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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus: everything you need to know

With excellent cameras, fuller sound and crisper displays designed for multi-tasking, the S9 stole the show at MWC.
galaxy s9 lilac

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are finally here.

After months of leaks and speculation, the Korean tech giant took to the stage in Barcelona at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) technology expo to show off its latest flagship phones. And we're pleased to be able to tell you that they don’t disappoint.

Refining the very best aspects of last year’s well reviewed Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, these phones promise to be among the finest of 2018.

Here are five things you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

Sold on the S9 or S9 Plus? Take a look at our pick of the best deals on our comparison page.

What else is noteworthy about MWC 2018? Keep up to speed with our extensive coverage of this year's event

Amazing cameras

samsung-galaxy-s9-camera-day

Samsung has always equipped its best phones with state-of-the-art cameras. And the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are no different.

Each model features a special lens with variable aperture, allowing users to switch between f/1.5 for low light photography and f/2.4 for standard shooting.

Such functionality is usually reserved for dedicated digital cameras rather than those in smartphones, which ought to give Samsung's new efforts the edge against their rivals.

The larger S9 Plus is equipped with a second lens, making it the first Galaxy S series smartphone to have a dual-lens setup.

Aligned vertically, it promises to deliver first-rate portrait photos.

Meanwhile, the front–facing camera on the S9 and S9 Plus has super slow motion video recording at 960 frames per second.

Keen to take a closer look at the S9 and S9 Plus' cameras? Here's the key things you need to know.

Create animated avatars to share with your friends

Samsung Galaxy S9 AR camera Disney

Just a few months ago, Apple gave the world yet another thing it never knew it needed: animojis. For those of you who managed to miss the hype, they’re emojis that mirror your facial expressions and mimic your voice, so you can send completely personalised animated clips.

Not to be outdone, Samsung has gone one better with the S9 and S9 Plus. But how can you top something as life-changing as animated emojis? Well, the same way you make everything better: with a sprinkle of Disney magic.

Yes, Samsung has teamed up with the House of Mouse to bring us animated avatars modelled on some of Disney’s most beloved characters.

On the handset we tested at the launch, Mickey Mouse was the only character available. But, judging by the promotional images we’ve, it looks like his better half, the lovely Minnie Mouse, will feature, as well as the Incredibles gang.

Samsung S9 Disney announcement animojis

Although there’s not been an announcement yet, it’s likely that Samsung will roll out the Incredibles in time for the film’s much-anticipated sequel in June.

And if Disney isn’t your thing, there’s a whole range of more generic cartoon faces to choose from. Alternatively, you can create your very own avatar that looks like you and sounds like you.

Samsung S9 animated avatar

Using its smart facial recognition-scanning tech, the S9 and S9 Plus will pull out your key features and create a cartoon version of you.

You can change the hairstyles and add glasses and other accessories, as well as change outfits to make sure your animated alter-ego is always dressed for the occasion.

Full, rich sound

Samsung Galaxy S9 audio

Both the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus come with surround sound stereo speakers ‘tuned’ by audio specialists AKG.

This is an area that Samsung has been sorely lacking in compared with the likes of HTC and Apple in recent years.

While those tired of being aurally assaulted on public transport won’t be overjoyed, their inclusion does mean there’s no need to splash out on a Bluetooth speaker when on the road or listening casually at home.

And when it’s time to put your headphones on, you’ll be pleased to know that Samsung has yet again included the 3.5mm jack. So you can listen to your trusty wired headphones without having to faff about with a cumbersome adaptor.

Lush, crystal clear screens and plenty of power

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The 5.8–inch Galaxy S9 and 6.2–inch Galaxy S9 Plus both have 2960 x 1440 resolution displays with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. Which makes it ideal for split-screen apps, as you can have two windows open comfortably at the same time without having to squint.

The aspect ratio is in-line with last year’s S8 and Note 8. But the key thing to note is that Samsung has shrunk the bezels (that’s just a technical term for the edges that surround the display). That means that it has managed to incorporate the same-sized screen in a body that’s smaller than the S8.

And the phones aren't just pretty to look at. With a waterproof rating of IP68, a tough aluminium frame and Gorilla Glass 5 on the front, they're built to survive the rough and tumble of everyday life.

The S9 also is home to a 3000 mAh battery, while the larger model comes with a 3500 mAh effort.

Both phones are said to run for a day and a half on a single charge and are powered by an Exynos 9810 processor.

The Galaxy S9 comes with a handy 4GB of RAM too, to keep things ticking smoothly, while the larger S9 Plus has 6GB of RAM.

The S9 comes with 64GB storage, the S9 Plus with 128GB storage. Both have microSD support for up to a whopping 400GB of storage. And they've got an octa-core processor and dual SIM slots.

Similar design to the Galaxy S8

From the front, it’s hard to tell Samsung’s S9 phones apart from the S8.

If you look really close, though, you’ll notice that Samsung has shrunk the edges around the screen, to incorporate a screen with the same dimensions as the S8 in a slightly smaller body.

Around the back, there’s a fingerprint scanner that’s been relocated. It’s now below the camera.

The result is that it’s a bit easier to get to and won’t get in the way. Perhaps more importantly, you’re now less likely to inadvertently touch the camera lens and leave finger smudges on it.

Three colours at launch and a fourth to follow

Samsung Galaxy S9 4 colourways

Samsung says the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will come in three colours at launch: midnight black, lilac purple and coral blue. These will be joined by a maple gold option later in the year.

The latter hasn’t been given a specific release date.

Samsung has a habit of revealing more colourways as the year passes, so there’s a chance silver and grey will be added in the future.

Out 16th March. But you can pre-order now

Samsung Galaxy S9 fingerprint scanner hero size

Samsung says the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will be available to buy from 16th March.

However, a limited pre–order option is live now, with those who get in there able to snag the device on 9th March.

General pre–orders open on that date. Either way, a wait of just over two weeks from launch is speedy, with Samsung likely to give the iPhone X a serious run for its money over the spring and summer.

O2, Vodafone and Sky Mobile pricing

Not all networks have announced price points. But we do know what you'll have to pay on the four networks listed above, as well pre-order incentives they're touting.

Sky Mobile is offering the S9 from £33 per month and you get an extra 10GB of data added to your Sky piggy bank to use when you like.

Prices on O2 start at £44 per month for the Galaxy S9, with £209.99 to pay up front. That gets 1GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

Vodafone's deals aren't bad. But the deal that seems to the most traction is £59 per month, with £29 to pay up front. That bags you 16GB of data, as well as unlimited texts and minutes.

SIM free price points

Want the S9 SIM free? That'll set you back £739. Prefer the S9 Plus? That'll cost you £869.

Interested in the S9 or S9 Plus? Take a look at our selection of the best contracts on our comparison page.

Now the S9 has been unveiled, expect price cuts for the Galaxy S8. Take a look at our pick of the best deals right now.

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