Product Review: Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ – Next Gen Upgrades in a Familiar Chassis
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have been the benchmark of the perfect phone. With a gorgeous 18:9 display, a high performance low-light camera, IP68 resistance and a headphone jack; the two flagship phones ticked a lot of the boxes to what people looked for.
In March 2018, Samsung released their next generation phones: The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ which supersedes the S8 and S8+. With a lot of subtle or under the hood changes, the Galaxy S9 and S9+’s exterior remained reminiscent of its predecessor, drawing complaints that there isn’t a significant upgrade.
However, as other smartphone manufacturers started to slowly catch up to Samsung’s innovative design, would the iterative design keep the Galaxy S9 and S9+ in the shadow of it’s competitors or would it once more take the spot of being best smartphones of this year?
One of the biggest upgrades to the Galaxy S9 is the substantial change to the already powerful low light camera. While other smart phone manufacturers have used a “fixed aperture” lens for all their phones, the Galaxy S9 series is able to switch between the “wide-open” f/1.5 lens to the much sharper f/2.4 lens with their “dual aperture” technology.
What this means is that while shooting in f/1.5, you get a much wider hole for light to travel through; working almost like a human eye to adjust to dark or bright conditions. This significantly improves camera performance in situations where there is not a lot of light.
However, using a f2.4 aperture also has its benefits. With a smaller aperture, photos are usually a lot more detailed and sharp. Samsung has used an innovative mixture of software and hardware to determine which aperture to use based on your current lighting conditions.
Unlike the previous model, the S9+ also sports a new telephoto camera that unlocks Live Focus; Samsung’s version of Portrait Mode. This isn’t found in the regular S9.
Imaging processing also improved with Samsung taking note of Google’s success. This year they have based their own solution on Google’s HDR+ algorithm to reduce image noise. Like what we covered in our previous article, the Galaxy S9 also uses a burst of multiple images and combines them with machine learning to create a sharper and noiseless picture. You can read more on the computational technique that they used over here link to Feb Blog 1
One of the biggest complaints about the Galaxy S8 and S8+ was the solo bottom firing speaker. For the Galaxy S9, the speakers have been upgraded to a bottom and front facing combo that Samsung touted to be 1.4 times louder than what was found in the S8.
Coupled with the AKG tuned sound profile and Dolby Atmos enhancements, media consumption on the phone is nothing short of amazing. The 3D sound produced by the speakers are crisp and loud and the decision to retain the headphone jack provides a more consumer friendly experience that many people would appreciate.
The new Infinity Display has also received an upgrade in efficiency and color reproduction. With this new generation display, Samsung reduced some of the issues that plagued the early models of the S8.
Complaints such as an overbearing redness in low brightness and an inaccurate portrayal of the color white was resolved with the S9 and S9+. To date, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ is considered to be one of the most color accurate displays on the market. Media such as movies and TV shows would look crisp and vibrant as it also complies with HDR video specifications. A true gem of a screen for any media lovers out there.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ is an extremely compelling device for anybody looking to upgrade their current device. With these two devices focusing on refining their pros and reducing their cons, the S9 and S9+ takes already what was great about the previous generation phones and improves it further. A truly outstanding phone for 2018.