Galaxy S9 Plus Review!

Galaxy S9 Plus?  Is it the absolutely the best smartphone out in 2018?   In terms of overall performance/value, I would like to say so.   The Galaxy S9 Plus is Samsung’s latest flagship featuring Snapdragon 845 (or Exynos 9810) processor, 6.2 inch 1440P AMOLED curved screen, 6GB of RAM, 64/128/256GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, 12MP F1.5/F2.4 dual back cameras, 8MP F1.7 front camera, stereo speakers, and Iris/Fingerprint/Face scanners for security.  Packing a ton of features(as usual), Samsung has launched a beastly smartphone that may well be its best so far.

In terms of design and feel, Galaxy S9 Plus has not changed so much from last year’s S8 Plus other than dual cameras and upgraded fingerprint sensor position right in the smack center.  While I’ve had no issues getting used to last year’s awkward fingerprint position after about a month, this year’s S9 Plus will definitely be much better experience for most as fingerprint sensor is a lot easier to get used to since it is in the center.  Of course, I still feel the fingerprint sensor is a bit awkward as it is lower than many other phones of similar size.  But you will not have problem using it.

Samsung probably makes the sexiest smartphone these days, the phone feels absolutely fabulous in your hand, overall very glassy feel like almost holding fragile glass.  Of course, it does have its disadvantages as curved glass is easy to break and the Galaxy smartphones are one of the most fragile smartphones on the market.  If you drop it, consider saying good bye to your screen most of the time.  I’ve broken more Galaxy smartphones(3 now) than any other smartphone I have ever used, the curved screen is sexy and makes the phone easy to hold but it certainly makes it the easiest to break.

(Above is my S7 Edge I cracked the screen even with a case on.  I STILL have not gotten it repaired.)

Probably the biggest improvement this year is the camera.  The main rear camera features auto aperture F1.5/F2.4 camera that will give you sharper photos in daylight with F2.4 while F1.5 gives you the ultimate low-light performance.  Coupled with a zoom F2.4 camera that will give you additional 2X zoom, you will be able to capture photos and videos in more places than ever before.  In terms of photo, I would still say Pixel 2 is king of low-light photography but S9 Plus is still pretty good in most conditions and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

As for video camera, the F1.5 does an excellent job of getting those low-light videos without a hitch and noise.  In my testing, I have found the S9 Plus to have the best low-light videos thanks to its F1.5 lens.  Of course, this is also the first Galaxy smartphone to launch with 4K 60fps and that is an awesome feature most Android smartphones don’t have yet.

 

Volume buttons are on the left side with a dedicated Bixby AI button as before.  I do actually just find Bixby very useless as I have been doing most of my stuff with Google Assistant.   I would actually like for Samsung to get rid of the button, it is just absolutely useless for people like myself who have already gotten used to using Google Assistant.  While they are not identical, I find Google Assistant much more useful, especially in home automation as I have everything in my house hooked up to Google Home.

(Yes, Samsung has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack!)

(Sexy as usual, right side comes with a single Power button.)

Dual-SIM models will allow you to use two SIM cards or one SIM card along with a microSD card.  This is the international SM-G965F/DS model that I have and I love this model since I have the option to use two SIMs and also bootloader is unlocked meaning it is easily rootable.

Security has been always improving and rather than adding new hardware, this year Samsung has opted to add “Intelligent Scan”, which automatically uses for Face Recognition and Iris Scanner to quickly unlock your phone.   While I am not too fond of Face Recognition nor Iris Scanner, it does improve your unlocking experience a tad, not bad.

As for software, you will get the latest Android 8.0 Oreo running out of the box with Samsung Experience version 9.0.  Performance is very good on the S9 Plus with no sort of lag whatsoever, especially on the international Exynos model.  I would try to avoid the Snapdragon models sold by carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon as they all have bloatware and cause a very bad lag after about a month of use.

However, if you are a gamer, you may want to stick with the Snapdragon model as its graphics performance is much higher than the Exynos model.  If you don’t play games much like myself though, Exynos is definitely much better choice and in general Exynos models get 1-2 more hours of battery life due to its efficiency over Snapdragon models.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus does NOT run at 100% out of the box.  You will have to put it in into “Performance mode” to get the extra 10% out of it.  And in performance mode, wow the phone runs fassssst.

Samsung has always been on the forefront of display technology and the S9 Plus is no exception.  Viewing angles are incredible and screen is brighter than any other screen on the market.  Battery life is also excellent with the S9 Plus, this is definitely a phone that will get you all day battery life.

While Samsung has not improved upon fast wireless charging technology, it is certainly still one of its best features and makes my life very convenient as I never look for my charging adapter anymore instead, just set it and forget it.

Also, IP68-rating on the S9 Plus is one of the best.  I’ve gone swimming with it for hours, dunked in 100-degree spa whenever I go in my spa many times, and makes it easy to clean all that grime off your phone at the end of the day.  Of course, fast wireless charging also allows you to quickly recharge your phone after getting wet while phones that don’t have it, you will have to wait for your charging port to dry first.

Overall, the Galaxy S9 Plus is the best smartphone you can buy at the moment in my opinion for the latest processor with best camera and something that will last you the next 1-2 years.   If you absolutely need the S-Pen feature, the Galaxy Note 8 is still a good choice.  If you are thinking about upgrading from S8 Plus, the upgrades aren’t too big other than the faster processor and better camera but you may be better off waiting for the S10.  And for anyone else upgrading from older Galaxy, this is definitely a recommended upgrade.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.