Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9 Plus: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

On February 25, 2018 Samsung officially introduced the world to its brand new flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. Like any new smartphone both devices have improvements over the previous year’s models but they also have a lot of similarities and a couple of key differences that are worth considering. It’s also these differences which make it possible to tell the good from the bad on both phones.

The Good

There are many good things about the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, from design to functionality, and any consumer looking for a great phone with plenty of features would no doubt look their way. For starters, Samsung is using metal and glass for the build of both phones just like with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus last year, though it has made some adjustments. One of the best things is that the fingerprint sensor has now been moved to sit below the camera modules on both phones, whereas last year Samsung had the sensor placed next to the camera modules which resulted in people accidentally smudging up their cameras with fingerprints when they would go to unlock the device. That should no longer be an issue and with the change it shows that Samsung was listening to its consumers. Samsung has also introduced a new color to the mix for this year’s crop all while keeping the other three colors the same as its phones from last year to perhaps keep some familiarity, and likely because they were popular as well as safe colors that would appeal to a wider audience.

Another bonus, for the Galaxy S9 Plus at least, is the inclusion of the dual camera on the back. Though Samsung did introduce such a feature on the Galaxy Note 8 this will be the first time that a phone in the Galaxy S lineup has had a dual camera of any kind. The secondary camera is a telephoto lens which helps for things like depth of field, allowing users to get those beautiful portrait mode photos that blur the background so the subject in the foreground is the only thing in perfect focus. The Galaxy S9 Plus isn’t the only phone to offer such a feature but it is one of the better traits about the device. Sadly, it’s only available on the Plus model since the feature is enabled by the secondary camera sensor. What both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus do have is the variable aperture on the main camera sensor. With this in place, users can better adjust to the lighting that’s available in the room or outdoors to make sure their photos have enough light.

If these camera feature weren’t enough Samsung has also added in the Super Slow-mo feature for video recording and it can be manually triggered so you can turn it on and off at your leisure. If you like having that kind of control over certain functions then you’ll find this to be a cool thing to have, and it certainly makes for a neat trick to show off to friends, family, and anyone else willing to take a look. Functionality aside, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are also widely available. Samsung has made the two phones accessible on just about every single network in every part of the globe, so no matter which carrier you subscribe to, or where you live, you’ll generally be able to get your hands on one and that’s something which definitely helps the phone out quite a bit. That said Samsung is a global brand so it was really a given before the phone was announced that Samsung would launch it in as many markets and across as many carriers as possible, in addition to selling the phone unlocked through its own online store and on retail websites like Amazon. All in all, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are two great devices for the year and are sure to be some of the best of any handsets that will be released in 2018.

The Bad

Where to begin. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus may likely be this year’s best phones, or close to it, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything wrong with them as every manufacturer tends to stumble somewhere. In Samsung’s case, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus show no real changes when it comes to the design, which is something that is going to bother some people. That said the lack of design change isn’t going to be an issue for everyone, and as they say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Samsung didn’t see the design of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus as having to be changed too much so it left most everything relatively the same, and some consumers, perhaps the majority of them, will be fine with this, but there are some who will find this to be a fault.

What many consumers likely won’t be fine with is the fact that this year Samsung has differentiated the Galaxy S9 from the Galaxy S9 Plus a little bit more than some were initially expecting when rumors first started popping up. Not only do the two phones have different sized displays, which is really a good thing as it gives consumers the choice to decide how large they want the display, the Galaxy S9 also has other slimmed down specs. It has less RAM, a smaller battery, and only one rear-facing camera compared to the Galaxy S9 Plus’ dual camera setup. This means any consumers who want the dual camera feature and the larger amount of RAM will be forced to buy the Galaxy S9 Plus even if they prefer to have the smaller display of the Galaxy S9. The alternative is settling for the phone with lesser specs if it means having a more pocketable phone, and that definitely won’t sit too well with some. Though there probably won’t be too many consumers who are exceedingly outraged by it some will likely find it to be a little disappointing, especially after last year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus offered all the same great features and simply offered a difference in screen size. Another point worth making is that neither the Galaxy S9 nor Galaxy S9 Plus will support 4K HDR recording, something which will likely be present in every other phone that’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. Despite all the good of both phones, this mandatory choice that consumers will have to make is one of the bad points, and unfortunately there’s no way around having to make it if you plan on getting one of these phones.

The Ugly

Samsung at this point doesn’t tend to have much in the way of “ugly” factors with its devices, as it has carefully honed its craft of producing a quality smartphone with loads of excellent features and a great design that has been slightly altered and improved over the years to get to where things are now. All that great design and all those great features come at a cost though. A monetary one that is quite high, and therein lies what is probably the only ugly part about the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus – the cost.
Both phones are fairly expensive, the Galaxy S9 Plus even more so, and this will keep some consumers from buying either one, or opting for the Galaxy S9 to pay less money but then having to deal with losing out on some of the better features. The Galaxy S9 will start at a cost of $720, while the Galaxy S9 Plus will start at a cost of $840. These are very high prices, and while the phones will probably function very well and run smoothly with a highly optimized software, the prices are going to be more than some consumers will pay, that’s even before you consider that those above-mentioned prices are the starting costs.

There will be models that cost even more if you want to pick up the larger amount of storage, though these models may not be available in every region which is yet another ugly point that is worth making, as Samsung is essentially removing some of the choice consumers have by not making the larger storage models available to all its consumers in every region where the two phones are launching. Another thing to consider is that the base costs of the phones that will be available in the U.S. are just the costs from Samsung. If you plan to pick the phone up at one of the carriers, like say, Verizon or AT&T, then you’ll be spending more for the Galaxy S9 Plus then you will if you bought direct from Samsung for an unlocked model, which is what every consumer should be doing if they want to save money. For example, the Galaxy S9 Plus at AT&T will cost you $915, while at Verizon it’ll be $930 making it almost $100 more than the standard cost. You’ll be spending more for the Galaxy S9 too. You will have opportunities to save money by trading in old phones, but not everyone will be in this position as some may be upgrading or activating with a Galaxy S9 Plus and coming from an old enough phone that will garner no value for a trade-in. In the end, if you want the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus, you’ll need to be prepared to pay a lot for either one.

Wrap Up

Despite the high cost of both phones, and the slight differences in feature between the two, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are two great devices and very well two of the best of this year. Each one has a lot to offer to the consumer looking for a high-end handset, and it’ll be widely available. You can be sure that Samsung also won’t run into any stock issues meaning that any consumer who wants to buy one will be able to find it somewhere, whether through Amazon, Samsung, or their local carrier stores. Overall, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are two phones you don’t want to miss if you are in the market for an upgrade, though if you’re already using a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus then you may want to simply consider waiting as there aren’t a whole lot of differences or upgrades in terms of features between the two sets of phones.

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