Tech corner

KCOM tech expert Henry Groom reviews the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus


Samsung seem to be approaching the S9 release in the same way as their competitor, Apple, approaches its regular updates.

Instead of releasing something ground-breaking with the possibility of consumer rejection or hardware/feature breakdowns, they have opted for refinement; taking what they learnt from the S8 and S8 Plus to create an industry leading mobile device.

Improving on last year’s camera specs, the S9 delivers a single sensor 12MP camera that is something to be reckoned with.

If you are looking for a reason to buy this phone or upgrade this is the reason. Its sensor can now alternate between f/1.5 and f/2.4 to offer amazing detail in low light conditions, but then offer crystal clear images in brighter views. Utilising the latest technology in AI, Samsung have been able to create a camera that can automatically sense, analyse and develop a better image than you would normally expect from a phone.

I’ve been using this camera myself for a few weeks now and, comparing it to the comparative mobile (iPhone X), the Samsung delivers what I can only describe as the best mobile camera so far.

It’s crisp and sharp with the right amount of brightness and contrast where needed, and the final images that come from the phone are in line with and sometimes outweigh even my Canon SLRs.

In addition to the amazing quality from images, the new feature of “super slo mo” which enables you to take a slow-motion video to a whole new level, 960fps in fact. So, if you are looking for a way to create some amazing shots of sports this is something you should check out. Being able to slow down things – such as tricks on snowboarding trips - can really make some special memories, and also gain you a load of likes on Instagram.

One of the major improvements Samsung has made is to the placement of the fingerprint sensor. Taking comments from users of the S8 and improving its position means no more accidentally getting sticky fingers all over the camera lens, and as a previous user of the S8 this is very much welcome!

Another welcome improvement is with the sound. The S8 delivered a well-rounded sound but it was not stereo. Its replacement takes a new stance and delivers stereo for the first time and it sounds vastly better, being one of the better experiences I’ve had with a Samsung mobile device.

There has been a recent hype around “Facial Response Emojis” after Apple introduced their “Animoji”. Samsung has followed suit with their “AR Emoji” feature, allowing you to use your camera and the phones AI and facial recognition software to create a responsive Emoji or avatar.

So, when you smile it smiles, look sad and your avatar/emoji responds. It’s a nice little feature, how much it will be used, well only time will tell. For me though, it’s the future use of this that I am more interested in rather than the current gimmicky deployment.

As with any new release, there are pros and cons to changing what you may have. For users of the S8 or S8 Plus this may just seem like a wasted journey, but anyone with a mobile over two years old (S7 or below) it could be a game changer! 

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