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Samsung Galaxy S9 Review


Samsung Galaxy S9 Features

The quality of features on the S9 represent something of a mixed bag. Some work brilliantly, and genuinely benefit the user. Some of its features, however, are simply confounding.

AR Emoji

Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Animoji. It works just as well as its Apple counterpart, but as it focuses on cartoony likenesses of the user, it doesn’t feel quite as irreverent as Apple’s use of emoji and animals.

Always-on Display

Samsung phones have had always-on displays for a while now, and the tech is certainly no longer groundbreaking. However, it’s still a very useful feature.

Dolby Atmos

The Samsung Galaxy S9 supports Dolby’s latest surround sound technology, Atmos. Atmos essentially creates more targeted sound waves, leading to the impression of having speakers to your sides and behind you.

We tried it out on the Samsung S9 and, while the effect on the phone’s speakers was noticeable – the sound definitely seemed to be more targeted based to different sides of our body – the practical applications feel limited. Netflix and YouTube, for example, don’t support Atmos, and really, if you want proper surround sound, you should do it at home.

Bixby

Poor old Bixby. Samsung seems determined to persist with its ill-fated smart assistant, even in the face of the increasingly powerful Google Assistant and Amazon’s popular Alexa.

The phone even includes a dedicated button on its side to wake Bixby, but fortunately, you can change the function of this button to something more beneficial. You can also change the default smart assistant to either Google Assistant or Alexa. And you definitely should.

Intelligent Scan

Pick up an S9, and you’ll likely see a red dot in the left-hand corner of the top bezel. That’s Samsung Intelligent Scan in action – a face recognition and iris scan technology which you can use to unlock your phone, and even operate some apps that require extra authentication (banking apps, for example).

In practice, it works well. The phone unlocks quickly and typically at the first go. It’s sometimes flummoxed by glasses and hats; considering it uses an iris scanner, this is slightly disappointing. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is still a fine alternative, though.

Expandable memory

A real trump card for the S9 is that it can support micro-SD cards. These can upgrade the storage on your phone at a stroke by up to 400GB, making the unlimited photo storage on the Google Pixel 3 less of a deal-breaker and the paltry standard storage option on the iPhone XS seem behind-the-times.





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