8.9 Recommended

The Samsung Galaxy s9 Plus comes with a bigger RAM, bigger screen and a bunch of tweaks that make the steep price worth the hike, but if you’re not into big phones, it’s younger sibling, the Galaxy S9 may be the choice to go for. We won't recommend an upgrade if you already have an S8 plus or S9. The performance is average but it has got really good speakers this time. The TechSeer will give it an 8.9 out of a solid 10.

  • Design 8.7
  • Display 9.0
  • Camera 9.2
  • Hardware & Performance 8.8
  • Battery Life 8.5
  • Value for Money 9.0

Samsung calls it the camera reimagined, we call it the new galaxy but what everybody’s wondering is, is the newest addition to the Galaxy ”S” series, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus worth the steep price? Released on the 16th of March 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus left the whole world in awe with its gorgeous end to end glass design and its flawless infinity display. The higher the price, the bigger and better the phone. This is a formula some phone brands tend to discard on certain occasions, Samsung surprisingly follows it quite religiously.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review

The proof is the latest Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus which comes with a steeper price as compared to its younger sibling, the Samsung Galaxy S9. It shares the same sleek glass sandwich design with a metal unibody and glass encasing but why the price difference? Samsung further refines the best phone it has ever made and takes several steps forward. It comes with a visibly larger 6.2″ screen, 6GB RAM instead of 4GB, better graphics and the most impressive of all,  the dual aperture-lens setup.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus had its setbacks, one of the major being its fingerprint sensor placement which caused an uproar from users throughout. This year Samsung proved it’s loyalty to its users. While taking note of the uproar, they adjusted the fingerprint sensor on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to a more accessible spot which was right below its dual lens setup. It is of no doubt that it’s a phone which comes out in quite a rebellion against the well-known and glorious iPhone X.

Pros

  • Impeccable infinity display
  • Long battery life
  • Impressive low-light camera
  • Loud stereo speakers
  • A better-adjusted fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • Design strikingly similar to S8 Plus
  • AR emoji is overrated
  • Heavy & Expensive
  • Smudged easily due to the glass-on-glass design

Price and Availability

  • Pricing starts from US$899 (£870 or AU$1,349)
  • Launched on 16th March 2018

The latest of the Galaxy range, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a relatively steeper price as compared to its competitors but if you think it’s worth the dough than you’d be looking at about US$899 (£870 or AU$ 1,349) dent in your wallet at the very least. The128GB variant of Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will set you back US$960 (AU$1,400) but if you want to max out your storage to 256GB the price rises up to US$999 (AU $1,459).

It is readily available for purchase online but if you prefer to have a hands-on approach, you can try your nearest authorized Samsung dealer or Amazon and eBay. If you’re upgrading from an older Galaxy device, then Samsung also offers a trade-in programme that could save you up to $300 on a new Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Further related details are available on Samsung’s site as well as the list of models which can be traded in. You can pick up an unlocked version of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus from the Samsung app or through their official site. Payment can also be done in a series of installments over the course of a couple of months.

We believe that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus would be a better choice to make in comparison to Samsung Galaxy S9 since paying a few dollars over might just get you a better product with a higher RAM, in terms of the camera as well as its performance.

Design

  • Strikingly similar to Galaxy S8 Plus
  • The gorgeous glass on glass design
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • Stereo speakers

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is strikingly similar to its predecessor, the S8+, it wouldn’t be correct to say it’s a carbon copy. There are still a few features that distinguish the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus from the S8 Plus. One of the biggest changes would be the placement of the fingerprint sensor which users complained about in the S8 Plus but now it’s located right below the dual lens setup. A place that’s easy to reach and doesn’t require much effort.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is marginally shorter which seems quite absurd since both the phones are of the same size. Samsung achieved this feat by shaving down the bezels surrounding the display while also improving the screen to body ratio. The arrays of sensors and scanners on the top are now hardly visible improving the sleek design and giving it a more refined look.

Turning it over, we observed the most talked about feature, the dual lens setup which is absent in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and all of the previous Galaxy ’S’ series. The flash sits on its right side with the fingerprint sensor right below the camera.

Samsung, for the first time ever, has complemented its phone Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with stereo speakers tuned by AKG,  amplifying the audio to fill the entire room at maximum volume.

Unlike most of the flagships out there, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus still retains both its 3.5mm headphone jack and its micro SD card slot. It’s also providing us with the second year of the Bixby button which we aren’t really fond of since you can’t remap it to function anything else and it just sits there untouched.

Samsung offers this phone in Lilac Purple, Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Titanium Gray. We personally loved the Coral blue but the Midnight black might just be the more practical choice since smudges get on this phone easily but with this specific color, smudges aren’t that prominent.

Display

  • Infinity display
  • Quad HD+ (2,960 x 1,440) resolution
  • 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED curved screen

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus still makes use of the infinity display much similar to its predecessor, but it looks more spectacular than the last time. The phone crams 529 pixels into every inch and with its 6.2″ screen, it looks quite impressive. We have seen some bad OLED screen from various other brands but Samsung didn’t let us down just like always. The screen on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is brighter and stunning than before. The color vibrancy is sublime and you can change them from your settings according to your choosing. It has fine view angles and a decent outdoor visibility.

Its AMOLED screen boosts the Quad HD+ (2,960 x1,440) at 18:9:5 aspect, all this resulting in an incredibly sharp and bright screen. Colors are absolutely gorgeous and the best part is unlike previous Samsung phones, the colors don’t feel oversaturated. The improved contrast really makes the dark colors pop resulting in undoubtedly the best screen on a smartphone today. You can enjoy HDR mode with a brightness boost on Netflix and Prime Video as well, though it won’t be good for your battery life.

You can use the screen in its default Adaptive mode which is great but you can also switch it to DCI-P3 AMOLED Cinema option. Ever used an iPhone? Well, this mode put the screen on iPhone mode which means the screen will look like an iPhone’s screen. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has 2 other modes. A Photo mode which has Adobe RGB gamut while the other Basic mode has sRGB gamut.

Camera

  • 12-megapixel camera with a variable f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture
  • Dual lens setup
  • Low light camera
  • Multi-frame noise reduction

The most awaited and highlighted feature of the Samsung Galaxy s9 Plus is the ”reimagined” camera”. Both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have a 12-megapixel camera but as we discussed before, the dual lens setup is only available for the S9+. The magic actually lies in this dual lens setup which switches between a f/1.5 aperture and a f/2.4 aperture. The f/1.5 hauls in more light for darker settings while the f/2.4 prevents excess light from entering the lens in order to avoid overexposure in light settings. What’s pretty impressive is that the mannerism is almost similar to the works of the human eye.

Samsung has also added DRAM to the image sensor stack on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, allowing the pictures to be made up of 12 frames instead of 3 frames. The front face camera inherits the 8-megapixel camera with the autofocus compatibility that to this day is unique to Samsung phones.

The significant changes can be seen in the camera results. What had us obsessed with the camera was it’s near reality results that almost paralleled the human eye.

Purchase Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus from Amazon.

Battery

  • Wireless Charging
  • Same all-day battery life as S8+
  • 3,500 mAh battery

We found the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to be quite good and 200mAh bigger in size compared to Galaxy S9 and Note 8 which are packed with 3300mAh battery. Similar to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus battery lasted almost a whole day in our battery tests. It is the biggest battery you can find on a Samsung phone. Due to the upgraded chipsets which consume less power, the battery lasts longer. Our testing showed a full 10 hours of video playback and 9 hours on web browsing keeping the brightness in middle.

We have seen various Samsung phones exploding in the past due to battery issues. We hope this won’t be the case this time with this phone. The charging time is a bit better compared to last year model. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus supports fast charging. It can charge up to 20% from 0% in 15 minutes and takes around 1:45 hours to fully charge the phone. It has wireless charging options just like every other flagship out there. In some regions, Samsung offers free wireless charging pads and its charging speed is much better than iPhone X.

 Hardware & Software

  • Exynos 9810 Octa / Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845
  • Stereo speakers
  • AR emoji
  • 6GB RAM
  • Water and dust resistant
  • Android 8.0 Oreo

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is one of the best android phones today in line with the fact that it uses Exynos 9810 Octa / Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 chipset. This chipset will improve its CPU and GPU power which would help in smooth performance and lag-free games. This coupled with the 6GB RAM, provides users with exceptional 3D gaming and fluid activity with more than enough room to multi-task efficiently. Games like Sims, Tekken, and Sonic Forces run without flaw offering a smooth fluid experience but that won’t be classified as impressive.

But we observed various lags during our testing on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. We got a better version of Bixby but it is a bit slow now. Few random apps from Samsung stucks on the main screen so better to avoid or delete them. We have seen Android phones going slow after a year but we are not sure about this one as it has just launched. There is not much of a difference between Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and S8 benchmarks making us believe it may not be a worthy upgrade.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus still has its 3.5mm headphone jack and we love Samsung for this. Unlike other flagships, Samsung is breaking the new norms.

We have got upgraded downward-firing speakers this time. It is positioned above the display on the front, unlike S8 which has its speakers at the bottom. The difference is huge when we compare the speakers with the old models. They are better, have good sound quality and comparatively loud. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus now supports Dolby Atmos which means you will have a better sound experience if you are watching a movie. The speakers are usually at the top of you hence giving you a remarkable experience. You can stimulate the sound to 360 degrees but it does sound more artificial than natural.

Call quality is better than the iPhone X and it has a better signal strength and Wifi performance. Our testing unit was in Australia.

The benchmarking from Trusted Reviews shows iPhone X is way ahead in the game.

Single-Core Multi-Core Antutu 7
Galaxy S9+  3720 8890  251,205
Pixel 2 1917 6312 184,336
iPhone X 4257 10364 235,607
Galaxy S8 2013 6659 174,439
  • AR emoji

Samsung response to Apple’s Animoji was the AR emoji. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus makes use of the front-facing 8-megapixel camera and converts the 2D image to a 3D avatar. We found this feature to be the least convincing and quite frankly a little overrated. Our AR emoji refused to resemble our appearances despite the number of times we tried. Nonetheless, it’s still a cool feature and worth a try.

  • Bixby

Although it requires internet to work, Bixby is a pretty smart assistant with a bit of a hearing disorder. In the race against Siri and Google Assistant, Bixby has a few setbacks.

But some of the new features are quite interesting, one of them being a live translation. You don’t even need to snap a picture before it decodes the language for you through your camera. But a setback is, it requires an internet connection throughout its use.

If you’d like a makeover, Bixby Vision uses the front-facing camera and via partnerships with Sephora and Covergirl it allows you to give yourself an idea of how their products would look, effectively helping the purchase process on both Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and S9.

Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes with a bigger RAM, bigger screen and a bunch of tweaks that make the steep price worth the hike, but if you’re not into big phones, it’s younger sibling, the Galaxy S9 may be the choice to go for. We won’t recommend an upgrade if you already have an S8 plus or S9. The performance is average but it has got really good speakers this time. The TechSeer will give it an 8.2 out of a solid 10.

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