Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review – The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (SM-G965F) is the successor to the Galaxy S8 +. After Samsung made fundamental design changes last year, the South Korean company focused on finalizing this year’s model. This includes a new SoC, more RAM and a modified camera that can now automatically switch between a 1.5 and 2.4 aperture. The S9 + is also the first Galaxy S dual camera model.
The rest of the hardware reminds the predecessor: a 64 GB UFS 2.1 memory, support for microSD, a waterproof and dustproof cabinet, and an Infinity Edge screen. In addition, the S9 + comes with Bluetooth 5.0, the fast Cat LTE. 18 standard and a wide variety of sensors. This year’s model comes with a new price increase. The Samsung Galaxy S9 + was launched at a price of 949 euros (around 1167 USD). In addition, a 256 GB version is available exclusively in the Samsung Store at a price of 1049 euros (around 1 290 USD).
The high-end smartphone must compete with devices such as Apple iPhone X, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, LG V30, Google Pixel 2 XL, HTC U11 Plus and Motorola Moto Z2 Force. It also has to compete with less expensive models such as the OnePlus 5T and the Honor View 10.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Design
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has an elegant case made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and aluminum. It has a pleasant feeling, although it has a more angular appearance than its predecessor and weighs 17 grams more. It is available in night black, coral blue and lilac purple options.
The construction quality is very high. Deviations are minimal and evenly distributed and the smartphone has a high resistance to torsion. However, there are some small crunches coming from inside the box. The Galaxy S9 + was part of an investigation conducted by Stiftung Warentest (German consumer organization), where he had to prove himself in a great drop test. Unlike his predecessor, he passed the test with only a few minor scratches. It’s nice to see that Samsung has improved this aspect so efficiently.
The protection label is still quite confusing. The manufacturer has labeled IP68 protection, which usually means that a phone is dust and water proof. In the fine print, however, Samsung has reduced the nominal protection against permanent immersion in water to a temporary immersion (30 minutes) to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters – ergo IP67.
Depending on the model, the card tray on the top edge of the smartphone may contain a nano-SIM card and a microSD card or two nano-SIM cards (Duos). Unfortunately, the tray is quite thin of plastic. The battery is not removable and the user cannot change it.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus offers a wide selection of sensors that leave almost nothing to be desired. Among other things, a heart rate monitor is included again. All common mobile radio technologies are also included. In addition to Nero 5.0, NFC, MST and Ant + are offered. The Bluetooth radio supports dual audio and can connect to two speakers simultaneously. In addition, aptX supports high resolution audio content.
According to the manufacturer’s specifications, the microSD card slot supports cards with a maximum capacity of 400 GB, the maximum capacity currently available at the time of the test. The SDXC standard of up to 2TB, even higher capacity cards should no longer be a problem. Due to the large performance differences between internal storage and optional storage, it is not possible to format a microSD card as internal storage or transfer applications.
The USB port belongs to the current type C variant and supports transfer standard 3.1 (generation 1). It is also compatible with OTG so that storage devices and devices can be connected through an adapter. In addition, it is possible to charge other devices through the Galaxy S9 Plus and the port is capable of transmitting HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 signals. The only thing that users should do is an FM receiver and an IR transmitter.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Software
The operating system used for the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is Google Android 8.0 Oreo, developed by the Samsung UI 9.0 of the Korean company. From a purely visual point of view, the new operating system hardly differs from Android 7, which was used among other things for the Galaxy Note 8. At the time of writing this document, the level of the security patch is March 1 of 2018 and, therefore, is updated.
Samsung’s assistant, Bixby, is also included. However, it seems that it has hardly changed since its launch and is not yet offered in German. Only available in Korean, Chinese and English.
The new AR emojis feel more like a gadget than a fully developed feature. In particular, live movements are usually minimized and the digital avatar’s mouth contracts nervously. We liked more social media stickers, although the recognition value is not very large.
Also included are familiar features like Edge Bar or Game Launcher, as well as Samsung’s own app store. In addition, Microsoft and Facebook applications are preinstalled and cannot be completely removed, but simply disabled. On the other hand, many Google applications can be completely deleted. Unfortunately, Samsung has given up the ability to set up multiple user accounts on this smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus GPS and Wifi Specs
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus offers a wide selection of mobile operator frequencies. Korean society prefers several regional variants to a global variant. The European version SM-G965F supports up to 35 frequency bands, while the US variant SM-G965U takes 40 and the Canadian standard G965W 41. These are not just LTE bands, but especially CDMA frequencies that are not necessary in Europe. The LTE (Cat.18) has a download speed of up to 1.2 Gbps, which makes the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus one of the fastest phones to date. The reception was good in a big city and gave us no reason to complain.
The Wi-Fi module remains unchanged from the predecessor Galaxy S8 Plus. Supports IEEE 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac with VHT80 MU-MIMO and 1024 QAM (10-bit quadrature amplitude modulation). On paper, the Galaxy S9 Plus should offer the same performance as its predecessor, but the Korean company has adjusted and improved the download speed, but the download speed has suffered a bit. Overall, the smartphone offers very good performance in combination with our Linksys EA8500 reference router.
Users with multiple Wi-Fi access points in the office or at home will notice that the Galaxy S9 Plus is unfortunately a bit slow, since it automatically switches to the strongest signal. During our consultation, this forced us to re-establish the Wi-Fi connection several times to connect to the nearest wireless access point, which was quite inconvenient. However, this is a widespread problem with smartphones. Only the Huawei Mate 10 Pro stands out among the comparison devices because it can switch between access points much faster thanks to its Wi-Fi + technology.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 uses GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, QZSS and Galileo satellite navigation systems for positioning, which makes it quite well equipped. In addition to that, it also has a barometer. Satellite tracking is almost immediate abroad, but it takes a little more time inside the buildings. Even near a basement window, location was still possible.
To evaluate the phone’s location capabilities, we compared the Galaxy S9 + with the Garmin Edge 500 bike computer. Both systems actually measured the same distance and followed a very similar trajectory, even in direct comparison. This track was not perfect for any of the systems, but still gave a very good overall impression.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Call and voice quality
The phone application of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has undergone slight changes compared to its predecessor, which has made it much more elegant. The “Places” tab has been removed without replacement and users can only switch between the recent calls list, their own contacts and the number field.
The quality of smartphone calls is good and does not generate complaints if the provider supports VoLTE. The 3G connection has much more noise, but in general it remains at a good level. The noise canceling function might work better, since the noise cutting fins seep from time to time. The speaker mode of the Galaxy S9 Plus worked quite well.
Despite the slight echo, the smartphone can be placed on a table to have your hands free. The device also supports phone calls over Wi-Fi. The Galaxy S9 Plus is available in single and dual SIM versions. The latter is called Duos and may contain an additional nano SIM instead of a microSD card. However, double VoLTE is not possible.