Angel Ruelas & TechTalk: Behold the Galaxy S9

Little change outside. Big upgrades on the inside

Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Photo by James Bareham

By Angel Ruelas

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
That’s the direction that Samsung wanted to go for its upcoming flagship phone. It is the phone that Samsung wants to show everyone that they can continue to be the best in the business. The Galaxy S line has been the second biggest selling phone behind the Apple iPhone for many years, yet it has always been known as one of the most competitive phones on the market.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 does not disappoint.

Apple has made several headlines in the past year for being accused of purposely slowing down past generation iPhones. They finally changed the layout of what an iPhone is supposed to look like after 10 years. The move made by Apple to completely revolutionize the iPhone made me question if Samsung was going to do something crazy to their Galaxy S line to kill off the hype of the iPhone X.

Evolutionary or Revolutionary?

Leaked images of the Galaxy S9 were released and I was disappointed that the design and layout of the phone hasn’t changed from the past generation Galaxy S8. A while later, I also realized how much the Galaxy S line is ahead of its time, and that coming out with a completely new layout is going to have its compromises. Sure, the phone is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but that also means Samsung can instead focus on refining the way we use our smartphones.

The Galaxy S9 will come in two different sizes: the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus. There are more changes between the two smartphones than just the screen size though.

The Galaxy S9’s screen has a curved Super AMOLED 5.8-inch display which looks amazing. The phone looks as if there are no bezels on the side of the display. A 3000mah battery that should be able to get you through an entire day of charge with light use, with the benefit of quick charging and wireless charging capabilities. The back camera is a 12 megapixel with optical image stabilization. The Galaxy S9 also comes with a sufficient amount of RAM storage onboard with 4 gigabytes.

The Galaxy S9 Plus is complete overkill on the spec sheet and is going to be a phone that users will not have to worry about replacing for a while. The screen is even bigger with a 6.2-inch display that uses the same technology as its little brother. A bigger screen needs a bigger battery and Samsung adds a 3500mah battery that should be able to last all day and handle moderate to heavy usage on a single full charge. Rather than a single primary camera, Samsung follows the trend of having dual lens smartphone cameras, which means there are two 12 Megapixel camera lens on one smartphone, one for normal shots and the other for wide angles.

Photographer quality images

The feature that is provoking the most noise is the camera, because this was the one area where Samsung did innovate. One disadvantage of using a smartphone camera over a DSLR camera is that smartphone cameras have always had a fixed aperture. The aperture is a way the camera can measure how much light enters the lens. Most smartphone cameras are fixed at an aperture that is only good for well-lit buildings and sunny days rather than concerts and city lights. For the first time ever in a smartphone, Samsung found a way to mechanically switch between an F2.4 aperture for summer adventures and an F1.5 aperture which is great for when you are at a fancy restaurant and want to take photos that do not look grainy.

A flagship phone needs flagship features.

The exterior of the Galaxy S9 has two slabs of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back between an aluminum frame. Both phones have an 8 MP camera for selfies. A flagship phone needs a flagship processor to power it. The Galaxy S9 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that gives users the ability to do intensive multitasking on their smartphone without lagging. The phone’s operating system will be Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

If you don’t already have a Galaxy S8 and are looking for an upgrade, the Samsung Galaxy S9 should be at the top of your list. If you have a Galaxy S8 and are wondering if the upgrade is worth buying a new phone. I honestly think you should wait until next generation or when the Galaxy Note 9 releases. The upgrades are too incremental to recommend spending that type of cash. If I had the choice between the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus, I would choose the Plus every time. If I am already willing to pay for a flagship phone, I feel that the $120 price bump for a larger screen, larger battery, and dual lens cameras is a small price to pay for the big upgrade in everyday use.

Both phones come in 64/128/256 GB variants with four color choices: Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, and Lilac Purple. The smaller S9 will start at $720, and the Plus will start at $840. The Galaxy S9 was released March 2 and will be available through all cell phone providers.