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  • - Here's the new Galaxy S9 and S9+ from Samsung.

  • And if you squint even slightly.

  • You might think you're looking at last years Galaxy S8.

  • Because the differences between it and the S9

  • are minimal at best.

  • (casual music)

  • But this is the Android phone that more people will buy

  • than any other this year.

  • And it does come with a few new things that

  • those people will appreciate.

  • And besides, it's not like the S8

  • is a bad phone to start from.

  • The overall design of the S9 in unchanged from last year.

  • It's still a glass and metal sandwich.

  • It still has curved glass in the front and back.

  • It still has an extra wide 18.5 by 9 display

  • and minimal bezels.

  • It's really nice and it's really well made.

  • But the glass back is kind of a fingerprint magnet

  • and it can be slippery to hold.

  • The smaller S9 is 5.8 inch screen.

  • While the S9+ is a 6.2 inches display.

  • Both are super amulet panels with

  • 2960 X 1440 pixels of resolution.

  • Both are really nice to look at with vibrant colors.

  • Sharp resolution and excellent viewing angles.

  • They're also slightly brighter this year

  • which is always appreciated if not always noticeable.

  • And they still remain the best displays you can get

  • on any Android phone.

  • They're even up to par with the screen on the iPhone 10.

  • Provided you don't mind slightly more saturated colors.

  • The S9 has the same fast wired

  • and wireless charge it had before.

  • The same IP 68 water resistance as before.

  • And the same 3.5 millimeter headphone jack as before.

  • And if you're looking for high end phone

  • with a headphone jack in 2018.

  • Your choices are fewer than ever.

  • So it's kind of great to see Samsung

  • stick with it for the S9.

  • The big design change is the placement

  • of the fingerprint scanner.

  • Which has been moved from the side of the camera

  • to just below it.

  • It's much easier to use than the S8.

  • Especially if you're using a larger plus model.

  • But it's still weirdly small and too close to the camera.

  • I frequently swipe on the camera lens

  • when I'm trying to use the fingerprint gesture

  • to see my notifications.

  • Which is kind of annoying.

  • And then of course there's that dreaded Bixby button

  • which is still there.

  • Still in the same spot just below the volume buttons

  • on the left side.

  • Now you can disable it from launching Bixby Now

  • which is progress.

  • But Samsung still doesn't provide a native way

  • to reprogram into something more useful.

  • Now at its worse, it's annoying.

  • And at it's best it's a little fidget button

  • that you can press without having to worry about

  • doing anything if you actually disable Bixby.

  • The other new hardware feature is stereo speakers.

  • Which basically catches Samsung up to

  • what everyone else has been doing for a couple of years.

  • They are noticeably louder and fuller

  • than the single speaker on the S8.

  • And they're really great for watching video.

  • So I'm not gonna say they're the best phone speakers

  • I've ever heard.

  • But they're still great and I'm happy to see them here.

  • The rest of the hardware improvements are all on the inside.

  • It's got Qualcomm's new Snapdragon E45 processor.

  • Either four or six gigabytes of RAM.

  • Depending on which model you choose.

  • And the new LTE modem that's of course

  • even faster at gigabytes speeds.

  • Those are specs we're gonna see

  • in virtually every Android flagship this year.

  • But Samsung is the first out of the gate with them.

  • Performance, at least during my review has been great.

  • Everything is really fast and responsive.

  • And the network performance is just as impressive

  • as last years and to be honest.

  • Noticeably better than the iPhones.

  • Though unchanged in the size of the battery

  • and the internal storage.

  • You get a 3,000 million power battery in the S9

  • and a 3,500 million power battery in the S9+.

  • Both of them has 64 gigs of storage

  • and micro SD card support.

  • I really would have liked to see Samsung

  • increase the battery size this year.

  • It's not to say that the battery life is bad

  • on either model.

  • But it's not the best you can get

  • and heavy users are gonna even deplete the S9+ battery

  • after a long day.

  • So despite all that sameness.

  • Samsung did upgrade one important aspect of the S9

  • and it did so in a pretty big way.

  • The S9 rear camera is all new.

  • It's got an improved sensor

  • and a new variable aperture lens.

  • That can physically switch between a really bright F1.5

  • and a smaller F2.4 aperture.

  • The S9+ gains a second telephoto lens

  • for portrait modes stuff like Samsung used

  • on the Note 8 last year.

  • On top of that everything is optically image state wise.

  • Samsung claims significant improvements

  • in low light photography over the S8 camera.

  • And it's true that the S9 definitely can take

  • some really great photos in low light.

  • The F1.5 aperture lets in more light

  • than last years F1.7 lens.

  • And the improved processing helps reduce noise overall.

  • And I'm less impressed with the switching aperture feature.

  • It feels more like a parlor trick than anything else.

  • Now since a digital camera can just compensate

  • its shutter speed for how much light is in the room.

  • I don't really ever feel like I would

  • ever need to shoot at F2.4.

  • Now if you're in the pro mode of the camera app

  • you can actually switch between the two modes.

  • So here for an example.

  • I shoot this image at 1.5.

  • And then I'm gonna shoot this image at 2.4.

  • And overall there really isn't much difference

  • between the two images.

  • The F1.5 is a slightly blurrier background than the F2.4.

  • Which has a little bit longer depth of feel.

  • But in terms of sharpness.

  • It really isn't any difference there.

  • So, I'm not sure why I would ever shoot

  • an F2.4 on this phone.

  • I'd probably just leave it at 1.5 and forget about it.

  • The S9+'s second telephoto lens is similarly gimmicky.

  • Samsung's live focus portrait mode

  • just isn't as good as Apple's or Google's

  • at separating a subject from the background.

  • And in challenging lighting conditions.

  • Image quality is kind of bad.

  • The S9 gives you 4K video at 60 frames per second

  • or slow motion 1080p video at 240 frames per second.

  • Which catches it up with what the iPhone can do.

  • Now both loads produce nice quality video.

  • But you have to make sure you have plenty of light

  • for the slow motion mode.

  • Where you'll see a lot of noise in the video.

  • Overall, the S9's camera is definitely improving

  • and it's very good on it's own.

  • But if you weren't a fan of Samsung's

  • image processing before.

  • You still won't like it now.

  • Sure, there's less noise than before

  • and the colors are pleasing.

  • But all of the images definitely have

  • Samsung's look to them.

  • Which is different to what Apple

  • or Google's camera produced.

  • At this point it really comes down to personal preference.

  • But it's definitely something to be aware of.

  • And I wish Samsung did spend some time on

  • is the front camera on the S9.

  • It's the same 8 megapixel camera as seen on the S8.

  • It does have auto focus which no other front camera

  • has yet to replicate.

  • But its portrait mode just isn't

  • as good as Google or Apple's.

  • So all of that stuff is great

  • and it's gonna keep the S9 at the top of phone rankings

  • for most of 2018.

  • But there's a ton of other things that Samsung

  • is pushing with the marketing for the S9 this year.

  • And to be honest, you'll probably never use them.

  • It's almost as if Samsung just couldn't help itself.

  • The first up is AR emoji.

  • Samsung's take on the iPhone 10's Animoji feature.

  • Here's how it works.

  • It scans your face and then it produces

  • a bit emoji character based on the hundred points

  • to your face that kind of maybe looks like you.

  • Then it takes this character and it creates

  • a bunch of reaction goes with it.

  • You can then send in messaging apps.

  • Then there's also some weird looking animals

  • that you can create video clips with.

  • That you can do with Animoji on the iPhone.

  • Now there's a couple of issues with Samsung's AR emoji.

  • First off, Samsung isn't using any special tactic

  • to capture your face or movement.

  • It's just relying on the camera.

  • So tracking is really bad.

  • Second, the characters it creates

  • are just the wrong kind of creepy.

  • And nobody I've tested it with

  • has been like that's something I like.

  • And then the animals on top of that are just kind of weird.

  • It's definitely something that Samsung built

  • just to compete with Apple and frankly it's not very good.

  • Now Samsung is also trying to ape

  • the iPhone 10 face ID with its new

  • intelligent scan feature.

  • It combines iris scanning and face protection

  • to unlock the phone.

  • But it's still slow and now it shines a bright red light

  • in your face when it scans.

  • Good thing there's a fingerprint scanner

  • that's easier to reach on the back

  • because it's faster and more reliable

  • than Samsung's face scanning option.

  • Next is a new super slow motion mode in the camera.

  • The S9 can shoot up to 960 frames per second.

  • Which sounds really neat.

  • But it can only do so for .2 seconds at a time

  • and only at 720p resolution.

  • There's two ways you can shoot it.

  • You can try to manually trigger it to

  • capture the .2 seconds of action you want.

  • Or you can use an automatic mode

  • that looks for a specific movement

  • in an area of the frame and then captures

  • slow movement and detects it.

  • But in practice both are really hard to use.

  • And they're really more frustrating than anything else.

  • Worse, you need a ton of light to make it work

  • and even if you have lots of light.

  • Image quality is kind of crappy.

  • And if that wasn't enough.

  • There's the awful music the app

  • overlays on the clip automatically if you don't bother

  • to edit it after the fact.

  • (slow music)

  • Now Bixby.

  • It's not new but it's still here and it's still bad.

  • It's got a fresh coat of paint

  • and it's slightly faster than before.

  • But it's still way slower than the Google Assistant

  • and it isn't as good at parsing my voice commands.

  • There's a couple of new features

  • like an integrated makeup store that let's you

  • try makeup out virtually and then buy it directly

  • from Sophora or Cover Girl.

  • But I really can't image anyone using that more than once.

  • Anyways, here's what I look like with a face full of makeup.