Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is an odd breed of smartphone. With a Snapdragon 845 processor, nice digicam, and 18:9 display, it has all the trimmings of a improbable 2018 handset. But, on the identical time, it’s remarkably much like the Galaxy S8 that it replaces. In reality, it’s a lot like its predecessor, points we would usually overlook change into all of the extra apparent this second time round.

Samsung’s hook with the Galaxy S9 is a “reimagined” digicam, however the digicam’s new options—particularly Twin Aperture, Tremendous Sluggish-mo, and AR Emoji—are equal elements gimmick and catch-up to competing fashions. And since Samsung is limiting the twin digicam and Reside Portrait mode to the bigger Plus mannequin, the S9 (the telephone I’m reviewing right here) feels much less like a brand new telephone than a mid-cycle refresh. As such, the S9 is a wonderfully superb entry for the primary new premium telephone of 2018, however there’s nothing right here that breaks thrilling new floor for different telephones to observe.

Twin aperture? We truly discovered it’s not that vital. Tremendous Sluggish-mo? It really works fantastically, however it’s not a function individuals will use all that always. AR emoji? It’s enjoyable and it really works as marketed, however it additionally appears like a response to Apple, not a trailblazing function.

Briefly: After we look again on 2018 and decide a defining handset, the S9 most likely gained’t be it. But it surely’s nonetheless an important telephone.

A basic (but upgraded) design

A lot of Galaxy S9s are going to be mistaken for Galaxy S8s as soon as they begin showing within the wild, given their extraordinarily related dimension and form. Nonetheless, there are bodily variations between the telephones—delicate tweaks that change the brand new mannequin simply sufficient so final yr’s circumstances gained’t match:


Galaxy S8: 148.9mm x 68.1mm x Eight.0mm
Galaxy S9: 147.7mm x 68.7mm x Eight.5mm


Galaxy S8: 155g
Galaxy S9: 163g

Christopher Hebert/IDG

It’d look the identical, however the Galaxy S9’s display is a giant enchancment over the S8.

The Galaxy S9 is a contact shorter than the S8 attributable to an ever-so-slightly smaller backside bezel that upsets the symmetry simply sufficient to bother my eyes. It’s additionally thicker and heavier than its predecessor for 2 causes: The entrance glass is thicker (zero.6T vs. zero.5T), and the aluminum on the edges has been strengthened (AL 7003 vs AL 6013). Whereas these modifications are imperceptible, they need to convey extra sturdiness and drop safety—at all times a plus for a telephone that’s practically all glass.