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Galaxy S9 vs. Galaxy S8: What’s different?

by Brandon Russell | February 25, 2018February 25, 2018 9:15 am PST

Samsung on Sunday officially unveiled the Galaxy S9, a powerful flagship that aims to fix everything we disliked about the Galaxy S8. But is it really that big of an upgrade? Let’s compare the two.

For a numbers breakdown, check out the spec table down below

More powerful specs

This one is obvious, but the Galaxy S9 features better specs than the Galaxy S8. If you compare the two on paper, it’s clear which one is better. But specs aren’t everything, and the Galaxy S8 is still a very solid device.

Beyond specs, I’d pay more attention to the Galaxy S9’s variable aperture and relocated fingerprint sensor. Those two features may sway diehard mobile enthusiasts, as they have the potential to make a marked difference during everyday use.

However, one could make the argument that the Galaxy S8’s camera is already fantastic. The fingerprint sensor’s unfortunate placement right beside the camera, meanwhile, can be tolerated. It comes down to a matter of preference, as well as priorities.

Samsung is offering a trade-in program to entice people to purchase the Galaxy S9. But, again, existing Galaxy S8 owners don’t gain a whole heck of a lot by upgrading. Most everything else, such as screen size, battery size, and software, are very similar, if not identical.

The fingerprint sensor is where?

At a glance, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 look nearly identical. But look closer, and you’ll notice one very important detail: the fingerprint sensor is now below the camera. That’s a big deal.

Not only is the sensor’s location much easier to reach, but it means user won’t smudge the camera lens each time they want to unlock their phone. With the Galaxy S8, the fingerprint sensor’s placement next to the camera isn’t a dealbreaker, but once you use the Galaxy S9, you’ll realize how much better the new location is.

Is the camera better?

This one is up for debate, because the Galaxy S8’s 12-megapixel camera is already excellent. But the Galaxy S9 does feature a variable aperture, which Samsung promises users with an improved low light experience.

Because Samsung can access two different apertures (f/1.5 and f/2.4), the Galaxy S9’s camera promises to be a more dynamic shooter. In brightly lit situations, the device will opt for the smaller aperture. But in low light situations, a wider aperture will be necessary, allowing more light onto the S9’s 12-megapixel sensor.

Additionally, the wider aperture should be great for portrait and macro shots, providing users with more depth of field.

We’ll have to wait and see how much better (if at all) the S9’s camera is compared to the S8. Our inclination is the difference will be negligible, but with the Pixel 2 and iPhone X raising the standard, we expect Samsung to bring its A game.

Are you going to upgrade?

If you haven’t upgraded your phone in a few years, the Galaxy S9 is a tempting proposition. It offers a sleek design, the latest specs, and support for 960 fps at 720p, which will no doubt produce some very results when the device is in the hands of customers.

But it’s a much harder sell if you own a Galaxy S8. The specs won’t make a significant difference and the designs are nearly identical. So, what’s it going to be?

Samsung - Galaxy S9 Samsung - Galaxy S8
Display Size 5.8-inch, 1440 x 2960 pixel display (568 ppi) 5.8-inch, 2960 x 1440 pixel display (568 ppi)
Resolution X 1440 2960
Resolution Y 2960 1440
Display Type Quad HD + Curved Super AMOLED Quad HD+
Operating System Android 8 (Oreo) at launch Android 7.0 (at launch)
Processor 10nm, 64-bit, Octa-core processor (2.8 GHz Quad + 1.7 GHz Quad) Octa core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm process
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage
  • 64GB
  • 64GB
External Storage Yes Yes
External Storage Specs
  • microSD up to 400GB
  • microSD up to 256GB
Main Camera (Back) 12MP 12MP
Secondary Camera (Front) 8MP 8MP
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0 (LE up to 2mbps) Bluetooth 5.0
Battery 3000mAh 3000mAh
NFC Yes Yes
Connectivity
  • MST
  • USB type-C
  • USB Type-C
Sensors
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Barometer
  • Fingerprint
  • Geomagnetic
  • Gyro
  • Hall
  • HR
  • Iris
  • Pressure
  • Proximity
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Barometer
  • Fingerprint
  • Gyroscope
  • Geomagnetic
  • Hall
  • Heart rate
  • Iris
  • Pressure
  • Proximity
GPS
  • BeiDou
  • Galileo
  • Glonass
  • GPS
  • BeiDou
  • Galileo
  • Glonass
  • GPS
Height 147.7 mm (5.81 inches) 148.9 mm (5.86 inches)
Width 68.7 mm (2.70 inches) 68.1 mm (2.68 inches)
Depth 8.5 mm (0.33 inches) 8 mm (0.31 inches)
Weight 163 g (5.75 oz) 155 g (5.47 oz)
Colors Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple Midnight Black, Orchard Grey, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold
Supported Audio Formats MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, APE, DSF, DFF MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, DSF, DFF
Supported Video Formats MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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