5 Things We Love About Samsung's Galaxy S9+

Hands On

With the new Galaxy S9+, Samsung is making its strongest case yet that going with a Galaxy phone gives some big advantages over what Apple offers in its iPhone line. Even when compared to the redesigned iPhone, the iPhone X, the Galaxy S9+ came out looking stellar in our tryouts at the CRN Test Center. The S9+ camera is a definite highlight, but even if you don't need the camera capabilities, the look and performance alone are reasons for strongly considering the device.

What follows are five features we've enjoyed the most about the Samsung Galaxy S9+.


The Galaxy S9+ offers a high-resolution (2,960 x 1,440) Super AMOLED display, with a huge amount of screen space at 6.2 inches along with rounded edges. The display is gorgeous, and enhanced by the fact that the device features minimal bezels above and below the display, for a "true" edge-to-edge design. Samsung doesn't rely on a camera notch, like Apple does with its iPhone X. Even a year after the introduction of this design with the S8+, it's still a stunner--and terrific for productivity and multi-tasking when using split-screen mode.


The newly developed camera system really makes the Galaxy S9+ stand out from other smartphones on the market. We can confirm that Samsung's marketing of the new camera is not just hype. The Galaxy S9+ features a dual rear camera setup -- 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras -- making it the first Galaxy S smartphone to go with two cameras.

But the even bigger advancement is the dual-aperture in the S9+, which allows for automatic adjustment to different lighting conditions. We were impressed by how the S9+ managed to shoot bright, colorful and sharp photos even in poorly lit settings.

Meanwhile, a feature that automatically blurs a photo's background while you're taking it, called "Live Photo," is another cool addition to the camera system. (Creating an expression-mimicking emoji of yourself with the AR Emoji feature is fun for a few minutes, but it steers a bit too close to the uncanny valley for our tastes.)

Overall though, we agree with third-party research firm DxOMark – which gave the S9+ its highest rating ever for a smartphone camera – that the device's camera system is a real achievement.


Another new element Samsung is rolling out for the Galaxy S9+ is a stereo speaker system that's tuned by acoustics specialist AKG, and also features Dolby Atmos surround sound. The speakers sounded terrific in our tryout – loud, clear and crisp. The combination of the huge screen and high-quality speaker system make the S9+ a more legitimate Netflix viewing option than just about any other smartphone out there.


As on the S8+, the performance on the Galaxy S9+ is speedy. That's thanks to the phone's upgrade to the latest top-of-the-line Qualcomm processor (the Snapdragon 845) and a generous 6 GB of RAM. Web pages and videos loaded rapidly in our tryout, and downloads were pretty quick, too. The S9+ was smooth to use overall in our tryout with few of the hiccups that often accompany using some Android devices.


Buyers will be glad to see that Samsung didn't raise the price too much with the Galaxy S9+. The starting price for an unlocked model is $840, which is just $15 above the price of the S8+. That puts it well below the $999 starting price of Apple's iPhone X.

The $840 price is for a model with 64 GB of internal storage. The phone is also expandable with up to 400 GB of microSD storage, an increase from the 256-GB maximum previously. Running out of space, and having to keep moving photos and videos to the cloud, are problems that will basically disappear for many of the S9+ users who spring for the 400-GB card (a card from SanDisk costs about $230).

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ begins shipping March 16 and is in pre-orders now.