Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Release Date, Price, Specs & All You Need To Know

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We tie together all the rumours and leaks regarding the Samsung Galaxy S9 series

We tie together all the rumours and leaks regarding the Samsung Galaxy S9 series

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are Samsung’s “next big thing” and will be launched inside early 2018; apparently during Q1, according to several reports.

Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Latest News

Component Leaks & Battery Details

Several leaks have occured in a short space of time showcasing the various body panels of the Galaxy S9 series. First up, via Chinese sources, the front panels of both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have appeared in photos, showing the narrow bezels around the display glass and the curvature. As expected, they’re quite similar to the Galaxy S8 series. Although the top and bottom bezels have shrunk slightly, the leaked photos confirm what we saw in recent schematics that they have not been reduced massively, meaning the alleged 90% screen-to-body ratio has now been thoroughly debunked.

Another Chinese source has also tipped the Galaxy S9 will have a 3,200 mAh battery cell inside, but there’s no word on the Galaxy S9+ and it remains unclear whether it will have a bigger battery. The 3,200 mAh rating means the Galaxy S9 has a 200mAh boost from the Galaxy S8.

In another leak, the backplates for the Galaxy S9 series have also shown up, confirming that the regular-size model will have a single sensor camera.

Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Release Date

A fresh leak from Korean source The Bell, suggests that Samsung may even hold its Samsung Unpacked event for the Galaxy S9 series during the Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC) expo in Barcelona, Spain, in late February.

The report explains that this contradicts earlier rumours and leaks which suggested Samsung would launch its next flagship even earlier, ahead of the MWC expo. Allegedly this is because Apple’s iPhone X was apparently the cause of Samsung wanting to launch a new flagship as soon as possible, but the company has noted that Samsung Galaxy S8 series sales have held up fairly well against Apple’s lead model, so now it seems it doesn’t feel as pressured.

A launch at MWC 2018 would mean the Galaxy S9 series would likely hit store shelves by the middle of March, which would still put the Galaxy S9 ahead of the Galaxy S8 from 2017 in terms of arrival schedule. The Galaxy S8 was delayed from its original launch plan and didn’t arrive until around April/May.

MWC 2018 kicks off on February 26, historically Samsung has launched its flagship either a day or two before the expo begins, or on the first day of it; this time the Galaxy S9 will apparently launch on February 27, so day two of the expo.

Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Specs & Hardware

Qualcomm just took the wraps off the next-gen Snapdragon 845 processor at its Technology Summit in Hawaii and has detailed some of the specs and features we can expect to see when it starts arriving inside flagship devices next year.

The 2018 flagship chipset will follow current trends in having quite a focus on AI capabilities.

The Snapdragon 845 SoC will use an octa-core CPU with a max clock-speed of 2.8GHz. The eight cores use Qualcomm’s custom-made Kryo 385 architecture which Qualcomm promises will offer a 25% performance boost thanks to their new design. Four cores will be performance cores using ARM’s Cortex-A75 architecture base, the other four are efficiency cores using ARM Cortex-A55 with a max clock-speed of 1.8GHz.

A new Adreno 630 GPU comes along for the ride with a 30% performance boost in graphics speed and the same again in power efficiency. Qualcomm also promises 2.5x quicker display throughput which will support 4K displays running at up to 120Hz.

The GPU also supports AR and VR functionality with built-in eye-tracking, hand-tracking, and multiview rendering.

There’s also a new AI platform based on the Hexagon  685 DSP. This is 3x faster than the older Hexagon 682 (from the Snapdraong 835), with built-in support for Android Oreo 8.1’s Neural Networks API. It’ll offer faster performance for AI functions while draining less power, which will aid a number of always-on features such as voice command detection.

Qualcomm is gearing up to begin shipping the Snapdragon 845 chip to device makers in early 2018.

Snapdragon 845
Process 10 nm FinFET
CPU 8x Kryo 385 (4x Cortex-A75 up to 2.8 GHz + 4x Cortex-A55 up to 1.8 GHz)
GPU / VPS Adreno 630
Camera Up to 32MP / 16MP +16MP
Video Recording 4K HDR
Max screen resolution 2x 2400×2400 @ 120 FPS (VR)
LTE 1.2 Gbps / 150 Mbps
Wi-Fi 802.11ad Multi-gigabit
AI Platform Hexagon 685
QuickCharge QuickCharge 4/4+

We already know from leaks and rumours that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will both follow Samsung’s usual MO of a processor split; some will use Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 845 while others will use Samsung’s homebrew Exynos 9810 processor.

In recent years Samsung has used the Qualcomm silicon in models heading to the North American market and it’s likely it’ll do the same again this time around, although we’ve seen no specific evidence to point one way or the other as yet. Samsung has had Qualcomm-based devices in Europe and Asia, and Exynos kit in the Americas in the past, so it’s not entirely out of the quesiton that it could flip things and suprise us, but for now we’re assuming it’ll stick to the status quo.

We don’t know about battery ratings at this point, but we have heard that Samsung will apparently aim to have super fast charging features aboard the Galaxy S9 series. With the Qualcomm-based models this could be Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+, but some sources suggest may not be the case and Samsung may be looking to engineer its own solution across both Qualcomm and Exynos-based models.

Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Design & Display

From leaked renders (@91Mobiles and @mysmartprice) and schematics we now know that the Samsung Galaxy S9 series will largely look quite similar to the Galaxy S8 series as curved glass sandwiches with a metal filling. The bottom and top bezels have expanded a little, but it’s not very noticeable and nowhere near the 90% screen-to-body ratio that was previously rumoured.

The main design changes include curving the rear panel glass to match the curvature of the display glass, and the positioning of the camera array on the rear as a vertical strip, with a fingerprint scanner embedded below this, centrally, rather than off-set to the side as with the Galaxy S8 series.

This means the earlier rumours about an in-display embedded fingerprint scanners have proven incorrect. Additionally, it appears that both a Type-C USB port AND the 3.5mm headphone jack have survived onto the Galaxy S9 series, embedded once again in the base plate.

The displays will be new-gen Super AMOLED 18.5:9 Infinity Display panels and will be at least as good as the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8’s stunning displays. Tipped sizes are 5.8in for the Galaxy S9 and 6.2in for the Galaxy S9+ with QHD+ resolutions (in the region of 570ppi and 529ppi, respectively, according to some reports).

Lastly on the subject of design, we have seen reports that the Galax S9 series will arrive in four colours, down from last year’s initial spread (though more may come later, in Samsung’s usual style).

With the Galaxy S8 series, it launched with five colour choices, but not every colour was available in every region, most only had two or three of the colours, and some were rolled out later to different territories; for example, the Coral Blue edition arrived a little while after the initial launch.

Allegedly one of the new colours for the Galaxy S9 will be purple/violet – this was a colour previously leaked and rumoured for the Galaxy S8 but one that never became reality.

The remaining three colours will be black, gold, and blue, keeping with Samsung’s already established colour set. Of course, Samsung could be hiding a few additional colours for subsequent release as well; something it seems to have done fairly regularly.

We don’t know at this point whether the Galaxy S9 will be the same as the Galaxy S8 series where the front fascia is black regardless of the colour choice. Interestingly, having introduced a Burgundy Red Galaxy S8 recently, there’s no mention of a similar colour on the Galaxy S9 just yet.

At this stage, things may not be fully finalised, however, as colour choices are one of the few elements of smartphone design that don’t require half a year’s worth of planning in advance and can be changed relatively last minute if need be. Samsung may have a few additional colours not picked up by this rumour cycle just yet, for example, we may see the Arctic Silver and Orchid Grey colours making a return as well.

Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+: Camera

According to repeated leaks, the Samsung Galaxy S9 series will feature different cameras between the two models. The Galaxy S9 will have a single-sensor camera while the Galaxy S9+ will have a dual-sensor setup similar to the Galaxy Note 8.

At this point we don’t know anything about the specifics of the camera hardware in terms of megapixel ratings, aperture sizes, or anything else.

On a related tangent, however, multiple reports have suggested the Galaxy S9 series will sport much-enhanced iris-scanning technology via a dedicated front-facing camera module (separate from the regular front-facing camera); this would be similar to the Galaxy Note 8 as well.

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