To the untrained eye, it’s impossible to pick the Samsung Galaxy S9 out of a lineup of Galaxy S8s. The Galaxy S9 has the same all-glass body, Infinity screen, slim bezels, and 3.5mm headphone jack as its predecessor, but if you look closer, there are lots of little changes that add up to a worthy upgrade. Here’s everything that’s new about Samsung’s latest flagship.
Galaxy S9+ hands-on
We go hands on with the biggest new features of the Galaxy S9, including an in-depth look at AR Emoji.
Galaxy S9 review
Check out our review of the Galaxy S9, one of the best phones of the year so far.[ Further reading: The best Android phones for every budget. ]
Read PCWorld’s review$719.99MSRP $719.99See iton Amazon
The Galaxy S9 is an evolution rather than a revolution, but Samsung has upgraded it in all the right places.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ cases
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ have changed just enough so last year’s S8 cases won’t fit. So, if you’re looking for some protection for your Galaxy S9, check out our roundup of best cases in every style, which we will be updating regularly.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ tips and tricks
We kept track of every single awesome tip and trick we could find while testing the Galaxy S9 and collected them all, so you can master your S9.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ design and display
Samsung pretty much blew us all away with the 18:9, slim-bezel design of the Galaxy S8, and the S9 doesn’t stray too far from the winning formula. But it’s not quite a carbon copy of its predecessor:
Galaxy S8: 148.9 × 68.1 × 8.0mm
Galaxy S9: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm
Galaxy S8+: 159.5 × 73.4 × 8.1mm
Galaxy S9+: 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm
The phones are also a touch heavier than their predecessor, clocking in at 163 grams and 189 grams compared to 155 grams and 173 grams, respectively. That’s due to a more rugged aluminum frame than the Galaxy S8, and thicker glass. Otherwise, the screen sizes are exactly the same:
Galaxy S9: 5.8″ Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960×1440)
Galaxy S9+: 6.2″ Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960×1440)
Around the back, the changes between the phones are more apparent. Instead of horizontal arrangement for the camera and the fingerprint sensor, which made it a little hard to reach, the Galaxy S9’s camera is vertically aligned down the middle of the phone, right above the fingerprint sensor.
On the sides of the phone, you’ll find the same three buttons: power on the right, and Bixby and a volume rocker on the left. And the bottom edge features a USB-C port, speaker, and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs
On the inside, the Galaxy S9 is all-new, with the latest chips and a bump in the RAM for the S9+:
Processor: Snapdragon 845RAM: 4GBStorage: 64GBBattery: 3,000mAhNetwork: Enhanced 4×4 MIMO/CA, LAA, LTE Cat.18Water resistance: IP68OS: Android 8.0 OreoSpeakers: Stereo
Processor: Snapdragon 845RAM: 6GBStorage: 64GBBattery: 3,500mAhNetwork: Enhanced 4×4 MIMO/CA, LAA, LTE Cat.18Water resistance: IP68OS: Android 8.0 OreoSpeakers: Stereo
Both models also include support for expanded storage up to 400GB, an increase from the 256GB limit on the S8.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ camera
Samsung’s marketing materials tout the camera in the Galaxy S9 as having been “reimagined,” but the specs don’t tell the whole story:
Lens: Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensorSensor size: 1/2.55 inchPixel size: 1.4µmSensor ratio: 4:3FOV: 77 degreesOIS: YesOptical zoom: NoAperture: Dual, F/1.5, F/2.4
Main lens: Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensorSensor size: 1/2.55 inchPixel size: 1.4µmSensor ratio: 4:3FOV: 77 degreesOIS: YesOptical zoom: NoAperture: Dual, F/1.5, F/2.4Secondary lens: Telephoto 12MP AF sensorSensor size: 1/3.6 inchPixel size: 1.0µmSensor ratio: 4:3FOV: 45 degreesOIS: YesOptical zoom: 2XAperture: f/2.4
The first thing that jumps out at you is the Galaxy S9+’s dual camera, as well as the S9’s lack of one. For the first time, Samsung has opted to distinguish its two phones by more than just the size of their screens. On the S9+ you’ll get a dual-camera setup like on the Note 8, while the smaller S9 has just a single lens. That means you won’t be able to enjoy Samsung’s Live Focus portrait mode on the 5.8-inch Galaxy S9.
Take away the second camera, the two cameras are very similar. You’ll get optical image stabilization and 8X digital zoom, as well as two new features: Dual Aperture and Super Slow-mo. Where every other smartphone shoots in the lowest possible aperture and adjusts in processing, Samsung lets you choose between F/2.4 and f/1.5 when shooting in different lighting. It’s not a digital trick: The lens physically opens and closes when you switch apertures.
Also new is Super Slo-mo, a video recording mode that lets you shoot in a mind-boggling 960fps. It’s limited to 720p and you can only capture 20 shots per video with approximately 0.2 seconds of recording and 6 seconds of playback for each shot, but it’s still a pretty cool trick. If you want to stick to 4K recording, you can capture up to 60fps.
The front camera is the same on both models:
Lens: 8MP AF sensorSensor size: 1/3.6″Pixel size: 1.22µmSensor ratio: 4:3FOV: 80 degreeAperture: f/1.7
Galaxy S9 and S9+ AR Emoji
Samsung has added a new feature to the camera app called AR Emoji that’s similar to Animoji on iPhone X. While both systems let you control a cartoon character with your face, Samsung’s method is quite a bit different. For one, you aren’t limited to 10-second messages like on iPhone X, and for another you can create custom characters in your own likeness. By using the front camera to snap a selfie, the S9 will make a custom “emoji” that you can use to make videos and stickers. There are a few cartoonish AR Emoji available as well, and Disney characters are on the way. And yes, you can sing karaoke if you’d like.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ price and colors
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ come in four colors: midnight black, titanium gray, lilac purple, and coral blue. The prices for an unlocked phone are as follows:
Pricing varies through the carriers, so check with your wireless provider before making a purchase.