Even to a trained eye, it would be difficult to tell the new Galaxy S9 Plus apart from last years model. Samsung's latest flagship looks almost identical to its predecessor, especially from the front.
Having said that, there really wasn't any need to change the design. The S9 Plus takes a device that already sits near the top of our best phones list and refines it in almost every way. We like to think of it as the Galaxy S8 Fan Edition.
Samsung has listened to most complains we had about the Galaxy S8- such as the finger print sensor position or faster unlocking of your phone.
The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus also have some novel features such as AR Emoji that are created in your own image, and a camera that’s utterly unlike anything we’ve seen on the market before. Also, this year, you get two cameras instead of one.
But these plus points are set against a backdrop of a very high price; we’re not talking iPhone X levels here, but it’s still one of the more expensive options you can buy.
What’s interesting is that the fiercest competition for the S9 Plus is from Samsung’s own phones. The now-cheaper Galaxy S8 Plus is an incremental downgrade, ideal for anyone put off by the high S9 Plus price, while the Galaxy Note 8 has dual cameras and more RAM like the Galaxy S9 yet a tad bit cheaper.
- Want to see all this at a smaller size and price? Read our Samsung Galaxy S9 review
Samsung Galaxy S9 release date and price
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus release date: March 16
- AED 3,499 marks a jump in price
- It’s still cheaper than an iPhone X
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is set to release on March 16, however, preorders start shipping from March 11 in the Middle East.
The Galaxy S9 Plus will retail for AED 3,499 in the UAE for a 64GB version. Similar pricing can be expected in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC. That is 400 Dirhams more than what the S8 Plus launched at.
Samsung is also releasing 128GB and 256GB variants of the Galaxy S9 though they would be harder to score at launch. Pricing for 128GB is AED 200 higher while 256GB is AED 400 higher for AED 3,899. Those prices are inclusive of VAT so you won't need to pay an additional 5% over them.
- Samsung’s elegant-looking glass-and-metal smartphone design returns
- Small changes: center-aligned rear fingerprint sensor; stereo speakers
- You won’t notice the dimension differences from the S8 Plus
The Galaxy S8 was quite possibly the best looking phone from last year. We're glad that Samsung decided against going back to the drawing board and instead, focusing on subtle changes that polish an already beautiful product.
You still have two glass panels which continues to make the phone a fingerprint magnet, however the steel frame keeping it all together is now using the stronger series 7000 Aluminum and has a matte finish that looks nicer than the glossy one from last year. Samsung has also hidden most sensors present on the strip above the screen to give the phone a very unified look.
The bezels have been very slightly shaved off making the Galaxy S9 Plus slightly shorter than last year's model. It is also slightly wider and a tad bit heavier and though you'd be had pressed to notice any of those changes, they make the phone feel more balanced in your hand.
The back now sports two cameras instead of one and they're vertically stacked. Below them sits the fingerprint sensor which is a much better place for it compared to the Galaxy S8 Plus where the FPS rested next to the camera.
Unlike many of its rivals, Samsung is standing by both the 3.5mm headphone jack and the microSD card slot. It’s also giving us a second year of the Bixby button on the left side of the phone to call up its digital assistant. No, you still can’t remap this button to your liking without third-party software and, yes, you’ll still hit it thinking it’s the nearby volume-down key.
The Galaxy S9 Plus is still a big phone that's not necessarily easily operated with one hand. But it is a size that you can get used to and makes going back to smaller phones difficult. We do recommend that you have a play with it at a retail store to see how it fits in your hands.
At launch, you'll be able to select between three colors, including the new standout Lilac Purple. Other S9 color options at launch include Midnight Black and Titanium Gray. Our Midnight Black review unit was a mess with fingerprints, even though we wiped it down between photos.
- 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen
- 90% of the front of the phone is now screen
- No in-screen fingerprint sensor here
Samsung’s 6.2-inch display on the Galaxy S9 Plus is as expansive as it is impressive. It’s unchanged from the company’s previous Infinity Display – but that's held up to be a fantastic screen, so that’s okay with us, too.
Its tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio has set the standard for all-screen smartphones. It can display a Quad HD+ resolution, yet it still looks outstanding at the default Full HD 1080p. It’s really the combination of the futuristic-looking curved edges, vibrant colors, and high contrast ratio that make it pop.
Samsung has the best always-on display, which shows notification icons, the time and the date against an otherwise turned off screen. We also appreciate the fact that it has created a screen that fills 90% of the front of the S9 Plus. There’s very little bezel here, and no notch whatsoever, which makes it feel like you’re holding one large, beautiful light beam in your hand.
That beautiful beam of light is prone to occasional false touches, which we experienced due to a combination of the curved screen and our firm grasp of such a big phone. It’s no fun watching text messages disappear only because our pinky finger glanced the backspace key (which happens to be right near the edge) while we tried to clutch this massive 6.2-inch display.