• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

Samsung Galaxy S9+ Coral Blue

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a beast of a phone, with that plus in the name not just referring to a larger screen but also more RAM, a bigger battery and even a second camera lens, as well as a higher price.

So the Galaxy S9 Plus really is ‘plus’ in almost every sense, which – price aside – makes it an exciting prospect, given that the standard Samsung Galaxy S9 is already an impressive phone.

But do the additions add up to a compelling whole or do they not really make much difference? And are they enough to justify spending all the extra money that the S9 Plus costs? Read on to find out.

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a 6.2-inch 1440 x 2960 Super AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 529 pixels per inch. It’s almost half an inch bigger than the Galaxy S9’s screen and while it’s no higher resolution it’s still very, very sharp.

The S9 Plus (along with the S9) also has a bright, vivid display, helped by its use of AMOLED, and it has a seemingly trendy 18.5:9 aspect ratio, but no notch.

The lack of a notch could be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective, but what’s definitely good is the general lack of bezel. Oh, and the screen is curved too, which both gives it a futuristic look and makes it a little easier to hold the phone.

Obviously, at this size it’s still a phone you’ll mostly want to operate with two hands, but the screen is among the very best around and all that space makes it ideal for watching videos and playing games.

Design

Galaxy S9 Plus Design

The Galaxy S9 Plus has a design that will look familiar if you’ve seen the Samsung Galaxy S8, but that’s okay, because it’s a good design.

The phone has a curved screen and a lightly curved glass back, with a metal frame sandwiched between them. It’s a premium build, emphasised by the lack of bezel.

And, while not visible, the IP68 certification is worth a mention too, as it means the phone is dustproof and water-resistant to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes, so you can safely use it in the rain and don’t need to worry if you spill something on it.

It’s not small, at 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm, or light at 189g, but then a phone with a 6.2-inch screen was never going to be, and it doesn’t look or feel any bigger than it needs to be.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Metal Unibody

Power

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus stands out from its smaller sibling by including 6GB of RAM – that’s 2GB more than the standard Galaxy S9, so this is a more powerful phone.

And that’s saying something, because both phones use one of the most powerful mobile chipsets around, namely the Exynos 9810, which has four cores clocked at 2.7GHz and four at 1.8GHz. In other words, nothing should slow this phone down.

It also runs Android 8 Oreo, which is the latest version of Google’s operating system, and as a flagship you can expect it to get software updates for the next couple of years.

Camera

The camera is perhaps the biggest highlight of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, as in short it’s one of the very best smartphone cameras around.

The phone has two 12MP rear lenses, one of which is an f/2.4 telephoto lens, and the other is the same as the S9’s, namely a normal lens but one that can switch between an f/1.5 and an f/2.4 aperture.

Galaxy S9+ Camera

That f/1.5 aperture allows it to take brilliant shots in low light, while when the lighting is better it can switch to f/2.4. The telephoto lens meanwhile allows for 2x optical zoom, so you can get closer to your subject without sacrificing detail.

The camera also sports optical image stabilisation and can shoot 4K video at 60fps, or 720p slow motion video at 960fps. There’s also an 8MP front-facing camera, which can take decent quality selfies. Right now the only phones with arguably better rear cameras are the Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro, and this comes very close.

Features

There are a number of additional features to dig into on the Galaxy S9 Plus. For one thing, it’s stuffed full of biometric security options, with a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, a face scanner and an iris scanner. Those latter two can even be combined for speedier face scans.

The phone also has speakers tuned by AKG, delivering beefier audio than past handsets in the range, and as with the Galaxy S8 range it comes with Bixby baked in. That’s Samsung’s AI assistant, which can be launched with the press of a dedicated hardware button.

You can ask it to set alarms, look things up and the like, similar to Google Assistant, but Samsung’s take is so far less polished. One thing it can do though is identify things you point your camera at, which occasionally comes in handy.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus also has AR emoji. These are essentially animated 3D emoji which mirror your appearance and expressions, but they’re not as well done as Apple’s similar Animoji feature.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a 3,500mAh battery, which is another highlight, as that’s fairly large and a lot bigger than the 3,000mAh battery in the standard Samsung Galaxy S9.

It doesn’t make the phone as long-lasting as you might expect, but it does mean the handset can comfortably last a day, which is the most important thing. It also has wireless charging and fast charging.

There’s 128GB of storage – double what you get in the normal Samsung Galaxy S9, and the phone even has a microSD card slot on top of that, so space should be no issue.

Connectivity options include 4G, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, so of course Android Pay is also supported.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is by far Samsung’s most exciting flagship of 2018 and arguably the best phone so far this year.

Its big battery, loads of RAM and dual-lens camera ensure it fixes many of the S9’s problems, and the extra storage and bigger screen don’t hurt either.

Beyond that this is a stylish, polished phone with great performance, a great design and a stunning display.

It’s not perfect and isn’t as much of an upgrade on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus or Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as we’d perhaps liked to have seen. It’s also very expensive, but still undercuts the iPhone X and does more to justify its price.

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Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5
  • Weight (g): 189
  • Battery capacity (mAh): 3500
  • Colours: Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Grey, Lilac Purple
  • Screen size (inches): 6.2
  • Resolution: 1440 x 2960
  • Pixels per inch (PPI): 529
  • Processor: Octa-core 2.7GHz
  • Processor make: Exynos 9810
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Internal storage: 128GB
  • Expandable storage up to (GB): 400GB
  • Camera: 12MP and 12MP (8MP front-facing)
  • Operating System: Android 8 Oreo

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