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Samsung Galaxy S9: is it a worthy successor to the Galaxy S8?

What's new? And what's not so new? We find out

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 has finally launched.

But is Samsung’s latest flagship really all it’s cracked up to be? Can this new smartphone be seen as a worthy follow up the Galaxy S8, a phone that proved to be Samsung’s salvation?

We weigh it up...

After Samsung's latest handset? Here are our best Samsung Galaxy S9 deals and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus deals.

If it ain’t broke...

Samsung Galaxy S9 screen hero size

Samsung has refined rather than revolutionised with the Galaxy S9.

The design of its new phone is broadly similar to the Galaxy S8, bar a small change that sees the fingerprint scanner placed beneath the phone’s camera.

The screen still dominates and that’s worth shouting about. Samsung was out of the gate well before Apple with its all–screen approach and the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ method should be praised.

The 5.8–inch display looks fantastic, even if things look largely the same as last year.

Better facial scanning

Samsung Galaxy S9 facial scanner animated avatar AR

The iPhone X’s Face ID, coupled with the below par facial scanning experience of last year’s Galaxy S8, meant this was always going to be an area Samsung would improve on.

In this instance, the S9 is a worthy successor, offering better facial mapping, beefed up security and a much less clunky take on the tech found in its predecessor.

Is it as good as Face ID? Only real world tests can tell, but in the context of improving on older models, this is a welcome boost.

Variable aperture skills


Sticking with a single lens camera on the Galaxy S9 could be construed as backwards looking.

But lens count, like megapixel count back in the day, can be misleading.

The decision to switch from a standard f/1.7 aperture lens to a variable aperture effort that can be switched from f/1.5 to f/2.4 is laudable.

This is a feature that is usually found in proper compact cameras, not those seen on smartphones.

The result is better low light performance and crisper, cleaner images when taking in more of a scene.

Audio prowess

Samsung Galaxy S9 audio

Again, a small tweak, but one we think makes the Galaxy S9 a better bet than the Galaxy S8.

AKG’s front–facing speakers sound amazing and put audio front and centre.

Sure, you’ll still want a proper speaker when listening for long periods, but such tech means there’s really no need to pay out for a small Bluetooth speaker when on the road.

Last year’s S8 sounded tinny. The S9 sounds anything but.

Android 8.1 out of the box

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in-hand homescreens

Samsung has begun rolling out Android 8.1 to the Galaxy S8 in recent weeks.

But the chance to have it out of the box on the Galaxy S9 is far more appealing.

For one, this phone has more grunt and can handle the newer software’s nuances better.

For another, it means you’ll be able to get Android P, out next year, before other Samsung phones.

Samsung isn’t the best at handling Android updates, so this is the best way to experience it on the Korean company’s devices.

Want Samsung's latest flagship? Here are our best Samsung Galaxy S9 deals.

Want the bigger version? Take a look at our best Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus deals.

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