Samsung S9 and S9 Plus Set To Land In SA

Samsung has finally launched its much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus smartphones. The handsets are expected to arrive in South Africa any time next month, and are rumoured to be priced at around R15 499 for the Galaxy S9 and R17 999 for the Galaxy S9 Plus.

Compared to the phone’s main competitor, Apple’s iPhone X, the prices are a lot lower than expected. You could still buy a decent enough second-hand car for the price of the S9 Plus, but hey…

The new additions to the Samsung Galaxy range were unveiled at the (otherwise quite lacklustre) Mobile World Congress in Spain.

The company’s CEO of Mobile Business, DJ Koh, has said that the S9 features ‘a breakthrough camera that sees the world clearer through any light’. Samsung stated that the S9 is also the first smartphone specifically designed for the way we use our phones today.

<insert meme, selfie and exploding phone jokes here>

Showing off its new Augmented Reality (AR) tech, Samsung delivered a preview to the S9 launch attendees holding a special media badge, which transformed into the S9 smartphone in the hand.

And speaking of AR, well, let’s just say the S9 has quite a horrific trick up its sleeve. But, more on that in a bit.

Right, so, what else is new with Samsung’s latest offering?

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Samsung S9

Concerning the body of the handset, Samsung has moved the fingerprint scanner to the back, beneath the camera. The S9 camera itself is a 12MP shooter with phase detection autofocus LED flash Exynos 9810 Octa chipset. Which, we’re pretty sure are mostly just made-up words.

You’re getting 4GB of RAM, a 5.8 inch display and a 3000mAh battery. The display builds upon the predecessor S8’s Infinity Display, which is basically an uninterrupted, end-to-end screen. For complete and total immersion while you’re texting and driving.

Unlike most other phones in the flagship class these days, both the S9 and S9 Plus have retained the headphone jack. While Bluetooth may be taking over, it’s still nice to have the choice.

For tech nerds and Android enthusiasts, it has been confirmed that the S9 will also support Android Oreo’s Project Treble, which you can read more about here.

The S9 will be available in midnight black, lilac purple, coral blue and titanium grey.


Samsung S9 Plus

The S9 Plus, on the other hand, delivers a larger 6.2 inch display with a 12MP x 12MP dual camera. The RAM, at 6GB and Li-Ion battery, at 3500mAh, are also plus-sized.

Of the two, only the S9 Plus has an adjustable aperture setting. This is a big step for mainstream smartphones, though, and may be a first. Primitively put, this will allow for the S9 Plus to take better pictures in the dark and in glaring daylight.

Just as the pupil of the human eye adjusts to light, so does the S9 Plus. It may be Samsung’s secret weapon.

Both the S9 and the S9 Plus see an upgrade in the AI assistant, Bixby. For instance, users may now translate languages on physical items, such as menus and sign posts, into whichever language they prefer, in real time. The assistant can also use the camera to identify the food you’re about to eat and let you know what the calorie count is. Bixby will log this nutritional info directly into the Samsung Health app.

The S9 vs The iPhone X

While the S9 only comes with a single camera, the S9 Plus follows the iPhone X formula a little closer with both wide-angle and telephoto cameras. Both the S9 Plus and the iPhone X capture 12MP images.  Samsung, however, has decided to go with a wider aperture, an f1.5 aperture compared to Apple’s f1.8, to allow for more light. This may be the crucial difference between the two cameras, and it means that the Samsung will outperform the iPhone in low light conditions.

The S9’s impressive camera captures 12 images, simultaneously, and then compares all exposures to create a single perfect image. The result is dynamic, detailed and downright splendid.

Whereas the display is concerned, Apple has the notch on top, while Samsung has opted for an all-screen all-the-time experience. Apple’s bezels are thinner, though.

Furthermore, Samsung allows users to expand on internal memory with an SD card. Apple has never done this, but they will shamelessly sell you extra space.

Apple’s facial recognition software is unparalleled, while Samsung is still using the fingerprint and iris scanners.

And now we get to the trick up the S9’s sleeve, as alluded to in the beginning of this article. Samsung has adopted the idea of Apple’s animated emojis. The iPhone X uses the front-facing camera to allow users to animate facial features of an emoji by moving their own face. Pretty cool idea.

The S9 has introduced something similar. Instead of using existing emojis though, it utilizes AR technology to allow you to create an avatar of yourself, and animate that instead. The result, though, has had a tepid response.

Some have even called them creepy, and not in an adorable way.

Raw horsepower, a lower price tag than the iPhone X and the astounding camera will no doubt be the key selling points for the flagship Samsung.


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