Samsung’s latest flagship for 2018, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, is here and we’re going to give you a brief hands-on experience based on our short time with it. Just a bit of fair disclosure, the S9+ model we used is not based on the final hardware and software that will ship to customers.
First off, don’t let the looks of the Galaxy S9+ fool you–while it may look the same with its predecessor, the S8+, it packs more oomph and more bells and whistles inside.
The S9+ feels as premium as it can be, with smooth glass encasing the front and back of the phone with an aluminum frame running around the edge. The screen is still based on the Infinity display Samsung launched last year. It looks clear, sharp, and vivid. The texts and images look as if they’re floating on top of the screen. There’s just no denying that Samsung makes one of the greatest displays in the market.
Samsung has also addressed the biggest complaints about the S8 series which is the placement of the fingerprint scanner, which used to be located right next to the camera that made it hard to reach and resulted in smudges on the camera lens. On the S9 and S9+, the fingerprint sensor is now placed below the camera, which is where your index finger would naturally be reaching at.
The camera is where the differences between the S8+ and the new S9+ begin. There are now two camera lenses sitting at the back of the phone, one with a variable aperture of f/1.5 for low-light to f/2.4 for brighter shots. It can automatically switch between the narrower and wider aperture levels depending on the lighting conditions.
The sample photos that we took didn’t disappoint us. Taken at an overhead location last night, you can still clearly see the street level including the cars, people and the houses with not much noise. The daytime photos were excellently clear, sharp, and detailed too.
Here are some of our sample shots taken from the Samsung Galaxy S9+:
The S9 and S9+ also features a new super slow-motion video recording of up to 960fps at HD 720p resolution. It even adds a background music that you can change to match the scene. The camera will also let you create GIFs with various effects of looping for a funnier look.
Also new with the camera of the S9+ is the AR emoji, which as you may have guessed, creates 3D renderings of various emojis and stickers that can be superimposed on your face. We’ve found AR emoji to be mostly accurate, with the software even taking note of your facial expressions for a realistic look.
Another addition to the S9+ is the pair of AKG-tuned front-facing stereo speakers, which Samsung says is up to 1.4x louder than the S8 series. In our testing, the S9+ was loud enough to fill a room.
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ will be available in the Philippines on March 16. It will be priced at P52,990 for 64GB, P55,990 for 128GB, and P60,990 for the 256GB model. It will be available in Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, and Coral Blue.