The never-ending flagship season means a thriving competition. But unfortunately for us, the consumers, things didn't pan out for the best. Instead of racing for the lowest price, the makers decided to make a run for the opposite. Nowadays everything is premium, cutting-edge, and pricey.
And now the Galaxy S9 joins the high-end cartel.
The Galaxy S9 most formidable rival is the iPhone X, no doubt about this. It has never been Android vs.. iOS with Samsung and Apple, it's been an all-out war between companies.
Apple might have joined the bezel-less class late, but it did that in the typical Cupertino-controversial way - changing everything and making it Apple's with the infamous notch. And while those two battle in their own way, it still boils down to Android vs. iOS for you, unless a second telephoto cam and small footprint are of utmost importance.
Google has its own Pixel 2 to show off the true power of Pure Android. It's not as pretty, or powerful, but is cheaper, has some cool proprietary features, snaps better selfies, and does bokeh with one camera unlike anyone else.
Then there is the good ol' Galaxy S8 with a noticeable priced cut, which offers everything the Galaxy S9 has but the additional f/2.4 aperture and 960fps slow-mo of the main camera. Nobody would be able to tell the difference in the processing power for the years to come, so unless the new aperture is a must, you might consider buying or sticking to the Galaxy S8.
The Xperia XZ2 Compact will be joining the S9 soon. It's not glass, but we think the bumpy design has its charm. The Compact has the latest Snapdragon, an excellent camera capable of 960fps on both 720p and 1080p resolutions, and it's a lot cheaper.
Of course, if you want the best of Samsung and don't care about size and price, then there is the Galaxy S9+ with a bigger screen and a secondary telephoto camera. Or, if you are all about the camera, you can always wait for Huawei to announce its P20 series with a triple camera and take it from there.
The Galaxy S is not the trendsetter it once was, but the S9 is the only continuation that could ever be. Samsung is proficient in refining enough in hardware and user experience each year, and when there is nothing groundbreaking to show off, the surprises may come from unexpected places.
The Galaxy S9 may be failing to wow with the design but makes up for that with performance and new camera skills. And while it may not be a bokeh king, the S9 excels where it matters - in still and image quality.
The truth is the Galaxy S9 can't be a meaningful upgrade to any S8 user. But we live in some interesting times, where incremental upgrades do happen, and regular users are best upgrading every two years, at least theoretically.
The ninth Galaxy S is cutting-edge no two words about it. Design, screen, and performance are top of the line, while the camera is unique enough to make even some Apple users jump ship.
It's just that the S9 omits the aura of excitement any headliner should come with. It was an entirely predictable device - blazing fast, with enough hardware updates, but didn't make enough progress for a meaningful generation jump. It's more of a Galaxy S8S than S9 but we are glad it re-introduced the variable aperture snappers to the market, and we hope it makes them the next big thing. Because the S9 just isn't that.