Do we have a good one for you today – these two devices that came out a couple of months ago, are still the most the most beautiful, technologically advanced, and popular smartphones on the planet – the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus. This comparison is for those customers who wait until the prices come down, are waiting for a new color, or when the carriers offer even more specials. After all, not many new flagship devices have been released since the Galaxy 9 series. The two of these devices are so similar that this comparison is a little different than most, with both models compared at the same time, rather than breaking it down into two separate reports.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are very similar to their predecessors, the Galaxy 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. This year, Samsung only refined the outside of the S9 series with a few design touches – small, but welcomed changes. Samsung changed the way the curved glass/display meet the body of the device, making it much easier to pick up and hold without activating an app by mistake. The Galaxy S9 series is slightly shorter, but weighs more than the S8 series. Both the US/China models of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and the Adreno 630 GPU. The EMEA countries receive the Exynos 9810 processor and Mali-G72 MP18 GPU. Both devices use the same 8-megapixel front-facing camera (FFC) with the same specs, as well as the same 12-megapixel main camera.
Please take a careful look at the detailed specifications comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two high-end Android smartphones stack up against each other. After that, we will look at them in more detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on overall specs, as well as the execution of design and functions.
Samsung Galaxy S9
From the outside, you are looking at the most beautiful display you will find on a smartphone – the Samsung WQHD+ Super AMOLED Display. On the Galaxy S9’s 5.8-inch display that translates into 570 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and on the Galaxy S9 Plus’s 6.2-inch display we still get a whopping 529 PPI. Both use Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for protection (front and back) and are HDR10 compliant. Both devices take advantage of the Always-On display technology to help save battery life and make it much easier on the user to check quickly their notifications to decide if they really want to read the entire notification. The displays are slightly less curved than their predecessor to make it easier to pick up and hold in your hand without activating and app on the display. There is a 3D Touch area used as the home button.
Samsung flagships sold in the US/China use the newest Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz with an Adreno 630 GPU to handle any graphic you can throw its way. Models destined to the EMEA countries use the Exynos 9810 octa-core clocked at 2.7GHz and a Mali-G72-MP18 GPU – both very comparable in performance. One big difference is that the S9 Plus now packs 6GB (up from 4GB) of DDR4 RAM rather than the 4GB in the Galaxy S9, although both have a base of 64GB of expandable internal memory. Samsung will also manufacture both models with 128GB or 256GB of memory, but it will depend on your area and carrier whether or not they will carry that model or if you can order one.
This is one area where the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus part ways. While they both use the same 12-megapixel Super Dual Pixel camera as their main shooter, the Galaxy S9 Plus adds a second 12-megapixel camera and 2x Optical Zoom. The main camera itself is an exciting piece of technology with its new Adaptive Aperture that works like the human eye’s iris – in bright light situations, the aperture will reduce itself to f/2.4, but when the camera senses a lowlight situation, it will open wider to an f/1.5. This feature helps the user to insure that their photos will automatically have the proper light exposure – in most cases. Working along with the adaptive feature is the Phase Detection AutoFocus (PDAF), OIS, 10x Digital Zoom, and LED Flash. The Galaxy S9 Plus’ second camera allows for much better portrait mode shots and allows for the blurring of the background to give you that bokeh effect. The front-facing camera (FFC) is the same 8-megapixel used of the Galaxy S9’s predecessor. It has a large aperture of f/1.7, auto-HDR, and has autofocus. This camera is perfect for selfies, which continue to grow in popularity. Video chatting is enhanced with the camera’s large size and the inclusion of autofocus.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Every year we hope for a larger battery, but Samsung has kept the same size batteries as last year – the Galaxy S9 carries a 3,000mAh capacity battery and the S9 Plus is packing a 3,500mAh capacity battery. Both batteries are non-removable, which is certainly the modern trend, so that means we have to rely on charging them throughout the day if we are a heavy user. Fortunately, the batteries, combined with the energy efficient Snapdragon 845, tend to last the average user an entire day. However, if you do need to replenish your battery, Samsung’s Adaptive Charge and quick wireless charging will have your Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus back in service in no time, as they are capable of fully charging in about an hour and 40 minutes or less.
Samsung may have given the dual-cameras only to the Galaxy S9 Plus, but many improvements occur each year on the entire flagship “S” series. First and foremost is the new Snapdragon 845/Adreno 630 combination to increase features, extend battery life through more efficiency, and stunning graphics. In the camera area, besides the adaptive aperture, this year the Dual Pixels were ‘supersized’ to capture even more detail. Samsung continued the Hi-Res audio, but this year added the dual-stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos – the earpiece is one speaker while the second speaker resides on the bottom of the phone – giving the S9 series one of the best sounding speakers on the market. Samsung is always concerned about safety and continues this trend by not only offering facial recognition and iris scanning, but also this year they offer Intelligent Scan that combines the previous two methods to gain quicker access in a more secure manner. The rear fingerprint sensor was re-positioned to make it harder to smudge the camera lens, although it would not hurt to move it even farther away from the camera. The new AR Emoji is a fun feature where you can turn your own photo into an emoji and send it to others on social media. The AR Emoji feature needs some work, for instance, it does not recognize beards, but is the basis for a future upgrade.
The Galaxy S9 series has the usual Samsung goodies – Samsung Pay, IP68 certification, heart rate monitor, SpO2 sensor, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Bixby personal assistant, and an improved Samsung DeX that allows you to make your Galaxy S9 into a desktop computer. No offense to Android Pay, which you can do on the S9 series, but Samsung Pay is simply the best option on the market. Not only can you use the ‘pay wave’ implementation to make a payment, but almost any card swiping equipment can also handle Samsung Pay – something not possible with Android Pay or Apple Pay. Older establishments that never upgraded equipment from swiping a credit card can still accept Samsung Pay. Bixby’s personal assistant keeps improving at a rapid rate and may reach the level of Google’s Assistant in a very short time. The devices ship with Android 8.0 Oreo, along with the new and less invasive Samsung Experience 9.0 (UI) and come in Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple, as well as a new red color announced for China.
The Final Word
It comes as no surprise that the Galaxy S9 Plus is the more coveted of these two devices. It has the camera with more options, 6GB of RAM, a larger battery, and a slightly larger display. However, the Galaxy S9 Plus will cost you about $130 more than the Galaxy S9, and that is a lot of money for 2GB of RAM and a camera upgrade.
Remember that the Galaxy S9 has the same processor, GPU, stereo speakers, and other Samsung goodies. You will have to decide if the extra money is worth the extra camera features – remembering that the main camera is the same on both models. The extra RAM would certainly help things run smoother and allow for more multitasking, but you have to ask yourself if that is something you do.
Buy The Samsung Galaxy S9
Buy The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus