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February 26, 2018

Samsung’s newest stars blast off

The streets of Barcelona was bright with Samsung’s newest stars – the Galaxy S9 and the S9+. Officially unveiled here at Unpacked 2018, and the limelight beamed on how Samsung souped-up the cameras for every walks of life.

Both the S9 and the S9+ feature similar designs from the previous S8 devices. The most obvious change comes from the rearranging the position of the fingerprint sensor. While the S8 had theirs adjacent to the side of the camera, the fingerprint sensor for the S9 and its bigger brother are now found just beneath the camera.

For the new devices, Samsung took another shot at implementing augmented reality. Besides the features we see in Snapchat and Instagram, which are putting digital masks on your selfies, you are now able to make 3D animated avatars based on a rough scan of your face. From here you can further customize your avatar by adding accessories. It’s quite fun from what we’ve seen so far and gives you a deeper sense of ownership with your phones.

Past Samsung Galaxy S devices have always had excellent cameras. And the S9 and the S9+ cameras exceed expectations. The images we took with the phones have been stunning and results for videos have been just as amazing.

The S9 and the S9+ will get 4 and 6 gigs of RAM respectively. Both are powered with the newest Exynos processor. As flagship devices there is zero doubt what kind of performance these smartphones are capable of.

The S9 sports a 12MP rear camera, and the S9+ doubles from that with a wide angled and telephoto lenses. These cameras are powerful and they culminate everything Samsung has been working for in a smartphone camera: Color, brightness, sharp detail, low-light, Live Focus. But the most impressive comes from the form of Super Slow-Mo.

Both the S9 and the S9+ can record a video with 960 frames per second. When you launch the camera app and switch over to the Super Slow-Mo settings, a box will appear on the phone’s screen. Any movement that enters that box will trigger the Super Slow-Mo and with our short time with the devices, we can say that it’s a fantastic experience.

For added fun, the S9 and S9+ inserts background music into the Super Slow-Mo videos. Of course you can customize the music to what you want.

To improve low-light power Samsung adapted a “Dual Aperture” approach. F1.5 for low-light and F2.4 for standard lighting environments. Compared to the S8, Samsung boasts a 60% improvement in low-light.

Exclusive to the S9+ is “art Bokeh.” It’s when it morphs background images for an artsy approach. For instance, you take a picture of a subject, with glowing lightbulbs in the background. With art Bokeh you can change the round-shape of the lightbulbs into stars. This is something we’re definitely looking forward to explore in a full review.

Samsung stacked every form of mobile security in the S9 and S9+. Fingerprint sensor, iris scanner, face recognition, and any of your standard layers of protection like pattern swiping. There is also the Intelligent Scan, which uses both facial recognition and iris scanner to secure your device. With our limited time with the devices, the Intelligent Scan never failed to unlock the phone the split second you need it. And this was in under different lighting conditions from bright to dim.

Along with all the refinements is Bixby Vision 2.0 and Live Result. This opens up a slew of new features for the S9 and the S9+. Open Bixby Vision 2.0 and you can translate written texts in real-time. You can also search for restaurants and key locations using the camera – just point the direction and Bixby will tell you what’s in there.

We’re only scratching the surface. There’s a lot more to explore in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. Expect our full review soon!

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