Samsung Galaxy S9+ Review: One Of The Best Smartphone Cameras In The UAE
Vinu Varughese Oommen
There is no doubt that Samsung stays as one of the best brands when it’s about high-end smartphones. The Galaxy S8 series changed the market with the introduction of bezel-less smartphones. While the Galaxy S8+ was easily one of the best smartphones of 2017, the company has now released the all-new Galaxy S9+. It’s better, faster and takes brighter images with its camera.
We aren’t denying that the all-new Samsung Galaxy S9+ looks almost identical to the previous Galaxy S8+. On paper, both shares the same kind of display with its 6.2-inch Super AMOLED panel, the super-sharp 1440 x 2960 resolution and the 18:5:9 aspect ratio are all the same, which is more the reason why any person who sees the Galaxy S9+ would comment that it looks exactly like the Galaxy S8+. However, that may not be the case when it comes to dimensions and weight. While the Galaxy S8+ is 8.1mm thick and weighs 173g, the Galaxy S9+ is on the thicker and heavier side, weighing about 189g and is 8.5mm thick. We aren’t sure why the latest Samsung flagship iteration is heavier but we guess that half the reason might be due to the inclusion of the dual-lens camera on its rear side.
The display colors appear to be solid and the viewing angles are amazing as always. However, the outdoor viewing requires some increase in brightness while trying to read a message. Although the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 ensures that the screen doesn’t subject to accidental scratches, our review unit happens to get some slight scratches while trying it for days. It may have accidentally happened, but we always advise users to use a screen guard or a sheet above the main display, no matter how resistant the glass is against scratches.
The body is made from a fine blend of glass and aluminum metal frame which gives the S9 Plus an elegant appearance. Both the front and back glass is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. While both the smartphones look the same, there are quite a number of changes in terms of design. For starters, Samsung has now implemented the use of stereo speakers on its front side, and thanks to that, you can now hear better surround audio while watching movies or hearing songs. The placement of the buttons includes the power button on the left and the volume rockers on the right side, along with the dedicated Bixby button. The USB Type-C port and the 3.5mm audio jack is located on the bottom of the device.
While most of you remember that the fingerprint scanner was oddly placed on the left side of the rear-mounted camera on the Galaxy S8+, that isn't the case with the Galaxy S9+. After reading a lot of feedback from users, the fingerprint scanner now rests below the dual camera setup. Most users will now not accidentally touch the camera lens and causing smudges or dirt. That said, there will be some who still prefers the location of the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8+. So it's just a matter of personal preference whether you like the scanner to be below or on the right side of the camera module. So we cannot judge which is better.
Performance and Specifications
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has the same processor chipset as the S9. It is equipped with the latest and powerful octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810, manufactured under the 10 nm process. It has four cores clocked at 2.7GHz and four cores clocked at 1.7GHz. The Exynos 9810 that keeps running on the Galaxy S9 Plus is as fit as any leader class chipset ought to be. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has 6 GB of RAM memory compared to 4 GB in the Samsung Galaxy S9. This means that users will be able to run more apps smoothly and play high-graphical games at good framerates. Similar to the Galaxy S9, the internal storage capacities are 64 GB for the edition that is sold in the UAE. There is an option to expand the device storage using a micro SD card by up to 400 GB. The device runs on the latest Android 8.0 Oreo OS along with the familiar TouchWiz UI that performed smooth. We ran the latest Antutu benchmark and got an impressive score of 246743 points. Performance wise, the Galaxy S9+ is smooth as butter most of the time. We also got several software updates through our time of review and the updates were mainly focused towards performance and stability improvements.
The camera is the strength of the Galaxy S9 Plus with the tagline for the flagship reading ‘The camera. Reimagined.’ It's literally the first Samsung S series flagship smartphone to feature dual-lens camera configuration. The device has a dual 12 MP camera with different focal lengths. One of them features a 26mm lens with an aperture of F1.5 (the brightest ever made on a smartphone camera till date). The second lens features a 52mm telephoto lens with an aperture of F2.4. The camera with F1.5 lens means that night shots will appear brighter and cleaner with less noise and close up shots will have better bokeh effects. Additionally, the introduction of the variable aperture changes the way we photographers can now use a smartphone camera with absolute control of the amount of light that can be captured. It can manage to snap sharp photos with great details even in dark conditions. It's secret lies in the Dual Aperture technology which can adapt to the lighting conditions like the eyes. Another milestone is that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the first Android to offer 4K video capture at 60fps. Till now, that capability only belonged to the Apple high-end models for the last one year.
For the last few generations, Samsung S series flagships remained at the top as the best smartphone cameras and the latest Galaxy S9 Plus continues the trend. Portrait mode images looked sharp with nice looking bokeh and the telephoto lens and its autofocus speed was quite fast. And since the aperture can be set at F1.5, the night shots looked fantastic and better than the previous generations. And thanks to optical image stabilization, we were able to capture stable images and record almost shake-free videos. The front camera, however, is an 8MP selfie snapper and features an aperture of F1.7. The image quality is good enough for most situations and the maximum video resolution support is 1440p at just 30fps.
While we spoke about the camera quality, there is one more exciting feature to use if you're more into social apps. The AR Emoji feature scans your face (either by the front camera or the main camera) and generates an animated version of you. The app allows users to customize many factors including the hairstyle, skin tone, dresses, and other accessories. Once the final design is confirmed, a series of GIFs are created that showcases different emotions. The animated characters created appears to be almost the same as most of the users have we have tried. It's a fun app to use and you can use choose your GIF from a variety of preset emotions.
The battery of the Galaxy S9 Plus holds a capacity of 3500 mAh and can be charged via USB Type-C or via the wireless charging feature. While I did get by a day of usage in a single charge, there were some days when the battery drained faster than usual, even when the smartphone wasn't used much for some days. We weren't able to pinpoint the exact cause but we did get some software updates that may have sorted some battery issues while we used it for over two weeks. Regardless, the fast charge support should help to charge the device faster if the battery drains a lot. Our usage actually included capturing images, surfing the web, making some calls and using some dedicated social networking apps throughout the day.
Samsung once again proves that they are the king of flagship and premium Android smartphones. Yes, the recently announced Huawei P20 Pro may have slightly better low light camera performance, the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack makes the Galaxy S9 Plus more preferable for those who actually don't want to deal with wireless headphones and USB Type-C adaptors. The battery life performance of the S9+ needs some tweaking and we hope it can be improved with future firmware updates. Regardless, the addition of stereo speakers is a great factor and the Super AMOLED Infinity Display is one of the best smartphone displays out there. For those who love to do smartphone photography, the Galaxy S9 Plus is clearly one of the best in the current market of 2018. Check our price comparison list above to get the best prices for the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus in the UAE.