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Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus: The 12 most exciting features

These are the top features of Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus set to be released in mid-March.
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By Jake Smith, Contributor on
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1 of 14 CNET/CBS Interactive

Samsung's 2018 Galaxy phone is here

Samsung is here with its latest flagship phones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. What's new? The nearly bezel-less Galaxy S9 lineup includes an upgraded camera, small design changes, deeper artificial intelligence integration, and more.

Set to hit stores March 16, the Galaxy S9 lineup has several interesting features in store that should make it a top smartphone in 2018...

Read: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus first impressions: Improving upon the S8 Plus just where it was needed

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2 of 14 CNET/CBS Interactive

Upgraded cameras

The main camera on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus is a 12-megapixel Super Speed Dual Pixel (f/1.5, f/2.4) lens with a variable aperture. It adjusts depending on light conditions.

Samsung says it's the first to put adjustable aperture in a smartphone. If the Galaxy S9 is taking a picture in the dark, the lens opens to F1.5 mode to pull in light for a bright and clear photo. In the daylight, the lens shifts to F2.4 mode to help reduce the amount of light filtering into the photo for a sharper look.

The Galaxy S9 only has one camera on the rear, while the Galaxy S9 Plus adds a second 12-megapixel telephoto (f/2.4 aperture) lens that supplies 2x optical zoom. It's earned great marks in early testing.

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3 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Fingerprint scanner moved

Samsung has moved the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S9 to below the camera array. On the Galaxy S8, the fingerprint scanner was found to the right of the camera. In early testing, we found it to be much better.

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Color choices

Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are available in:

  • Midnight Black
  • Coral Blue
  • Titanium Gray
  • Lilac Purple

Not all colors are available in every region.

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Bixby vision

Samsung is extending its artificial intelligence platform Bixby to the Galaxy S9's camera to provide more real-time information over the Galaxy S8. When a user points the camera at an object, Bixby will recognize what it's looking at and presents information related to that object overlaid on top of the image.

Bixby features nine different camera modes including Text, Food, Makeup, Wine, Shopping, Image, QR Code, and more.

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More power

Both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus pack beefy specifications:

  • Galaxy S9 has 4GB of RAM
  • Galaxy S9 Plus has 6GB of RAM
  • Both phones ship with 64GB of internal storage

Battery:

  • Galaxy S9 has 3000mAh battery for up to 12 hours of 4G LTE use
  • Galaxy S9 Plus has 3500mAh battery for up to 15 hours of 4G LTE use
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Waterproof

Like the Galaxy S8, the new Galaxy S9 has an IP68 dust and water-resistance rating. This means it can withstand being submerged in fresh water up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

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8 of 14 CNET/CBS Interactive

Display

Both the 5.8-inch Galaxy S9 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S9 Plus have slightly curved AMOLED screens with 2,960 x 1,440 pixel resolution displays. Like other Galaxy smartphones, Samsung's new flagship has a beautiful infinity display. Unlike the iPhone X, the Galaxy S9 doesn't incorporate a notch at the top of the display.

Galaxy S9 has a 571 ppi, while the Galaxy S9 Plus has a 529 ppi.

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9 of 14 CNET/CBS Interactive

Stereo speakers

Samsung added stereo speakers to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. Tuned by AKG, the stereo speakers pump out surround sound supported by Dolby Atmos. Samsung claims sound is 1.4x more powerful than previous Galaxy devices.

Galaxy S9 keeps the headphone jack.

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10 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Wireless charging

Samsung is continuing to support the Qi wireless charging standard with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. Of course, fast charging is included like the Galaxy S8.

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AR Emoji

In an attempt to fend off Apple's Animoji, the Galaxy S9 includes AR emoji. From a single selfie, the Galaxy S9's uses machine-learning to generate a personalized 3D avatar that looks like you and can mimic movements. Here's early impressions, and they're not great.

AR Emoji are compatible with messaging apps that tap Samsung's keyboard. They can also be shared as GIFs or PNG files to non-supported smartphones.

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DeX Pad

This official Samsung accessory will turn your Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus into a CPU to power a monitor, keyboard, and take in an Ethernet connection. Read more about it here.

Pricing and release date hasn't been shared by Samsung yet.

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13 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

microSD card slot

Like past Galaxys, Samsung has included a microSD card slot to expand to an additional 400GB of storage.

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