Samsung Galaxy S9: A Comprehensive Review
by Shehryar Ahmed
Samsung unveiled its latest S-series flagship, Galaxy S9 in a grand ceremony last month. The reveal event was held on 25th of February in Barcelona, a day before the Mobile World Congress kicked off. A week before the event, Samsung started giving out teasers:
So yeah, this phrase was on the tongue of every tech enthusiast out there. “The Camera, Reimagined” had everyone wondering: What will Samsung do?
Well, the S9 has officially been unveiled and is bound to hit retail stores within a few days, so let’s have a look at whether it fulfills the $720 price tag that comes with it.
The S9’s camera has indeed been completely ‘Reimagined’. A long list of features has been added to the S9’s camera. Starting off from the basics, the S9’s camera has a single lens 12 MP camera on the back that is capable of shifting between apertures. Yes, that’s right! The S9’s camera can shift from f/1.5 for photos in dim lights to f/2.4 for capturing detailed, crisp images during daylight and well-lit environments in general. It is worth mentioning that this is the highest aperture found in a smartphone.
The Galaxy S9’s camera is able to shoot super slo-mo videos at a frame rate of 960 fps. Moreover, it can shoot videos at 2160p at a frame rate of 60 fps. Once you’re done shooting, you can choose between making it a video or a gif. Adding background music after the creation of the video is another feature present in the S9.
The S9 lets you create your own AR emoji. Special emphasis is laid on the “your” here since the AR Emoji is tailored according to your facial expressions. The AR emoji comes in direct competition with iPhone X’s animoji.
Last, Samsung has greatly increased the utility of Bixby, its personal assistant service, in the Galaxy S9. The camera paired with Bixby enables the S9 to translate text just by pointing the camera at it. Furthermore, you can find out the nutritional content of any food item by pointing the camera at it.
Coming to the downfalls, the slo-mo video feature has been heavily criticized for working solely when lighting is PLENTY, optimally during the daytime. This means that you cannot shoot slo-mo videos until you’re in a well-lit environment.
The AR emoji is reported to lack the similarity Samsung promised. Tech experts have spoken out against the feature, claiming it took them multiple attempts to get an emoji to actually look like them.
Just like its predecessor, the Galaxy S8, S9 also has a Bixby button placed below the volume keys, which has been widely criticized since the launch event. Moreover, numerous users have pointed out the inability of Bixby to correctly translate text along with the inability to recognize the food item it is being pointed at.
The battery has been widely criticized as well for being “too small” for the powerful smartphone. Similar to the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy S9 also has a 3000 mAH battery that is capable of being wirelessly charged. The S9 complies with both Qi and PMA standards, meaning you can charge the S9 using any charging pad. For wired charging, the Galaxy S9 uses a type-C port.
One major downfall is the slow charging when using the wireless charging technology despite Samsung’s claim of “fast wireless charging compatibility”.
This is the main driving force behind the Galaxy S9. The US variant of the Galaxy S9 comes with the Snapdragon 845 chipset, the latest processor in Snapdragon’s lineup. The 845 is capable of powering a high-spec camera along with face recognition support. The 845 will be running on an octa-core setup, with each core clocking in at 2.7 GHz. Like the S8, S9 has 4 GB RAM as well. The S9 will be shipped with Android Oreo 8.0 preinstalled. The S9 will come with 64GB built-in storage.
One major downfall in this is the lack of RAM. Many tech veterans have spoken out against the amount of RAM, arguing how other smartphone manufacturers have upgraded the amount of RAM in their flagships, e.g. the 6 GB RAM in Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro.
The Galaxy S9’s display has been deemed the best in the industry. The S9 has a 5.8 inch Super AMOLED display running at a resolution of 2160×1440 and an aspect ratio of 18:5:9. The Galaxy S9’s display has a reduced bezel count relative to the Galaxy S8 along with simultaneous landscape orientation support.
Coming to the downturns, many users have disapproved Samsung’s claim of minimal screen reflectance. Users have claimed that it is very annoying to watch a video on the Galaxy S9 in open sunlight.
Well, the design only has mickey mouse changes. Unfortunately, tech industry veterans have spoken out in bulk over the lack of difference between the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S8’s design. Both models feature a 5.8-inch display. Both have a curved Infinity Display. Both have a metal frame with glass backs. To many surprises, the Korean smartphone giant has kept the headphone jack despite much anticipation of the headphone jack being discarded in order to compete with their Cupertino rivals, Apple Inc.
One major difference between the two is the placement of the fingerprint sensor. The Galaxy S9’s fingerprint sensor is placed below the camera opposed to the S8’s sensor beside the camera. This has gained much appreciation since users can now unlock their smartphone with relatively more ease. Side by side, it has also amassed some hate since it doesn’t solve the camera smudge issue, i.e. the camera getting smudged by fingers after failed attempts at unlocking the phone.
Keeping all the above points in mind, it’s safe to say that the S9 is solely for people with spare money lying around. The S9 is strikingly similar to the S8, so what’s the point of upgrading? No tangible loss can be observed in sticking to the Galaxy S8.
On the other hand, if you wanna splash in extra dollars for features like the AR emoji – well, don’t.