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Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date

We know, it's rather hard to realize that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are already six months old - unleashed onto the world on April 21, 2017, these two still look as forward-thinking and futuristic as it gets. Yet, all kings and queens have to relinquish their thrones, which will happen to the Galaxy S8/S8+ in a few months' time as well. 

The newcomers? Well, it doesn't take a genius to know that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are about to supersede Samsung's current flagship stock, and given our general impression with Samsung's current flagships, it's definitely hard to NOT get excited about next year's Galaxies. 

Rightly so, and here's what we know about these so far:

Contents:





Design


To put things bluntly, the Galaxy S9 is not expected to usher in a whole new design. 

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date

"Same old, same old" is not always bad

Unsurprisingly, the overall bezel-less aesthetics will most likely remain rather similar to what we saw with the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Come to think of it, this is pretty sound and logical given that Samsung really outdid itself with the overall appearance of its flagship. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will most certainly combine glass and aluminum in a premium, nicely-crafted sandwich. As curved glass up front is now a signature of the company's high-end devices (seen on the Note 8 as well), it's normal to expect such a display from the S9 and S9+. We expect that the rear glass will also remain nicely curved toward the aluminum frame of the handset, as this design approach not only looks exquisite but also makes the handset feel extremely nice in the hand. 

One recurring theme about 2017 was "bezel-less" design, and both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were among the pioneers of this new trend that took the scene by storm. This design is going nowhere, but will most likely get perfected with each subsequent generation. Thus, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ could potentially slim those bezels further still and improve on the high screen-to-body-ratio established by the Galaxy S8 and S8+, though not doing that won't be a bad move either. Yes, bezels are dying a horrible, horrible death, and you will have to learn to love this new trend.

Bixby, water resistance, and audio

Aside from pertaining the overall design of the S8 family, the S9 lineup is also rumored and expected to retain all the features of its predecessors. Water- and dust-resistance of the IP68 variety is most likely sticking around with the goal of shielding the gadgets from any hazardous external elements meddling with the fine electronics inside. The Bixby button, love it or hate it, is certainly staying around as Samsung is obviously quite invested into its take on the smart assistant trend; hopefully, this one will be user-customizable though we wouldn't count on that. The iris scanner is also supposedly staying around.

Finally, we heard that one of the key Galaxy S9 features that Samsung will be proud of is... the good old 3.5mm audio jack. In a time when it's cool to ditch the universal audio port for a digital counterpart, Samsung will reportedly shine among the majority of its competitors by still rocking an audio jack in a tightly-sealed and water-resistant body. As of now, we haven't heard anything about stereo speakers, but having a pair of speakers on the S9 and S9+ will certainly be a pleasant surprise.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date
What about the fingerprint scanner?

So far, we haven't heard anything regarding the fingersprint scanner on the S9 and S9+. It's doubtful that it will be embedded under the display, which is on almost anyone's wishlist at this point, so we are likely going to see a rear-mounted sensor instead. Here's to hoping it's positioned more conveniently than the one on the S8/S8+.

So far, that's all we know about the overall design features of the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Of course, this post will be updated as soon as some noteworthy new rumor or leak pops around.

Display

As we said, we don't expect a major shift in terms of design, which also means that we probably won't see an increase in display size on either the Galaxy S9 or the S9+.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date

Edge-to-edge and loving it still

Due to the lack of any concrete info, for now we will assume that the next Galaxies will boast the very same displays that made the cut on the S8 and S8+. The smaller S9 will likely feature a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED quad HD display with a resolution of 1440 by 2960 pixels, while the larger one will most likely remain a 6.2-inch offering of the same type and boasting the same resolution. We are also quite certain that the 18.5:9 aspect ratio will be here to stay, and while it's true that most kinds of multi media don't make full use of the display since they're shot in other aspect ratios, such a tall but narrow screen is rather useful to hold and use even with a single hand.

Support for the DCI-P3 and sRGB/Rec.709 color gamuts is also most definitely staying around; the same can be said about HDR. With these on board, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will continue to be among the best devices for multimedia viewing.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date

Pressure-sensitive displays are anything but new nowadays, and while there's no indication of the Galaxy S9/S9+ sporting such a screen, there's a chance that such a screen might be employed on the flagship. If anything, Samsung proved it's somewhat open to the idea with the S8's pressure-sensitive home screen area. One of the ways to differentiate the S9 and the S9+ from the S8 family would be to throw in such a functionality inside. What's more, the software support is already there, given that Android Oreo now allows for custom actions and more complex interactions with apps and features. If anyone aside from Apple can do it, it's definitely Samsung.

Camera

Here possibly lies one of the bigger new features of the S9 and S9+. Dual cameras.

Dual-camera overwhelming

After its debut on the Galaxy Note 8 a few months ago, it's open season for this dual-OIS, dual camera setup! This means the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will most certainly be the next in line to get it. That said, it's still unclear if both handsets will boast dual rear cameras or only the S9+ will be getting one. The reason for that could be trivial - things might get too cramped up in the smaller device and Samsung could be forced to compromise with the battery size, which was one of the reasons why the large Note 8 only packs a 3,300mAh battery at the rear. Doing that will also create another incentive for users to go with the larger model, given that both might be quite similar in terms of hardware and design, but here's to hoping both phones get the same camera setups.

As on the Note 8, we expect a regular and a telephoto snappers to make the rounds. The zoom camera will allow for some neat portraiture thanks to its longer focal length and bespoke software that are already doing wonders for the Note 8, which is giving other dual-camera phones a solid run for their money. If anything, Samsung can only improve onto that, which is leaving us hopeful.

Actually, Samsung announced two brand new ISOCELL camera sensors recently, which is heavily hinting that one of those two might make their way into the Galaxy S9 and S9+. The first one is the 12MP Dual Pixel ISOCELL Fast 2L9 which comes with 1.28μm pixels and uses its pixels for both fast autofocusing and depth-of-field effects, just like the new Google Pixels do. The second one is the ISOCELL Slim 2X7, which is the first camera sensor whose pixels are 0.9μm in size. Reportedly, this won't lead to subpar image quality in low-light conditions as Samsung has minimized noise and color crosstalk. 

Another feature that we could potentially see with the Galaxy S9 and S9+ is 4K video recording at 60fps. This feature is coming to the Galaxy Note 8 via a software update, which most likely means the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will have it out of the box.

Hardware

Just like its predecessors did with the Snapdragon 835, both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are currently expected to hoard the full initial supply of Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 845 chipsets. Yes, that's what will most definitely be ticking inside the US & Chinese versions of next year's Galaxies, whereas their international versions are traditionally expected to feature an Exynos chipset by Samsung. In the case of the S9 and S9+, that might be the Exynos 9 Octa 9810 chipset, which is reportedly a 10nm offering headed straight for select versions of the anticipated flagships.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date

The Snapdragon 845...

What do we know about that snazzy Snapdragon 845 thus far? The all-knowing rumor mill claims it will be built on a 10nm manufacturing process, which is a similar to the Snapdragon 835. However, the SD845 is reportedly making use of Samsung's LPP technology (Low Power Plus) in contrast with SD835's use of LPE (Low Power Early), which will enable the unannounced chipset to eke out way more performance at the same rate of power consumption. Another exceptional trait of the next high-end Snapdragon could be its modem, which was reportedly built with 5G in mind and supports the mind-boggling LTE Cat. 18, allowing it to theoretically top downlink speeds of 1.2Gbps.

...And the Exynos

On the contrary, recent rumors reveal that Samsung's next Exynos could be built on an 8nm LPP manufacturing process, which could theoretically put it at an advantage over the Snapdragon 845 as it might be more efficient and pack more raw performance. That's a recurring theme with Samsung's flagships - their Exynos versions are traditionally more efficient and have generally surpassed their Snapdragon counterparts.

Further down the road, both the Galaxy S9 and the S9+ are rumored to come with 6GB of RAM as standard on all models, matching the Galaxy Note 8 in this so vital hardware aspect. We have a feeling that an 8GB RAM version could also get introduced later on, but we are yet to hear anything particular. 

Data hoarding

Storage-wise, rumors put 128GB of base storage in either the Galaxy S9 and the S9+. Yes, you read that right, but have in mind that this rumor has only been ousted by one source, which has a spotty track record at best. Assuming that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will feature 64GB in their base version seems like a safe bet, though we wouldn't shoot down the possibility for 128 or even 256 gigs of storage in certain versions of the phones. 

A microSD card slot is currently believed to remain an integral part of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, which is great news for people that like their videos in 4K resolution.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ rumor review: Specs, design, features, price and release date


Price and release date


Due to the lack of lack of any indications of the price so far, our prediction is that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will initially cost as much as the S8 and S8+ did at launch, though it will likely be safe to add a potential $50 Samsung tax added on top.

Here's what the Galaxy S8 and S8 cost at the time of their launch on US soil:


With that in mind, we'd put the Galaxy S9 and S9+ in the same ballpark. The Galaxy S9 will likely start at $749, whereas the S9+ could be initially priced at around $849. Including the $50 leeway we mentioned earlier, we could be faced at a Galaxy S9 starting at $799 and $899 for its larger counterpart.

But when are we going to see the next big things unveiled? Traditionally, Samsung had the habit of unveiling its flagship material a day or two before MWC in Barcelona kicked off, though last year it opted for a separate keynote a month later after the trade show in order to have the full media attention to itself. Theoretically, both scenarios could happen in 2018 as well, meaning that we might see the Galaxy S9 and S9+ at MWC 2018... or at a separate media event later that spring. MWC 2018 is kicking off February 26, 2018, which means that February 25 could be it.

However, we heard through the grapevine that Samsung could be rushing things up and potentially unveil the Galaxy S9 and S9+ earlier next year so as to better compete with the recent crop of iPhones and all other high-end devices that want a piece of the lucrative cake. 

Keep your eyes peeled for that anticipated Unpacked event and rest assured we will keep you in the loop!

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