A Look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9+

A Look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

Samsung is one of a very small handful of smartphone manufacturers whose phone releases and announcements have grown to full-blown media events. Last year, the buzz surrounding the Samsung's flagship phones was the abandonment of the familiar Galaxy phone designs in favor of shifting all of the Galaxy S8 series design to match the “Edge” style phones which featured Infinity displays that seemed to pour over the edges of the phone.

Buy a Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+ This year, the Galaxy number ticks 1 digit higher along with many other significant changes and a long list of differences between the S9 and S9+, so if you've got a new Galaxy S smartphone on your shopping list and need some help deciding between the two, then our Look at the Galaxy S9 and S9+ is just what the doctor ordered.

Design Comparison

Design Comparison

There are some obvious and some not so obvious differences between the designs of Galaxy S9 and S9+, so let's start by looking at the overall design specs of the phones.

The obvious takeaway here is the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is bigger than the S9 to accommodate a larger screen. The resolution of the screens, however, remains the same, which gives the Samsung Galaxy S9+ a slightly lower pixel density, although many would consider it a fair trade off to gain nearly half an inch of screen size. Plus, both phones feature the stunning Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen that Samsung phones are famous for, so pixel density should not hold one back from choosing a larger screen.

Model Dimensions Weight Screen Size (diag.) Resolution Pixels Density
Galaxy S9 5.8"x 2.7" x .3" 5.75oz 5.8in 2960x1440 570ppi
Galaxy S9+ 6.2" x 2.9" x .3" 6.67oz 6.2in 2960x1440 529ppi

Aside from these screen and size differences, the design for the S9 and S9+ is the same. Both feature the edgeless infinity display that curves seamlessly into the rear bezel, which houses a fingerprint reader beneath the camera or cameras (more on that later). Both phones are available in three colors: Lilac Purple, Midnight Black, and Coral Blue.

Under the Hood

Design Comparison

At this point, the S9 and S9+ seem mostly similar, but when taking a look at what is going on beneath those beautiful displays, the two begin to diverge in some major ways.

First, the similarities here include the latest Qualcomm mobile CPU, the Snapdragon 845 processor on both models, along with the Adreno 630 GPU and storage options in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB varieties, expandable via microSD by another 400GB. New flagships sporting the latest and greatest of Snapdragon processors is all but standard fare these days, but it's worth noting that Qualcomm touts the 845 to give a 25% boost in performance over the 835 while being 30% more efficient in power consumption.

Model Processor GPU RAM Storage Battery Camera
Galaxy S9 Snapdragon 845 Adreno 630 4GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 3000mah 12MP single
Galaxy S9+ Snapdragon 845 Adreno 630 6GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 3500mah 12MP dual

Unlike with the S8 generation of Galaxy phones, there are some major performance differences between the S9 and S9+, with the Galaxy S9+ sporting a massive 50% increase in RAM and a 16% increase in battery capacity. For those wanting top performance out of their Galaxy phone but find the size of the Note 9 to be too large, the extra performance boost and battery life of the S9+ should fit the bill nicely.



Without a doubt, the most significant difference between the Galaxy S9 and the S9+ is found seated innocuously on the back side of the phone, flush with the bezel and just above the fingerprint reader, and that is the camera, or cameras depending on which model.

Both of the S9 phones feature Samsung's new “Super Speed” dual-aperture (f1.5/f2.4) 12MP camera with optical image stabilization. The dual aperture is the standout feature here, which allows the camera to automatically adjust the amount of light exposed to the iris depending on shooting conditions. Only on the Galaxy S9+, however, will you find the same dual-camera setup previously reserved for only the Note series of Galaxy phones with an additional 12MP OIS telephoto lens that adds 2x optical zoom capability.

Samsung's camera app has the expected bells and whistles, including filters, background blur, and can easily turn short video clips into animated GIFs that can be featured on your lock screen. Speaking of video, video capture has been beefed up to 4K @ 60fps for both models, along with 960fps super slow-motion that is available at HD resolutions only.

Final Thoughts

With Samsung beefing up the features on the Galaxy S9+, it's very much become a Note 9 mini of sorts, with only size and S Pen stylus features truly setting the two apart. This puts those who value the extra pocket or handbag real-estate afforded by the Galaxy S9 in the position where they are giving some very desirable features and upgrades in order to keep their smartphones slimmed down. If that didn't make the choice difficult enough, with an MSRP of $839.99, the Galaxy S9+ is priced only $120 (17%) more than the $719.99 Galaxy S9, making it difficult to recommend choosing the S9 when the advantages of the S9+ make the higher price likely worth it for most consumers.

September 12, 2018
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