Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have come to fight for Apple’s phone crown with new features and supercharged cameras. But the iPhone X won’t go down easily, and deciding between the newest Galaxy and iPhone may prove tougher than ever. Now that both of these smartphones have been reviewed already by many tech analysts, here is a break down on how each performs to help you decide which one is the best for you.
Samsung Galaxy S9
The Galaxy S9 boasts a faster new processor, redesigned camera and a host of other new features that Samsung hopes vaults its latest product to the top of the smartphone heap. Run down the specs for the S9, and there’s no denying that Samsung has built a formidable smartphone that’s likely to top last year’s model, which was a pretty impressive device in its own right. Forgive Apple’s iPhone X, though, if it’s not exactly shaking in its boots. For all the enhancements and new addition,s the Galaxy S9 brings to the table, Apple’s flagship phone looks like it still has the edge in half-a-dozen key areas, especially now that there’s a chance to test the Galaxy S9 Plus. Samsung’s latest may be the phone to beat on the Android side of the market, but there’s plenty of reasons why the iPhone X remains the gold standard in the smartphone world even with the arrival of the Galaxy S9. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus may look a lot like last year’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus at first glance, but don’t be fooled. There are a ton of new features to play with on Samsung’s latest flagships, which are available for pre-order now and go on sale March 16. To stay competitive with Google’s Pixel 2 XL and Apple’s iPhone X, which sport the best smartphone cameras around, Samsung added tons of new photographic features to the S9. The company also beefed up the phone’s internals with a superfast processor and new speakers, and fixed one of our biggest problems with the Galaxy S8. (Spoiler alert: It was the fingerprint sensor.) Read on for the 10 features that make the Galaxy S9 Plus the best Android phone you can buy right now.
Well, you’ve probably already seen the super-slow-motion video feature on other smartphones, such as Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium, but Samsung’s implementation is incredibly addictive. The S9 camera can slow down a video clip to 960 frames per second at 720p resolution for 0.2 seconds to create a 6-second clip you can share with your favorite social networks. When you’re shooting in super-slow-mo mode, the S9 camera lens automatically detects when action appears in the frame and slows it down for you, no work required. A manual mode lets you control the action if you prefer to do that instead. The best part is what you can do with the slow-mo clip after it’s recorded: You can loop the clip, swing it back and forth, or reverse it.
Either Apple is making it easier for Samsung phones to stand out, or Samsung is just getting really, really good at making smartphones. Don’t get too upset now, iPhone X users. Your phone has plenty of great features that the Galaxy S9 doesn’t have, and that list is coming soon. One of the most daring, and expensive, phones of 2017, the iPhone X has some great design and software features that attempt to justify the stratospheric $1,000 price. It’s got ultraslim bezels and an all-screen face, an excellent camera and cutting-edge face-scanning technology.
Of course, the iPhone X has more than a few maddening feature flaws that make me shake my head in disappointment, but after using the X for over two months, I’ve come to really love some of the subtler changes. They successfully make it much smoother and more useful than previous iPhones. And when you’re using the phone for hours a day, every day, even small conveniences add up. Here are the five that made the biggest impression:
- Lock screen notifications for your eyes only. Your notifications and alerts aren’t anyone’s business but your own, which is what makes this anti-Peeping Tom feature so great. Give the lock screen a sidelong glance and your list of notifications simply shows you the apps that are alerting you: Gmail, text, Facebook Messenger and so on. But when the iPhone X’s depth-sensing Face ID camera recognizes you, the details of the alert fill in. You suddenly see the sender and the actual message; either the full text if it’s short or an excerpt if it’s long. When Android phones begin adding similar advanced face-scanning technology — remember, Qualcomm is making this technology available to all phones that use its Snapdragon 845 chipset.
- Face ID saves time logging into websites. Face ID doesn’t always work when I want it to, but when it does, it can whisk me right into password-protected websites such as Amazon and my bank. That saves me from having to type my password a million times. It works similarly to registering your fingerprint to access a site, except you literally never have to lift a finger. This is a feature you opt in to, so you don’t have to use it if you prefer tight password control. You can also use Face ID to authenticate purchases, but that’ll happen on a seller-by-seller basis.
- Tap to wake. Taking a page from Android phones, the iPhone X introduces tap-to-wake features, which means that when the screen is locked, you can tap the display to see the lock screen. When your iPhone’s buddied up to you on a table or desk, tap-to-wake is a convenient way to see the time and date or the battery and Wi-Fi status. Plus you can take a peek at your notifications without having to unlock the phone, or even lift it.
Overall, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus look strong in the early running, but so far, this is more of specs and price comparison than anything else. If some of those early “known knowns” sway you, say, the price and headphone jack on the Galaxy S9, or the iOS and Face ID on the iPhone, maybe you’re ready to whip out your credit card and take the plunge. But for everybody else waiting to see how those key “TBD” items compare, we’ll keep updating this article as we complete further testing.