tack the new Galaxy S9 next to last year’s Galaxy S8, and it would be hard to spot the differences. With a couple notable exceptions — we’re looking at you, relocated rear fingerprint sensor — the S9 bears an uncanny resemblance to last year’s phone.
But looks can be deceiving. While the S9 retains the eye-catchingly expansive Infinity Display Samsung introduced in last year’s phones, the new models introduce some pretty substantial changes under the hood. Will it be enough to justify what’s expected to be a jump in price over the Galaxy S8? That will be more apparent once we get time to really put the Galaxy S9 to the test.
Until then, let’s take a closer look at these different Samsung phones to see what’s different between the S9 and S8.
|Model||Galaxy S9||Galaxy S9+||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
|Price at Launch||$720||$840||$750||$850|
|Display (Resolution)||5.8 inches (2960 x 1440)||6.2 inches (2960 x 1440)||5.8 inches (2960 x 1440)||6.2 inches (2960 x 1440)|
|Rear Camera||12-MP Super Speed Dual Pixel (f/1.5-f/2.4)||12-MP Super Speed Dual Pixel (f/1.5-f/2.4), 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)||12-MP (f/1.7)||12-MP (f/1.7)|
|Front Camera||8-MP (f/1.7)||8-MP (f/1.7)||8-MP (f/1.7)||8-MP (f/1.7)|
|CPU||Snapdragon 845||Snapdragon 845||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|microSD||up to 400GB||up to 400GB||Up to 256GB||Up to 256GB|
|Battery||3,000 mAh||3,500 mAh||3,000 mAh||3,500 mAh|
|Battery Life (hrs:mins)||Not yet tested||Not yet tested||10:39||11:04|
|Color||Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple||Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple||Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver||Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver|
|Size||5.8 x 2.7 x 0.33 inches||6.2 x 2.9 x 0.33 inches||5.7 x 2.7 x 0.3 inches||6.3 x 2.9 x 0.33 inches|
|Weight||5.8 ounces||6.7 ounces||5.5 ounces||6.1 ounces|
Design and Display
Let’s start with the area Samsung left virtually untouched from last year’s phones. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ come in the same sizes as their predecessors — the S9 has a 5.8-inch screen while the S9+ sports a 6.2-inch display. If you’ve got a very precise eye, you might notice the S9 and S9+ are a tenth-of-an-inch shorter than their predecessors; you’re more likely notice they’re a little bit heavier, possibly because of the new camera components inside the S9 models.
You’ll get the same immersive Infinity Display on these new phones that you did with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, though Samsung says the bezels are a bit narrower on the top and bottom of the phone. The 2960 x 1440 resolution is unchanged in this generation of phones, though Samsung says the AMOLED screens are brighter than they were on the S8. We’ll need to get the S9 in for testing to see how much brighter.
The biggest design change from the Galaxy S8 is also the most welcome. Instead of placing the fingerprint sensor next to the rear camera as it did on the S8, Samsung moved that sensor below the camera lens. Not only should that make it easier to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, you’re less likely to drag your finger over the camera lens as you do so. So hopefully, smudged lenses will be a thing of the past.
One other key design change since the Galaxy S8 is the addition of stereo speakers to the Galaxy S9. Samsung says the top and bottom speakers on the new phones pump out 1.4 times the volume of their predecessors. Dolby Atmos support should add to the immersive feel of the audio on the S9 and S9+.