Image: the Samsung Galaxy S9 (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Image: the Samsung Galaxy S9 (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Image: the Galaxy S9 looks very identical to the s8.
Image: the Galaxy S9 looks very identical to the s8.
Image: The fingerprint scanner on the S9 has been moved to the bottom of the camera.
Image: The fingerprint scanner on the S9 has been moved to the bottom of the camera.

CAPE TOWN - After spending over a month with the Samsung Galaxy S9, here are my thoughts on what makes this phone great but also to help you decide whether or not it is worth an upgrade. 

The Samsung S9 has a new, high-power camera featuring an innovative dual-aperture shutter that was made the main attraction of the device. 

Samsung gave Business Report the Midnight Black model for review, but the device also comes in Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, and the all-new Lilac Purple hue. 


Phone design 

I have to say that  I am very impressed with the Galaxy S9's outer appearance as it has a nice metal frame and its curved glass panels are shaped and blended together better than the S8. 

The curved panels make it better and a bit easier to swipe in from the edge. 

However, the device is has a very similar design to the Galaxy S8. What is different is that the S9 has an improved biometric security and has advanced low-light performance.

The power button is also located on the right edge and the Bixby button is found on the left edge.

However, the Bixby button is found just below the volume buttons which I found very problematic, as when one tries to change the volume you could mistakenly select the Bixby button. 

HAVE YOU READ: Is Bixby an epic fail?

The 5.8-inch screen size is the same as the S8, but there are some improvements in the AMOLED panel. 

Colours are more vibrant, but still accurate, and the screen gets very bright. The S9 has a Quad HD+ (2,960 × 1,440 pixel) resolution. 

On the bottom edge of the phone is a USB-Type C charging port, with a bottom-firing speaker and a headphone jack.

As with previous flagships, it is IP68 water and dust resistant, so it will survive you dropping it in the bath, toilet or pool. BUT TRY NOT TOO!

The S9 has essentially flipped its horizontal camera and fingerprint sensor setup vertically, making it easier to place your finger.


 Samsung has put in a lot of effort with giving you the best sound experience on the S9. 

The S9 uses stereo sound with the top earpiece working with the bottom-firing speaker for AKG-tuned, Dolby Atmos audio. 

Playing music at full volume makes it sound like a mini speaker with rich and clear sound. 


The camera on the device is exactly what Samsung has said about it, which is that it is "reimagined". 

The camera does not only take great pictures in daylight but also in low light or no light as well.

The S9 continues its fantastic camera performance when recording video.

 You are able to record a video at 60fps 9Frames Per Second) at Full HD and 4K resolutions.

However, when recording at a 4K resolution it removes image stabilisation. 

The S9’s camera has the widest aperture available on a smartphone currently which is f/1.5.

this means it can absorb a lot of light because the hole of the camera is larger.  

Samsung’s multi-frame noise-reduction image processing, allows one to take better images at night by eliminating as much noise or grains that would normally ruin an image. 

A new camera feature added to the Galaxy S9 is recording things in slow-motion. you can take 720p videos that are 32 times slower than real life.

Here are a few images taken with the S9:

Also, these images have been rescaled from 4K to full HD due to size constraints. 

(This image was taken with no flash and there was hardly any light). 

( A zoomed-in image of the mountain at Koggelbaai )

(an image of our camping site) 

( An image taken using selective focus)

( A close-up image of a cat) 

(Image was taken while the car was moving and through a closed car window)

(Image taken with selfie camera) 

The S9 can record slow-motion video in one of two ways: 

1. Users can either film a scene that is currently happening and turn it into a slow-motion video or 

2. You can use the second option which allows you to move the scene into a yellow box which will trigger a recording as soon as motion is detected.

It’s not just in daylight that the camera is great but in low light, or no light as well.

The aperture is the hole in the camera that lets light into the sensor.

 Samsung has joined Apple by enabling AR Emojis, which allows you to turn an image on yourself into an emoji. 


In my opinion, Bixby has been made much more useful but still behind compared to other assistants such as Google Assistant. 

Bixby has been improved to give more accurate results on the web when looking for added information.

For example, Take an image of a bottle of wine using Bixby Vision and it will tell you more about them as well as food pairing suggestions.  

The translation tool also on Bixby Vision has been improved. You can translate any image, road sign or online information just by holding your camera up at the sign and immediately Bixby will translate it for you in a matter of seconds. 

Battery performance

The phones battery performance is also great but could be better.

 Average use of the S9 meaning checking messages, browsing through social media or gaming will allow for a full day of use.

The phone supports fast wireless and wired charging, so you have plenty of ways to charge it back to a full percentage quickly.


The Galaxy S9 fixes one major flaw with the S8 by making it easy to unlock the phone with your face or finger.

Intelligent Scan marries the iris scanner and facial recognition to make unlocking your phone with your face a far, far simpler task, and as mentioned the fingerprint scanner is much easier to hit.


The Galaxy S9 that I got to test features a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, and this chipset delivers overall great performance. 

Apps open quickly on the device and everything is very responsive. 

The S9 supports HDR10 (High Defenition Range), so apps such as Netflix, YouTube with HDR10 content look their absolute best on this phone. 

The Snapdragon 845 chip boasts bigger graphics improvements, so gaming is a great pleasure on the device. 

The Galaxy S9 can easily handle multitasking, gaming, and everyday tasks without issues.

In conclusion, I have enjoyed the device but compared to the S8 it really isn't that much of a huge difference in design.

Samsung has made very large improvements especially in the camera. I cannot stress how amazing the camera quality of the device is. When taking a selfie, just looking at your face on the screen feels like looking in a mirror, it is very clear. 

So if you do have the money to upgrade, it won't be a loss but if you have an S8, you're not missing out too much. 

** Gabriella is a tech writer for Business Report and her articles are focused around technology development. 

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