It's shiny, it's pretty, it's Galaxy, and this one is the S9. It looks a lot like the S8, there is no two ways about that, but the beauty that matters is the beast within.
A glimpse on the Galaxy S9 is enough to convince it's one of the most stunning specimen on the market. The dual-glass design and the polished metal frame is where Samsung has become a master and the S9 is yet another proof at that.
The 5.8" Infinity AMOLED screen occupies most of the front, frame-to frame, while the top and bottom bezels are tinier than ever. The Home key is beneath the screen as usual, while the top bezel has one change for the better - the iris scanner is now hidden under the black glass, so that's one less transparent dot and works for a more seamless design.Galaxy S9 next to the Galaxy S8
The Infinity display is 'edged' as usual - the nicely curved Gorilla Glass is after all responsible for that futuristic feel of each Galaxy since the Galaxy S6 edge came out. Curved is also the rear glass, a Gorilla one as well, and if it's not for the different LED flash and fingerprint reader placement, it would have been impossible to tell an S9 from an S8.
The footprint of the whole thing is slightly smaller thanks to the trimmed bezels, and the frame, although looking identical, has been somewhat refined and now it's easier to pick an S9 from a table and makes it grippier and thus more secure in hand. The looks can't suggest that, but we can confirm it after we spent some time with the S9.
The power key has been changed too - it's bigger on the S9, which makes it slightly more convenient.
One of the major exterior changes and a long overdue upgrade is the stereo speakers setup. The first speaker is behind the earpiece grille, just like on a bunch of Huawei and iPhones, while the other one is at the bottom firing behind a completely new lattice. Samsung used AKG by Harman speakers with Dolby Atmos support and promises 40% boost in loudness over the single unit installed on the S8. We'll see to test that for sure.
The other very obvious change is the comfortably placed fingerprint scanner at the back. The balance in the universe was restored back with the Note8 launch, but it's now here to stay with the Galaxy S9. The LED flash, the poor thing - still single after all those years, also got a different placement but only the hardcore fans would really notice that.
Samsung has upgraded the camera a lot since the S8, but it's still 12MP and it's still just one. It ticks all flagship checkboxes with OIS, dual-pixel autofocus, and is capable of stacking images. Samsung has enhanced that with a new 4-frame noise reduction for 30% less noise than the S8 pictures. But the highlight of the new camera is the variable aperture - you can opt for f/1.5 bright aperture, or f/2.4 darker one. No Fs in between, sorry.
The main camera also does 4K vids at 60fps, 1080p ones at 240fps, and even 720p slow-mo at 960fps thanks to the new DRAM buffer. But more on that later.
The Galaxy S9 will be available in 64, 128, and 256 GB versions - all of those boasting a microSD slot just in case. Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, Titanium Gray are all the color options you will be able to choose from, and they are all striking.Galaxy S9 next to the Galaxy S8
Sure, the Galaxy S8 looks a lot like the S9 and it's hard to tell those apart, especially if you are not following closely the news, but there are enough major upgrades to keep your attention busy. If it's not broken, don't fix it, right? Let's hope the S10 breaks that rule, though.