Following last year’s Note 7 disaster, pressure was on Samsung to rebound in 2017; its reputation was at stake. Thanks to the trio of the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, and Galaxy Note 8, the company made a triumphant comeback, reminding everyone why it’s such a powerhouse in the mobile market.
Now, with 2018 looming, attention has turned to the Galaxy S9, which will attempt to go up against Apple’s iPhone X. So, what do we know about Samsung’s upcoming flagship? Quite a bit. The main takeaway? If you own a Galaxy S8, there won’t be much reason to upgrade.
Samsung smartphones are among the most beautiful on the market, and the Galaxy S9 will be no different. Based on what we’ve heard, the device will look very similar to last year’s model, complete with an Infinity Display and Bixby button. In other words, expect the Galaxy S9 to look virtually identical to the Galaxy S8, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
The only real major change could be the inclusion of stereo speakers, while the larger model, the Galaxy S9 Plus, may feature a dual-camera setup. This will give Samsung the opportunity to differentiate the larger model with the more mainstream Galaxy S9. Which is a smart move on Samsung’s part, as that approach has worked swimmingly for Apple.
It’s a foregone conclusion the Galaxy S9 will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor. The powerful chip is an exciting upgrade for mobile users because it means a better camera experience, improved security, and, best of all, increased performance. Couple that with up to 6GB of RAM and the Galaxy S9 could be the most powerful phone on the market when it lands early next year.
Bixby wasn’t exactly the talk of the town when it arrived with the Galaxy S8, but months of careful improvements have made the artificial intelligence into an interesting digital assistant. Not only is Bixby capable of answering complex questions, but it’s built into your camera, so it can identify landmarks, translate language, and more. Expect the Galaxy S9 to be Bixby’s real coming out party.
About that fingerprint sensor…
Although the overall design will remain unchanged, Samsung will reportedly move the fingerprint sensor to below the camera, rather than beside it. Many complained about the fingerprint sensor’s location when the Galaxy S8 launched, so it’s nice to hear Samsung has listened to customer feedback. Also noteworthy is the fact that Samsung will include a fingerprint sensor at all considering what Apple did with the iPhone X.
Twinkle in my eye
Which is a nice segue into this next feature. Apparently, Samsung is planning to significantly improve the iris scanner found in the Galaxy S9, to the point where it will rival Apple’s TrueDepth technology found in the iPhone X. Iris-scanning features have been part of Samsung devices for months now, but the Galaxy S9 will attempt to take the technology mainstream.
With the inclusion of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 should come several exciting camera improvements. The 845’s Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor will allow users to capture 4K video at 60fps, along with multi-frame noise reduction, hybrid autofocus, and more advanced slow motion support. In other words, the Google Pixel 2 may not be the market’s best camera phone for long.
What about the headphone jack?
Not one to follow trends, it looks like Samsung won’t ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. Devices from Apple to Google have left the beloved port behind, citing wireless is the future, but Samsung seemingly disagrees. Which is great news for folks who utilize the port on a daily basis. But how much longer can Samsung be one of the lone holdouts?
A hefty price
As devices get more advanced and more powerful, their prices go up. The Note 8 was dangerously close to breaking a grand, and there’s a chance the S9 and S9 Plus will hover around four figures. I wouldn’t expect either phone to be as expensive as the iPhone X, but they’ll be pretty close—at the very least, the S9 Plus will probably be around $900+.
When will we see it?
Thankfully, it won’t be long until Samsung unveils its next smartphone duo. There was a report that suggested Samsung would give fans a tease at CES next month, but it’s more likely we’ll see something at Mobile World Congress in February. If true, expect a release sometime in March, which is about the typical timeframe Samsung sticks to.