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Evolution defined: Samsung Galaxy S9+

by viridis on ‎02-04-2018 21:42 - last edited on ‎05-04-2018 15:39 by Community Manager (31,740 Views)

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review:

[ri-vyoo] 

  1. Review,criticism imply careful examination of something, formulation of a judgment, and statement of the judgment, usually in written form. A review is a survey over a whole subject or division of it.

 

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Firstly lets get it out the way, its not a Sony.. very sorry to disappoint you and your expectations of another damn fine Xperia review (which btw it would be, the XZ2 is a sexy beast, you know it, i know it ..anyway) every now and then, I do like to dabble in other Android devices, it keeps me pure, keeps me impartial, stops me from just pumping out the same monotonous speeches everytime. the simple fact is; I bought a Galaxy S9+ and I use it alongside my other devices daily. So yeah.. aaaanyway..

How can a device, that looks 100% identical to its predecessor offer value to prospective customers? we've seen this before with Samsung, the Infamous failure of the Galaxy S5 prompted such fear into Samsung that an immediate overhaul of the Galaxy range was ordered, ushering in the game changing S6 / Edge. has Samsung really put enough in the S9 to not only command a high price, but a price that is far above the model it replaces? on first impressions yes, yes they have. 

The S9 series as a whole includes the latest Exynos SOC which unfortunately again has been restricted for parity with the snapdragon 845 that the US model uses, good for them, crap for us, as we miss out on an estimated 10-15% raw power that could make a bit of a difference when measuring the 0.0075 seconds difference it takes to open X app. 

But anyway, it goes without saying that the S9 series is fitted to the rafters with every bit of tech advancement that currently is in circulation, including the worlds first multi aperture camera in a phone, does it work? yeah it really does, and works so well that its literally day and night difference in low light shots. We also have a dual lens system on the plus model, allowing not only far increased bokeh levels in portraits, but an optical zoom thanks to the second lenses narrower focal length. all in all, it might look the same, but this is a different beast altogether.

 

Specs

 

Cpu: 10 nm, 64-bit, octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.8 GHz quad + 1.7 GHz quad)

Memory: 6GB LPDDR4X

Storage: 128GB UFS 2.1 + up to 400GB Micro SD

LTE: GBPS+

Display: 6.2-inch Curved Super AMOLED 2,960 x 1,440 resolution with 10bit HDR support

Sound: Stereo 2.0 Sytem Tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos support

 

Box contents

Quick start guide

Adaptive Quck charger

AKG Earbuds

 

Design

The Galaxy S9+ takes all the winning formula from the S8 series and refines it to a perfect balance of size vs portability, the 6.2" display feels much like the 5.1" of old, the added comfort of the rounded display and body means that holding and using the Plus in one hand is relatively easy, a feat not heard of with other 6.2"displays. The body is fully made out of a single block of 7000 series Aluminium this makes it far tougher than other Aluminium bodied devices but with it carries a little extra weight, thus the S9+ is approximately 15g heavier than the S8+, to be absolutely clear.. there is zero structural plastics on this phone, even the mid section for mounting the battery and PCB, is the same piece of metal. This anodised and hardened metal body is sandwiched between two curved pieces of the latest Gorilla Glass 5 much like most samsung devices since 2015, this "Edge" glass also houses the Super Amoled HDR display, which is a very, very, VERY nice display. Displaymate testing labs have announced it as the most accurate display in the world and I can see why, the rendering of colours is fantastic and i cant seem to find any setting that makes it look too over saturated or too vibrant like my previous experiences with amoled displays, its just not there anymore, what is there is a fine tuned customisable display with fantastic brightness, perfect white balance and super accurate colour, its the amoled for this generation. Its worth mentioning that out the box , this display is set to FHD+ and not the QHD+ that this display can run, I recommend changing it to get the best visual experience possible. on the subject of displays, the S9+ auto hides the navigation bar to avoid burn in of the home, back, multi buttons, what they didnt do however is auto hide the task bar, for my own reasons regarding long term use and burn in, i can tell you there is a very simple ADB command that will auto hide both, swipe up for nav, and down for task. this not only will save the corner from burn in, but will also give you the proper infinity display experience. Above this Display you will find the front facing camera, the secondary speaker and the retina scanner and IR illuminating flash for retina scanning.

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On the back of the S9+is the coloured glass covering the wireless charging coil and above this area is the (now moved to a better location) fingerprint scanner, the scanner works almost flawlessly when needed and setting it up is so so simple that all you do is swipe over it . Above the scanner is the main selling point of the S9+ ''The camera reinvented" is probably pushing it a bit far, but its certainly brilliant and is held nice and flat against the body, perfectly flush except a protective lip around the camera assembly.

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The bottom of the device houses the main speaker, a USB-C 3.1 port and the (now a rarity) 3.5mm headphone jack.

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Performance

The S9+ performs as fast as any device currently available, its core processors easily deal with the most demanding of tasks and its Mali-G72 MP18 Gpu, whilst not as fast as the Adreno inside the Snapdragon 845, has 18 individual Gpu cores behind it, in multi core based games and tasks, it flies. The memory is samsungs own ultra fast LPDDR4X and is blazingly fast as also is the UFS 2.1 storage, also samsungs own chips. The S9+ uk version comes with 6GB of ram, and 64/128GB of storage, some stores will have the 256GB imported model, however this is a very rare model in the UK. 

 

Camera

The Camera on the S9+ is one of the most advanced cameras on a smartphone you can currently get, its dual sensor based camera allows multi focusing for better portrait shots and thanks to a much narrower focal length allows optical zoom at 2X and digital zoom up to 10X thanks to multi sampling. this in itself is brilliant as we all know, zoomed shots usually look crap, not any more. 

the other interesting thing is that the main camera has a new feature, usually found on more higher end dedicated cameras, a physical switch between f1.5 and f2.4 apertures

this switch to f1.5 will definitely improve low light shots when compared to normal cameras, not only this but the S9+ uses multi image sampling to nearly eradicate noise, something that will always appear on low light 

photos, and something that is hard to remove, without destroying quality.

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in daylight the camera switches automatically to f2.4 which in itself is a much sharper lens (faster f1.5 lenses are always less focused than 2.4, its part of the design) and the picture quality is excellent, detail as well as colour is fantastically reproduced and in sharp contrasting scenes, thanks to the dual pixel tech, the auto HDR really works well at showing both shadows and highlights equally in detail. there is also the video side of things, where the S9+ includes 4k recording at 60fps, 1080p recording at up to 240fps and 720p recording at up to 960fps bursts (thanks for the idea Sony) as with photos, the video is stabilised by means of a dual optical stabilisation that works really really well, in fact there is much less of the usual warping you get with optical stabilisation which makes me believe the sensor is cropped to accommodate a much more balanced video recording.

Picture samples

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Sound

Not only has samsung finally maded the jump to stereo speakers, but its done so with absolute perfection, its the speakers that won me over with this phone, they are loud, clear and offer a listening experience second to none, whilst Razer might be loud too, these things have undeniable quality. the two speakers are tuned by samsungs latest aquisitiion AKG part of the Harman audio group and boy did they do a good job. Not only does the standard setup offer unchallenged audio clarity, but turn on Atmos mode and these things totally immerse you in a fantastic virtual sound experience, and its not just the mids and highs, the speakers within the phone also offer great bass reproduction leaving very little need for external speakers.

The bundles headphones are the ones also present with the S8 series but having not used them before, i was pleasantly surprised by just how good they are, again tuned by AKG these are a definite step up from the bundled headphones usually found with phones and could easily match the quality of a £50+ set of bought in-ear buds.

 

Software

the S9+ comes with Oreo out the box and its nice to see Samsung reigning in Touchwiz even more than i've ever seen before, not only is the device relatively bloat free, but almost all pre-installed apps can be removed, not just disabled.. but removed. there are a few exceptions including Facebook and Microsoft office apps but most of the google apps, all Samsung non essential apps and all 3rd party apps are removable.

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One thing that did irritate me is the way that the hardware monitor will only give the phone a 100% optimised state if you activated the resource hungry Device security, sorry Samsung, but this is BS and you know it, stop trying to mislead customers that these apps are the only way to make your system fully optimised,naughty

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also included is Bixby, the assistant no-one wants so much, Samsung included a button just to activate it. luckily on S9+ the button can be disabled to open Bixby, but can be still long pressed to open voice commands, if that's your kind of thing.

 

Accessories

Luckily for me and others, all the Gear accessories and wireless chargers work perfectly with S9+, so that old Gear S2, yup, works fine.. in fact all you need to do is turn it on near the S9+ and the S9+ will ask if you want to connect, click yes and the service self installs and on an authorisation on the Gear pop-up, will activate on the new phone, same story with the Gear VR systems out there, and also the wireless charge plates obviously still work as expected on S9+. What does this mean to you?... it means perfect functioning accessories at fractions of original price. with Gear S2 going for as little as £50 pre-owned, you can grab some decent deals to accompany your S9+ device.

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Conclusion

Samsung has created a beast within the S9+ body, taking the externals of S8 and hiding inside an absolutely mental amount of updates, not only on a hardware level but at a software level too. is it enough to convert loyal fans of other brands, well yes i think it is. Samsung seems to be a company that listens, Touchwiz is proof of this, every thing people hated has been fixed, including that damn Bixby button.

Samsung is an evolving Brand, that is as loyal to customers as they are to them, is it enough to keep the paying public handing over wads of cash for incrimental updates such as S9+? in my opinion, as long as they keep making incremental updates so feature packed, who wouldn't.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
by lovemyphone
on ‎02-04-2018 21:50

Great review @viridis well written & in depth. Never thought I’d see you with a Samsung device though

by viridis
on ‎02-04-2018 21:54
I'd start worrying if you see me write an iphone review lolol
by MI5
on ‎02-04-2018 21:55
Awesome
by Cleoriff
on ‎02-04-2018 21:57

Wow, just bloody wow @viridis

Just when I think you have written the best review I have every read, you rock up and top them all with this one. I make no pretence that I understand half of the S9+ technical abilities, though I know a superb review when I read one.

I loved the video at the start. I am amazed at the photography. Presentation, as ever, is brilliant. I will go back and read it again. You have surpassed yourself with this review. Made even better as it's completely unbiased

It's worthy of publication. Well done you.

by lovemyphone
on ‎02-04-2018 22:00

@viridiswrote:
I'd start worrying if you see me write an iphone review lolol

Normally you’d leave that to me 😂

by Bambino
on ‎02-04-2018 22:31

Excellent review @viridis. About the most thorough I've ever seen here. Well done!Fantastic

by liggerz87
on ‎02-04-2018 23:42
I get my s9+ tomorrow brilliant review 1 touchwhize is no more it's called Samsung experience and xenos has been better than snapdragon which do you prefer tour love of Sony's or the s9+ more
by viridis
on ‎03-04-2018 00:02
Exynos is at root much better than snapdragon but we don't get the full speed chip, it's been downclocked for parity, which sucks.
My own personal preference is the Xperia models but it's good to get experience of all Android devices, I was tempted also by the Razer but crap exclusivity and history of nextbit build issues put me off. Samsung is an ideal choice for me as I have Samsung devices already and it fits well into the VR system I use to make content.
But I wouldn't worry.. I guarantee I'll have a new Xperia review up ...Soony
by jonsie
on ‎03-04-2018 01:06

Incredible review. Very thorough @viridis 😃😃

Hope you don't mind but I skipped the camera bit, far too technical for me! I just know there it's a hole in the back of the case and you press a button at the front and you get a picture,  that's all I need to know these days I'm afraid 😕

But a wonderful article that would grace any publication let alone this community. You really do need to submit it to various media outlets. 

by gmarkj
on ‎03-04-2018 09:20
Great review, as always.
Love the picture comparisons for the different apertures.
Really looks like Samsung are determined to smash Apple out of the park - very much doubt they would be able to do anything to get near this.
by liggerz87
on ‎03-04-2018 09:26
Oh also I'd look up HTC I think you'd like them a lot did you have the z5 premium at all
by Curmudgeon
on ‎03-04-2018 10:57

Post of the month contender! 

by Community Manager
on ‎03-04-2018 11:37

Really good review @viridis! I've got my eye on the S9 for my next upgrade so I found the detail in your post extremely useful. Great work! cool

by viridis
on ‎03-04-2018 11:52
@liggerz87 I've had HTC before, shame they are struggling tbh. I've had every flagship Xperia since Z, (except Z3+, i was not a fan of that device at all) the Z5 premium was my absolute favourite Xperia until the XZ Premium came out, you can read my thoughts on Z5 here https://community.o2.co.uk/t5/Discussions-and-Feedback/Next-was-then-This-is-now-Sony-Xperia-Z5-Prem...
by Community Manager
on ‎03-04-2018 16:17

Finally caught up with this, very good review @viridis thanks for taking the time to write this up! I love the photos (is that your cat?) and the detail you put into the different parts.

Awesome video LOL Return of the Viridis!

 

Fantastic

by O2 Social Media Team
on ‎03-04-2018 17:03

Great review as always @viridis. I'm as much a Samsung fanboi as you are a Sony one, but likewise, great to see us both recognising the strengths of the 'other' devices. I can't wait to see your thoughts on the Sony XZ2.

Onto the S9+ though, love the photo comparisons showing off the new camera tech. On the Touchwiz bit, if anyone wanted to auto-hide status bars without ADB commands (or maybe you still don't like TouchWiz, or maybe just want more customisation & personalisation), you can try 3rd party launchers like Nova Launcher* - there's settings there that'll do this.

* Note: Not endorsing it, but it's personally one of my 'must have' apps. Plenty of other great launchers also exist.

by liggerz87
on ‎08-04-2018 05:41
Funny enough I have nova launcher but I just stick to the stock launcher lol
by Cleoriff
on ‎08-04-2018 09:13

@Marjo@Martin-O2. We still appear to be having issues with Reviews when you go to the last comment posted.  Click on that last comment and it takes you straight to the initial review written by @viridis

Now as excellent as it is, (I have read it 3 times) it seems silly that I have to scroll all the way past it .....and every other comment made, to get to the last comment posted. Is this a glitch which is being looked at?

by Community Manager
on ‎09-04-2018 09:51

Hey @Cleoriff just to clarify do you mean the comments link from the board level as shown in the below image? 

 

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by Cleoriff
on ‎09-04-2018 09:58

Hi @Martin-O2 My example is, you have just mentioned me and I saw the comment in Unread posts, When I clicked on your comment.....instead of being taken straight to it, I was taken to @viridis's review at the top of the page. I then have to scroll all the way down to reach your comment. Smiley Sad

by Cleoriff
on ‎09-04-2018 10:01

If I remember correctly this has always been an issue when articles are put in review section or before that, the Knowledge Base

by Community Manager
on ‎09-04-2018 10:05

@Cleoriff OK thanks for the clarification. I was able to replicate the process by clicking your post from the unread posts page and  I got the same result. I'll speak to the Platform provider about this. 

 

by Cleoriff
on ‎09-04-2018 10:15

Thanks @Martin-O2

by Cairdeas
on ‎09-04-2018 11:21

Brilliant review @viridis . Perfectly written as always. I'm really considering this one, so it's always great to get a sound, unbiased view. Xx

by Glory1
on ‎09-04-2018 11:23
A bit late, as often happens with me but just read your review of the S9+ @viridis and what can I say but absolutely fantastic. As a Samsung groupie it makes me want to own it even more than I did. Unfortunately I still have a year to go before I can upgrade but reading your review makes me keen to see what Samsung will be bringing out next year in the S10/10+.

Thank you for a brilliant review of what is a superb phone.