Hours before the Samsung Unpacked event opened in Barcelona, Spain, we were able to get a chance to have some hands-on time with the new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Not all of us were able to borrow both units at the same time but I was able to spend more time with the bigger and better Samsung Galaxy S9+.
Samsung started offering Plus versions since the release of the Galaxy S8. It gives users an option whether to buy a smaller phone with a 5.8″ infinity display or a bigger phone with 6.2″. Aside from their sizes, their battery capacity and prices are also to be considered when choosing the next Galaxy S8 or S8+ to buy. For the S9 and S9+, there are more differences between the two and I will discuss them here as part of my first impressions post.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S9+ SPECS:
|OS:||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Processor:||2.47 GHz Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 845 Octa-Core processor | Adreno 630 / 2.8Ghz Samsung Exynos 9810 Octa-Core processor | MALI-G72 MP18|
|Display:||1440 x 2960 6.2" Quad HD Super AMOLED Display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|Wireless Connections:||LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS|
|Memory:||64GB/128GB Internal Storage expandable with a Micro SD card up to 400GB, 6GB RAM|
|Connectors:||USB Type-C, OTG Support|
|Cameras:||12 Megapixels OIS f/1.5 f/2.4 wide-angle + 12 Megapixels f/2.4 Telephoto (Main Camera), 8 Megapixels f/1.7 (Front)|
|SIM Card Slots:||2x Nano SIM Cards required (Hybrid)|
|Battery:||3,500 mAh (non-removable|
|SRP:||P52,990 (64GB), P55,990 (128GB)|
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: HARDWARE
Nothing has changed in the build quality of the Samsung Galaxy S9+. At first look, people will mistake it for a Galaxy S8+ since they look identical. It still is a fingerprint magnet so always wipe it with a micro fiber cloth.
The rear of the S9+ reveals the new placement of the sensors at the right side of the camera, while the fingerprint scanner is found underneath it. A welcome addition to the S9+ is its dual-camera which was first seen in the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
As expected, the screen of the S9+ is still awesome! But what makes it better than the S8+ or even the Note8 is the inclusion of stereo speakers by AKG. It’s louder than the built-in speaker of the S8 and the Note8. If you have a movie file that has Dolby Atmos, transfer it to the S9+ and watch it in the dark. It’s like watching a movie with a Pocket Cinema in your hands.
Now that the Samsung Galaxy S9+ has built-in stereo speakers, users will certainly enjoy more in listening to mp3 files or streaming music via Spotify. I transferred a mp3 file to the phone, maxed out the volume and played the song a couple of times. It sounded clear and crisp while inside my hotel room. What I want to know is how it will fare if I play some music outside. I may find out once I get my hands again on the review unit.
Sadly, we were not allowed to make any benchmark tests so I have no idea how the Exynos 9810 processor would fare on Antutu. We were also not allowed to connect to the internet, so basically I couldn’t test any apps or games with the phone. Again, I’ll have to wait for the review unit to be sent to me for further evaluation.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: SOFTWARE
Again, nothing much has been changed with the TouchWiz UI. Swipe up to reveal the apps, swipe down to go back to the home screen, swipe to the right to access your Google page, and swipe further to the left for the other windows. Bixby however was updated to Vision 2.0 which has the ability to translate written texts in real time. There are other cool things that can be done with Bixby, but then again we were not allowed to connect to the internet so we were not able to test this feature either.
What I was able to test is the AR Emoji which is more fun than I thought. Open the app, take your photo and it will give you an emoji that may look like you. In my case I selected the hairstyle that looks closest to my current hairdo but everything else were kinda spot on! Even my moustache was capture by the app! Talk, sing, do silly things and your animated self will do the same! The emojis can be exported to other messaging apps, and there are also some gif files based on your emoji that you can use as well.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: CAMERA
I expected the Dual-Camera of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ to be the same as the ones found in the Note8. Turns out that Samsung took a step further in making a small but valuable improvement in taking photos under low light conditions. Check out the sample photos below:
I really liked how the photos turned out especially when they were captured at night.
Another cool feature of the camera I was able to test is the Super Slow Motion setting. If you want to see how Roger Federer hits his might forehand or find out how a pickpocket steals another person’s wallet from a bag, you would really need to use this feature. I was able to test this too and the water coming out from the wall looked really awesome in super slow motion. Watch the video below:
The way I see it so far, the Dual-Camera is the main selling point for existing S8+ users to upgrade to a Galaxy S9+. In general, all of the updates mentioned were minor so it may not be that necessary for existing S8 or S8+ users to upgrade. Those are my thoughts, but once I get a hold of a review unit and spend time with it for at least 2-3 weeks then I may be able to give a better suggestion for everyone.
If you’re already sold to the idea of buying a Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+, pre-order tomorrow (February 27) via the Smart Online Store: http://store.smart.com.ph/