In this post, which will be updated regularly, we take a closer look at the latest rumors surrounding Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are among the best smartphones you can get. They offer gorgeous bezel-less designs, sexy curved displays, and top-of-the-line specs. But they do have their faults we hope Samsung will address with their successors. These include the weirdly positioned fingerprint scanner, the lack of dual-cameras, an easily-fooled facial recognition system, and more. Fixes for all of these, and new features, could be part of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.
Samsung hasn’t shared any details about the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus with the public yet. But we have come across a lot of reports and leaks that give us a good idea of what to expect in terms of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus’ specs, features, design, price, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the two new powerhouses from Samsung, keep reading. You’ll find all the latest Galaxy S9 rumors below.
Samsung Galaxy S9 release date
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will be announced a month sooner than their predecessors. At CES 2018, Samsung Mobile chief DJ Koh said that the smartphones will make their debut at MWC in Barcelona, which runs from February 26 to March 1. The exact date was not mentioned, but we expect the reveal to take place a day or two before MWC kicks off, when large companies typically hold their press conferences.
As for the Galaxy S9 release date, two usually reliable sources claim the device will be officially released on Friday, March 16. Industry leaker Evan Blass claimed in the tweet attached below that the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus would be available for pre-order on March 1, before being officially released on March 16.
According to a C-level executive at a major casemaker, the go-to-market schedule for Galaxy S9 / S9+ is as follows:
Launch – 2/26
Pre-orders – 3/1
Ships/releases – 3/16
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 16, 2018
SamMobile says its sources have also indicated a March 16 release date, though only for the US and/or South Korea, with other markets to follow shortly afterwards.
Samsung Galaxy S9 specs and features
The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus won’t be major upgrades over their predecessors.
According to a report from VentureBeat, they will come with the same curved displays as the Galaxy S8 series. This means we’ll see 5.8- and 6.2-inch Super AMOLED panels with QHD+ resolution and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio.
ETNews reports that both the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus will use Y-OCTA display technology, which integrates the touch layer in the encapsulation layer of the OLED display, rather than using a distinct film-type layer like on older generations of Samsung’s displays. Y-OCTA was only used on the Galaxy S8, but with the new generation, both the S9 and the S9 Plus will take advantage of it. Y-OCTA displays are thinner, have better optical properties and are reportedly 30% cheaper to manufacture.
To recall, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are identical except for screen and battery sizes. Things may be different when it comes to their successors, as we can expect to see more differences. The Galaxy S9 Plus is said to have 2 GB of RAM more than its smaller brother (6 GB vs 4 GB). It might also feature a dual-camera setup, while the S9 should only have a single shooter on the back.
An image of an alleged Galaxy S9 retail box, which you can check out above, gives us additional info regarding the specs of the Galaxy S9. It suggests that the flagship’s camera could have a 12 MP sensor with OIS and variable aperture — f/1.5 for low-light shots and f/2.4 for when there’s more light available. We’ve already seen this technology on Samsung’s high-end flip phone called the W2018, which launched back in December. You can check out what the variable aperture looks like in action below.
These camera rumors are backed up by a recent report from ETNews. The publication reaffirmed that the S9 will have a 12 MP rear camera with f/1.5 variable aperture lens (up to f/2.4) — the smallest ever for Samsung (the S8 and Note 8 cameras came with an f/1.7 aperture).
The S9’s (and likely S9 Plus’) front camera is said to come in at 8 MP, with autofocus and the iris-scanning technology seen previously. ETNews claims the Galaxy S9’s iris scanner will be integrated in the front-facing camera, while the Galaxy S9 Plus will have a discrete iris scanner and a regular selfie camera. It’s not clear why Samsung would go down this route, but space limitations and supply constraints are two possible explanations. The iris scanner/camera combo on the Galaxy S9 is said to be manufactured by two Korean suppliers — Partron and MC Nex. Though, previous reports have claimed the Galaxy S9’s iris scanning lens will be upgraded from 2 MP to 3 MP. This could be only for the Galaxy S9 Plus, however.
Samsung recently published new details on its own website about the company’s new ISOCELL camera sensors. Some of that technology is likely to show up first in the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. One of the more interesting hardware improvements mentioned is called ISOCELL Fast, which is a 3-stack fast readout sensor. Samsung claims that this will allow cameras with this sensor to record video in Full HD (1080p) resolution with a whopping 480 frames per second. That means the sensor will be able to offer super-slow mo video at a high resolution. The same sensor is also supposed to have a feature called Super PD, which Samsung hints will give smartphones faster autofocus speeds for its cameras.
Some of Samsung’s new ISOCELL technology is likely to show up first in the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.
The page also talks about another sensor, ISOCELL Bright, which is supposed to help improve taking photos in low-light conditions by combining four normal-sized pixels into one large pixel. There’s also a mention of ISOCELL Dual, which is supposed to improve features in smartphones with dual sensors, including better light sensitivity, depth effects, and sharper brightness. Finally, the page mentions ISOCELL Slim— a sensor that is supposed to offer high-quality images in smartphone cameras that have modules as thin as 0.9 microns.
The Galaxy S9 might have stereo speakers on board and ship with a free pair of headphones — both tuned by AKG. Then there’s also the IP68 rating for protection against water and dust, wireless charging, and an improved iris scanner.
According to that same ETNews report mentioned above, Samsung is also said to be saving space inside the device thanks to a new type of printed circuit board (PCB). This “substrate Like PCB” (SLP) technology is said to be “thinner and narrower” than the previous technology and will be used in models with Samsung’s Exynos chip, which are expected to account for 60% of total sales. What this would mean for the Snapdragon variant released in the West wasn’t speculated upon, but it should theoretically mean that the Exynos models have more room for internal components.
We also expect to see a new location for the fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S9 smartphones will still sport the scanner on the back, but they won’t sit right next to the camera like on their predecessors. Instead, they’ll likely be located below the cameras, in the middle of the devices. This is fantastic news, as the scanner’s location on the S8 is one of its biggest drawbacks. Not only does it look weird, it’s also impractical.
According to Business Korea, Samsung will stick with the same 2D facial recognition software found on the Galaxy S8. The company has decided to ignore 3D technology due to “technological limitations” and concerns over user security. But the facial recognition feature could get a small upgrade — it should be faster.
When it comes to software, Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will run Android Oreo with Samsung’s Experience UI on top. Bixby, which made its debut on the Galaxy S8 series, should also be on board, probably in an enhanced form.
It’s worth mentioning that the Galaxy S9 smartphones have recently stopped by the FCC — model numbers SM-G960F and SM-965F. However, apart from a long list of network bands and other types of connectivity, the listings don’t reveal much else.
Recently, Samsung’s upcoming smartphones — carrying model numbers SM-G960 (Galaxy S9) and SM-G965 (Galaxy S9 Plus) — have been certified by the FCC again. This time, a few different versions of the devices are listed that end with U, U1, W, and XU. The letter U stands for the US model, U1 is for the unlocked variants, W is for Canada, and XU is for demo units.
The FCC ID reveals the full list of supported GSM, CDMA, LTE, and UMTS bands, which you can view here (Galaxy S9) and here (Galaxy S9 Plus). They show that the smartphones will support all major bands on all carriers. That means Samsung will probably release one version of each smartphone that will be sold by all carriers.
|Samsung Galaxy S9||Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus|
|Display||5.8-inch 18.5:9 Super AMOLED
2960 x 1440 resolution
|6.2-inch 18.5:9 Super AMOLED
2960 x 1440 resolution
|Processor||Qualcomm 845 or Exynos 9810||Qualcomm 845 or Exynos 9810|
|RAM||4 GB||6 GB|
|Storage||64 GB||64 GB|
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 256 GB||Yes, up to 256 GB|
|Camera||A single rear camera||Dual rear cameras|
Samsung Galaxy S9 design
Although official images of the two devices haven’t popped up online yet, we have a good idea of what the Galaxy S9 smartphones might look like. OnLeaks has teamed up with 91mobiles and released alleged CAD renders and a 360-degree video of the Galaxy S9.
They show that the device could look very similar to its predecessor, with a few exceptions. The biggest one is that the fingerprint scanner could be positioned below the camera sensor instead of next to it, as already mentioned in the Specs and features section above.
OnLeaks then joined forces with MySmartPrice and also released alleged CAD renders and a 360-degree video of the Galaxy S9 Plus. As expected, it looks more or less identical to its smaller brother. The only difference is that the device features a dual-camera setup, while the S9 only features a single shooter on the back.
Having a similar design as their predecessors isn’t a bad thing. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are gorgeous devices that look and feel premium. The two smartphones have been well-received by users, so there’s no real reason to drastically change their design.
They might not be to everyone’s taste, mainly due to the glass back. It’s a fingerprint magnet and not as strong as metal, but it does allow for wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy S9 price
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus launched at $725 and $825, making them more expensive than their predecessors. Even though the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus likely won’t offer a lot more than the S8 series, rumors claim they might come with higher price tags.
If prices do increase, we’ll likely see a domino effect. The fact is that Samsung dictates pricing with its Galaxy S series. If the S9 will cost more, we can expect devices like the successor to the LG G6, Huawei P20, and HTC U12 to come with higher price tags as well.
Keep in mind that nothing has been confirmed yet. It’s still possible we won’t see a price hike and that the Galaxy S9 handsets will cost the same as their predecessors. What we can be sure of is that they won’t be cheaper.
These are all the rumors about the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus we have come across so far. We’ll update this page as soon as we hear more.
Meanwhile, do let us know your thoughts on Samsung’s upcoming smartphones. Would you consider getting either of them based on the info we know so far? Let us know in the comments.