Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, its flagship devices for 2018
In addition to improvements in its camera, it brings vast improvements in its software
The S9 and S9+ also retain the 3.5mm audio jack, and offers a choice of face and fingerprint authentication
The premium smartphone segment is largely controlled by two brands – Apple and Samsung. On one hand, Samsung is the leading smartphone vendor in world, while Apple is the most valuable technology company around. Both sides are fiercely battling competition, and both have fanboys that vehemently defend their products. A day ahead of MWC 2018, Samsung has announced the flagship Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones that bring in key upgrades over their predecessors. At the launch event, I got to spend some time with both the devices. And here are 5 reasons that left me impressed.
Without any doubt, the Apple iPhone X is a direct competitor to the new Galaxy S9 duo. And while Apple is known to create technology to wow the world, Samsung has always gone the democratic way and improvised. There are more than 5 ways in which the new Galaxy smartphones surpass the iPhone X, and it has surely left me impressed.
You ‘still’ have the 3.5mm jack
When Apple removed the 3.5mm audio jack starting with the iPhone 7, not many appreciated the move. Apple said, “it takes courage to remove” the 3.5mm audio jack. Yes, it was a bold move, because someone had to take an initiative. But ask someone who invested in a pair of headphones, and you’d realize that dongles simply don’t cut it as a solution.
Samsung seems to be at the pulse of consumer sentiment, knowing exactly how popular the 3.5mm audio jack really is. It knows that it’s not right time to ditch that piece of interface and disappoint millions of consumers. The South Korean giant has decided to opt for legacy audio support.
The same hullabaloo, minus the notch…
When the Apple iPhone X was launched, it brought with it key design changes. Among these were an edge-to-edge display, front and back glass, powerful chipset and cameras, but also a unique face recognition and authentication system.
Power packed with cool technology, it also resulted in an unpleasant notch on the top of the screen. A colleague of mine speaks highly of the tech in the notch at the top. To me, it’s plain ugly. When I take a look at this year’s Samsung flagship devices, I find true edge-to-edge display, with minimal bezels at the top and bottom of the device. The dual edge curved display only adds to the overall aesthetic appeal. And Samsung manages to do all this without any blemish, blobs or notch.
Face recognition, not at the cost of fingerprint
With the iPhone X, Apple opted for Face ID which was its face recognition and authentication system instead of its Touch ID fingerprint recognition system. It built an advanced 3D facial recognition technology that maps your face structure and other elements to quickly scan, authenticate and unlock the smartphone. However, given the complexities of changing facial patterns, whether due to props, accessories or simply changing features such as growing a beard, the human fingerprint seems an ideal token key for security and authentication. It’s practical and accessible. Understandably so, Samsung has decided to retain it on its flagship smartphones for 2018.
That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your face to authenticate your Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. These new devices have an intelligent 3D facial recognition feature that you can unlock by simply looking at them. This is in addition to the iris scanner, PIN and pattern unlock methods. In an apparent dig at its competition, Samsung claims face unlock will work even in harsh sunlight.
AR Emojis, an answer to Apple’s Animoji
While launching the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, Samsung mentioned that 5 million emojis were shared last year. Apple, on its iPhone X makes use of the 3D depth sensing front camera to capture your animated avatar in the form of emojis. Yes, Apple was first to bring it, but Samsung has improvised on it by allowing you to change hair color, and also choose between 18 different expressions.
In case of Apple, users can only share Animojis with other iPhone users via the iMessage app. With the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, you can send AR emojis using third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other instant messaging apps.
Super Slow-Motion camera
A lot of us capture videos on our smartphones, but at times, you need that extra something to make them stand out, especially when it comes to slow motion video recording. The iPhone X can record slow motion full HD (1080p) videos at 120 or 240fps, but Samsung allows you to record videos in 960fps.
But things don’t end there, you can reverse loop or forward loop the videos, or swing (Instagram’s boomerang like feature). You can even use the slow-motion videos as live wallpaper on your smartphone.
Dual aperture camera
The iPhone X is equipped with one of the best cameras on a smartphone after the Google Pixel 2, and its photo quality is more or less close to what the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 produces. But with the new Galaxy S9 duo, Samsung has upped the ante with a dual aperture camera – with f-stop ranging between f/1.5 and f/2.4.
During broad daylight where there is ample amount of sunlight, the camera switches to f/2.4 aperture, and when it gets dark, the camera switches to f/1.5 aperture for better low-light photography. We are yet to test the camera quality, but it does appear as something to look out for.
Connectivity and interoperability
When it comes to Apple, you’re stuck with a few things. For one, no headphone jack, so you need to get a headphone that has a lightning port. This also means you cannot use the headphones on other devices, expect on the iPhones and iPads. And DeX support instantly lets you transform your smartphone into a workstation when connected using a keyboard and mouse.
For data transfer and charging you have the USB Type-C port which is now getting popular on most smartphones, and you’re likely to find someone with the charging cable. And while transferring photos, videos and other content from Apple iPhone is a hassle as you need to do it using iTunes, Android OS on Samsung makes it easier to use transfer content, just like you do it on a USB drive.
In all, the Galaxy S9 duo are more likely to appeal to the masses, and the above points prove that Samsung has the edge over Apple. I’m impressed and definitely looking forward to get my hands on the new Galaxy smartphone. It will now be interesting to see how good a response the devices get from the masses.