Samsung Galaxy S9: Everything you need to know

Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. Here's everything we currently know about the new smartphones.

Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The two new phones are poised to take on Apple's iPhone X and Google's Pixel 2 lineup.

From super slow-motion videos to better low-light shots, the S9 has an improved camera setup. There's even a new Intelligent Scan feature that combines iris scanning and facial recognition to unlock the phone.

Read also: Samsung launches dual camera solution for budget phones | CNET: Is Samsung's answer to the iPhone X's face scanner real? | TechRepublic: Why Samsung's Galaxy S9 could be one of the fastest Android phones ever

Will there be a Galaxy S9 Plus?

As Samsung has done for the past few years, it appears there will be two Galaxy S9 models in 2018. A standard Galaxy S9 and a bigger S9 Plus should be available when the S9 launches.

Read also: Key executive behind Samsung Pay and Bixby joins Google

What does Galaxy S9 look like?

galaxy-s9-1.jpg
Matthew Miller/ZDNet

It looks last year's Galaxy S8 lineup. The Infinity display is still around, with small bezels. The back has the most dramatic change to it, with the fingerprint sensor now sitting below the camera lens instead of to the side of it.

Read also: Samsung Galaxy S9: Speed tests show Snapdragon 845 will blitz 2017 flagships

Which colors will be available for Galaxy S9?

There will be three main colors of the S9 and S9 Plus: lilac purple, midnight black and coral blue. Some carriers will carry all three, while others will be limited to just the black variant.

Read also: Galaxy Note 7 review: Samsung nearly achieves smartphone perfection

What will Galaxy S9 feature?

Processor

In the US, Samsung will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 processor -- and it's expected to be blazing fast compared to last years Snapdragon 835 chip.

Fingerprint scanner

One of the loudest complaints about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 was the placement of the fingerprint reader. In order to make room for the bigger display Samsung now uses, the sensor was moved to the back of the phone. Only, instead of putting the sensor in the middle of the phone, as most of its competitors do, the sensor was placed up high, next to the camera.With Galaxy S9, however, Samsung moved the sensor closer to the middle of the back -- just underneath the camera.

We first saw a glimpse of the new fingerprint sensor location when the company announced the Galaxy A8 (2018).

Facial recognition

Samsung has featured both facial recognition and iris-scanning technology in its phones for a while now, but the technology has been nowhere near as complex as Apple's Face ID feature on the iPhone X.

With Galaxy S9, Samsung has Intelligent Scan. The new feature will use both iris scanning and facial recognition to unlock your device.

Cameras

The Galaxy S9 will boast a super slow-mo mode and a super-speed, dual-pixel, 12-megapixel camera with apertures of f1.5 and f2.4. Changing between apertures is done automatically, depending on the amount of ambient light.

The Galaxy S9 Plus is the only model that comes with dual cameras on the back of the phone. One camera captures wide-angle photos using the dual aperture module. The other lens is a 12-megapixel telephoto lens.

Stereo speakers

Samsung has finally added stereo speakers to the Galaxy line. The speakers are tuned by Dolby Atmos, and accompany a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Apple's iPhone line has had stereo speakers for a few years now, and the additional output makes a huge difference when listening to music or talking over speakerphone.

Official specs

Here are the official specs of the S9 and S9 Plus:

Galaxy S9 Galaxy S9 Plus
Operating System Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo
Display 5.8-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED 6.2-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED
Size 147.7mm x 68.7mm x 8.5mm, 163g 158.1mm x 73.8mm x 8.5mm, 189g
Rear Camera 12-megapixel auto-focus w/OIS, F1.5/F2.4 Dual lenses. Wide-angle 12-megapixel auto-focus w/OIS, F1.5/F2.4. Telephoto: 12-megapixel auto-focus, F2.4
Front Camera 8-megapixel auto-focus, F1.7 8-megapixel auto-focus, F1.7
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US
Memory 4GB 6GB
Storage 64GB 64GB
Battery 3,000mAh 3,500mAh
Water/Dust Resistance IP68 IP68
Sensors Iris sensor, Pressure sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint sensor, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, HR sensor, Proximity sensor, RGB Light sensor Iris sensor, Pressure sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint sensor, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, HR sensor, Proximity sensor, RGB Light sensor

Business features

Last year's crop of flagship smartphones from Samsung worked with DeX, a dock that turns the phone into a full-fledged computer. This year, Samsung is releasing a new product called DeX Pad. hat uses the phone's display as a trackpad.

Software improvements

The S9 and S9 Plus launch with a few new software tricks. Primarily, Android 8.0 Oreo is installed out of the box. Additionally, AR Emoji creates a 2D image of you, then uses the front facing sensors and camera to mimic 100 different facial expressions. These creations can then be used in messaging apps to share with friends and family members.

Read also: Samsung Gear Sport review: Smartwatch and activity tracker with enterprise-focused functionality

When will Galaxy S9 be available?

Samsung and its carrier partners will begin taking preorders on March 2 at 12:01 a.m. PT. In store availability will begin March 16, the same day preorders will arrive.

How much will the S9 cost?

A lot, but not as much as anticipated. Directly from Samsung you can expect to pay $719 for the S9, and $840 for the S9 Plus for an unlocked device. Carriers offer different payment plans and pricing and trade-in deals. You can read more about cost and trade-in deals here.

Previous and related coverage

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: The epitome of a business-first smartphone

The Note 8 gets the job done, and does it exceptionally well. A smaller battery is frustrating but should be enough to get through most days. Note fans, you're going to love this phone.

Samsung Galaxy Book first look: A Surface Pro competitor with keyboard and stylus included

Samsung's latest Windows 10 offering is naturally compared to the Microsoft Surface Pro. One major difference is that the Galaxy Book comes with a keyboard in the box. It also has a longer battery life than the Surface Pro 4.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review: Stunning large display, balanced design, and advanced technology

Samsung needed a compelling device to bounce back from the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco and the Galaxy S8 is sure to appeal.

Samsung Gear IconX (2018) review: Comfortable, long-lasting wireless earbuds that are perfect for running and the gym

The new Samsung Gear IconX lasts through my longest runs, never moves around in any weather condition, provides solid sound and volume, and has some advanced features for those looking for more than just a Bluetooth headset.

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