Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review
There’s intense competition from Huawei, and also the rumored LG G7 looks fascinating. However, Samsung is planning to keep head with its new flagship Galaxy S9 smartphones. Obtaining the plus model bags you an additional camera, larger screen and more. Ascertain if the Galaxy S9 and is that the phone for you in our full review.
The Galaxy S9 plus may not be the most significant upgrade compared to the Galaxy S8 plus however it’s perhaps better than having to wait longer for a brand new device.
Overall you may struggle to tell the new Galaxy S9 plus except its predecessor, except the new purple color. However, there are improvements specifically within the camera department that Samsung says it’s ‘reimagined.’
Price and Release Date
Along with the regular model, the Galaxy S9 plus is available to buy. Customers who pre-ordered will have had the phone seven days early before the 16 March release date.
Samsung has given the 2018 flagship range a worth hike that the smaller model will currently cost you £739/$719 and also the Galaxy S9 plus now has an exaggerated price tag of £869/$839 (up from £779) – more than the equivalent iPhone 8 plus but cheaper than the iPhone X.
That’s quite a massive distinction between the Galaxy S9 plus and regular S9 for the price. However, you’re paying for things like a larger screen, dual cameras, a bigger battery, and additional storage.
Other rivals to the S9 plus include the £799 Huawei P20 pro and due to its 6in screen, the £379 Sony Xperia XA2 ultra.
Design and Build
Since the Galaxy S9 plus is an incremental upgrade from last year’s smartphone, there’s not a tremendous amount to mention when it involves design and build.
Samsung hasn’t modified much concerning the phone at all. You may struggle to figure out which one is the new model in a side-by-side check unless you’re observing the new Lilac Purple color.
There’s conjointly midnight Black and Blue Coral to choose from and also the titanium grey model we noticed Samsung demo videos is currently available from Carphone Warehouse.
At the front, the phone looks close to enough just like the S8 plus. It’s hugely no surprise Samsung is sticking to the beautiful design that features the infinity display. The phone is marginally shorter and also the firm has made the bezels a little bit smaller however it’s not something noticeable.
The eagle-eyed of you would possibly notice the matte finish the metal frame which looks nicer compared to the S8 plus glossy coat. Another minor tweak is a single slot for the speaker instead of five tiny holes.
The main giveaway that this phone is the Galaxy S9 plus and not an old model is at the rear. Firstly there are dual cameras, antecedently a feature solely offered on the Note 8. We’ll point out the camera tech afterward.
The other tweak is that the placement for the fingerprint scanner, that is currently below the camera array rather than to the side. This was a bugbear on the S8 phones, particularly the S8 plus where the sensor was quite stretch to reach.
You’re still in danger of smudging the lower camera, but at least the sensor is not annoying low down the phone just like the Xperia XZ2.
So with a near identical design, Samsung is protruding to an aluminum band with glass front and back. The Galaxy S9 plus still offers top-end IP68 waterproofing and gladly hasn’t ditched the earpiece jack.
The glass back looks nice when it’s clean but like most is a little bit of a fingerprint magnet and makes the phone quite slippery.
We don’t even mind that the device may be a bit thicker at 8.5mm. Though the S9 plus has a lot of techs to supply, it’s value noting that it’s still a bit unwieldy, especially for those with smaller hands and weighs in at 189g so isn’t precisely a featherweight.
This should be one among the most things to consider if you are attempting to choose between the S9 models.
Specs and features
If you can subsume, or may be actively needed, the larger size of the Galaxy S9 plus, then you do gain numerous benefits over the smaller S9 model. Yes, it prices more. However, it’s merely the more technically advanced and exciting device.
The display remains the same as last year, therefore, choosing the Galaxy S9 plus gets you a 6.2in screen over the 5.8in display on the regular S9. It’s Samsung’s currently trademark infinity display, so you get an 18.5:9 ratio and curved edges on each side.
A Quad HD plus resolution (Full HD plus is used by default however you’ll be able to change it) means that everything is once again as crisp as you wish and it’s no surprise Samsung sticks to its bright (max 324cdm2) and vibrant SuperAMOLED technology.
As usual, the screen is often on therefore displays helpful information without overwhelming a lot of battery while the screen is ‘off.’ You furthermore might get the edge panels, which bring shortcuts to apps, contacts and much more by swiping in from the side.
You might have detected that Samsung is one among the sole brands to choose against a ‘notch’ at the top just like the iPhone X. We’re not entirely positive why others are so keen to copy Apple and even if some offer a way to switch the feature off, we just like the reality Samsung has stuck to the regular style here.
Processor, memory, and storage
Like the regular S9, the Galaxy S9 plus is powered by the new Exynos 9810. The chip that’s still octa-core but gets a bump in clock speed to 2.7GHz for the faster four. This is often the model we’ll get within the United Kingdom however other markets like the United States of America and China can get the S9 plus with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.
Either way, these are brand-new processors, where rivals just like the Nokia 8 sirocco are using the older Snapdragon 835.
Power users are happy to hear that the S9 plus has a lot of memory and storage compared to the S9 with 6/128GB. That’s an additional 50 % in RAM and double the storage. We’ve seen a specification sheet with a 128GB model however this appears to be very elusive at best.
There’s less need to use the microSD card slot, that currently accepts up to 400GB. However, it’s nice that Samsung continues to supply the feature where others typically don’t.
As you’ll be able to see within the graph below, the S9 plus benchmarks very well breaking the 9,000 barrier in Geekbench 4 that is not too far off the iPhone X. Graphics, tested at the default Full HD plus resolution, are lovely, also.
Overall, it’s precisely what we’d expected from a flagship phone at this price and with these specs. Within the real world, the S9 plus may be a sleek performer indeed, and there are lots of other areas where phones are different in 2018 so don’t fret concerning the numbers too much.
Fingerprint and Iris Sensors
As mentioned earlier, the fingerprint scanner has been moved to a much more smart location below the camera. It’s a lot easier to find along with your finger without stretching too much, though there’s still a risk of smudging the lower lens.
Samsung has additionally made it easier to add fingerprints as you merely need to swipe three times per finger – we did it in barely two.
There’s still an iris scanner, one thing that we’ve not been a fan of on previous Samsung phones. However, Intelligent Scan means that you’ll be able to use it together with facial scanning.
It’s a lot better than antecedently, however, rival face unlock systems including Apple and OnePlus are still better.
Connectivity and Audio
Top-level connectivity means that the S9 plus is filled with the tech you’d expect, as well as dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and GPS.
There are lots of sensors as well as the pressure sensor within the screen that’s used a sort of physical home button. The Galaxy S9 plus still comes with features like a barometer and heart rate monitor which not several phones have.
The modification comes in the audio department because the smartphone now has stereo speakers. They’re still tuned by AKG and Samsung has conjointly teamed up with Dolby to offer Atmos, a feature you can toggle to provide a bigger, more spacious sound.
They’re not the best speakers on the market however it is a lot better than before, and we’re super happy that Samsung has kept the earphone jack.
As teased with its ‘The Camera. Reimagined’ campaign before the launch, it’s the camera on the Galaxy S9 phones that’s had the most extensive upgrade.
The rear Super Speed dual pixel camera remains 12Mp but has an innovative mechanical aperture akin to a dedicated DSLR. This could automatically change between f/2.4 down to f/1.5 depending on the lighting conditions you’re shooting in.
The Galaxy S8 was an already spectacular f/1.7, so this is often a pleasant step up. Samsung says it means that 28 % more light. The phone can also currently use information from 12 photos shot quickly to reduce noise by 30 %.
Compared to the S9, the plus models brings with it an extra lens. just like the Note8, it is a zoom lens with a 12Mp telephoto with an f/2.4 aperture – nice if you prefer obtaining a closer shot without using digital zoom.
You can see the distinction between the two rear lenses in our Flickr album below, which conjointly includes some other test shots.
Overall the Galaxy S9 Plus is a powerful all-rounder for photography and video (see below for more on that). The camera app is simple to use with different modes and beautiful results from merely firing it up and shooting in auto.
Shots are detailed, crisp and nicely exposed however it isn’t the best camera out there in nice lighting conditions. The pixel 2 XL can offer better contrast and detail in darker areas. We’re not selecting, but we’ve got to at this level.
The Galaxy S9 may be a better performer in low light-weight, though, and that dual aperture is handy when you don’t need the shallow depth of field enforced by a large aperture.
We’ll be doing a camera shootout as well as other nice camera phones presently to compare all of them thoroughly.
The Galaxy S9 plus will currently match Sony for super slow motion at 960fps (at 720p) which implies you’ll watch 0.2 seconds of footage over 6 seconds.
Such a brief amount of time may be hard to capture, as we found on the Xperia phones. However, Samsung features a quick motion detect that automatically starts the super slow motion once it, er, detects motion in a user selected area of the frame.
It works very well, and you’ll even record up to 20 slow motion sections in one video. Here’s our sample from the S9 that has precisely the same feature.
Regarding standard video, the S9 plus could be a good performer. The phone features optical image stabilization (OIS) that helps keep things nice and sleek. By default, it’ll record at Full HD however you’ll be able to switch it up to ultra HD at 60fps if you wish (and don’t mind larger files and a limit of five minutes). Below is our test footage at standard settings.
Selfie fans can still get good photos from the front-facing 8Mp f/1.7 camera that currently includes a feature to rival the iPhone X’s Animoji. Samsung’s version is named AR Emoji and created a character based on you.
It instantly created 18 preset gifs however you’ll customize your own with the front camera, winking and frowning to your heart’s content. You also don’t need to worry concerning who you’re sending them to as they don’t need an S9 too. They are only accessible from the default keyboard that is handy.
The problem comes once you want to animate the AR Emoji yourself using the front camera. What’s accurate tracking on the iPhone X is jittery and weak on the S9 plus. It is not enough to put us off the phone though because the feature could be a gimmick and a minor part of the general experience.
Bixby Vision is an existing feature however it’s currently improved with things like live translation, better recognition for places and food options like calories and recipe suggestions. It’s handy as the feature is built into the camera app, but while some elements are helpful, others are merely gimmicks.
Another advantage over the regular Galaxy S9 is that you get a bigger battery here, therefore carrying around the extra weight can be well worthwhile. Whereas the Galaxy S9 features a 3000mAh battery, the S9 plus offers 3500mAh.
The Galaxy S9 plus can comfortably last a full day of average users, and lighter users may even get a day and half out of it. Within the Geekbench 4 battery test, the S9 plus managed a great seven hours and fifty-five minutes with an efficiency score of 4750.
That’s almost like the LG V30 and more than an hour longer than most flagships. The S9 managed six hours and thirty-eight minutes as 3890.
Once again you have got the choice to charge over USB-C or with wireless charging – both provide fast charging. In our usual test, the S9 plus managed a good 38 percent in 30 minutes starting from zero. That is two percent more than the regular S9 despite having a bigger battery.
Software and Apps
Moving onto software and the Galaxy S9 Plus comes pre-loaded with Android 8 oreo, the newest version of Google’s mobile OS. That’s no surprise and nor is the fact that Samsung uses its interface.
Things are pretty much the same as last year with solely little tweaks; the main things come inside the camera app that we’ve already detailed.
Samsung has pre-loaded the Galaxy S9 plus will lots of apps, however, nothing too annoying or intrusive – they’re the usual choices from Google and Microsoft. Therefore, you’ll probably use most of them frequently. We’d still like the ability to uninstall them, not just disable though.
Tweaks come in the form of a new landscape mode. Therefore, you’ll keep on using the interface lengthways to browse your home screen panels or your apps. A notification system means that you’ll still see what’s going on however in a subtle way at the top.
A new SmartThings app could be a nifty way, almost like Google and Apple Home apps, to combine multiple apps into one. It means that you have one place to handle all the connections to and features of other Samsung devices like TVs.
Those eager to use the Galaxy S9 plus for productivity will make use of the new DeX dock which implies the phone may be directly plugged into a monitor for a desktop-like experience.
The docking station is currently flat that the screen may be used as a trackpad or keyboard and it’ll be around two-thirds the value of the original.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: Specs
- Android 8.0 Oreo
- 6.2in Quad HD+ (2960×1440) 18.5:9 SuperAMOLED Infinity Display
- Exynos 9810 octa-core processor
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB internal storage
- Micro-SD card slot (up to 400GB)
- 12Mp rear-facing camera with OIS and f/1.5-24 + 12Mp telephoto
- 8Mp front camera
- Pressure sensitive home button
- Fingerprint scanner (rear mounted)
- Heart rate monitor
- 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX
- 4G LTE Cat 16
- Headphone jack
- 3500mAh non-removable battery
- Wireless charging
- IP68 dust & waterproof rating