PROS

  • AMOLED Display
  • Dust and Waterproof Design (IP68)
  • One of the fastest Android phones when released
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Variable aperture camera for low light pictures
  • Slow Motion Capture at 960fps
  • Great video at 4k 60fps
  • Great OIS
  • They moved the Fingerprint Sensor
  • Still cheaper than an iPhone X

CONS

  • Not breaking any new boundaries
  • Pricey
  • Can be a bit narrow for those with long fingers/large hands
  • Iris Scanner still has Asian face issues
  • Bixby still needs more work
  • Bixby dedicated button (for now)
  • Battery Life
  • No Dual Camera Setup
  • 4k 60fps recording time limit

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ was released in March 2018 and they’re some of the best Android phones currently on the market. Yet, during this review, I can’t help but feel that I’ve reviewed the S9 already, déjà vu?

Pricing and Availability

Samsung Galaxy S9 64GB – RM3,299Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple

Samsung Galaxy S9+ 64GB – RM3,799Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple

Samsung Galaxy S9+ 128GB – RM3,999Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple

Samsung Galaxy S9+ 256GB – RM4,399Midnight Black

In no ways is this a cheap smartphone, which is expected of a flagship smartphone from Samsung. The pricing is very much similar to the S8 when it first came out, which means the S8/S8+ might be a better investment if you want to save some money at the moment.

As for those who already own a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, there really is little reason for swapping phones. Just like anyone else who has bought a high end flagship phone last year, wait at least another year before upgrading. Otherwise, this is a good solid phone if you want to swapped out that old phone from 3 years ago.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is cheaper alternative to the iPhone X.

Design and Build

The Samsung Galaxy S9 doesn’t really feel that much different design wise from the Samsung Galaxy S8.  Nearly everything is identical except for the noticeable shifting of the fingerprint sensor. Now below the camera, the fingerprint sensor is not only easier to reach, but has a more noticeable tactile separation from the camera. This is also a blessing for those with smaller hands who couldn’t reach so high up on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and especially the S8+.

So while design wise they haven’t changed much, there wasn’t too much wrong with the old design being used in the Samsung Galaxy S9. Well they’re still retaining the dedicated Bixby button below the volume rocker, which I still frustratingly will press accidentally. Which to be truthful, could actually be a useful feature once Bixby becomes a bit more mature. For now, I would suggest either remapping it or disabling it all together.

As for the typing experience, I experience the same issue as with the S8. The keyboard feels to narrow for my large hands. Let’s say that I had a lot of typos in my emails and texts. Thankfully I can still be very productive on the phone with the large screen with two applications running at the same time.

Source: CNET

Now for the elephant in the room. With many people having dropped their smartphones at some point, concrete sidewalks and hard surfaces are a curse to Samsung S8 and S8+ users. Thankfully, the S9 has a slightly more thicker glass and a stronger aluminium chassis. Yet this doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t be careful, so do buy a nice case to protect your expensive investment.

Performance and Specifications

  • Chipset: Exynos 9810 (4 x 2.7 GHz and 4 x 1.8GHz)
  • Graphics: Mali G72 Mali-G72 MP18
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB 
  • Screen: 5.8″ Super AMOLED display (1440x2960) (~570 ppi)
  • Weight: 163 grams
  • Size: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm 
  • Front Facing Camera: 8 MP (f/1.7, 25mm, 1/3.6″, 1.22µm), autofocus, 1440p@30fps, dual video call, Auto HDR
  • Back Camera: 12 MP (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm, 1/2.5″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF), 4K@60fps, OIS, LED flash

With a similar design on the exterior, you expect better hardware and features to compensate. The Samsung Galaxy S9 did fulfill this requirement for better hardware but doesn’t feel like they did enough features wise. This feel less like a new phone and more like a reiteration of the S8. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to call the Samsung Galaxy S9 the S8s or S8T.

You get essentially the same great screen (Enhanced High Brightness Mode makes it 20% brighter), 64GB of storage and 4GB RAM. The only real change was the audio, camera, chipset, and some upgrade to the biosecurity. Which doesn’t exactly impress anyone with the last generation of phones.

Audio wise, we finally get a stereo setup which actually sounds great and the Samsung Galaxy S9 comes with those wonderful AKG earphones that the Samsung Galaxy S8 came with.

As for the chipset, it comes with a Exynos 9810 octa-core (4 x 2.8GHz and 4 x 1.8GHz) with an 18-core Mali-G72 for the graphics. Which I must admit makes the S9 and the S9+ one of the fastest Android phones on the market, but overkill for the average smartphone user.

Lastly, talking about unlocking features, as mentioned above, the fingerprint sensor is so much easier to use. I also would like to say it’s much more responsive as was the iris scanner for me. Though, it should be mentioned, my boss still ran into the eye issue with the iris scanner.

Open eyes fully

- Samsung Galaxy S9

As for the Intelligent Scan option that uses both face unlock and iris scanning depending on the lighting condition, it’s not secure enough to be used for mobile payment yet. So currently it just feels like a weaker version of Apple’s Face ID.

Below are the benchmarks of essential some overpowered hardware for a typical user. With both the high performance and power saving mode being benchmarked in Geekbench 4 and AnTuTu.

Camera

Coming to the camera, this is really the only real reason to get the Samsung Galaxy S9 or the S9+. Now while I can’t pass judgement if the dual camera setup of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is worth it, I can say that losing the 2x optical zoom and to a smaller extent the live focus mode (portrait mode on iPhone X and Pixel 2) is quite the loss.

From what I have tested, the single camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy S9 still delivers where it counts. With Dual Aperture supports of F1.5 and F2.4 modes the ability to take great photos in daylight and low light conditions is simply stunning. While an old technology, most phones only have a single fixed aperture. Working much like how your eyes work, in dark light your irises grow bigger to let more light in and in bright light they shrink.

The other thing to note is the addition of Super Slo-Mo mode, which shoots a 720P video at 960fps. Which also includes a smart auto-detect system to capture in Slow-Mo only when an object passed a specific point you have selected. A pretty nifty and much appreciated mode to play with, but quite novel for everyday use.

Now if only we can get rid of the 4K 60fps 5 minutes time limit for recording. At least the OIS will make those 5 minutes awesome, as well as any other photos or videos you would normally take.

 Battery

Well this has been an issues since the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, battery capacity. Sporting the same 3,000mAh capacity, there is much to be desired for high performance battery life. Generally in power saving mode (which throttles the phone), I obtained a good solid 11-14 hours of battery life. Which sounds great until you try put the phone in high performance mode. With under 6 hours of general usage, the battery completely drains itself.

So if you want to use this every day phone, you will have to lower the brightness, resolution and the CPU/GPU power or bring a power bank or use wireless charging constantly. I know Samsung wants to be safe and chipsets and software optimization can extend the battery life of a smartphone, but I think a bigger battery at this point is the only logical step forward. I think fast charging shouldn’t be a crutch anymore on flagships, but it’s good to know I can charge the Samsung Galaxy S9 from 17% to 100% in 2 hour and 5 minutes.

Conclusion

It feels like we are constantly enticed to buy the latest phone, yet the flagships aren’t really getting any cheaper each year. With the Samsung Galaxy S9, while a brilliant phone in of itself, not enough has changed from the S8 to wow me.

For anyone with last generation of flagship high end phones, I see little reason to upgrade to this one. To me, the Samsung Galaxy S9 played it way to safe. All I can hope for is that the Samsung Note 9 does a better job to excite us.

%

Overall

%

Pricing

%

Design

%

Performance and Specs

%

Camera

%

Battery

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PROS

  • AMOLED Display
  • Dust and Waterproof Design (IP68)
  • One of the fastest Android phones when released
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Variable aperture camera for low light pictures
  • Slow Motion Capture at 960fps
  • Great video at 4k 60fps
  • Great OIS
  • They moved the Fingerprint Sensor
  • Still cheaper than an iPhone X

CONS

  • Not breaking any new boundaries
  • Pricey
  • Can be a bit narrow for those with long fingers/large hands
  • Iris Scanner still has Asian face issues
  • Bixby still needs more work
  • Bixby dedicated button (for now)
  • Battery Life
  • No Dual Camera Setup
  • 4k 60fps recording time limit

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ was released in March 2018 and they’re some of the best Android phones currently on the market. Yet, during this review, I can’t help but feel that I’ve reviewed the S9 already, déjà vu?

Pricing and Availability

Samsung Galaxy S9 64GB – RM3,299Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple

Samsung Galaxy S9+ 64GB – RM3,799Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple

Samsung Galaxy S9+ 128GB – RM3,999Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple

Samsung Galaxy S9+ 256GB – RM4,399Midnight Black

In no ways is this a cheap smartphone, which is expected of a flagship smartphone from Samsung. The pricing is very much similar to the S8 when it first came out, which means the S8/S8+ might be a better investment if you want to save some money at the moment.

As for those who already own a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, there really is little reason for swapping phones. Just like anyone else who has bought a high end flagship phone last year, wait at least another year before upgrading. Otherwise, this is a good solid phone if you want to swapped out that old phone from 3 years ago.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is cheaper alternative to the iPhone X.

Design and Build

The Samsung Galaxy S9 doesn’t really feel that much different design wise from the Samsung Galaxy S8.  Nearly everything is identical except for the noticeable shifting of the fingerprint sensor. Now below the camera, the fingerprint sensor is not only easier to reach, but has a more noticeable tactile separation from the camera. This is also a blessing for those with smaller hands who couldn’t reach so high up on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and especially the S8+.

So while design wise they haven’t changed much, there wasn’t too much wrong with the old design being used in the Samsung Galaxy S9. Well they’re still retaining the dedicated Bixby button below the volume rocker, which I still frustratingly will press accidentally. Which to be truthful, could actually be a useful feature once Bixby becomes a bit more mature. For now, I would suggest either remapping it or disabling it all together.

As for the typing experience, I experience the same issue as with the S8. The keyboard feels to narrow for my large hands. Let’s say that I had a lot of typos in my emails and texts. Thankfully I can still be very productive on the phone with the large screen with two applications running at the same time.

Source: CNET

Now for the elephant in the room. With many people having dropped their smartphones at some point, concrete sidewalks and hard surfaces are a curse to Samsung S8 and S8+ users. Thankfully, the S9 has a slightly more thicker glass and a stronger aluminium chassis. Yet this doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t be careful, so do buy a nice case to protect your expensive investment.

Performance and Specifications

  • Chipset: Exynos 9810 (4 x 2.7 GHz and 4 x 1.8GHz)
  • Graphics: Mali G72 Mali-G72 MP18
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB 
  • Screen: 5.8″ Super AMOLED display (1440x2960) (~570 ppi)
  • Weight: 163 grams
  • Size: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm 
  • Front Facing Camera: 8 MP (f/1.7, 25mm, 1/3.6″, 1.22µm), autofocus, 1440p@30fps, dual video call, Auto HDR
  • Back Camera: 12 MP (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm, 1/2.5″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF), 4K@60fps, OIS, LED flash

With a similar design on the exterior, you expect better hardware and features to compensate. The Samsung Galaxy S9 did fulfill this requirement for better hardware but doesn’t feel like they did enough features wise. This feel less like a new phone and more like a reiteration of the S8. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to call the Samsung Galaxy S9 the S8s or S8T.

You get essentially the same great screen (Enhanced High Brightness Mode makes it 20% brighter), 64GB of storage and 4GB RAM. The only real change was the audio, camera, chipset, and some upgrade to the biosecurity. Which doesn’t exactly impress anyone with the last generation of phones.

Audio wise, we finally get a stereo setup which actually sounds great and the Samsung Galaxy S9 comes with those wonderful AKG earphones that the Samsung Galaxy S8 came with.

As for the chipset, it comes with a Exynos 9810 octa-core (4 x 2.8GHz and 4 x 1.8GHz) with an 18-core Mali-G72 for the graphics. Which I must admit makes the S9 and the S9+ one of the fastest Android phones on the market, but overkill for the average smartphone user.

Lastly, talking about unlocking features, as mentioned above, the fingerprint sensor is so much easier to use. I also would like to say it’s much more responsive as was the iris scanner for me. Though, it should be mentioned, my boss still ran into the eye issue with the iris scanner.

Open eyes fully

- Samsung Galaxy S9

As for the Intelligent Scan option that uses both face unlock and iris scanning depending on the lighting condition, it’s not secure enough to be used for mobile payment yet. So currently it just feels like a weaker version of Apple’s Face ID.

Below are the benchmarks of essential some overpowered hardware for a typical user. With both the high performance and power saving mode being benchmarked in Geekbench 4 and AnTuTu.

Camera

Coming to the camera, this is really the only real reason to get the Samsung Galaxy S9 or the S9+. Now while I can’t pass judgement if the dual camera setup of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is worth it, I can say that losing the 2x optical zoom and to a smaller extent the live focus mode (portrait mode on iPhone X and Pixel 2) is quite the loss.

From what I have tested, the single camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy S9 still delivers where it counts. With Dual Aperture supports of F1.5 and F2.4 modes the ability to take great photos in daylight and low light conditions is simply stunning. While an old technology, most phones only have a single fixed aperture. Working much like how your eyes work, in dark light your irises grow bigger to let more light in and in bright light they shrink.

The other thing to note is the addition of Super Slo-Mo mode, which shoots a 720P video at 960fps. Which also includes a smart auto-detect system to capture in Slow-Mo only when an object passed a specific point you have selected. A pretty nifty and much appreciated mode to play with, but quite novel for everyday use.

Now if only we can get rid of the 4K 60fps 5 minutes time limit for recording. At least the OIS will make those 5 minutes awesome, as well as any other photos or videos you would normally take.

 Battery

Well this has been an issues since the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, battery capacity. Sporting the same 3,000mAh capacity, there is much to be desired for high performance battery life. Generally in power saving mode (which throttles the phone), I obtained a good solid 11-14 hours of battery life. Which sounds great until you try put the phone in high performance mode. With under 6 hours of general usage, the battery completely drains itself.

So if you want to use this every day phone, you will have to lower the brightness, resolution and the CPU/GPU power or bring a power bank or use wireless charging constantly. I know Samsung wants to be safe and chipsets and software optimization can extend the battery life of a smartphone, but I think a bigger battery at this point is the only logical step forward. I think fast charging shouldn’t be a crutch anymore on flagships, but it’s good to know I can charge the Samsung Galaxy S9 from 17% to 100% in 2 hour and 5 minutes.

Conclusion

It feels like we are constantly enticed to buy the latest phone, yet the flagships aren’t really getting any cheaper each year. With the Samsung Galaxy S9, while a brilliant phone in of itself, not enough has changed from the S8 to wow me.

For anyone with last generation of flagship high end phones, I see little reason to upgrade to this one. To me, the Samsung Galaxy S9 played it way to safe. All I can hope for is that the Samsung Note 9 does a better job to excite us.

%

Overall

%

Pricing

%

Design

%

Performance and Specs

%

Camera

%

Battery

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Playstation League Asia 2018: Age Is Not A Problem

By Magdelena Long The Playstation League Asia 2018 ended few days ago. Eggsy_UG, one of the youngest competitor in the tournament won the match, will be soon continuing his journey in Amsterdam in the FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs. Eggsy_UG as...

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By Faris Foat With Captain Marvel movie coming soon, Kevin Feige, in an interview with BBC said that Marvel Studios does have plans for Kamala Khan, also known as Ms. Marvel. The president of Marvel Studios also said that the hero who was inspired by...

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By Magdelena Long Rockstar presents its Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer. The trailer reveals that the game would be a prequel to the first Red Dead Redemption which sets back 12 year before it, in 1899. The game will be out on 26th of October in PS4 and Xbox...

TI8 Battle Pass is Here!

It’s that time of year for Dota 2 fans, The International 8 Battle Pass has been released and fans will once again be opening their wallets to Icefrog and Lord Gaben. Already surpassing the previous years, if this momentum keeps up, we might just pass the...

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Join other Hearthstone players and celebrate Noblegarden with some free golden egg cards. Anyone who logs into Hearthstone during the festivities will enjoy some egg-dying action with a free golden Eggsnapper and golden Devilsaur Egg. While...

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By Magdelena Long If you have heard about the real life Gundam, now Japan brings you a real life Transformers! Oh Japan...what a great country to live in and when it comes down to mechanical engineering, they are the boss. The real life...