If you are a tech geek then yesterday had the potential to be one of the best days of your life, or a bitter letdown, as Samsung launched their Galaxy S9 and S9+ at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The theme for this year's phone was "Reimagined". It was immediately obvious that they more than delivered with the new camera and additional features that come with it. After spending a couple of hours with the phone, here are a few extra things I liked.
Samsung is picking up its standard when it comes to cameras. So much so that this phone may make a video editor consider using a phone over a DSLR. I am not being flippant when I say, the new cameras on the Samsung S9 and 9+ truly make that choice difficult.
For me the camera's big new feature is the ability to shoot under low light conditions. This is made possible by its Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensor with a OIS (F1.5/F2.4). The sensor adjust to allow more light into the lens when you are in dark situations - a great feature to have when all you do at parties is document the night.
As part of the reimaged camera, Samsung introduced a feature they call, "augmented reality emoji" aka "AR emoji". At first glance, you can't help but think of the iPhone X, but Samsung's big spin is allowing the photographer to add their face to the mix.
The camera scans a picture of you and creates a basic emoji. This then adjusts to your facial expressions, giving you a unique way of expressing yourself. It also gives you more than 15 of these emoji, all of which can be shared across social platforms (Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter) as a gif.
Another feature that Samsung owners will enjoy wasting their time with is the Super Slow-Mo video feature. Samsung states that "the Galaxy S9 and S9+ also offers automatic motion detection, an intelligent feature that detects movement in the frame and automatically begins to record". The 960 frames per second make every shot seem like you had the help of Michael Bay.
Overall, the phone's added features are great, but it feels like a bit of a letdown from Samsung. In a superficial manner the company seems to have taken a huge step forward, but in everything else they stayed in the same place. The new features are truly groundbreaking, from the AR emoji to the super slow-mo, but the look and feel of the phone was ignored. Someone asked if I had the S8, and I had nothing to say – because the phone looks, and feels, like the S8. Maybe it will still grow on me?
The phone will be launched in South Africa on March 16 in four colours: midnight black, lilac purple, coral blue and titanium grey. The devices expected to cost R15,499 for the Galaxy S9 and R17,999 for the Galaxy S9+.
*** This review was conducted on a Samsung Galaxy S9.