As you may already know, there are some shiny new things to look forward to next month: the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+.
There were no surprises when Samsung executives led by mobile division boss DJ Koh took the stage Sunday evening in Barcelona to unveil a much-anticipated pair of gadgets. Samsung even made sure that the duo did not get to share the stage with other devices, as if to put some emphasis on what it is offering its customers this year.
Everything that we knew about the Galaxy S9 and S9+ going into Sunday’s launch is what really turned out to be. We had our doubts on the pricing and even got excited for a moment after seeing the pricing information revealed in Spain. But, it turns, that excitement wasn’t meant to last long since local pricing of the two devices is along the lines of the information that was available prior to the launch.
This is good. Really good. https://t.co/EFNalMzsfV
— The Unsullied (@echenze) February 25, 2018
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will go for Kshs 100,000 and 105,000, respectively. Yes, when I said pretty penny, I meant it. Pretty penny. That was the launch price of the Galaxy Note 8 just months ago when it debuted in the Kenyan market.
Yeah, the only thing you may be able to afford are the free Galaxy S9 wallpapers currently making rounds on the internet.
So, what makes the Galaxy S9 and S9+ so special to warrant such a high price markup?
These features, maybe?
- The same design as last year’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ with a few tweaks to make it better. Like the speaker grille on the bottom of the device now really looks cool and it’s not a bunch of “just okay” machined holes. The fingerprint sensor has, finally, been moved to a more natural position just below the camera.
- There’s a deliberate effort to differentiate the Plus model from the standard model feature-wise. Previously (as in with the last 3 generations of Galaxy S devices), the only difference was the size. This time round, the S9 Plus is a more superior device, albeit slightly. It packs more memory and an additional camera sensor at the back for a dual configuration that is expected to shake up the iPhone X’s roots.
- The camera? The Galaxy S9 and S9+ may be eerily similar to their siblings from last year but where they part ways is in the camera department. Samsung has gone all in on this, as if to prove a point (maybe it is). In fact, the folks at Android Authority are calling it the “biggest smartphone photography change since the first mainstream dual camera was introduced on the HTC One M8”. Who am I to disagree with that assertion?
- The Galaxy S9 has what Samsung is calling a Super Speed Dual Pixel 12-megapixel shooter at the back. The Galaxy S9+ steals all the thunder with the same sensor but this time round being used for wide-angle needs while an additional 12-megapixel sensor handles the device’s telephoto (and other, more on that soon) needs in a dual-camera arrangement that also boasts of dual optical image stabilization (OIS).
- The Galaxy S9+’s telephoto lens has one other important use case: Live Focus. Live Focus is just a fancy name for (real-time) portrait mode (depth-of-field bokeh i.e. effects that result in the blurring of backgrounds), something that we got to see for the first time on the Galaxy Note 8.
- Is it the S9’s dual aperture mode? The Galaxy S9 and S9+ have a dual aperture setup. What this means is that, at the touch of a button, the devices are able to tune themselves to take in more or less light so as to improve the quality of snaps they take. After all, it’s all about optics. They are able to do this because of a mechanical (moving) iris. The best bit about it all is that you can actually watch it all happen. It’s cool. I won’t go into the details of this but some other people have and you should definitely read what they have to say on the matter for your own knowledge. Here.
- ARemoji? It’s Samsung’s take of Apple’s animoji. Well, copying is the word I am looking for. But it looks cooler, maybe better? This is what Samsung says of the feature: Samsung lets users create an emoji that looks, sounds and acts just like them. AR Emoji uses a data-based machine learning algorithm, which analyzes a 2D image of the user and maps out more than 100 facial features to create a 3D model that reflects and imitates expressions, like winks and nods, for true personalization. AR Emoji shares your real-life feelings not only in video but also with a range of stickers in uses a standard AGIF file format so users can share their emojis across most third-party messaging platforms.
- Super Slow-mo? The Galaxy S9 and S9+ can shoot HD video at 960 frames per second! 4K video can be shot at 60fps and full HD video can be captured at up to 240fps.
- Upto 400GB storage in case one exhausts the 64, 128 or 256GB onboard storage? First things first, good luck getting that microSD card that can take advantage of that.
- That the sound system on the Galaxy S9 is Dolby Atmos compatible? That Samsung has, for the first time ever, included dual stereo speakers, tuned by AKG, no less?
- Bixby’s upgraded shenanigans (it can now do live language translations and identify and generate information on objects, live on top of them… Augmented Reality)?
Specifications of the two devices are as listed here.
According to Samsung, the above features are not just the only thing that it is guaranteeing prospective buyers of the device will get for their Kshs 100,000 or 105,000. There are few little things. Like a fast wireless charger and free 4GB data for those who pre-order them when the pre-order window opens next month. The pre-order period will run from March 2nd all the way to March 22nd. On the morning of March 23rd, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will officially go on sale countrywide.
Interested buyers of the devices will be able to pre-order them from Samsung’s own brand stores, Safaricom shops, FoneXpress, Naivacom, Tuscom, Phonelink and all authorized dealers across the country.
Kshs 100,000 and 105,000 is Safaricom’s pricing of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ respectively. Samsung’s recommended retail price for the two devices is Kshs 85,000 and 95,000 for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ respectively.