A Samsung Galaxy S9 Review in which’s Mostly Pictures Of Dogs

I’ve been testing the Samsung Galaxy S9+ for about a week today. The work of a reviewer involves repeatedly saying, “Actually, This kind of phone is usually today the best phone,” if the completely new device is usually an improvement over its predecessor, as they almost always are. The Galaxy S9+ is usually no different.


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Like all of the completely new phone releases This kind of past year, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is usually just…another not bad completely new phone. The S9+ has the Note 8’s camera, as well as the item’s packaged in last year’s S8+ design. the item’s got just enough newness to be better than last year’s Galaxy S8 type, however the item is usually ultimately not *in which* different through what came before the item. Generally speaking, if you liked last year’s Samsung phones, you will certainly like This kind of year’s Samsung phone. as well as in which may be precisely why you don’t need to upgrade your perfectly fine, slightly older phone to get This kind of newer, slightly better phone.

If you want to see all of the completely new features the Galaxy S9 as well as S9+ have to offer, check out This kind of post: a ~spec~ rundown you can dive into in which has numbers as well as percentages. This kind of review, in contrast, is usually about how the item feels to live with the S9+. as well as also dogs.


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There are actually two designs: a larger 6.2-inch Galaxy S9+ for people who like to take pictures as well as/or look at their screens, as well as a smaller 5.8-inch Galaxy S9, for people who have smaller hands as well as/or like to look at their screens a little less. For the purposes of This kind of review, I am ignoring the smaller S9, because the S9+ has the same features however also features a dual-lens camera, a thing in which Apple as well as today Samsung are very into.

The real — as well as only — reason anyone should consider the S9+ is usually for its rear dual-lens camera. Instead of having a traditional one-lens camera, like the smaller S9 (womp), the S9+ has two lenses, one of which is usually a zoom lens. Frankly, This kind of extra lens is usually the S9+’s killer feature as well as the only thing in which genuinely justifies an S9+’s purchase.

The wide-angle lens is usually for wide (duh) shots, like group photos or casually-chillen-at-the-edge-of-an-infinity-pool-with-my-back-to-the-camera snaps. The various other, a telephoto lens, is usually for photos in which are zoomed in, like so:


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Having a telephoto lens is usually VERY USEFUL, as well as not just for capturing not bad doggos through far away as they wait for their humans.

When you use digital zoom, an image loses resolution as you zoom. however when you use optical zoom, which the telephoto lens offers, you can maintain the image’s high resolution. Maintaining the resolution is usually important for when you want to crop a photo or blow the image up, poster-size, for your wall. Who wouldn’t want a poster of This kind of pup?!

Of course, the S9+ is usually not the first phone that has a dual lens. The iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, the LG V30, the Essential phone, as well as the Samsung Note 8 all have cameras with two lenses, too. however the S9+ is usually the first Galaxy phone to have a dual lens — as well as there are, like, a gajillion million people who use Galaxy phones. So This kind of development is usually exciting for those people.

Having a telephoto lens is usually great for birders, too. You can zoom in on faraway airborne creatures as well as use those photos to prove to your partner in which the thing you saw genuinely was an albatross. Going to go out on a limb here: The Samsung Galaxy S9+ might be *the* phone for birders.

The zoom lens is usually not just not bad for zooming. Through its two completely new lenses, the Galaxy S9+ can also understand distance. In various other words, the item knows what’s from the background, as well as what’s from the foreground, as well as can then blur out the background, creating a pro photography effect. Apple as well as Google call the item Portrait Mode. (Google’s Pixel doesn’t have two lenses, as well as instead relies on AI to create the effect.) Samsung calls the item Live Focus.

Here’s another doggo, Daphne, brought to you by Live Focus:


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If all of This kind of two-lens stuff sounds familiar, in which’s because the Note 8, which launched in August 2017, has the same thing, as well as was the first Samsung phone to include an extra telephoto lens, as well as Live Focus. You should genuinely just read in which review, then come back.


One thing in which is usually completely new from the Galaxy phone is usually the S9+’s — as well as S9’s (through here on out, everything will also apply to the S9) — ability to open as well as close its aperture based on an environment’s lighting conditions.

If the item’s a dark scene, the lens will adjust its aperture through f/2.4 to f/1.5 (the Galaxy S8’s lens only went up to f/1.7). Remember: in aperture land, smaller = better. So, f/1.5 > f/1.7. This kind of basically means the Galaxy S9+ can let in 28% more light today, so your pics through ~the club~ will actually turn out.

I’ve been tired lately as well as didn’t end up going clerbing with This kind of review, however I did take some photos at a sensual hour in my apartment. The Galaxy S9+ photos were much better lit than the iPhone X’s.


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The Pixel 2 XL is usually considered to be a low-light superstar. So here’s in which same pic by Samsung, versus Google’s Pixel.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The S9+ appears to be the winner here.

The S9 as well as S9+ also come with “Super Slo-Mo,” a video feature in which can capture 960 frames per second, versus the 240 frames per second most phones can capture, though the item’s at a lower resolution (720p) than some of those various other devices. (The iPhone 8 as well as X can capture 240 fps at 1080p.)

however I found the item genuinely hard to capture what I wanted to capture in Super Slo-Mo. the item only records 960 frames before the slo-mo is usually over, as well as you can’t edit the slo-mo’d part after. Sometimes the item completely misses the action:

Plus, because Samsung loves giving its users things they don’t want, a, er, very tasteful soundtrack is usually automatically added to the video. (You can remove the weirdo audio track in edit mode.)

When the S9+ does capture the action, the item is usually cool, I guess. however I still wish Super Slo-Mo was more forgiving, by being more editable.

We are today exiting the dog portion of This kind of review. As a treat, I will leave you with This kind of photo of our featured Lab, Daphne, as a lil’ pup.


Courtesy of Daphne’s humans, Amanda as well as Will. Not taken on a Samsung S9.

They grow up so fast, don’t they?

*wipes away tear*


Bixby is usually, sigh, still very much a part of the Galaxy S9, as well as like the S8, features a dedicated button on the side in which I try to avoid like a landmine. The dreaded Bixby trigger is usually way too close to the volume down button, as well as you can’t program the item to do anything else!

Bixby has completely new capabilities, which include translating signs into another language. in which’s cool, however the Google Translate app already does in which. Oh wait, the Bixby feature is usually powered by Google Translate. 🤔


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You can also try on digital makeup, which is usually not bad for selfies, I guess?

The most bizarro feature is usually the food mode in Bixby, which uses technology by the app Azumio. You can point the S9’s camera at a food, as well as the camera will identify the item as well as give you calorie info, which I’m pretty sure is usually a plotline from the show Silicon Valley. Anyway. I was traveling for work, as well as at the airport I locked eyes that has a Panda Express. I caved.

I decided to try the completely new food mode on my lunch: fried rice topped with “Shanghai Angus Steak.” (Angus is usually a county in Scotland however, whatever, This kind of is usually not the hill I’m going to die on.)

The gorgeous meal. Delish.

Take one was, um, not quite right — however nailed the continent!


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Take two was pretty impressive. I was, indeed, eating beef fried rice.


Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

Bixby has me at about 347 calories with This kind of lunch. I looked at the Panda menu. Bowls are 230–990 calories (wow, deeply unhelpful) as well as Shanghai Angus Steak is usually about 310 calories for each 5.4-oz serving. So Bixby’s at least from the ballpark. however I don’t want my phone to come with pre-installed software in which tells me things like This kind of.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 phones, like every Samsung device before them, are full of things I don’t need: the calorie-counting app, the virtual makeup thing, creepy “AR emojis” I refuse to acknowledge in This kind of review. in which extra stuff is usually what always makes me mad at Samsung. the item ruins perfectly not bad hardware with super-random software I don’t care to use.

as well as the hardware is usually genuinely, genuinely not bad. If you’ve held last year’s S8 or S8+, the S9 feels the same as in which, which is usually to say easy to hold (much more so than the Pixel 2, which seems wide as well as chunky in comparison). The curved display is usually mind-bogglingly bright, as well as its bezels — the screen’s borders — are slightly smaller than before, generating the display even more immersive.

The S9’s only downfall is usually in which the item’s too glossy. By day two, its slippery black, mirrored surface turns through shiny to covered in fingerprints. however I’ve been living that has a fingerprint-y Galaxy S9+ for a week as well as the item hasn’t killed me yet.


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Face unlock doesn’t work too well: Sometimes the item recognizes me, sometimes the item doesn’t, as well as the item’s never clear why the item succeeds or fails.

When the item fails, I rely on my trusty finger to do the job. however the fingerprint scanner is usually today an itty-bitty rectangle (albeit an itty-bitty rectangle in which’s easier to reach than last year’s scanner placement) as well as, after a week, I still can’t find the item on my first try.

The battery’s fine. the item lasted about a day as well as a half in my rigorous testing, which includes taking photos of various other people’s dogs, infinite scrolling in every kind of feed, as well as listening to Spotify from the bathroom while I’m taking a shower, on max volume. The S9 does produce great sound, by the way, today in which the item’s 1.4 times louder than the S8.


So, should you get the Galaxy S9+? If you need to take pictures through far away, yes. If you’re a birder, double yes.

Should you get the smaller S9? You don’t get the zoom lens, however you can use the completely new low-light feature to take high-quality pictures from the clerb.

Both have a headphone jack — so if you are an iPhone or Pixel 2 person as well as miss being plugged in, then in which’s a not bad reason to go Samsung. The completely new Galaxy also has expandable memory via SIM card as well as is usually waterproof, as Galaxy devices have been for years.

however various other than the S9+’s camera, there’s not a SUPER-compelling reason to upgrade right today, unless you’re coming through a much older type as well as need something completely new.

An unlocked type of the Galaxy S9 is usually $719.99, as well as the larger unlocked Galaxy S9+ is usually available for $839.99 through Samsung.com. At Verizon, the item’s $799 for the S9 as well as $929 for the S9+. AT&T is usually selling the S9 for $790 as well as the S9+ for $915, while Sprint is usually offering the S9 for $792 as well as the S9+ for $912.

Nicole Nguyen covers products as well as personal technology for BuzzFeed News as well as is usually based in San Francisco.

Contact Nicole Nguyen at nicole.nguyen@buzzfeed.com.

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