Recently, Samsung released the Galaxy S9 and the S9+. A frontrunner in smartphone technology, the newest Samsung Galaxy additions are exceptionally exciting. Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy S9 and S9+:

Specs

The S9 and S9+ represent a true overhaul of everything Galaxy owners have come to know and love.

The overhaul starts with the camera. The goal, as Samsung puts it, was to create a camera that mirrors the function of the human eye, adjusting automatically to a variety of lighting conditions via a dual aperture component that makes it easy take great pictures day or night. This goal was accomplished with an impressive upgrade to the Super Speed Dual Pixel 12 MP AF sensor with a size of 1/2.55” and a ratio of 4.3. These specs, coupled with the VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization) and HDR (High Dynamic Range) features ensure that camera does all the work for you, taking high quality photos with a simple click of a button.

The design has also been given a facelift — putting their newly revitalized, 5.8-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (6.2 inch on the S9+) screen front and center to provide the best display possible. Samsung calls this new design component the “Infinity Display,” which offers seamless edge to edge crystal clear display.

The screen ratio is designed to have a cinematic effect, which is a particularly nice component for people that are buying the phone partially to take advantage of the high-quality camera. Now you can view your pictures like never before with a screen that boasts unprecedented image clarity.

The actual shape of the phone has also been slightly improved to be ergonomic in design. A phone that fits your hand should be a given. Unfortunately, that just isn’t always the case, so it is nice to see here.

All these things, coupled with a storage capacity of 64-128 GB and a battery life that benefits from a 3000mAh battery, we are looking at a phone with some pretty impressive specs.

Features

Upgraded specs aside, this phone is also rich in new and exciting features that set it apart from both previous iterations of the phone, and other comparable products at large.

One of the more exciting features is what Samsung refers to as the augmented reality “AR” emoji. The AR Emoji allows you take a selfie or video of yourself and then digitize it so that it looks like the character of an emoji. Whether you are singing, talking, or just gesturing into the camera, you can watch a cartoon version of yourself come to life, and then share that image with your friends and family. The phone even comes loaded with “stickers,” cartoon animations that further help you to personalize your AR Emoji.

Then there is face recognition — a smart phone component that is really starting to pick up steam with several of the major manufacturers. The face recognition feature included in the S9/S9+ is called “smart scan.” It’s an authentication technique that scans your face for both unique contours exclusive to your own appearance, and your irises to ensure that the device is in the right hands.

Samsung’s efforts here is the crowning achievement when it comes to phone authentication. With the access code, thumb print, and face scan component, Samsung’s latest line of their flagship phone is about as secure as it gets. The only downside is that unlike other phones on the market, you can’t use the face scan to authenticate payments.

Finally, the S9 and S9+ benefit from a new feature that they appropriately refer to as the “super slo-mo cam.” The slo-mo cam does what the name suggests, slowing down videos to create a fun, cinematic effect that can add drama, humor, or just plain fun to your shooting. This feature allows you to shoot video at a stunning 960 frames per second for up to six seconds unique, slow motion playback.

How the S9/S9+ Stack up to the Competition

Of course, these aren’t the only new smartphones to come out recently. Google has recently launched the Google Pixel 2, and Apple has also just launched the iPhone X.

So how do these new Samsung phones stack up?

Feature for feature, spec for spec, they are all fairly similar. All three phones have a standard memory of 64 GB, quick charging, and finger print sensor authentication. The Samsung S9 and the iPhone both have screens of 5.8 inches while the Google has a slightly larger screen of six inches. The S9+, however, tops all three phones with a screen size of 6.2 inches.

With a sticker price of $1000, the iPhone X is the most expensive phone out there, though there are few standout features that justify the discrepancy. The iPhone X does upgrade many of the features common to previous iPhones but does not do much to distinguish itself from many of the other comparable products out there. That said, it does allow users to use facial scans to authenticate purchases which is a feature missing from the Samsung phones.

The Samsung isn’t without its own distinguishing attributes as well. Most notably, both Samsung phones are the most durable, featuring a shock resistant frame, dust proof sealing, and water resistance that keeps the phone safe from exposure to liquid for up to 30 minutes.

Pros

  • Extremely Durable
  • Face Authentication
  • AR Emoji
  • Slo-Mo Cam
  • Overhauled Camera

Cons

  • High Price Point
  • No Face Authentication on Purchases

Launch Deals

Thanks to some sweet launch deals, there are a few ways to get these phones for a little bit less than the sticker price.

Of all the provider deals, Verizon might have the best. With a good trade in, you can save anywhere between $100-350 on your initial purchase. They are also currently offering a BOGO option on both phones for people that open a new line of service.

Other providers offer similar deals in terms of trade ins and financing. T-Mobile, for example, offers up to half off the Galaxy S9 for trade ins, amounting to a value of $360.