Galaxy S8 vs Galaxy S9: all major differences to expect
The rumor mill is in a full apocalypse mode about the Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets, and information on anything, from the rear design, to the camera upgrades, is trickling down from places close and far. Until someone put up the eventual Galaxy S9 box for our eyes to feast on, confirming most of the specs we've heard so far.
Previously, we didn't expect grandiose changes in looks, compared to the Galaxy S8, given that Samsung just introduced the Infinity Display design last year, but there will apparently be some, yet the grand upgrades are saved for under the hood, if the box's specs sheet listing is to be believed.
The Camera. Reimagined.
This cryptic trademark filed by Samsung recently was thought to refer to a brand new experience for the S9 camera compared to the S8. The box leak confirms that we will indeed have a new "Super Speed" 12 MP sensor on the S9, offering variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, just like on Samsung's newest flip phone. The end result should be better low-light photos, and better bokeh for portrait photography.
The Super Slow-mo feature listed on the box likely means that the S9's camera sensor could be outfitted with its own buffer memory stack, which will allow about 1000fps slow motion videos, like on the Sony XZ Premium.
So long, S8 scanner, and thanks for all the smudges
unorthodox fingerprint reader placement - would be rendered moot in the Galaxy S9, it seems.
Based on leaked CAD renders, and the new Galaxy A8 handset by Samsung itself, a brand new finger scanner that goes beneath the lens is expected on the S9, right smack in the middle of the handset's back, where it belongs. The S9 finger scanner is allegedly made by the Taiwanese from Aegis Technology, which are said to be behind the new A8 print reader as well, so it all dovetails nicely.
Judging from the aforementioned Galaxy A8 unit, though, Samsung is still keeping the elliptical shape of the S8 scanner, just rotated 90 degrees, and placed below the camera, so there could be a learning curve until one hits the exact index finger stretch amount needed to hit it without fingerprinting the lens. Granted, placing it under the cameras of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ may not fully resolve the smudging potential, but at least it will be much more ergonomic to hit by lefties and righties alike, what do you think?
Fast and faster
New Galaxy S line entry, new chipset production node, that has been a tradition for a while, but the S9 may disappoint. Samsung announced mass production of its second-gen 10nm process late last year, but there is no such word on its 7/8nm process.
Moreover, both the Exynos 9810 and Snapdragon 845 - the latest chipsets from Samsung and Qualcomm - were unveiled as still-10nm endeavors. That means that they might be either slightly faster, or more frugal than the S8 silicon, but there will be a tradeoff between the two. As you can see in the comparison table below, the boost in performance of 845 vs 835 will come mainly from a higher clock speed of the main processor cores.
The "up to 30% more power-efficient than the 835" promise of Qualcomm will materialize only when it comes to graphics-intensive tasks like video capture, games or virtual reality. In reality, the processing power upgrade of the S9 vs S8 will come chiefly in the form of extra features - like 4K HDR video at 60fps - rather than crushing it in the benchmarks, or lasting much more on a charge with the same battery pack capacity. Oh, and it looks like the 845 may be exclusive to the S9 for a good while, as production ramps up for US carriers.
Samsung will allegedly equip the S9 with stacked system boards that package the chips tighter together, making their footprint much smaller, like on the iPhone X, and leaving more space for other things (like an L-shaped battery).
With thin, in-cell touch panels, smaller motherboards, and slimmer camera sensors, we hope that Samsung will indeed use the extra space freed in the S9 for larger battery packs, rather than other extra features we may or may not use on a daily basis. So far, the rumors point out to a 3200 mAh pack on the S9, which is larger than what the S8 has inside.
Why not even bigger? Well, sadly, the stacked PCB may only be present on the Exynos model of the Galaxy S9, and we doubt US consumers will appreciate that one having a larger battery capacity than the Snapdragon model.
Besides the "tuned by AKG" earphones that the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 also have, the S9 is listed as sporting "stereo speakers," which will again be... tuned by AKG, of course, why would Samsung pay $8 billion for Harman Kardon otherwise.
As to the eventual placement of said stereo speakers - well, given that the S9 may sport even thinner top and bottom bezels compared to the S8, we can only see one at the bottom, and the other doubling as an earpiece.