Rapid Review: Samsung Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 has landed in Australia and while cosmetically, it doesn't change the formula too much, under the hood it's got a lot going on and puts itself high on the list of Android devices that you should be looking at.

But is it worth your time? Let's find out.

What Is It?

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (and the S9+) is Samsung's latest flagship mobile, an Android-based slice of smartphone excellence that says 'top notches' be damned and speed be... praised? Look. It's a really good phone. If you're a Samsung fan, you already know what you're going to get and if you're not and you're thinking of jumping ship, then this is one phone that you should really be taking a good look at (and not just because you can unlock the device by doing so.)

Specifications

OS Android 8.0
Processor Octa-core Exynos 9810 Octa
Storage/Memory 64GB or 256GB, microSD slot up to 400GB, 4GB RAM
Screen 5.8-inch, Super AMOLED
1440x2960, ~570ppi
Camera Rear: Dual: 12 MP (f/1.5-2.4, 26mm, 1/2.5", 1.4 µm), OIS, LED flash
Front: 8 MP (f/1.7, 25mm, 1/3.6", 1.22 µm)
Battery 3000mAh
Dimensions (L x W x D) 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm
Weight 163g
Price (RRP) $1199

What's Good?

There's a lot going on here - first of all, the screen is immediately amazing. I brought this thing to a lunch with a friend and they were blown away by how bright, sharp and colourful the display was. You get super great performance - you don't even need to think about how fast this thing goes because it just goes. There's very little hang up time (and the S9+ is even better).

Battery life continues to be great and though the phone looks pretty much like an S8, that design still holds up in 2018. Samsung made a big deal about 'reimagining' the camera and I don't know that those words are the right words but, damn, the camera takes some incredible photos. The phone does all the hard work for you, which is fantastic if you just want to point and shoot and still come out with an incredibly vibrant image especially in low light.

Moving the fingerprint reader to just under the camera is an underappreciated, but excellent, move.

What's Bad?

The speakers seem better than I am used to with Samsung devices but I can't say they're good. Unlocking the phone with your face or your irises works fine, but it's a little janky. It's certainly not at the same level as my Windows Hello, but it's getting close.

If you're using the S9, the form factor is pretty standard now, the longer S9+ did give me some trouble though. Two handed? No problem. But one handed? It's so long that I often found myself clumsily shifting it around my palm trying to hit letters or app-specific buttons that sit at the top of the phone.

Oh and... What the hell were they thinking with AR Emojis?

Should You Buy It?

Depends how far back you are in smartphone terms. I was using an S7 for a long time and the difference is stark. If you're using an S8, are the differences enough to warrant an upgrade? Less so, although the S9 is a better phone, it's not necessarily 'a year later' better.

You can read the full review at Gizmodo, by clicking the link below.

Samsung Galaxy S9: The Gizmodo Review

Let's not beat around the bush, the exterior of the Samsung Galaxy S9 is essentially a carbon copy of the S8. Yet, even with all that sameness, Samsung's balanced no-notch design seems more considered than before. It doesn't feel needy like a lot of the new iPhone X copycat handsets I saw at MWC. And what makes the S9 even better is that Samsung's flagship comes with the best guts you can get in an Android phone right now. I can't help it, I'm a little bit in love.

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Rapid Reviews is Lifehacker's bite-sized buying advice on the latest technology products.


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