Galaxy S9 – Ticking the Right Boxes

The Galaxy S9 has arrived and the only way we can describe what Samsung has done this year is “Ticking the right boxes.” Last year it was all about pushing the boundaries (quite literally) on how a smartphone display should look. This year it’s been about building on that momentum. There’s plenty of evidence that Samsung has been listening to it most significant stakeholders-the users and have implemented the suggestions this time around.

Initial Impressions

Oh, my word. The camera!

Galaxy S9 - Ticking the Right Boxes - Camera
The leaks did not do any justice to what was actually in the store. Looking at the demo and the promo video, that Camera seems like it hit the sweet spot. Variable lens and the dual camera setup on the S9+ is shaping up to be a winner. To explain what a variable lens means, the lens acts just like our eyes. When we go into a dark room, our eyes adjust so that we can see in the dark. It’s the same when we go outside into the sun; our eyes adjust so that we don’t go blind and just lets in the right amount of light. Taking that same concept, Samsung has designed the camera and the software to work in tandem. So that it intelligently predicts the amount of light that comes inside. The results would be good pictures in low light and excellent outdoor shots.
The camera also features Dual OIS on both the lens on S9+ and on the primary lens on the S9+. So Goodbye blurry shots. All said and done about the camera; we cannot help but wonder how Google would implement all of this because it dropped a lot of cash to acquire a high-performance team from HTC late last year to develop the upcoming Pixel phones. It has time on its side as the phone will come much later in the year. The future sure looks bright.

Headphone Jack and Dual Front Facing Speakers

Galaxy S9 - Ticking the Right Boxes - Stereo SpeakersIt’s quite baffling, to say the least, that we are rejoicing the fact that there is still a headphone jack on the phone (ugh.. Thanks, Apple). If you have watched the S9 and S9+’s: Official Introduction Video, Samsung throw’s a shade at all the manufactures for dropping the headphone jack. They not only just kept the headphone jack but one-upped everyone by having dual speakers which are tuned by AKG. One fire from the bottom while the other doubles up from the earpiece. It also has Dolby Atmos support built right into it. So get ready to have a theatre like an experience (sort of!) on a tiny little screen.

Super SlowMo

Super SlowMo was demoed last year on the same day by Sony with the exact fps. However, now that Samsung is doing it, the feature may be widely adopted. Which is a good thing for Samsung and booo from Sony! Just to be clear, if you want the super slow-mo 960fps, you’ll have to settle for 720p video quality. 720p quality would mean that’s half HD if that makes sense. But it’s impressive nevertheless when you think about how far a camera which is so small in size can do such remarkable things.

Wireless charging

Wireless charging has been a staple on Samsung phones for a while now. It’s quite annoying when other manufacturers aren’t doing it. So props for Samsung for not only including Wireless charging but making sure that it has fast wireless charging.

Samsung DeX

Galaxy S9 - Ticking the Right Boxes - DeX Station and DeX Pad
Samsung DeX- which is an abbreviation for Desktop Experience- was introduced last year with an intention to blur the lines between mobiles and personal computing. It was a dock like a device on which you set your phone up and hook it up to a Monitor to use the Galaxy S8 or S8+ phone as a CPU. We cannot deem it a failure because it inspired a few more manufacturers to try on something new, most notably Razer Phone – Project Linda.
This year, however, Samsung reimagined the device. It’s no longer a dock but a pad on which you set your phone horizontally to make it work as a trackpad. With the advent of 4k screens and TV’s becoming a norm, having a device like this to use your phone on a big screen and also like a productivity device sounds interesting. This year’s model feature two full-sized USB ports, one USB C port and an HDMI Out port. But the Ethernet jack which was present in the previous model is missing.

AR Emoji:

Galaxy S9 - Ticking the Right Boxes - AR Emoji
AR and Emoji are two things which we don’t often hear together in the same sentence. But it’s 2018, that’s how the world is at the moment. So Samsung took Apple’s Animoji and combined it with bitmoji to create a weird mashup called AR Emoji. For starters, you can record for more than ten secs. But from the initial set of demo’s that we’ve seen, it doesn’t look as good as Animoji.

The Battery:

When thinking about the battery capacity on both the phones, we can only say “Let it go.. Let it go..”. Note 7 battery fiasco was in 2016 and since then Samsung has had three winners in Samsung S8, S8+ and Note 8. In spite of all that, they still choose to play it safe with 3000mAH on Galaxy S9 and 3500mAH on Galaxy S9+. That’s hardly a flagship like quality. One might argue that Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 will help in the battery life but most of the world will not use that processor and having a little extra will surely help. Well, maybe they will try a bit harder next time around.

The Colors:

Galaxy S9 - Ticking the Right Boxes - Color Choices
Leave it to Samsung to bring out the most eye-popping colors on the phones. This year’s line up seems to be fantastic looking and all the phones are quite an eye candy.

Value Added Features – IP68 Rating

Galaxy S9 - Ticking the Right Boxes - Water Resistant

At this point, it is expected that all the phones are water and dust resistant. Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are rated IP68 at up to 1.5m for 30 mins. So don’t worry if you forget your phone and jump into the pool for a swim (just don’t quote me on that! lol)


Judging by the initial reactions to the phone, it just doesn’t look like a little iterative update to last year’s phone but looks more like a significant refinement. If you have an S8 or an S8+, we don’t think this is the year you have to upgrade. But if you are coming from an S7 or S6, this is the year to upgrade. Hoping that this jump starts some more innovation regarding mobile cameras and mobile photography in general.
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