Yesterday, Samsung took the day before Mobile World Congress really starts to announce its newest thing. Two things, as is Samsung's wont. The Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+ are now officially official, and both handsets will go on sale in March. That's a pretty quick turnaround, which is a good thing, because I imagine there are quite a few people out there who will be picking up the newest "next big thing" from Samsung.
Honestly, I don't think it really matters if you watch the rumor mill or not when it comes to these new devices. It's basically what we all expected: An evolutionary step forward for the company, as they build upon the great device they launched last year in the Galaxy S8. More than that, though, Samsung knew it had some things to change, and they did just that.
So let's talk about the good first, because there is a lot to like here. If you are someone who upgrades their phone every year, then this seems like a no-brainer. Or if you skipped the Galaxy S8 because you didn't like the placement of the fingerprint reader on the back, well, Samsung heard the complaints and made the necessary alterations with the Galaxy S9.
And all of the standard changes we expect on a yearly-refreshed handset are here, too. A better processor under the hood and a better camera on the back. The Galaxy S9+ even has a dual camera setup on the back of the handset, which is great for folks who like the bigger of the two devices. We'll get back to that.
I have no doubt that the display on the Galaxy S9 is going to be ridiculous -- this is Samsung after all -- and the camera is going to be great, too. Probably the best news is the moved fingerprint reader, because that was a glaring frustration for a lot of people with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ last year.
Basically, Samsung did all of the things it needed to do and then some. The Galaxy S9 looks like it's going to be a great device, and it will more than likely make a lot of people happy.
I have to get this out there, though: Those AR Emoji look . . . bad.
I'm not a fan of the results at all. But I will say I'm glad that Samsung (unlike some companies) isn't just flat-out copying Apple's Animoji here with the characters. The AR Emoji make you, the user, into an animated character. Which is a cool, if not completely original, idea. But from what I've seen of the results, it just doesn't seem all that great.
Maybe that changes at some point in the future.
The biggest misstep here, I think, is the fact that Samsung has finally decided to go "full Apple" in the way that it sells the Galaxy S smartphone lineup. One of the things that Samsung (like Google) could use "against" Apple was the fact that the only differences between the Galaxy S and its + variant was the display size, which was a good thing! Getting the same camera in both frames was fantastic, and I hope that move has helped Google with its Pixel smartphone lineup, too.
But the fact that Samsung is now offering the dual camera setup with just the Galaxy S9+ is pretty frustrating. I don't think Samsung needed to do this, and that's what irks me a little. This is a similar Apple situation for me, where now I will want the Galaxy S9+, even if I don't find any other reason to have the bigger display. (I've come to like bigger displays though ((thanks, Apple!)) so I'd still go for the Galaxy S9+ anyway these days.)
That being said, I'm going to end on a positive note here. I think Samsung's best move was pricing with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Neither handset breaks the $1000 threshold (even if the bigger device gets close), and that's good news as far as I'm concerned.
But, what do you think of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+? Will you be picking up one of the models when they launch later this year? Let me know!