First look at the Samsung Galaxy S9

First the clue 'The Camera. Reimagined.' Then an accidental leak of its official promo showing its new phone in all its glory.

By Monday morning, there wasn't much left for Samsung to officially reveal. Not that it's likely to care.

The S9 is the sole headliner at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for a good reason. No other manufacturer wants their limelight stolen.

The S9 and S9+ are "made for the way we increasingly communiciate and express ourselves with images, video and emojis", says Samsung.

After a quick play with the devices, I say selfies and social media.

If truth be told, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ don't look significantly different to last year's models... lovely Lilac Purple aside... but for those who crave a good camera, this one's badass. 

It's the first smartphone to feature a dual-aperture camera.

Take a landscape shot and the f/2.4 kicks into focus. For a dimly lit room, it will use f/1.5. On the S9+ with its dual lens you can also get that nice bokeh effect.

Super-fast focus, enhanced slow-motion, vastly improved low-light capture and the ability to animate emojis (a similar rather feature to the iPhone X).  It's all pretty cool.

"Samsung is an innovator in the industry in that we define the latest in the screen, processor and memory capabilities and we package all that in products to that the consumer is getting the absolute latest in their mobile phone," Stefan Lecchi, head of telecommunications Samsung NZ, told Newshub.

"The camera is going to make this phone come alive for them. We don't want to understimate its other features but the camera is definitely revolutionary."

We tried out some of the features.

Testing both the S9's water resistance and its super slow mo feature in one go.
Testing both the S9's water resistance and its super slow mo feature in one go.

Super Slow-Mo

The slow-mo video captures 960 frames per second, a new smartphone benchmark. The phones also offer automatic motion detection, a feature that senses movement in the frame and automatically begins to record. Music can be added and GIFs created and shared.

Low Light Camera

Like a person's iris subtracts and expands, Samsung’s Dual Aperture1(F1.5 – F2.4) lets in more light when it’s dark and less light when it’s too bright, taking photos that are crisp and clear anytime, anywhere.

Dual rear cameras for the S9+

Great, but this might disappoint those wanting the smaller S9

This is the emoji Emma Brannam.  Wish my lips were like that in real life.
This is the emoji Emma Brannam. Wish my lips were like that in real life. Photo credit: Newshub

AR Emoji

Pucker up. AR Emoji uses a data-based machine learning algorithm, which analyses 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. People can share their emojis across most third-party messaging platforms. Yes, it's a bit like Apple's iPhone X offering.


Samsung's intelligence platform, integrated into the camera, uses augmented reality and deep learning technologies to provide helpful information about a user’s surroundings. With real-time object detection and recognition, Bixby instantly generates information directly on top of the image that the camera is pointing at.

Users can translate foreign languages and currency in real time with Live Translation, learn about their surroundings.

The rest

All the things we've come to expect from a premium Samsung phone - such as IP68 water and dust resistant, fast wireless charging, expandable memory of upto 400GB, iris, fingerprint and facial recognition, etc.

The fingerprint sensor has also shifted to a more sensible position below the camera.

The S9 and S9+ go on sale in NZ March 16, with pre-orders starting February 26. 

Prices start from $1,399 for the S9 and $1,599 for the S9+.