After spending 10 minutes with Samsung’s newest smartphones, this author walked away more impressed than he thought he would. Admittedly, most of the time was spent with the Galaxy S9+ rather than the regular S9.
Honestly, it is difficult to tell an initial difference between the S9+ and Samsung’s most recent flagships, the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+. However, when further examining Samsung’s latest smartphone, it’s quite obvious that the bezel space has been further reduced. This may not be a completely good thing as it will make accidentally touching the screen easier.
The fact that the phone is slightly heavier doesn’t matter; the phone still feels light and sturdy. Once you turn the phone around, you notice the major difference between the S9+ and Samsung’s previous S8 and S8+ smartphones — a dual-lens camera. The fingerprint reader is underneath the camera lens this time, meaning that it will be harder to accidentally touch the lens, mistaking it for the fingerprint reader.
The camera itself is great. And it lives up to the promise of taking better pictures in lower-light situations. But it’s still not as good as the camera on the iPhone X, and only slightly better than the dual-lens camera on the Note 8. However, the camera is a major upgrade from the Galaxy S8 or s8+.
There is barely a difference in screen quality, except the S9+ screen gets marginally brighter than it does on the Note 8 or S8+. But you won’t really need the extra brightness unless you want to use the S9+ screen as a flashlight. It’s fascinating how Samsung’s screens have become blindingly bright while maintaining the same pixels per inch (PPI) for the last several years. Then again, a 4K screen on a 6-inch plus device would certainly be overkill.
The stereo speakers are an excellent (and underrated) addition to Samsung’s new flagship smartphones, but they don’t provide the same “oomph” that Apple’s latest iPhones do. In other words, the sound is just a little bit too tinny.
So, the Galaxy S9+ is obviously a good phone. The main problem is that it doesn’t differentiate itself enough from the rest of the smartphones on the market. It’s not even close to being a must-upgrade if you have the Galaxy S8+ or Note 8. And it doesn’t run as fluidly as the iPhone X does.
Some say that the fact that Samsung is playing it safe this time around is a good thing. If things aren’t broken, why fix them, right? That may be true for other industries, but not the smartphone industry, where technology is moving forward at the speed of light. Consumers don’t just expect “minor updates” anymore. Perhaps the Galaxy Note 9 will be a truly groundbreaking phone. However, the S9+ is just a good phone — and that’s really not enough.