Hands On: Our First Impressions Of The Samsung Galaxy S9

Following the official debut of the S9 at the company’s latest Unpacked press conference, we had the chance to go hands-on with the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Here are our first impressions of the device.

The Look

As far as looks go, it’s hard to really say that the Galaxy S9 looks like a revolution. All things considered, it seems like a blend of the Galaxy S7 and S8.

That isn’t to say it looks ugly or dull, mind you. Just that much like the rest of the device, the aesthetics and design of the Galaxy S9 seem more tick than tock.

The Feel

Likewise, as far as feel goes, the new Samsung Galaxy S9 feels great to hold - but not necessarily that different to its most immediate predecessor. It’s slick and ergonomic in all the ways you’d a flagship phone to be. However, aside from the smaller form-factor, it doesn't feel like the same kind of huge leap forward that the S8 did.

Nevertheless, I will say that I was surprised how light and balanced the S9+ felt to hold despite the larger display.

The Camera

If anything is being emphasized by Samsung as the core upgrade for their flagship series of smartphones, it’s the Galaxy S9’s camera. Both the S9 and S9+ feature new variable apertures on their primary 12-megapixel cameras. This allows them to toggle between and aperture of f/2.4 and f/1.5.

In addition, the S9 is also able to shoot super slow-motion video footage at 960FPS. Based on our quick hands-on with the feature, this proved every bit as easy and appealing as the feature’s on-stage debut suggested it would.

As for the AR emojis, well, they don't look quite as smoothly animated as Apple's Animoji's do. Thankfully, whether or not this is anything close to a dealbreaker for you is going to be down to personal preference. Regardless, the software powering the feature should hopefully be a little more refined by the time the S9 launches.

Are we excited?

It’s a new flagship Galaxy device from Samsung - of course we’re excited.

Should you pre-order now? Well, that depends more on what the current phone you’re carrying is than on anything Samsung have got going on here. If you’re the brand-new owner of an S8 or Note 8, you should probably hold off. However, if you’re a few years behind the smartphone curve - the Galaxy S9 is going to look like a solid enough shortcut.

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Fergus Halliday
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