As other news organizations were quick to point out, the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ series is not too dissimilar from the new S9/S9+ models. They have been upgraded slightly, but the looming question still exists – is it worthwhile to upgrade to the S9/S9+?
The S9 or S9+ are really like the newest model year of car; not much has changed between the 2018 and 2019 model years on most vehicles other than minor improvements to driver usability and minor appearance changes (or perhaps a special edition).
Samsung’s QHD Super AMOLED screen was brought back for the S9/S9+ models. The S9 will get 570ppi from the 5.8-inch display and the S9+ will have 529ppi from a 6.2-inch display. The curved-edge design was continued as well, making the whole package seem very familiar – not a bad thing.
Camera-wise, the biggest change comes from the addition of a mechanically variable aperture. There are two settings, f/1.5 and f/2.4. This gives the Galaxy S9 family of devices much more flexibility for shooting in various levels of lighting.
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t also discuss the second rear-facing camera in the Galaxy S9+. It features a set aperture of f/2.4, but it has an increased focal length, so it acts as a 2x zoom. As we have seen from various phones over the 18 months or so, leveraging a pair of rear sensors can pretty dramatically open up the imaging possibilities available to device owners.
Another change in the S9/S9+ models seems to be stereo speakers – an important change for anyone who watches videos they just took on their cell phone (which is nearly everyone).
Beneath the dual rear cameras, the location of the fingerprint sensor has been changed around a little for improved ergonomics and to make room for the extra rear-facing camera.
In the US, both the S9 and S9+ will use the same Snapdragon 845 chipset that the S8 and S8+ utilized. The S9+ is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but the S9 will receive the same 4GB Ram / 64GB storage capacity that the S8 had. Outside the US, the Galaxy S9/S9+ series will be using the new Exynos 9 Series 9810 processor, improving camera use, streaming and graphics.
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The newest iteration of Galaxy phones also have the newest version of Android, 8.0 Oreo, so the battery-life will be tailored to the best OS you can get on your phone (for now). The Samsung S9/S9+ has wireless fast charging and a 3,000mAh (S9) or 3,500mAh (S9+) battery, which should be good for longevity.
With the Snapdragon processor installed in American devices, even the slew of improvements makes upgrading a questionable decision when compared to the cost of a new device. In the UK, where unit prices were already announced, the newest versions of Samsung’s flagship S9 will start £50 ($70) higher than the S8.
For some, a higher price for what amounts to very similar specs may not make the Samsung S9 or S9+ worth the wait. However, if you’ve been waiting to upgrade from the S7 or a similar device, it may behoove you to pick up the S9/S9+ rather than a discounted (last model year) S8/S8+.