown of the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo beta and since neither the Note 8 nor S8 has such a feature, it’s only the Galaxy S9 that can be associated with this so-called intelligent scanning technology. Apparently, this feature will take advantage of both iris scanning and facial recognition for improved accuracy when using the phone in poorly lit conditions.
After the Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has been very careful with batteries. As noted earlier, the company had to delay the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ just so as to ensure that everything regarding their batteries is taken care of. It’s true the S8 pair doesn’t feature particularly large batteries and it gets even worse when talking about the Note 8. However, thanks to a more efficient chipset and improved power management, the latest Galaxy devices have fared well in battery life tests and even in real-life usage.
With this in mind, don’t expect huge batteries on the Galaxy S9 and S9+, but you can certainly look forward to improved battery life compared to the current crop.
Leaked Samsung Galaxy S9 components also confirm that the phone will come with a single-lens camera. The shape of the fingerprint scanner has also been tweaked to accommodate it below the camera and not on the side like with the case of the S8 and S8+.
Apparently, the camera of the S9 and S9+ will indeed be a reimagined one. Reports coming from Korea claim that for the first time in history, the S9 twins will ship with 3D emojis, an advancement of Apple’s iPhone X Animoji. However, they are similar in a way that they both resemble a 3D character tracking and mimicking a user’s facial movements.
Given the “realistic face-tracking filters” of the Exynos 9810 chipset, it makes sense that Samsung is gearing up to add an Animoji-like feature to the Galaxy S9.
The same report further suggests that the S9 and S9+ will also come with dual stereo speakers. This is something many Sammy fans have been asking for years and if true, they’ll finally have their wish granted. Like the Galaxy Tab S3, the speakers will reportedly be tuned by AKG, which makes this development even more delicious.
Samsung DeX Pad
Like last year, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will also be accompanied by a second-generation DeX Pad for connecting to a monitor and turning the phone into a PC. Like most of the other S9 leaks, Evan Blass has stumbled into images of the S9 DeX Pad, which also confirm that the S9 pair will retain the 3.5mm audio jack.
As expected, Samsung DeX Pad will be backward compatible with the S8. It will allow users to lay the phone flat and use it as a keyboard or touchpad for that matter. Looking at the above image (left), you can see the DeX Pad has several USB ports, HDMI as well as USB-C for charging.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ price and release date
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be announced at the MWC 2018 event in late February, marking a return to the usual schedule of the company launching its first flagship of the year at the annual tech show. Last year, Samsung was forced to delay the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ due to the extra safety measures it had to take to avoid a repeat of what happened with the Galaxy Note 7.
In 2016, Samsung held a press conference a day before the MWC event kicked off. We don’t know whether this will also be the case this year, but it’s very likely. Samsung has begun sending out official press invites for an event to be held on February 25, 2018, a day before the MWC 2018 kicks off, just as we anticipated. This is when the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be launched, with sales expected to kick off in major markets beginning mid-March.
Dubbed Unpacked, the press image includes a huge number 9 and words like “The Camera. Reimagined”, which are not new, are also in there. Of course, there’s no specific mention of Samsung Galaxy S9, but the number 9 says it all. Also, you can be sure that the S9 and S9+ keynote will largely revolve around the camera.
In yet another possible slip-up, Samsung has already listed the Galaxy S9 on the official Germany website (image above). The phone has model number SM-G960F/DS, suggesting that Europe will get a dual-SIM variant of the phones.
Furthermore, fresh reports from South Korea suggest that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be available for pre-order for one week starting March 2. Like rumored before, the S9 price will reportedly range between $880 and $930 in South Korea, up from the $870 (935,000 Won) charged for the S8 in the same market. This will effectively make the S9 the most expensive yet in the Galaxy S series.
The report doesn’t mention anything about the price and availability of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ in other markets, but as we had already highlighted, those in the U.S. can expect to start buying the pair from March 16 onwards.
As the launch date draws closer, more details leak out. Today, it’s about the price for the UK market. Apparently, the Galaxy S9 will cost £100 more than the S8, which came in priced at £689. Whether this will also stand for other markets is still unknown, but it’s a true reflection of what the current flagship market is all about – annual price hikes!
In South Korea, the Galaxy S9 will reportedly be priced at close to 1 million Korean Won, approximately $930. If this materializes, it means the S9+ could be priced at well over this figure, making it even more expensive than the Galaxy Note 8.
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