KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are now available, having launched globally on 16 March.
The flagship duo look near identical to their respective Galaxy S8 and S8+ predecessors but, on the specs front, offer upgraded 10nm innards, a toughened chassis and a new camera with variable aperture and the ability to capture 'Super Slo-Mo- video footage.
We've rounded up everything you need to know about picking one up below.
- 148x69x8.5mm, 163g / 158x74x8.5mm, 189g
- 5.8in / 6.2in QHD+ Super AMOLED curved display (570ppi / 529ppi)
- Samsung 10nm Exynos 9810 CPU (4x 2.7GHz, 4x 1.9GHz)
- 4GB RAM / 6GB RAM
- 3,000mAh / 3,500mAh batteries
- 64GB / 128GB storage with microSD expansion up to 400GB
- Cat 18 LTE support (1.2Gbps download speeds)
- Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, front-facing iris scanner
- 12MP Dual Pixel camera with OIS (f/1.5, f/2.4) / Vertical dual rear-facing camera, 8MP front-facing camera
- Bixby AI assistant with dedicated button
- USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Stereo speakers
- Wireless charging support
- IP68 water and dust resistance
- Built-in FM radio
- Updated DeX Pad
- Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, and Coral Blue, Lilac Purple variants
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be available, as expected, from 16 March in the UK. Those who pre-ordered early received their smartphone a week early on 9 March.
For those looking to pick up a SIM-free device, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are available to pick up from Samsung direct for £739 and £869, respectively.
Carphone Warehouse is offering the Galaxy S9 on tariffs with EE, iD, O2, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone. For the Galaxy S9, the best deal we spotted was a £49 O2 tariff with 20GB data, which comes with a £99 upfront fee. The biggest Galaxy S9+ can be picked up on the same deal, but will set you back £66 a month.
Mobiles.co.uk is not just promising to double the memory of your Galaxy S9 or S9+, but is also offering INQ readers a free £25 gift card for Pizza Express, Currys or M&S. Simply visit this link, enter your email address, and then pick up your Galaxy S9. Mobiles is offering the smartphones on a range of deals with EE, O2 and Vodafone, and SIM-free.
Over at EE's website, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is available from £58 per month with an upfront cost of £50, a deal which gets you 4GB monthly data. The Galaxy S9+ is available on the same 4GB tariff, with the monthly cost increasing to £68.
O2 has started taking orders for the Galaxy S9, with prices starting at £44 per month for 1GB data with an, er £209.99 upfront cost. This price increases to £49 per month for the Galaxy S9+.
Sky Mobile is also offering the Galaxy S9 and S9+. The Galaxy S9 can be picked up from £28 per month, and data plans range from £5 for 500MB and £20 per month for 10GB. These same tariffs are available for the Galaxy S9+, which comes with a starting price of £33 per month.
Three, which is chucking in 12 months of Netflix for free, is offering the Galaxy S9 from £40 per month with an upfront cost of £99, a deal that'll bag you 1GB monthly data. The Galaxy S9+ is available on the same plan for £45 per month.
Virgin Mobile is offering the Galaxy S9 on a 36-month contract from £31 per month with no upfront cost with 1GB data. £34 a month will get you 3GB, while Virgin's most-expensive £40 tariff comes with 40GB data. The Galaxy S9+ is also on offer from £36 per month.
Vodafone has is recommending its Red Extra 16GB plan, which costs £59 per month and £29 upfront. The Galaxy S9+, naturally, will set you back more on the same 16GB tariff.
20/3/18: The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are at a lower risk of cracking that the iPhone X, according to SquareTrade.
The insurance provider put the Samsung flagships through their paces and found that, although the S9 cracked when dropped from a height of six-feet, the handsets scored breakability scores of 71 and 76, respectively. This pales in comparison to the iPhone X's score of 90, however, with SquareTrade labelling Apple's latest flagship the "most breakable" iPhone ever.
19/3/18: The Galaxy S9+ is more expensive to build that the Galaxy Note 8, according to data compiled by Tech Insights. It claims that the Galaxy S9 costs Samsung $379 (around £270) to put together, while the Galaxy Note 8 cost the firm roughly $369 (£265) to build. While the screen on the S9+ is cheaper, the handset's variable aperture camera is more expensive at $48 compared to £40.50. The handset's battery is also more expensive, along with its memory chip and 'non-electronics' components.
15/3/18: Samsung has announced plans to offer same-day, in-person phone repairs to Galaxy S9 and S9+ users.
The firm is partnering with uBreakiFix to offer 'Samsung Care', a service that'll offer same day repairs to Galaxy smartphone owners in the US. Customers will be able to take their borked smartphone to any of more than 300 uBreakiFix service locations and have their devices repaired on the spot (usually within two hours or less). Samsung assures customers that all uBreakiFix repair centres will have genuine Samsung parts and proprietary Samsung tools for the repairs.
14/3/18: We already know, thanks to iFixit, that the Galaxy S9 won't be easy to repair, but we know now that it won't be that easy to break, either.
JerryRigEverything has put the Samsung flagship through its paces in a hardcore durability test (below) which found that thanks to its strengthened glass and reinforced frame, the S9 shouldn't pick up scratches too easily. While the phone's fingerprint sensor and painted aluminium sides picked up marks fairly easily, it took a level 6 pick to scratch it the screen at all, with deep scratches only coming from level 7.
The Galaxy S9 won't succumb to bending, either, and the screen even managed to recover from exposure to a flame, albeit with limited permanent damage.
13/3/18: Microsoft is flogging a 'customised' version of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ in the US. While the firm is promising a bunch of unique 'Microsoft Edition' features, including Skype, Cortana and Office apps, the firm has clarified that "Microsoft customisation is applied to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus Microsoft Edition when the devices are unboxed and connected to WiFi", which means, er, it's flogging the same device that you can purchase elsewhere.
12/3/18: The teardown team at iFixit have been quick to pull apart the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ and, unsurprisingly, they earned themselves a low repairability score of just four out of 10 - less than the iPhone X's six out of 10 score. While iFixit applauded the design of the S9 as a "welcome respite" from its usual destructive teardown, it notes that the glass design leads to double the crackability while strong adhesive makes it difficult to access the handsets' internal components.
iFixit also got up close with the handsets' cameras and notes that Samsung's iris scanner system is "pretty much exactly the same" as on the S8.
9/3/18: Galaxy S9 pre-orders are down 50 per cent compared to last year's Galaxy S8, according to analyst Jeff Johnson of Arthur Wood Research. Reported by Fast Company, Johnson claims smartphone buyers are "upgrading at a much slower pace as features are falling on deaf ears", adding that smartphone sales as a whole "are starting to decline at an accelerating rate."
8/3/18: Samsung is offering owners of the iPhone X, Apple's £1,000 flagship smartphone that came out less than four months ago, er, $350 if they trade-in their handset for a Galaxy S9.
First spotted by CNET, this is a really, really terrible deal. If you're looking to ditch your iPhone X, flog it on eBay for £800 instead, and you can then spend that on any phone you like.
The same, awful deal isn't on offer in the UK. Samsung is offering Brits a £206 discount on the S9 if they hand over their iPhone 7, though, or £150 for an iPhone 6S.
7/3/18: Just as it did for the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has released a demo Experience app that allows you to try out some of the Galaxy S9's features. There are four main sections - New Camera & More, S9 Accessories, Helpful Applications, and Device Specifications - all of which give you a virtual experience of what the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have an offer. The app is compatible with all devices running Android 6.0 and above and is available to download via Google Play.
6/3/18: Benchmarking tests show that Samsung's Galaxy S9 fails to match Apple's two-year-old iPhone 7 in the performance department.
AnandTech tested the version powered by Samsung's own Exynos 9810 chip, and described the results as "awkward". Not only was the S9 beaten by both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in every test, but it was also bested by the iPhone 7 in three of them.
The website speculates that a firmware issue could be to blame for the lacklustre benchmarking results, and notes that a Samsung spokesperson confirmed that the demo unit that was tested was running "special firmware for MWC and that might not be optimised."
5/3/18: Samsung introduced 'Intelligent Scan' alongside the Galaxy S9 and S9+, a supposedly smarter version of the face unlock tech that debuted on last year's S8. While it's faster than last year's iris scanning tech, security researchers have noted that it's no more secure.
Jan Krissler of hacking group Computer Chaos Club, which last year fooled the S8's iris scanning-tech using photographs, says his group isn't interested in trying to crack Intelligent Scan as there's nothing new.
"There is no fun in hacking just a new release of the same system," Krissler said to CNET.
Andrew Blaich, of Lookout, added: "They want to provide some level of security but also make it easy and effective for you to get into the phone. This is probably trying to play catchup with how smooth the user experience is for the iPhone."
Samsung itself seems to have admitted the security failings of Intelligent Scan as it won't allow the tech to be used for mobile payments via Samsung Pay.
2/3/18: Galaxy S9 pre-orders in Samsung's home country of South Korea have got off to a slow start, according to SamMobile, which claims that orders so far have 'fallen shy of expectations'.
Citing industry watchers, the site claims that pre-orders have so-far failed to match those seen by Galaxy S8 and S8+. What's more, a local carrier is quoted as saying that, while many people are asking about the new Samsung flagships, pre-orders appear to be a ‘tad smaller' than last year.
2/3/18: Just hours after DisplayMate hailed the S9's screen as the best it's ever tested, DxOMark has awarded the Galaxy S9+ its highest-ever score for photo quality. With a score of 99, the S9+ has bested the Pixel 2's previous record-breaking score of 98, with DxOMark praising the handset's 2x optical zoom and low levels of noise in various lighting conditions.
For video, however, the Galaxy S9+ scored less than the Google Pixel 2. DxOMark explained: "Fine detail in video footage isn't on the same level as the very best, and ringing and moiré artifacts are often visible.
1/3/18: DisplayMate has awarded the Infinity display on the Galaxy S9 its highest 'Excellent A+' grade, Samsung has boasted. While, on paper, the screen is near identical to that found on the Galaxy S9, DisplayMate notes that picture quality has been significantly improved, and says the screen's colour accuracy is "virtually indistinguishable from perfect". It also highlights that the screen can reach up to 1,130 nits of brightness - 20 per cent brighter than the S8, and a reflectivity level of 4.4 per cent - the lowest that DisplayMate has ever measured.
28/2/18: While Samsung's Oreo rollout for the Galaxy S8 hasn't gone exactly to plan, the firm's Galaxy S9 flagship could be among the first smartphone to receive Google's upcoming Android P and Android Q updates.
So says SamMobile, which has confirmed that new S9 and S9+ smartphones support Google's Project Treble. Announced alongside Android 8.0, this is designed to make it easier for OEMs to update to newer versions of Android by minimising the number of tweaks that need to be made. It allows manufacturers to release Android updates by simply updating the OS framework without having to wait for silicon manufacturers to do additional work first.
"With a stable vendor interface providing access to the hardware-specific parts of Android, device makers can choose to deliver a new Android release to consumers by just updating the Android OS framework without any additional work required from the silicon manufacturers," Google said.
26/2/18: Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S9 and S9+ at Mobile World Congress (MWC).
As expected, the Galaxy S9 boasts the same 5.8in QHD+ Super AMOLED as its predecessor, with a pixel density of 570ppi and an 18:5:9 aspect ratio.
Compared to Samsung's last flagship device, however, the new model is thicker at 8.5mm and weighs almost 10g more at 163g. It does have the same IP68 waterproofing, at least.
On the inside, things have been improved, but only just. The Galaxy S9 powered by the Samsung's homegrown 10nm Exynos 64-bit octa-core CPU but with a slightly faster 2.7GHz and 1.7GHz processing speeds (compared to the S8's 2.3GHz), alongside the same 4GB of RAM.
There's also 64GB of internal memory which can be upgraded to a 400GB with a microSD card. All of this is powered by a 3,000mAh battery.
Samsung has given the Galaxy S9+ a slightly better upgrade, though. There's a 10nm 64-bit octa-core processor running at 2.8GHz and 1.7GHz inside, alongside a much beefier 6GB of RAM and double the internal storage of the S9 at 128GB.
As usual, the display is bigger on the Galaxy S9+, with the device touting a 6.2in QHD+ curved super AMOLED screen with the same wide 18:5:9 ratio as the Galaxy S8+, but a lower pixel density of 529ppi. It has a bigger 3,500mAh battery to power that larger screen, though but it does weigh a little heavier at 189g.
Both devices, again unsurprisingly, run the latest edition of Android 8.0 Oreo. The latest version of Samsung Experience sits on top of Google's OS, which offers AR emoji and supports landscape orientation for the first time.
One of the biggest improvements in the devices, Samsung said, comes in the form of a new and improved camera and image sensors. While the Galaxy S9 retains its single-lens 12MP Dual Pixel camera with OIS, the Galaxy S9+ packs a dual 12MP set-up on its rear, comprising of wide angle and telephoto lenses.
The cameras on both the S9 and S9+, as expected, come with a dual aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4. Samsung claims the smartphones are the first to do so, and says the feature will deliver "the brightest lens of any smartphone camera in the market".
That's because the camera now lets in 80 per cent more light than on previous models, which minimises noise to capture higher quality images in dark environments than ever before. It does this by stitching together 12 images taken simultaneously when the shutter button is pressed, merging them together to create a better final image.
Samsung has also integrated DRAM into this image processor for the first time, giving the S9 "the slowest movie recording ever" to create epic slow-mo footage. This is coupled with a new feature called Automatic Motion Detect, which allows users to capture an important event in slo-mo automatically, without having to wait around and manually snap, which usually results in missed opportunities.
25/2/18: We already know pretty much all there is to know about the Galaxy S9, and now, er, Samsung's official launch video has leaked (below). "The Phone. Reimagined" is Samsung's tagline, and the clip confirms that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be the first to pack a dual aperture camera. Elsewhere, the view confirms that the handsets will be IP68-rated, will come with a more sensibly placed fingerprint scanner and will ship alongside a new and improved DeX Pad.
23/2/18: We're mere days away from the official unveiling of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, and Evan Blass claims to have got his hands on more pricing details for the Samsung flagships: €841 (£740) for the S9 and €997 (£900). While these prices are eye-watering, it's likely Brits will be paying more, as Clove has started taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ with prices starting at £799 and £999, respectively.
21/2/18: It appears Samsung will have no surprises in store at MWC. Not only do we know what the Galaxy S9's specs and what it'll look like, but thanks to XDA-Developers, we now know that Samsung is planning to launch its flagship in augmented reality (AR).
It reports that a Reddit user has pulled apart Samsung's Unpacked 2018 app and found that the firm will let those at the event see the Galaxy S9 in AR by tapping their phone against their event badge. Using the app, attendees will be able to switch between various colours to preview the appearance of Samsung's newest flagship from literally any angle.
20/2/18: There's unlikely to be many surprises in store at Samsung's MWC presser on Sunday, as WinFuture has revealed all there is to know about the Galaxy S9 and S9+.
As expected, the leak confirms that the Galaxy S9 will pack a 5.8in Super AMOLED 18:5:9 QHD+ Infinity display with a 1440x2950 resolution. The Galaxy S9 will pack a bigger 6.2in Super AMOLED screen.
The smartphones, as expected, will be capable of capturing super slow-motion video at 960 frames per second in HD, with Galaxy S9 packing a 12MP single rear camera and the Galaxy S9+ dual 12MP cameras. These cameras will have a variable aperture mode of f/1.5 or f/2.4, alongside optical image stabilisation and both laser and dual-pixel autofocus. Around the front, both phones will feature 8MP cameras with f/1.7 aperture.
Elsewhere, both the S9 and S9+ will come with IP68 certification, a fingerprint scanner underneath the camera and facial recognition via a front-facing iris scanner.
Under the hood, WinFuture confirms that, in Europe, the phones will pack Samsung's 10nm Exynos 9810 CPU featuring four 2.9GHz and four 1.9GHz chips. The Galaxy S9 will pair with a 3,000mAh battery and 4GB RAM, while the S9+ will pack a heftier 3,500mAh battery and 6GB RAM. Both will offer 64GB storage with 400GB microSD expansion.
19/2/18: A Reddit user claims to have spent 20 minutes with the as-yet-unannounced Galaxy S9, and has detailed all in an AMA thread.
The anonymous Reddit user confirms that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are "scary similar" to their predecessors, but - as rumours had suggested - the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the centre underneath the camera module. The Reddit user claims that, despite this repositioning, he still hit the camera a few times while trying to unlock the device.
Elsewhere, the AMA 'confirms' that the Galaxy S9 will feature stern speakers, one place in the earpiece and the other at the bottom of the device. The source, which also confirms that the handset will feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, claims these speakers make for a ‘major improvement' in sound quality over the current Galaxy S8.
The camera, as expected, will support 4K video support at higher frame rates. However, this model - which the Reddit user notes is "very close to production" - has no 1,000 FPS slow-motion mode.
Finally, the Reddit AMA details Samsung's 3D Emoji. The source claims it won't be a straight rip-off of Apple's Animoji, but rather a "mix between Animoji and bitmoji".
15/2/18: Samsung has released a trio of videos, teasing the camera features of the Galaxy S9. The first 15-second clip (below) teases Samsung's 3D Emoji, which will reportedly be "more advanced" than Apple's Animoji. The second, who shows off several dark scenes before brightening up, hints at the Galaxy S9's low-light capture ability, with rumours claiming that Samsung will add an f/1.5 aperture mode to the handset's 12MP camera. Finally, the third clip teases the S9's much-hyped slow-capture mode, which will reportedly offer a mode that only records slow-mo footage when something moves in the frame, similar to Samsung's rear-cam selfie mode.
13/2/18: Yet more of the Galaxy S9's specs have leaked, this time courtesy of Orange Romania, which accidentally published the product page for the Galaxy S9 over the weekend. The since-yanked page confirms that the Galaxy S9 will stick with the 5.8in QHD OLED 'Infinity Display', but will introduce a DualPixel camera with 'f/.5 - f/2.5' aperture. Predictably the product page also mentions support for 4G+, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.
However, Orange's listing says the S9 will pack Samsung's Exynos 8995 chipset, which is unlikely, given this is the processor found inside last year's Galaxy S8. It also mentioned 3D Touch support, which again is unlikely given that no pressure sensitive screen technology is expected and 3D Touch is an Apple brand name.
9/2/18: Samsung's next-generation DeX docking station, set to debut alongside the S9, has surfaced online.
The new accessory packs a USB-C connection for hooking up your smartphone, alongside two standard USB and one HDMI port. Unlike Samsung's original DeX dock, the Galaxy S9 will lie flat when connected to the second-gen version, and you'll apparently be able to use the handset as a touchpad or virtual keyboard.
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