Samsung officially announces the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus at MWC 2018

Focused on camera improvements and optimization, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus come as a refinement over their predecessors

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The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have leaked to oblivion over the past few weeks. But today, the South Korean tech giant made them official alongside other upgrades for the year taking centre stage at MWC in Barcelona.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus: Specs

  • Cameras: The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are equipped with a 8MP f/1.7 smart auto-focus front cameras. The S9 comes with single rear 12MP AF Super Speed Dual Pixel sensor with OIS (f/1.5 and f/2.4) while the S9+ with an additional telephoto 12MP AF sensor (f/2.4).
  • Performance: Both devices are powered by Qualcomm’s flagship octa-core Snapdragon 845 and Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 (this varies by market).
  • Battery: The Galaxy S9 will come with a 3,000mAh battery while the larger S9+ will come with a 3,500mAh.
  • Display: The Galaxy S9 and S9+ come with 5.8- and 6.2-inch QHD “Infinity” 18.5:9 AMOLED displays alongside dual stereo Dolby Atmos AKG speakers, the loudest on any Galaxy smartphone.
  • Bixby: Samsung’s Bixby, the company’s AI assistant, sees further upgrades with real-time translation, the ability to apply virtual makeup to selfies and track objects you see around you. It aims to be ubiquitous, personal and open for future growth.
  • Mobile security: Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are built on Samsung Knox 3.1, a defense-grade security platform. For business enterprises, it brings further MDM controls for fine-tuned control of security. In addition, both devices will offer a selection of biometric authentication via fingerprint and a combination of face and iris scanning using Intelligent Scan.
  • IP68 water and dust resistance: Both devices will come with complete IP68 water and dust resistance.
  • Storage: The S9 and S9+ offer microSD support up to 400GB on top of their base 64GB offerings.
  • Pricing and availability: Availability from March 16. Pre-orders start from March 2.
  • Charging: Fast wireless charging and wired QuickCharge 2.0.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus: Camera

The main highlight of both the flagships is the camera. It brings a refresh to both hardware and software despite remaining a 12MP camera. The new “super slow-mo” video capture mode that allows 960fps video capture at 720p resolution is new. But more interestingly, the S9 employs the first variable aperture camera on a smartphone. It is based on a mechanical switch allowing it to go from f/2.4 to f/1.5 for improved low light performance.

Better low light performance with the Galaxy S9 variable aperture camera

On the S9 Plus, you get an additional fixed aperture 12MP camera making for a dual-camera experience. Over the years, this is the first time we have seen the cameras on the smaller and bigger Galaxy S flagships differ. This is similar to Apple’s approach for flagships in the past.

Is accurate emoji the future? Picture via LongRoom

Additionally, the phones come with AR Emoji to compete with Animoji. It’s an AR-based algorithm to create a 3D model of your face using a 2D image.

Samsung DeX Pad

This year, the DeX has been re-imagined into a pad for ease of use. The new docking system allows either the Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus to connect to a larger display to use with a keyboard and mouse.

A re-imagined large screen experience; Picture via CNET

If you do not find access to an external mouse or keyboard, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus can double as either of those. The phones can be used as a Touch Keyboard or a Touch Pad with the DeX Pad for document editing. While this is limited to the new flagships for now, support for last year’s Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note8 may come with a future software update.

Pricing and availability

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will be available for pre-order starting March 2 whereas store availability should start on March 16. Locally, the S9 will sell for Dh2,999 for the 64GB base variant all the way up to Dh3,399 for the 256GB variant. The bigger S9 Plus will range from Dh3,299 to Dh3,699 for the same storage variants. Availability and pricing for DeX is yet to be confirmed.