We’re just over a week away from the big Samsung Galaxy S9 reveal on February 25th and I thought I’d have a quick chat about last years model, the Galaxy S8 and whats next for Samsung.
With so many S9 leaks out there, I’m pretty sure nothing is secret now.
I only used the S8 for a few days so this isn’t a conclusive review but more of an idea where Samsung might improve upon with the S9.
Display and Design
The S8 had a stand out display dubbed the Quad HD SUPER AMOLED Infinity Display, it was a full 5.8″ with curved edges and minimal bezel. The body is made up of an aluminium frame with a glass back, single lens and a badly placed fingerprint sensor.
The OLED panel used was simply fantastic and the best on the market for most of 2017, nothing came close to matching it. I think from most leaks the S9 looks to have the same size screen as before and maybe even brighter with more colours.
The iPhone X took the crown of best display going into 2018 even though Samsung designed the OLED panel for Apple, the S8 also had a mono single speaker which the S9 seems to have replaced with 2 stereo speakers in a set up similar to the iPhone X but with Dolby Surround tuned by acoustics company AKG.
The S9 will hopefully have the rumoured 3D touch display seen on iPhones since 2015, a pressure sensitive screen allows for more actions and shortcuts.
Oh and the S9 has a freaking headphone jack.
Now I know Samsung love sticking bloat on their devices but I actually liked the look and design of Bixby even though it lacked a lot of Google Assistant features. I think with a year under its belt and some more integration into the Samsung experience it might actually start to be useful.
The fact is for a brand new assistant, it’s already better than Siri and that’s 7 years old and still utterly useless. Some integration with emails and bookings will be a nice update but we’ll have to see as nothing has been leaked on this front from the S9.
Android Oreo 8.1
Oreo is actually rolling out at the moment to the S8 and S8+ across the World so this won’t be a huge change in OS for some when the S9 is released, but for many they probably still won’t have it by the time the S9 is here.
I’ve spoken about Oreo before, but what features will it bring to the Samsung S8 and S9 as some are already on the S8 like Picture in Picture.
For me the best new feature is shortcuts on the home screen seen on Google Pixel devices, if Samsung have added 3D touch to the display then this feature would have a little vibration as you push harder onto the screen to access more options.
The S8 already had a similar option with a long press on the app icons but it was very limited, with Oreo the App developers can add anything to the shortcuts and give you more choice.
The S8 came with Android 7.0 Nougat so the S9 will of course ship with Oreo but it’s unknown if it’s 8.0 or 8.1 at this time. Samsung have a very bad habit of updating devices to the newest OS a year late but 8.1 did come out in December so this is actually very fast for a change.
I found the S8 to be a tad sluggish with certain apps but most wouldn’t notice this unless you’re use to an iPhone or Pixel. Here’s hoping the Samsung experience is fine tuned more to Android to prevent this and bring a smooth OS to an already great hardware.
The Camera on the S8 is very good, it is still one of the best on the market but the Note 8, Pixel 2 and iPhone X are all superior but also a lot newer.
The rumours regarding the S9 camera are huge if true, they’re pushing the camera as the main focus this year. The camera is rumoured to have a single lens on the S9 and dual lens on S9+, both will feature the usual 12MP sensor and the phones will be able to dynamically switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4. It’ll be interesting to see how that will work on the single lens.
It’s crazy that the S9 is almost here and it’s been a year with the S8 already but here we are, the rest of the leaks show the same RAM and memory as the S8 so not a huge update but hopefully more work is done on OS refinements.
Samsung have shown they’re ready to take big steps in design and they don’t just follow the pack, hopefully the S9 is a worthy upgrade but for me it sounds like this might be a minor one before the big Galaxy X arrives next year with folding screen.