We’re still getting to grips with the top-notch Android handset that is Samsung’s Galaxy S8. This is the de-facto smartphone, with top-end internals, a wonderful edge-to-edge display and a camera that’s best in its class. Why then, are we already discussing the Samsung Galaxy S9?
Well, because it’s starting to look the Galaxy S9 will blow its predecessor clean out of the water. Fresh rumours indicate that Samsung’s latest flagship will be the first smartphone to feature Qualcomms’s as-yet-unannounced Snapdragon 845 processor. A Geekbench 4 leak back in September 2017 highlighted the Galaxy S9’s single-core processing score, with the Snapdragon 845 processor attached to it. In case you were interested, the Galaxy S9 recorded a score of over 2,600, a dramatic improvement over the processing grunt of the Galaxy S8.
Samsung has a difficult task ahead. Apple’s impressive iPhone X is mere weeks away from release, and Google’s top-tier Pixel 2 handset launches very soon, too. Samsung faces stiff competition with the Galaxy S9, especially considering the S8 and S8+ have both seen drastic price reductions since their release.
That being said, here’s absolutely everything you need to know about Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets, including UK release date, price, specifications, design and features.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ UK price and release date: When will the flagship phones come out?
- Expected around March 2017
- Around £700 for the S9 and £800 for S9+
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ were pretty expensive when they were released, even for a flagship phone: at £679 and £779 respectively, they were bordering on iPhone territory. But if you’re hoping the S9 and S9+ will be cheaper, you’re probably going to be disappointed. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ were a huge success at the current price point, so Samsung has no reason to reduce the price of the S9. What’s more, it’s very unusual to see a manufacturer reduce the price of a new handset – usually, the RRP just goes upwards with each new release.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have been a huge success at the current price point, so Samsung has no reason to reduce the price of the S9 or S9+. What’s more, it’s very unusual to see a manufacturer reduce the price of a new handset – usually, the RRP just goes upwards with each new release.
Samsung generally releases its phones at MWC or at its own dedicated events later in the year. If Samsung is planning to unveil the Samsung S9 at Mobile World Congress or MWC, we should see this in February 2018. If Samsung decides to do what it did earlier this year, however, and release the S9 and S9+ at its own event, expect to see it in March or April of 2018. Judging by the release date of the S8 and S9+, the latter seems most likely.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Specs at a glance
- Expected March 2017
- Around £700 for S9 and £800 for S9+
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 6GB of RAM
- 18.5:9 aspect ratio
- HDR display
- Rear-mounted fingerprint reader
- Two 12-megapixel cameras with 10x optical zoom and 1,000fps
- Better battery life over the S8 and S9 respectively
- Integration with Bixby
- 64GB internal space (up to 256GB)
- USB 3.1 Type-C
- No headphone jack
- Android 8
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs: Are they going to be faster than the S8 and S8+?
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ processor
Given the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S*+ are still pretty new, it’s unsurprising that there isn’t too much to go on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. The Investor reckons that it’s going to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, but given that doesn’t exist yet, it’s not much to go on – except that it will presumably be faster and more power efficient than the Snapdragon 835 that powers the S8 in the US.
Outside of the US, Samsung powers phones with its own Exynos chips and the company has announced that its latest batch will support up to six carrier aggregation (6CA). That’s a lot of words, but what do they mean? Well, theoretically any phone that uses it – and the S9 and S9+ are very likely to benefit from this – could get download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps. For comparison, the Exynos 9 processor used in the UK S8 offered 5CA.
According to a recent leak on GeekBench, an early version of the alleged Galaxy S9 was spotted in July, seven or eight months before we could even see the launch of the phone. A device with the model name SM-G9650 was listed with a 1.78GHz quad-core Snapdragon 845 processor and just 4GB of RAM – more than the 6GB some have rumoured it to have. According to the benchmark, it scored 7371 points in the RenderScript test, which is lower than what the Galaxy S8 managed in the same test, oddly. We’d expect 6GB of RAM in the latest Samsung phone, in order to keep up with heavy multi-tasking needs of consumers.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ camera
The well-known KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who has correctly predicted many launches and specs (notably from Apple), anticipates the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will feature a dual-lens camera. This follows the footsteps of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that features two 12-megapixel cameras, one with an aperture of f/1.7, the other with f/2.4. According to Korean IT site, ET News, Samsung will also feature a sensor capable of shooting at 1,000fps. This would allow super slow-mo videos, close to what is seen on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, which has a sensor capable of 960fps.
It’s logical that Samsung sticks to a similar camera design with the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Some suggest the South Korea manufacturer might opt for a telephoto lens for its secondary lens, which will give it 10x optical zoom, making it superior to the iPhone 8 which currently stands at only 2x optical zoom.
Following the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, we’d expect Samsung to also step up its camera with improved post-processing capabilities.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ display
As with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, we’d expect the S9 and S9+ to come with a beautiful display, which will have an 18.5:9 aspect ratio and an HDR display. This will mean two things: A bright display and one that is colour accurate. There is a slight chance the phone might be bendable too – but we’re banking on this feature being exclusively used on the Note range-only.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ fingerprint sensor
Expect to see a fingerprint sensor included. Its placement is most probably going to be around the back of the phone, as it was with the S8. However, we hope it’ll be positioned a little better this time around. Given the release of the iPhone X, which uses your face to unlock the device (through Face ID) we could even see a complete removal of the fingerprint sensor, in favour of a similar design.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ waterproofing
As with the S8 and S8+ that are IP68 certified protecting them from dust and water at a depth of 1.5m for 30mins, we’d expect the S9 and S9+ to follow suit.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ storage
64GB of internal storage comes as standard on the S8 and S8+ and given the massive allocation of space that already includes, we won’t be surprised if Samsung were to keep the same amount for the S9 and S9+. We might even see larger storage options, such as a massive 256GB phone too.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ connectivity
The phones will connect via a USB 3.1 Type-C port. It is rumoured Samsung might ditch the 3.5mm jack too – which might upset a few, but given the current trend, we might have to deal with the latest Samsung phone coming without it.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ might feature a Samsung-branded artificial intelligence chip. According to the Korean Herald, the new AI chip will help the phone connect to smart home appliances.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Android
Android 8.0 was released not long ago, and given the update cycle of the Samsung phones, expect to see Android 8, or maybe 8.1 included on the S9 and S9+
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ battery
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have a formidably good battery life, the Plus variant housing a 3,500mAh battery, over its 3,000mAh sibling. Improved battery life would be a much welcome addition to the new 2018 line of flagship phones – so here’s us hoping Samsung has optimised their upcoming flagship phones to reflect that.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Things we’d like to see
At this point, there aren’t many rumours about what to expect from the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Here’s what we’d like to see on the new Samsung.
Less fragile design
One of the best things about the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are their bezel-less edge-to-edge screen, but in practice, that’s also one of its worst features. It might look great for the first 30 minutes, or on the internet, but as soon as you drop the S8 or S8+ you’ll find that edge-to-edge screen splinters into 1,000 pieces. When Samsung releases the S9 and S9+, we’re hoping they’ll be just as pretty, but also a little more durable.
Better fingerprint sensor
Smartphones are pretty hard to design because of just how many things manufacturers need to include in them. Take the phone you’re using now, for instance. There’s a camera, screen, fingerprint scanner, speakers, memory, battery and so much more to squeeze in – and that means sometimes things end up in less than optimal places.
Now, we love the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, but its fingerprint sensor is directly next to the camera lens, which means you can miss and smudge your lens, and it does get pretty frustrating. We’re hoping the S9 and S9+ have a fingerprint lens that is much easier to reach.
Make Bixby great, again
When we first heard about Bixby, we expected a new type of AI that was much more sophisticated than Siri and would even give something like Alexa a run for its money. What we got instead, though, was something more like Clippit. Hopefully, Samsung will improve it in the S9 and S9+.
Bixby has since launched on the Note 8, and Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones, but we’ve yet to test its capabilities.
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