Samsung has officially introduced the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, bringing an updated design, dual-camera setup, and several staples that debuted with last year’s Galaxy S8, including the all-glass design, wireless charging, and dedicated Bixby button. It’s an exciting (if iterative) update that sets a high bar for others to follow.
One thing we’re curious to see is how the Galaxy S9 matches up with Apple’s iPhone X, which was released last November. There are a ton of differences between the two phones, which we already detailed. But we wanted to take a closer look at some of their main differences, including the fact that Samsung refuses to ditch the headphone jack.
Did I mention the Galaxy S9 has a headphone jack? Ever since the port was ditched by Apple, other manufacturers have followed suit as the industry heads toward the future of Bluetooth. Samsung has other plans.
The Korean company has remained loyal to the port, much to the delight of fans across the globe, making the Galaxy S9 one of the few modern flagships to keep it around. There will likely come a day when Samsung falls in line with the rest of the industry, but the headphone jack is here to stay—at least for another year.
Iris scanner (and fingerprint sensor)
The Galaxy S9 features a plethora of biometric security options, including an iris scanner and fingerprint sensor. The iPhone X has neither of those. While Apple is specializing in facial recognition, Samsung’s device offers several different methods, giving users the choice to use which biometric option they prefer. And if you do use the Galaxy S9’s fingerprint sensor, know that it’s now in a much more comfortable location.
Samsung claims the Galaxy S9’s camera is better than last year thanks to improved autofocus, noise-reduction, and more advanced slow motion. But the big upgrade is the inclusion of variable aperture; the Galaxy S9 will automatically switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on how much light is available in a given scene. We’ll see if the feature makes a noticeable difference when we get our hands on a review unit.
Like the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy S9 can be hooked up to a monitor for a desktop-like experience. According to Samsung, it has partnered with around 30 companies to make DeX optimized applications, which means the Galaxy S9 can be a very powerful productivity tool. Of course, you’ll need the new DeX Pad in order to take advantage of the functionality, but DeX support is proof that the smartphone is useful beyond making phone calls.
Samsung swears it didn’t copy Apple’s Animoji feature. Whether you believe the company or not, there’s no denying Samsung has put a unique spin on its version, known as AR Emoji. By capturing an image of your face, the Galaxy S9 builds a custom 3D character with your features, essentially turning users into 3D Bitmoji. As an added bonus, you can customize your character with different hairstyles, glasses, outfits, and more.
More info: Samsung will open preorders for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus on March 2, with an official launch on March 16. You can pick up the S9 for $719 and the S9 Plus for $839.