What’s improved on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+?

Here are Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ specs, features, prices, pre-order info, launch date, trade-in promo, customer-exclusives, camera samples, and more.

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ follow the design of the S8 and S8+, notable improvements include (1) a new camera system (variable F1.5 and F2.4 apertures960fps slow motion capture at 720p, dual rear 12MP sensors on the S9+); (2) better-positioned rear fingerprint sensor (under the camera and not beside it); (3) louder speakers (AKG-tuned speakers with Dobly Atmos Surround Sound); (4) better facial authentication (face unlock and iris scanner work together); (5) AR Emojis (a feature popular on the iPhone X); (6) an improved Bixby (live textual language translations, object recognition, overlaying makeup on selfies), and (7) a less clunky “desktop PC” DeX experience (via a sold-separately, portable DeX pad, which turns the phone into a touchpad). Naturally, the S9/S9+ has the newest Exynos 9810 octa-core processor (an upgrade from the Exynos 8895 on the S8/S8+). What’s retained are the Bixby button placement (which I still mistake for the volume rocker), the Type C port, wireless charging, an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, and (yes!), the headphone jack.

The full vision 18:9:5 aspect ratio Super AMOLED disiplays of the S9+ (left) and S9 (right) are so darn nice to look at.

These “improvements” are either remarkable ones (cameras, speakers, and fingerprint sensor placement) or features some can do without (Bixby, AR Emoji, DeX, Face Unlock). Regardless, the S9 and S9+ come with hefty price tags (see price of variants below), enticements (a trade-in promo, pre-order buyers get free stuff), and exclusives (offers and a Samsung concierge) for buyers. Both phones become available on March 16 and pre-orders start on February 27 and end on March 6. The S9 and S9+ will be available at Samsung Experience Stores, select Abenson’s stores, and SM Appliance stores.

Check out our Quick Camera Shoot Out Between the Galaxy S9+ and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro here.

The rear sides of the S9 and S9+ are so shiny it’s hard to take pics of them. Recommend you use a protective case, else you’ll have a place to put your fingerprint collection.

Below are sample camera shots (some of you came for this), details on the enticements and exclusives, and the full specs of both phones (differences are highlighted).

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Specs

Galaxy S9 Galaxy S9+
OS Android 8 Oreo with Samsung Experience 9.0
Display 5.8-inch WQHD Super AMOLED 2960 x 1440 resolution, 18:9:5 aspect ratio, with Curved Infinity Display, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, 568 ppi 6.2-inch WQHD Super AMOLED 2960 x 1440 resolution, 18:9:5 aspect ratio, with Curved Infinity Display, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, 531 ppi
Body 163g, 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm 189g, 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.3 mm
Rear Camera/s 12MP (F1.5 / F2.4) with Dual Pixel, OIS, multi-frame, and dual tone LED flash 12MP (F1.5 / F2.4) + 12 MP F2.4 telephoto lens with Dual Pixel, Dual OIS, multi-frame, and dual tone LED flash
Front Camera 8MP F1.7 w/ AF, wide angle lens, and screen flash
CPU 2.9GHz 64-bit Exynos 9810 octa-core processor
GPU Mali-G72 MP18
Storage 64GB expandable via microSD card up to 256GB 64/128/256GB expandable via microSD card up to 256GB
Battery 3,000mAh with wireless charging and fast charging 3,500mAh with wireless charging and fast charging
Connectivity WiFi ac, 3G, HSPA+, LTE Cat 18, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors Pressure, accelerometer, barometer, gyro, geomagnetic, hall, HR, proximity, light
Security Rear Fingerprint, Iris, Face
Others IP68 rating (water and dust resistance), USB Type-C, UHQ 32 bit / DSD support, Bixby Vision 2.0, AKG-powered dual speakers with Dolby Atmos Surround Sound, Samsung DeX (desktop experience)
Colors Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Coral Blue
Price 64GB = Php45,990 64GB = P52,990

128GB = P55,990

256GB = P60,990

Perks, etc. See below

S9 and S9+ Freebies and Accessories.

Sample Camera Shots on the S9+

The live focus mode (bokeh effect) of the S9+ works so darn well.

Live Focus used on the S9+’s front camera. While images can be “soft”, that’s forgivable since beauty mode is activated. Hence, we’re all pretty here. L-R: Raffy Pedrajita of Techpatrl.com, Me, Anjie de los Reyes of Teknogadyet.com, and Neil Goco Jr. of Pinoytechblog.com.

Low light shot with no tapping to focus anywhere on the scene. Auto HDR works well.

The Perks of Buying a Samsung S9/S9+

Customers who pre-order the S9 or S9+ from February 27 to March 6 can choose one out of three freebies: AKG S30 Bluetooth Speaker, Wireless Charger Convertible, or Php 3,500 discount on Samsung accessories. Regardless of which freebies is chosen, pre-order customers get AKG earphones and a clear cover (in the box), screen warranty for 6 months, 25% off on Zalora, and Honest Bee discounts (P200 off on food and P500 off on groceries). They also get exclusive offers from March 16 to 18, including 20% off on 1 selected S9/S9+ accessory and 10% off on 1 selected wearable.

If you have long fingers or large hands, or if you just prefer a long display, you’ll love the S9+. The great thing is, the slim “waistline” of this tall phone makes it easy to grip, even for those with small hands.

Trade-in Your Old Phone for an S9/S9+

At 31 selected Samsung Experience Stores and Select Stores nationwide, you can trade in your old smartphone. The net value of your phone + Php4,000 token (for straight payments) will be deducted from the Galaxy S9/S9+’s SRP. Of course, your trade-in phone will be checked and evaluated first.

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is the first smartphone to have a dual aperture camera system, one that’s designed to cope with any lighting condition.

Your Very Own Samsung Concierge

Samsung S9/S9+ buyers also enjoy a Samsung Concierge though which they will enjoy:

  • 24/7 hotline (they can talk to a Galaxy agent anytime of day)
  • Free pick up and delivery (FREE courier service for damaged/repaired units)
  • VIP Express Lane (no need to wait in line in 9 ASCs nationwide)
  • Pre-appointment booking (customers can book via hotline hassle-free)

Installment Options

You can also get the S9 or S9+ via easy payment options:

  • Citybank: 0% up to 36 months
  • BDO: 0% up to 24 months
  • PSBank: debit card cashback – P3.5k bonus for straight payment

The smaller Samsung Galaxy S9 has less RAM (4GB compared to 6GB) and one less rear camera compared to the S9+.

The S9 looks a lot like the S8, except for the now properly placed rear fingerprint sensor, which is under the camera and not beside it.

And that’s it

Just two things to get off my chest. First, unlike the S8 and S8+, which were not so far apart as per specs and features, the S9 and S9+ have a bigger gap. The S9+ not only has more screen space, but also more RAM and more camera (and consequently, a more capable rear camera set up – the S9 doesn’t have Live Focus unlike the S9+). Second, I still don’t get why a DeX pad is needed to connect the S9/S9+ to a monitor and keyboard. A similar “PC desktop” experience is possible on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, but only a sold-separately cable is need.

And that’s it. If you’re a Samsung fan who considered the S8/S8+ but held on to your S7/S7 edge, the S9/S9+ are really good upgrades. The new camera system – it’s the first variable aperture camera set up – is really promising.

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Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for www.technoodling.net.