Samsung Galaxy S9’s Official Debut Reveals An iPhone X Contender With ‘No Notch’

By Mikelle Leow, 26 Feb 2018

Image via Samsung

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S9 series on Sunday at the ‘Samsung Unpacked’ event in Barcelona. At first glance, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ seem to mirror their predecessors, though a closer look reveals new impressive features that even the brand hinted could rival Apple’s iPhone X.

While the phones’ launch video was accidentally released by Samsung a day earlier, it was thankfully left elusive enough to keep spirits high—there was certainly more significant ground to cover than its water resistance and end-to-end display. Dive deeper into some key features of the high-end smartphones below.

“The Camera. Reimagined.”

Image via Samsung

Samsung teased the phones’ powerful camera capabilities with the “The Camera. Reimagined” tagline in January. It was not kidding. At the ‘Samsung Unpacked’ event, Jonathan Wong, Director of Product Marketing, described that it takes its cues from the human eye.

The Galaxy S9 series features a Dual Aperture rear-facing camera that flexibly adapts to lighting changes. Just like how pupils dilate in dimmer settings and contract when it’s brighter, Wong said that the camera uses a smaller aperture when it’s bright outside and a wider aperture when it’s dark.

Image via Samsung

In fact, he said the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have the “widest” apertures “ever in a smartphone”—making their cameras ideal in both glaring daylight and ultra low-light environments.

‘Super Slow-mo’ option

Regular slow-motion mode (left) VS Samsung Galaxy S9’s ‘Super Slow-mo’ (right). Video via Samsung

The S9’s remarkable speed sensor lets it shoot 960 frames per second with up to 20 burst shots in each video. You can tweak your video’s speed to bring emphasis to the moments that matter, add music, or turn it into a GIF with three looping styles.

Portrait mode—even after you take a photo—on Galaxy S9+

Image by Samsung via GIPHY

The Galaxy S9+ now comes equipped with two portrait settings—‘live focus’ and ‘bokeh’—which you can switch on even after a photo has been shot.

‘Live focus’ (shown above), blurs out backgrounds to bring focus to subjects, similar to the portrait mode in the iPhone. The ‘bokeh’ feature comes in multiple filters that bring “sparkle” to scenes.

Animated emojis that look like you

Video via Samsung



Both Galaxy S9 and S9+ support ‘AR Emoji’, a feature that transforms selfies into animated emoticons that resemble you. You can also tweak your personal emoji, be it its hair or clothes, to express your personal style.

Real-time translations

Image via Samsung

Where there’s Wi-Fi or mobile data available, you can point your phone’s camera at text to translate an unfamiliar language. Check here for the full list of languages that support this tool.

Unlock your phone however you prefer

Composite image by DesignTAXI. Background images via Samsung

The Galaxy S9’s ‘Intelligent Scan’ technology offers a variety of options to unlock your phone with. Most notably, its improved face recognition enables your phone to recognize you in various lighting conditions and “even if you’re wearing sunglasses.”

Not comfortable with your phone reading your face? You can opt for iris or fingerprint scanning, pattern unlocking, or stick to the traditional password and PIN methods.

“Infinity” display

Image via Samsung

The S9 promises an “uninterrupted” display with an almost bezel-free, edge-to-edge screen. To create a full-frontal display, Samsung has shifted the fingerprint reader to reside beneath the Dual Aperture rear camera.

“And as always,” joked Justin Denison, Samsung’s Marketing VP, at the phone’s launch, “There’s no notch… Instead, we listen carefully to your feedback.”

Colors and price

Composite image by DesignTAXI. Background images via Samsung

This lineup is available in three colors: ‘Lilac Purple’, ‘Midnight Black’, and ‘Coral Blue’.

When purchased directly from Samsung, the Galaxy S9—which carries 4GB of RAM—is priced at US$719.99 and the 6GB-packed S9+ will go at US$839.99. Both come with expandable storage capacities of up to 400GB.

The phones are slated to ship on 16 March 2018, though you can attempt to have first dibs by preordering them online on 2 March 2018, 12:01am EST.

[via Samsung]
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