Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: what are the best alternatives?

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: what are the best alternatives?
Looking for a great alternative to the new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+?

While there are a ton of phones available, only a few can match Samsung's new heavyweights in terms of design, performance and camera quality.

We have picked the 5 best options that we ourselves would turn to if we had to select an alternative. These are the 5 best Galaxy S9 alternatives that are available right now.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Smooth performance and updates on time

Google might have gotten a ton of bad press about the display of the Pixel 2 XL (some units suffer from burn-in issues and all displays turn bluish when you view them at an angle) and we would add that the design of the Pixels is not quite as stylish and elegant as on the Galaxies, but the Pixel 2 series more than make up for these shortcomings by delivering the smoothest performance of any Android phone that we have used and arguably the best camera ever put on a smartphone. This is important: even though the Galaxy S9 has a newer Snapdragon 845 chip inside, the Samsung Experience interface on it still stutters a bit and is not quite as smooth and fast as on a Pixel. You also don't get any duplicate apps and bloatware on the Pixel series.

Not just this, the Google Pixel phones are the only ones that are getting updates on Android on time, while Samsung still has not pushed the Oreo update to its Galaxy S8, half a year after that update was pushed by Google. The Pixel 2 series also come with a promise for three full years of software updates by Google.

Apple iPhone X

All about the iOS ecosystem.

The $1,000 iPhone X is the best iPhone that you can get and if you are not dead set in the Android platform, the iOS ecosystem has a lot to offer: you have iMessage, many games arrive first and sometimes only on iOS, the popular Apple Watch only works with the iPhone, and you are guaranteed to get long years of software updates.

Not just that, but the smooth iOS interface contrasts with the slightly stutter Samsung Experience on the Galaxy S9 series. The new iOS gestures are an absolute delight to use and feel like a big step forward in the actual experience of using a phone on a daily basis, while the on-screen navigation buttons on the Galaxy are not quite as fluid and comfortable to use.

When it comes to the cameras, it's a tie. The iPhone and the Galaxies take different pictures: the iPhone with its signature overblown contrast and saturation, while the Galaxy captures more balanced, photo-realistic images. If you don't mind spending a bit more on the newest iPhone, it is another great Galaxy alternative.

Samsung's earlier phones: S8, S8+ and Note 8

Actually, still good enough.

Here is another option: you might just skip the Galaxy S9 altogether. If you are using one of Samsung's last year top phones - the S8, S8+ or Note 8 - you don't get much new with the S9.

You get fixes: the fingerprint scanner position, the slightly more balanced images, the 4K60 video recording capability, the better sounding stereo speakers... and that's about it. The rest of the features like AR Emoji and Super Slo Mo are gimmicks for the most part.

Battery life is not better and you get no ground-breaking changes in design. In fact, the S9 almost seems like an intentionally subdued release, the quite before that new futuristic foldable smartphone that Samsung has been developing for years...

LG V30

One for video and audio enthusiasts.

If you still want to try a different phone that has character and personality, the LG V30 is one more great bet.

The V30 is certainly the prettiest phone that LG has ever made and easily one of the most elegant phones out there. It is unique with its super wide-angle secondary camera that allows you to capture a different perspective. If you are into filming sports or taking pictures of big buildings, this camera is a god-send. In fact, video recording and editing is the V30's marquee feature as LG has included some cool, advanced video grading and editing options.

One more thing: the V30 has a high-resolution audio output and a headphone jack, so you can take those expensive, high-impedance headphones that you have and plug them in and enjoy immersive, high quality sound.

The LG interface is the weakest point of the V30, with its quirky cartoony looks and quiestionable esthetics, but the phone moves fairly smoothly and has all the features you can expect from a flagship.

OnePlus 5T

Your best budget alternative.

Finally, if you don't want to spend a fortune on a new phone like the Galaxy S9, yet still want something with a similarly good performance and an elegent design, the OnePlus 5T is your best bet.

With a price starting at just $500 for an unlocked phone, the OnePlus 5T has a bezel-less screen, the Snapdragon 835 flagship-grade processor, ultra-fast performance, the latest Android version, and a few neat tricks in the simplified and likable OxygenOS custom Android interface. Also, it has rock solid battery life and a decent (but not great) camera.

Related phones

Galaxy S9

PhoneArena Score:


User Score:

  • Display 5.8 inches 2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 10 Samsung One UI
Galaxy S9+

PhoneArena Score:


User Score:

  • Display 6.2 inches 2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh
  • OS Android 10 Samsung One UI


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