NEWS: Following the recent announcement of Samsung’s Experience 9.0 Beta program, which offers Android Oreo to Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ users who are based in South Korea, US and the UK. This leads us to believe the S9 and S9+ will ship with Android 8.0 Oreo out-the-box, which isn’t a surprise to most – but, we see this as official confirmation.
Believe it or not, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ aren’t too far off from being officially revealed. Samsung is releasing a new phone early next year and there’s a good chance it’ll cook up some improvements over its predecessor.
Samsung certainly has a difficult task ahead. Apple’s impressive iPhone X just hit the shelves, and Google’s top-tier Pixel 2 handset offers the best smartphone camera we’ve ever seen to date. Samsung faces stiff competition from its very own kind, too. Considering the S8 and S8+ have both seen drastic price reductions since their release, we expect them to further drop in price with the launch of the S9 and S9+ – making them an even tastier proposition.
Here’s all you need to know about Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets, including UK release date, price, specifications, design and features.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ UK price and release date: When will the flagship phones come out?
- Expected around March 2018
- Around £700 for the S9 and £800 for S9+
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ were pricey when they first released, even for a flagship phone: at £679 and £779 respectively, they were teetering on iPhone territory. But if you’re hoping the S9 and S9+ will be cheaper, you’re likely going to be disappointed. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ were a huge success at its asking price, so Samsung has no reason to reduce the price of the S9. What’s more, it’s very unusual to see a manufacturer reduce the price of a new handset – usually, the RRP just spirals upwards with each new release (here’s looking at you OnePlus).
Samsung typically releases its phones at MWC or at its own dedicated events a little later in the year. If Samsung is planning to unveil the Samsung S9 at MWC, we should expect to see this sometime in February 2018. If Samsung decides to do what it did earlier this year, however, and release the S9 and S9+ at its own event, expect to see it in March or April of 2018. Judging by the release date of the S8 and S8+, the latter seems most likely.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Specs at a glance
- Expected March 2018
- Around £700 for S9 and £800 for S9+
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 6GB of RAM
- 18.5:9 aspect ratio
- 5.8in HDR display on S9 and 6.2in HDR display on S9+
- Rear-mounted or under-screen fingerprint reader
- Two 12-megapixel cameras with 10x optical zoom and 1,000fps
- Water-resistant IP68
- Better battery life over the S8 and S8+ respectively
- Integration with Bixby
- 64GB internal space (up to 256GB with microSD card)
- USB 3.1 Type-C
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- Android 8.0 Oreo
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs: Are they going to be faster than the S8 and S8+?
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ processor
The Investor reckons that it’s going to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, but given that doesn’t exist yet, we don’t know too many details – except that it will presumably be faster and more power efficient than the Snapdragon 835 that powers the S8 in the US.
According to a recent GeekBench leak, an early version of the alleged Galaxy S9 was spotted in July, a good seven or eight months before we could even see the launch of the phone. A device with the model name SM-G9650 was listed with a 1.78GHz quad-core Snapdragon 845 processor and just 4GB of RAM – less than the 6GB some have rumoured it to have. According to the benchmark, it scored 7371 points in the RenderScript test, which is lower than what the Galaxy S8 managed in the same test, oddly. We’d expect 6GB of RAM in the latest Samsung phone, in order to keep up with heavy multi-tasking needs of consumers.
Outside of the US, Samsung powers phones with its own Exynos chips and the company has announced that its latest batch will support up to six carrier aggregation (6CA). That’s a lot of words, but what do they mean? Well, theoretically any phone that uses it – and the S9 and S9+ are very likely to benefit from this – could get download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps.
According to @UniverseIce on Twitter, the upcoming Exynos9810 processor will utilise the Exynos-M3 architecture, making it the “most powerful CPU architecture ever”. We can’t wait to see how the upcoming flagship phone will compare to the S8 and S8+.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ camera
The well-known KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who has correctly predicted many launches (notably from Apple), anticipates the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will feature a dual-lens camera. This follows the footsteps of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that features two 12-megapixel cameras, one with an aperture of f/1.7, the other with f/2.4. According to Korean IT site, ET News, Samsung will also feature a sensor capable of shooting at 1,000fps. This would allow super slow-mo videos, close to what is seen on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, which has a sensor capable of 960fps.
It’s logical that Samsung sticks to a similar camera design with the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Some suggest the South Korea manufacturer might even opt for a telephoto lens for its secondary lens, which will give it 10x optical zoom, making it superior to the iPhone 8 which currently stands at only 2x optical zoom.
Following the launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, we’d expect Samsung to also step up its camera with improved post-processing capabilities. There might even be two front-facing cameras, one of which will be used to unlock the phone with facial recognition.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ display
As with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, we’d expect the S9 and S9+ to come with a beautiful display, which will have an 18.5:9 aspect ratio and an HDR display. This will mean two things: A bright display and one that is colour accurate. There is a slight chance the phone might be bendable too – but we’re banking on this feature being exclusively used on the Note range-only.
Size wise, the S9 will most likely come with a 5.8in display, while the S9+ a larger 6.2in display.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ biometric security
We would expect to see a fingerprint sensor included, with its placement around the back of the phone, as it was with the S8. However, we hope it’ll be positioned a little better this time around. Fresh rumours suggest the fingerprint sensor might even be integrated into the screen, which means you’ll be able to unlock the phone by simply placing your finger on the phone’s display.
Given the release of the iPhone X, however, which uses your face to unlock the device (through Face ID) we could see a complete removal of the fingerprint sensor, in favour of a similar design. @UniverseIce on Twitter, a renowned tipster, thinks the S9 (and S9+) will include a front-facing 3D sensor with face unlocking technology. It’s early days, but we might even see the best of both worlds, with both fingerprint sensor and 3D ‘Face ID’-type technologies used in the upcoming Samsung phones.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ waterproofing
As with the S8 and S8+ that are IP68 certified protecting them from dust and water at a depth of 1.5m for 30mins, we’d expect the S9 and S9+ to follow suit.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ storage
64GB of internal storage comes as standard on the S8 and S8+ and given the massive allocation of space that already includes, we won’t be surprised if Samsung were to keep the same amount for the S9 and S9+. We might even see larger storage options, such as a massive 256GB phone too.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ connectivity
The phones will connect via a USB 3.1 Type-C port. It is rumoured Samsung might ditch the 3.5mm jack too – which might upset a few, but given the current trend, we might have to deal with the latest Samsung phone coming without it.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ might feature a Samsung-branded artificial intelligence chip. According to the Korean Herald, the new AI chip will help the phone connect to smart home appliances.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Android version
Android 8.0 Oreo was released in 2017, and given the update cycle of Samsung phones, expect to see Android 8.0 Oreo included on the S9 and S9+. Following the announcement of Samsung’s Experience 9.0 Beta, the inclusion of Android 8.0 out-the-box will not come to us as a surprise.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ battery
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have a formidably good battery life, the Plus variant housing a 3,500mAh battery, over its 3,000mAh sibling. Improved battery life would be a much welcome addition to the new 2018 line of flagship phones – so here’s us hoping Samsung has optimised their upcoming flagship phones to reflect that.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ 3.5mm headphone jack
A few rumours suggest the S9 and S9+ will no longer feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. After the release of the Google Pixel 2, and a few other Android smartphones that have done away with the jack, we wouldn’t be all too surprised to see it being removed altogether. Most of us want Samsung to retain the jack, but only time will tell.
In the image below, jPzamoras on Twitter suggests the jack will no longer exist.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Things we’d like to see
At this point, there aren’t many rumours about what to expect from the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Here’s what we’d like to see on the new Samsung.
Less fragile design
One of the best things about the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are their bezel-less edge-to-edge screen, but in practice, that’s also one of its worst features. It might look great for the first 30 minutes, or on the internet, but as soon as you drop the S8 or S8+ you’ll find that edge-to-edge screen splinters into 1,000 pieces. When Samsung releases the S9 and S9+, we’re hoping they’ll be just as pretty, but also a little more durable.
Better fingerprint sensor
Smartphones are pretty hard to design because of just how many things manufacturers need to include in them. Take the phone you’re using now, for instance. There’s a camera, screen, fingerprint scanner, speakers, memory, battery and so much more to squeeze in – and that means sometimes things end up in less than optimal places.
Now, we love the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, but its fingerprint sensor is directly next to the camera lens, which means you can miss and smudge your lens, and it does get pretty frustrating. We’re hoping the S9 and S9+ have a fingerprint lens that is much easier to reach.
This, of course, could just be replaced with the new 3D face unlocking technology that’s tipped to ship with the new S9 and S9+.
Make Bixby great, again
When we first heard about Bixby, we expected a new type of AI that was much more sophisticated than Siri and would even give something like Alexa a run for its money. What we got instead, though, was something more like Clippit. Hopefully, Samsung will improve it in the S9 and S9+.
Bixby has since launched on the Note 8, and Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones, but we’ve yet to test its capabilities.