- Sleek Design
- New Camera Technology
- Good Low Light Camera Performance
- Great multitasking performance
- Feature packed software
- Large Screen
- Dual Camera Sensors
- Acceptable Battery Life
- Little difference from S9
- Premium Pricing
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ were both launched a few months ago. We’ve done the review for it’s smaller sister, but we thought it prudent to take a look at the larger flagship from Samsung. The larger S9+ shares many similarities with its smaller sister, so, we’ll be taking a closer look at the main differences between the two in this review. For the rest of the details, you can refer to our S9 Review.
The larger size of the S9+ is the main differentiating factor between the S9 and the S9+. But Samsung didn’t just stop there when it came to differentiating the devices; they also added more RAM, a second camera and a larger battery. So, the big question is: Do these additions make it worth the premium over the S9? Let’s get into the details before dolling out the conclusions.
The larger size of the S9+ is definitely the first thing that will draw your attention when you’re looking at the S9+. This allows Samsung to equip the S9+ with a larger display. That said, the larger display also means that the S9+ has a slightly lower pixel density that the S9. But, that shouldn’t factor in too much as the drop in pixel density isn’t noticable to the human eye. The screen comes with the same 2160×1440 pixels and has a larger 5.8-inch size.
The larger screen does make the S9+ a better phone for multitasking and media consumption. The screen size allows for a more functional experience when it comes to split screen multitasking and even picture-in-picture (PIP) or floating widow. The bigger screen real estate allows you to interact with your screens with ease and also allows you to optimise your screen experience. Simply put, you can comfortably type in while watching a YouTube window in split screen or floating window mode.
Watching and consuming videos on the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is also more immersive than its smaller sister. The larger screen allows you to delve deeper into the content your watching – similar to how larger televisions usually provide a more immersive experience. The inclusion of dual front firing speakers takes you even deeper into your content. The lower pixel density seriously doesn’t even affect the user experience when it comes down to it.
While benchmarks give us an indication of how the device performs, we’ll be talking about the overall experience of the S9+ with the additional RAM.
Additional RAM generally means that your device has more space when it comes to storing things temporarily. Think of it as a larger closet in a hotel room while traveling. The more space you have the more clothes you have access to. In a similar way, the larger RAM space should translate into marginally better performance.
This holds true for the S9+. The larger amount of RAM doesn’t revolutionize the user experience of the S9+ but it does improve certain elements of the user experience. The first thing I’d highlight is the more snappy response from the device. But, unless your looking for flaws, you’d never notice it.
The overall interface for the Samsung skin on Android has been optimised to work quite seamlessly. The RAM hungry days of TouchWiz are literally yesterday’s news. In all honesty, the only place you’d actually see a noticeable difference in the performance of resource hungry games or applications.
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ has a little edge over the S9 when it comes to battery life. If you’ve followed the reviews of the S9, including ours, battery life has been a pain point for many reviewers out there. What about the larger 3,500mAh battery in the S9+? It’s a little better, but not by very much. While the Galaxy S9 had about 5-9 hours of battery life, the S9+ had a slightly better 6 to 8 hours during my review period. This really isn’t ideal for anyone who’s working on the go. Being the better device for multitasking, the battery life has more than a little room for improvement.
While the biggest differences (pun intended) between the two is size, the next most obvious is the camera. You will immediately realise that the Samsung Galaxy S9+ has a secondary camera sensor. While it seems like the dual camera phenomenon isn’t going anywhere, when it comes to camera performance, it literally doesn’t bring much to the table. The two main benefits of the second camera sensor are: 2x Zoom and Depth sensing. In all other aspects, the S9+ carries the same camera features as it’s smaller sister.
The depth sensing capabilities of the secondary camera sensor allow the Samsung Galaxy S9+ to take beautiful pictures with the much sought Bokeh effect. Samsung has actually optimised their algorithm pretty well when it comes to the Bokeh effect. You don’t get the “halo effect” where there is a noticeable border between the blurring and the subject in focus. In addition to this, the camera sensor also allows the S9+ to take more vibrantly coloured pictures.
In addition to the depth sensing, the secondary sensor of the S9+ allows users to zoom seamlessly without quality loss. The maximum zoom is about 2x; anything beyond that is done digitally and has some quality degradation. The major plus point of this comes in video mode where the Galaxy S9+ can move between 1x and 2x zoom without pausing or stopping the video recording.
That said, many of the hallmark features that we saw in the Galaxy S9 are also mirrored in the S9+; this includes the Animoji feature and the Super slow motion capture.
All in all, the Galaxy S9+ is a slightly enhanced version of the S9. But are the enhancements worth the premium that Samsung is asking for the device? Possibly. The enhanced features come in handy if you’re looking for a device to use as a primary or secondary device for content creation and also if you’re a photography enthusiast looking for a capable camera on the go. But for the everyday Joe, the premium can possibly outweigh the benefits of the enhancements. Having an option in the S9 that gives you about the same experience with 85% of the features makes the S9+ a less compelling device.
However, if you can afford the Galaxy S9+, the phone is one that will spoil you. All the features and the performance will ensure that your next device will still be a Galaxy S flagship, if not the Galaxy Note. That said, Samsung has a little bit more work when it comes to polishing up the experience on the Galaxy S series and with the S9 and S9+ it isn’t hard to say they are on the right track when it comes to features and hardware.
Also published on Medium.