Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus threatens to steal the spotlight from the regular S9. That's because it has dual cameras at the rear, promising truly exceptional photographic capabilities, while the standard normal S9 only has one.
And it's not just that there are two. The camera now has a variable aperture, which widens or narrows depending on the lighting conditions - plus, of course, internally there is a slight bump in processing power. These upgrades aside, the S9 Plus doesn't offer much more to the table that you haven't seen before. But it all adds up to an aweome phone.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review: UK release date and specifications
- 6.2in 18.5:9 QHD+ (2,960 x 1,440) display
- Octa-core 2.7GHz Exynos 9810 processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of storage (expandable up to 400GB via microSD)
- 12-megapixel F/1.5 and 12-megapixel F/2.4 telephoto rear cameras
- Released on 16th March 2018, pre-orders from 8th March at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review: Design and key features
The new Samsung's looks very similar to the previous generation. The top and bottom bezels on the front of the S9 Plus handset have been reduced very slightly compared to the S8 Plus, but there’s little diffrence when it comes to aesthetics.
However, the S9 Plus is still one seriously impressive smartphone. It has a dominating, plus-sized display. Measuring 6.2" from rounded corner to rounded corner, its excellent bezel-less design is still a sight to behold, it still excites me when a 18:9 cracker ilike this one is released.
The specs are the same as last year, a 6.2" QHD+ (2,960 x 1,440) resolution display. And stilll uses Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology, so expect effectively perfect contrast levels, and near-unrivalled image quality, too.
Much more has changed internally. For UK customers you will find Samsung’s own octa-core 2.7GHz Exynos 9810 processor, while those in other territories get Qualcomm’s similarly-appointed Snapdragon 845. There’s also 4GB of RAM for multi-tasking, and 64GB of onboard storage, which is expandable up to 400GB via microSD.
Then we turn to the camera. Dual-camera arrangements certainly aren’t original, but this is the first time we've seen one on Samsung’s flagship S range. It has a wide-angle 12-megapixel f/1.5 camera, while the other has an f/2.4 telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, just like the Note 8..
The numbers might not sound all that exciting, but that f/1.5 aperture is the widest we’ve ever seen on a smartphone.
Now we come to the really clever part, the S9 Plus features a two-position aperture that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the lighting conditions. Samsung says it switches to the wider aperture at about 100 lux, which is roughly the brightness of a cold, grey morning.
Essentially, this helps ensure that shots in good light aren’t vastly overexposed, while pictures taken in low-light pick up as much detail as possible. You aren’t at the mercy of the automatic controls either: simply switch over to the camera’s Pro mode, and you can switch between the different apertures as you wish.
Also, there’s also a 960fps slow-mo mode. In this mode, the phone's capable of capturing 0.2 seconds of 720p footage and stretching it out into six seconds of video. After your shot is saved, you can set it as your lock screen, or send it on in GIFable format.
Samsung have had a go at making animated emoji (AR Emoji) a little bit more personal, by allowing you to create your own unique avatar. Simply tap the app and scan your face; it’ll then create a customisable likeness of you, which can capture and mirror your expressions, to be stored or sent on.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review: Verdict
Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus is a seriously impressive smartphone. The design isn't new, but still oozes quality and style, and the upgraded camera breaks new ground for smartphone photography.
But, there's always a but, the plus-sized smartphones does come with a higher price tag. The cheaper S9 doesn't have the dual camera, but it has the same super-wide aperture for excellent low-light performance - so you will have to decide whether to spend the extra on the S9 Plus.