The Samsung Unpacked 2018 event has concluded just ahead of the MWC 2018 trade show in Barcelona, making it time to roundup what we learned. The biggest headline to come out of Spain thus far was the official arrival of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ flagships. The pair will go up for pre-order in a little over a week and will release March 16, as we anticipated. Here’s our full recap containing everything you need to know.
We knew quite a bit about the South Korean giant’s new mobile phones before heading into the showcase, but this has become how it is now because of how easy it is for devices to leak from the supply chain. It’s still early for us to draw any conclusions given the short time we’ve had to play around with the devices, but here are some important things you should consider.
Samsung’s newest models, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, aren’t the major upgrades over their predecessors many were hoping for. There are some new software features as well as internal hardware, and the design has less compromises, but there’s no revolutionary changes. I guess we can’t expect this anymore considering just how far smartphones have come over the years. Now, it’s all about perfecting what you do best, and that’s what Samsung has done with its newest Galaxy S Series.
For the first time ever, Samsung has differentiated the Galaxy S9 from the larger Galaxy S9+, compromising the smaller handset in a few ways. To recap some of the specifications, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ feature curved 18.5:9, 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch screens, respectively. Both use Qualcomm’s very latest Snapdragon 845 processor and both have a new Dolby Atmos stereo sound setup consisting of top and bottom Harman AKG speakers, the loudest ever included on Galaxy phones. However, the smaller Galaxy S9 retains the 4GB of RAM the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have, while the Galaxy S9+ brings an extra 2GB at 6GB of RAM in total. This should make for a more fluent experience navigating through Samsung’s Experience 9.0 and multi-tasking various activities.
The two versions also vary on the account of battery capacity and camera tech. There’s a 3,000mAh battery on the Galaxy S9, and a larger 3,500mAh battery inside Galaxy S9+ to take advantage of extra space. There’s a single shooter on the Galaxy S9’s rear, but a dual camera combo on the larger sibling, just like Galaxy Note 8. Both are 12MP with variable f/1.5 – f/2.4 aperture, but the Galaxy S9+ has that extra 12MP telephoto lens for depth and improved wide-angle. Both devices also have an 8MP selfie camera. Samsung has always made great cameras, and though these are familiar spec-wise, Samsung has made many under the hood changes brought in part by a dedicated DRAM chip in the camera, able to process 4 times more information than your typical cell phone camera. This should theoretically improve output.
Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ run Android 8.0 Oreo and Samsung’s Experience 9.0, which brings AR emoji to create personalize emoji that look like yourself. You can even add audio to them, choose from 18 generated creations, share with anyone you want even over some third-party social apps, and, turn yourself into a Disney character. The new devices also come with Intelligent Scan, adding to Samsung’s list of biometric security methods which already consists of iris scanning and fingerprint scanning. Thankfully, the fingerprint scanner is no longer off-set and has been relocated to a more reachable position centered on the rear of each phone just below the camera. Additionally, Samsung has brought back the Bixby hardware button, which of course will activate Bixby Voice, said to ship with new features including including Live Translation, Food Identification including automatic plugging in of nutrition details, the ability to make purchases (only in US, Canada, Korea, China), and even try on clothes or makeup virtually. There’s also 960fps Super Slow-Mo in the camera with Auto capture, which can be used in conjunction with background music, be played in reverse, set as your lockscreen, and even turned into GIF images.
Samsung has enjoyed quite a bit of success ever since the reconstruction following Galaxy Note 7. The company hit a high stock price, recorded record smartphone sales, and achieved greater revenues than ever before. The mobile giant wants to continue the momentum in 2018, and Galaxy S9 will seek to do just that as one of the first Android flagships to hit market this spring. The two handsets will be tough to sell at $719 and $839, respectively. Samsung will have to bring back its loyal buyers and attract new consumers to upgrade if they are to be successful. Samsung believes it has enough to motivate consumers to buy, even with more affordable high-priced options out on the market. The company managed to pack a large feature-set with hardware internals you won’t get elsewhere along with high-grade security that’s enterprise-ready into a phone that’s water-resistant (IP68), and both looks and feels good. This isn’t easy, yet Samsung continues to deliver over and over again.
During its press conference, the South Korean giant had some fun throwing a few jabs for not having a notch, continuing support for 3.5mm, and not removing fingerprint scanning. Like every year, Samsung has also introduced a wide range of accessories to compliment the new Galaxy devices. There are also a handful of freebies for early adopters, but you’re still paying up for this one not matter which way you slice it. Samsung threw everything the average consumer could possibly desire into the new phones, but improvements can always be made. It’ll be interesting to see whether Samsung’s decision to move up its release to get in front of competition, actually pays off.
There’s a helluva lot we look forward to testing, and we can’t wait to see how Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ fare against others on the market. If you’re on the fence whether to buy, we’ve put together all the coverage you’ll need to help guide in your decision process. Take a look at all our Unpacked 2018 stories in the slider down below.
If you couldn’t watch the announcement and want to know what you missed, we have all the official images right here, so look no further! Take a look at the official photo gallery below and let us know what you think down in the comment section.
We’re covering Unpacked 2018 and MWC 2018 entirely; stay here at Droid Turf for coverage throughout the week.
View our constantly updating MWC 2018 guide at the link below.