On Sunday, February 25th, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung will unveil their latest mobile offering, the Galaxy S9. This will be where the eyes of the world will be, so what can we expect from this South Korean firm?
This will be an evolutionary change from last year’s S8 and the S9 promises to be a refined version of the existing Android S8 handset.The price of this new handset should be in the region of US$700 or GB£500 or €550. This is not very different to the current S8, so what can we expect to be new?
There have been rumors that the screen size will change but this seems unlikely,and it seems that the S9 will retain the 5.8” screen with an 18:5:9 aspect ratio. What is certain is that it will be curved and continue to use Super AMOLED technology which delivers superb contrast and visuals. A rumor that has been around for some time is that the S9 will come equipped with an in-screen fingerprint reader,but this seems to be somewhat far-fetched at this time. One new thing that will be includedis the water repellent technology for the screen. In 2016, Samsung licensed technology related to a glass coating that repels water from the smartphone screen. This is certain to make using your handset in the rain much easier; no more wiping with a wet sleeve!
This rendering from a skin-makers site allows us to see a single lens camera located above a fingerprint scanner. The screen appears to be bezel-freeand the branding of Samsung and S9 appear on the back cover. These renderings show that the S9 looks very similar to the S8, with the fingerprint scanner moving position to underneath the camera.
One of the most trusted leak sites, Evleaks, also show their renderings of what the new handset will look like. Both front and back have curved screens with small, almost non-existent bezels. The handset has also retained its headset jack, which means that it is not completely waterproof, even though the screen has been treated to repel water. A new color, purple, will also be available.
A new material called Metal 12 has been trademarked by Samsung, but it is highly unlikely that this will come out on the new S9. Insider information indicates that this still needs work, so it is likely to be held over for future releases.
Another rumor that has gained some traction is that the S9 will have a more modular form and will come with magnets on the rear case that will allow the attachment of various accessories. These accessories could be additional batteries, zoom lenses for the camera, etc.
Industry sources indicate that the camera will be a major feature on the new S9. The features will not be as a result of great numbers of pixels or dual-lenses but rather a variable aperture, a super slow-motion video capability and possibly the release of the first smartphone based HDR video capture capability. This is borne out by invitation to the MWC 2018 release event which includes the teaser line “The Camera. Reimagined.”
If the rumors about the variable aperture and the ability to capture HDR video are true, then Samsung’s new camera will be superior to the Google Pixel 2 camera, currently the best available on the market. Indications are that the S9’s camera will boast a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel lens that comes complete with optical image stabilization and the new feature is the variable f/1.5 – 2.4 aperture. This has the effect of allowing the lens to use f/1.5 for those low-light shots and then in brighter conditions switch to f/2.4. The latter aperture will also be used to help focus a greater depth of field. These rumors were fueled by a leaked image that shows the new S9 packaging that declares the camera as having high speed and that it supports slow-motion video. For future releases, there is a strong rumor that Samsung’s technical staff are working on producing a camera that shoots at 1,000 frames per second.
No major changes are expected regarding the battery packs and given the disaster of the Note 7; it is highly unlikely that they will package a large battery. Wireless charging will continue to be available.
Qualcomm has released the new Snapdragon 845 chipset that will, in all likelihood, power the S9 versions of the phone sold in the US. This octa-core chip has four cores that run at 2.8GHz and four that run at 1.8GHz. The faster cores have improved performance of up to 30% over the older 835 chips. Power usage has gone down while processing and graphics performance has gone up. This chip also allows for the camera to record 4K Ultra HD video with a frame per second rate of 60fps.
Those purchasers that live outside of the US will most probably find their phones powered by Samsung’s Exynos 9810 chipset with Android Oreo as the operating system. This chipset includes a high-speed LTE modem rated at a theoretical download speed of 1.2Gbps.
Industry sources indicate that the handset will come with 4GB RAM, instead of the 6GB included with many other smartphone brands.
The leaked images of the S9 packaging show a free set of Bluetooth AKG headphones and the blurb also states that the sound will be superb.
The S9 has completed its testing by the Federal Communications Commission and from that process, there are indications that the phone will support all major LTE brands. The handsets are rumored to be being built in Vietnam, and as the leaked image of the S9 packaging originally came from Vietnam, it seems that it is very plausible that the handsets are being manufactured there.
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This new smartphone is another strong release from a highly reputed manufacturer. This next step in the evolution of the phone will bring with it improved features, and the handset is sure to be a bit hit with loyal Samsung fans.