Samsung Galaxy S9 rumour round-up: More than just a mighty camera

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We’re less than a week from the official Samsung Galaxy S9 Unpacked event taking place in Barcelona and we can barely keep up with all of the leaks and rumours. It looks like we’ll probably know every key feature of the upcoming flagship before the curtain even lifts. And why should we have all the fun? So here, for your reading pleasure, is everything we know so far.

We have covered most of the specs so far, but to recap — we know we’ll be seeing a Galaxy S9 and an S9+ model from the South Korean tech giant at Mobile World Congress next week. That’s no surprise given the last couple of models have come in regular and large iterations. But, where most of the attention has been on the displays in recent years, this time we’re expecting the big news to be around the rear of the new devices…

All of the marketing material we’ve seen includes the slogan “The camera. Reimagined.”, and given we’re expecting to see the dual camera that debuted on the Note 8 on at least the S9+, that’s not really big news. Leaked pics suggest the regular S9 will have to make do with a single shooter, but it turns out there’s more to be excited about than just a secondary cam on the big boy.

Not just a basic snapper

Not so much a leak as an actual announcement, Samsung Mobile Korea released three teaser videos on its YouTube account ahead of time boasting about the new camera features, which do look pretty incredible.

The super slo-mo mode rumour has been confirmed in one of the official videos, which sports some epic action-shots in HDR quality. This, along with the new variable aperture feature, are the two selling points that Samsung is focusing on for this launch.

Another of the official videos features low-light videography that further supports the variable-aperture rumours. This mechanism automatically adjusts the depth of field according to the light conditions when using the stills camera or video-mode. What does this mean? Even better low-light performance, that’s what. And we’re already pretty pleased by Samsung’s efforts in that department — our S8 outshines even the iPhone X when things get dim.

The aperture will change automatically via mechanical switching and will boast the widest aperture on any smartphone to date, which should mean even more dreamy background blur. Who need an SLR, eh?

Hey Apple…

Samsung has taken some notes from the iPhone X, and is releasing the Galaxy S9 with an ‘Animoji’-type feature, which will likely be called 3D Emoji. One of the official videos released by the Korean company features a very expressive man going about his day and a rigmarole of different emotions, until finally, at the end of the video, his face is replaced by a happy animated face — sound familiar?

We don’t have much more info on the new feature, but ETNews maintains that Samsung’s animated faces will be an improvement over Apple’s implementation. Win! We expect you’ll be able to save them as GIFs or similar so you can share them with anyone, even non-Samsung users.

A slight improvement

Let’s talk about the design — something everyone is not-so-enthusiastic about… Because the S9 will pretty much take after its older brother, the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Although we have not really seen actual product images, we have seen the design mockup which predicts a very similar look to the predecessor, with a few minimal, but very practical changes.

The display size for the S9 will be 5.8 inches and the S9+ will sport a 6.2 inch Infinity display with minimal bezels. Resolution will feature a whopping Quad-HD, Super Amoled curved display. Like the S8, this model will be rated IP68 water/dust resistance as well for all the clumsy Samsung-enthusiasts.

Something we haven’t seen from Samsung in a while is a range of colours to choose from, and they are going overboard with a lovely lilac purple version, as well as a coral blue handset. These will join the already-leaked midnight black and titanium grey. This is something to look forward to if you aren’t really one for internal hardware, but rather for a stylish accessory to show off.

Another big(ish) change will be the position of the fingerprint sensor (hurray!). We saw with the S8 that many users kept getting pesky fingerprints on the camera lens (that’s not where they are supposed to go). The new model will have a lower-set fingerprint sensor directly underneath the camera lens, which will probably sit at a more comfortable spot, too.

One small shortcoming with the S8, was the bottom-firing single speaker. If we’re being honest it did do its job, but could’ve been better, and this is one area where Samsung has decided to improve a bit. Rumour has it that the S9 and S9+ will be fitted with dual stereo speakers, with one on the bottom of the handset, and one accompanying the earpiece at the top. Just to make sure there is enough oomph to join the party, and, you know, anything Apple can do…

Are you ready?

There are so many rumours going around, that it’s hard to keep up with what has actually been approved or debunked, but the best way to be in-the-loop, is to sign up to the Samsung Unpacked event and watch the event live. It is happening on 25 February 2018, so make sure not to miss it.

If, on the other hand, you are interested in the leaked specs and some more rumours, you can follow the thread on The Inquirer here. Some Reddit user apparently received access to the device pre-launch and posted a few updates, but the thread has since been deleted… but not before a few websites picked it up.

The specs were also posted on a Reddit thread, so we basically have access to all of them, but we still want to hold the device in our own hands to see how this flagship will perform.

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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