In Depth

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus: specs, prices and release

Both phones boast a revamped camera and super-stylish design but will they beat off competition from Apple?

Two new challengers to Apple’s iPhone X  – Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and larger S9 Plus – have just been revealed at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tech show in Barcelona. They can be preordered now but won’t arrive in stores until next month.

Prior to the launch of its new flagship smartphones, the Korean tech giant remained tight-lipped. But in the run-up to the S9’s debut, fans were given a sneak preview of the device through leaked images and documents. 

Now confirmed, the new Galaxy S9 has several upgrades on last year’s model, including security improvements and a powerful new camera. It’s available to pre-order now, but you’ll have to wait until 9 March before deliveries begin.

Here are the details of the new Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus:

Price and release

Pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are open now and can be found at Carphone Warehouse on sim-only deals for £739 and £869 respectively.

On contract, the S9 can be bought for £37 per month with an upfront cost of £249.99. The S9 Plus comes in at £49 per month with the same down payment as the smaller model.

Deliveries are set to be on 9 March.

Design

While the S9 and S9 Plus look “suspiciously similar” to last year’s models, there are some minor differences in the design of the new smartphones, The Daily Telegraph says.

The bezels are “ever so slightly” slimmer, for instance, and the fingerprint scanner on the back panel is now below the camera rather than next to it, according to the paper. 

Samsung is thought to have moved the scanner after critics and fans complained about its location on the Galaxy S8, the Telegraph adds, so the S9 should be “slightly easier to unlock”. 

The S9 has the same 5.8ins Super AMOLED screen as last year’s S8, while the S9 Plus boasts a 6.2ins panel, The Verge reports. Both the S9 and S9 Plus have the outgoing model’s 2960 x 1440 screen resolution, but the new versions have “slightly brighter” screens. 

Specs and battery performance  

Under the glass bodywork of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus sits Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 processor, which is an upgraded version of the 8895 chipset that appeared in last year’s S8 and S8 Plus.  

Models sold in the US will be among the first smartphones on the market to receive Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset, Tech Radar reports.

While US models will have a different processor to the rest of the world, the website says it’s unlikely there’ll be a difference in performance between the two chipsets.

You’ll get 4GB of RAM on S9 models, while the S9 Plus has 6GB. Both come with 64GB as standard, but this can be upped to 256GB thanks to the smartphone’s MicroSD card slot.  

Samsung has carried the S8’s 3,000mAh battery over to the S9, says T3, which means you can expect the phone’s charge to last for about a day with “moderate usage”. The S9 Plus, on the other hand, has a 3,500mAh battery pack. 

Unlike its competitors – the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 – the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus come with a 3.5mm port for headphones and audio cables. 

Security

Samsung hasn’t confirmed whether the Galaxy S9’s iris-scanning security feature is an improvement on last year’s model or not, says Tech Advisor, but the company is “keen to point out that it’s embedded in the front of the phone without a notch like the iPhone X”.

There is, however, a new feature called Intelligent Scan, the website says. This allows users to combine the device’s iris and facial scanner for improved security.  

Tech Radar says the mobile features a built-in virtual private network (VPN) that can be accessed for £1.40 a month.  

VPNs help users hide personal details by using servers in different countries to mimic their location. They are particularly popular in countries with strict web censorship, such as China. 

Camera 

The revamped camea on the Galaxy S9 has a dual-aperture lens that lets in more light – and therefore more detail – than the S8, says the Telegraph. Those who opt for the S9 Plus will get a dual-camera setup similar to the company’s Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. 

Both the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are capable of recording slow-motion video at 960fps, The Guardian says. That’s significantly more than its rivals – the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 – which can only shoot slo-mo footage at 240fps. 

Samsung has developed its own augmented reality (AR) emojis, allowing users to layer a digital mask over real-world images. This works in a similar way to the Animoji feature that Apple introduced on its iPhone X in November. 

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