Samsung once again has a fantastic pair of flagships.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and S9+ are definitely iterative updates over last year’s dramatically redesigned Galaxy S8 series, but that’s not a problem. Instead of going back to the drawing board altogether, Samsung focused on fixing a lot of the issues while making drastic improvements to the camera experience and retaining everything that made the last generation so great.
Whether you’re looking to buy or make the most of your new Galaxy S9, we have all of the information you need right here.
The latest Galaxy S9 news
February 18, 2019 — One UI (Android Pie) rolling out to the unlocked Galaxy S9 and S9+
Exactly one week ago, owners of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ on T-Mobile were treated to Samsung’s One UI/Android Pie update. Today, the update is finally making its way to people that own unlocked versions of the two phones.
The update weighs in at over 1.7GB and also includes the January 1, 2019 security patch.
If you haven’t received a notification alerting you of the update, you can always do a manual check by going to Settings -> Software update -> Download updates manually.
February 11, 2019 — T-Mobile Galaxy S9 and S9+ now receiving Android Pie and RCS support
Own a Galaxy S9 or S9+ on T-Mobile and have been eagerly awaiting the update to Android 9 Pie? Good news, folks — your waiting has come to an end.
As of yesterday, February 10, T-Mobile began issuing out the Android Pie update to the S9 and S9+. As expected, this update includes Samsung’s new One UI interface.
On top of the Pie and One UI goodness, the update also brings support for RCS Universal Profile 1.0. RCS is the new standard that’s being used to replace old SMS texting and is the groundwork for Google’s Chat platform.
January 27, 2019 — Android Pie update with One UI scheduled for February 11 on Rogers
Samsung’s One UI update with Android Pie has been graduating from betas to stable release in countries around the world, but we should soon be seeing the update rolling out in North America with the announcement that Rogers will be updating the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ to Android Pie on February 11.
While one Canadian carrier may not seem like a big deal, this is a great sign for all American and Canadian S9 users, as these variants of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ software are developed side by side. If the version for Rogers is rolling through its final testing, hopefully the update will be ready soon for the rest of the U.S. and Canada carriers. Bugs could still arise between now and February 11, but it’s progress and a small sign that maybe the wait for Pie will soon be over.
December 25 — Samsung One UI update with Android Pie rolls out to Galaxy S9 in some markets
Samsung users have been waiting for Android Pie for months, and for some S9 users, that wait is finally over. The One UI update — build number G960FXXU2CRLI — has begun rolling out to S9 and S9+ users in several countries in Europe and the Middle East. This is a wonderful Christmas surprise, as the One UI update wasn’t slates to roll out to the S9 until January, but you won’t find up complaining.
Featuring the many, many features of Android Pie and Samsung’s biggest design update in years, this is a big update with a lot to unlock in it, but luckily, we’ve had weeks with the One UI update already thanks to the One UI Beta program. You can see a full list of new and improved features in the official change log.
November 13, 2018 — Galaxy S9 released in gradient ‘Ice Blue’ color in China
The Galaxy S9 is one of the year’s best-looking phones, and for our readers in China, it’s now available in its most striking color yet — Ice Blue.
This is Samsung’s first attempt at a gradient color, with Ice Blue having a deep blue hue at the top that gradually transitions into white. It really is something.
Sales for the Ice Blue Galaxy S9/S9+ begin in China today, and at this time, there aren’t plans for bringing it to any other countries. I wouldn’t hold your breath too long for a North American release, but with the Galaxy S10 right around the corner, we could see it made available in a similar style with (hopefully) broader availability.
July 31, 2018 — Characters from Frozen get their own AR Emoji pack
Joining the ranks of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, The Incredibles, and more, the latest Disney-themed AR Emoji pack coming to the S9/S9+ brings your favorite characters from Frozen to life.
After you download the Disney Frozen AR Emoji pack from the Galaxy Apps Store, you’ll be able to transform yourself into Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff.
July 20, 2018 — New update brings 480 FPS manual slow-mo video recording
One of the big camera features for the Galaxy S9 is the ability to record things in 960 FPS ultra slow-mo. With a new update that’s rolling out to the S9 and S9+ now, there’s a new option for recording manual slow-motion videos at 480 FPS for 0.4 seconds worth of footage.
While 480 FPS isn’t quite as impressive as 960 FPS, the big difference here is that you can choose when to start recording slow-motion footage unlike the 960 FPS mode that automatically chooses for you. Also, 480 FPS video is limited to 720p.
The update is rolling out to handsets now, so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
July 9, 2018 — The U.S. unlocked Galaxy S9 is now down to $699.95 on Amazon
An unlocked Galaxy S9 typically costs $720, but on Amazon, that price has been reduced to just $699.95.
A savings of $20 isn’t particularly huge for a phone this expensive, but this is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen so far for an official U.S. unlocked variant of the S9 with Samsung’s warranty.
It’s unclear if this new pricing is only temporary or will be sticking around for a while, but if you want to grab one for yourself, click/tap that button below.
June 27, 2018 — The unlocked Galaxy S9 now supports FM radio
Way back in January at the beginning of the year, Samsung announced it was partnering with NextRadio to bring free FM radio to the Galaxy S9 in both the U.S. and Canada.
The unlocked version of the S9/S9+ has still been without this FM functionality, but after a software update began rolling out on June 25 that upgraded the version number to G965U1UES2ARF4/G960U1UES2ARF4, a few Redditors quickly noticed that this finally turned on the FM radio chip.
To use this, download and install the NextRadio app from the Google Play Store, enable the Basic / FM Only Mode to make sure you’re not using any data, and plug in a pair of wired headphones/earbuds as these act as the antenna for the FM signal.
June 22, 2018 — We go hands-on with the Sunrise Gold Galaxy S9!
If you’re interested in getting one of the hot new Galaxy S9 colors, we have you covered with some Sunrise Gold.
What do you think?
May 16, 2018 — Samsung announces two new colors and ARCore is finally available
The S9 series launched in a handful of stunning colors and Samsung’s now adding two more to the list with Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red.
If you’re interested in the Sunrise Gold variant, you’ll be able to pick it up starting this June in Australia, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The eye-catching Burgundy Red will, unfortunately, see a much more limited release, with availability only planned for China and Korea later this month.
In addition to the new colors, it was also discovered that both the S9 and S9+ finally support Google’s ARCore!
All the big details
What are the big changes over the Galaxy S8 series?
In a word, the camera. Samsung has kept the primary sensor at 12 megapixels, but that’s where the similarities end. The S9 and S9+ have adjustable apertures, switching seamlessly between f/1.5 and f/2.4, sitting in front of an all-new sensor that is great in low light. The Galaxy S9+ also gets a second 12MP sensor with a “telephoto” lens that provides 2X zoom and facilitates Live Focus, Samsung’s version of portrait mode that debuted with the Galaxy Note 8.
In terms of specs, the Galaxy S9+ (but only the S9+) has two more gigabytes of RAM than last year’s models. And let’s not downplay the importance of the fingerprint sensor being relocated to a much more sensible place on the back of the phone — below the now-vertical camera module.
Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S9?
This is the big question — and as always, it depends. If you’re running a Galaxy S6 or S7, and want to move to something new in the Samsung world, the answer is absolutely. If you’re rocking a still-new Galaxy S8 or Note 8, the answer is no. While there are substantial differences that clearly make the Galaxy S9 a better phone, the S8 is just a year old at this point, and has most of the Galaxy S9’s features thanks to its Android 8.0 Oreo update.
Is the Galaxy S9 better than the competition?
There are so many great phones on the market right now — how do you decide which one to buy? Here are our looks at the new phones compared to some of the best devices on the market.
The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of the flagships, and here’s how it compares to some of the other major phones on the market.
And how about the larger Galaxy S9+?
Should you buy the Galaxy S9 or larger S9+?
OK, so you’ve made up your mind to buy the Galaxy S9 — but wait, should you get the S9 or the larger S9+?
Unlike last year, the Galaxy S9+ feels like more of the “default” choice of the two. It has extra RAM and a secondary rear camera in addition to its overall larger screen and bigger battery — yet the price delta between the two hasn’t changed. If you can handle the size difference and would like the extra battery life, go for the Galaxy S9+.
What colors are available?
Like last year, there are multiple colors of the Galaxy S9 series to purchase: Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Coral Blue and Titanium Gray. U.S. buyers only get access to three of the four — silver is only available internationally — and both blue and purple are slight updates over last year.
A few months after the S9’s release, Samsung introduced two new colors in the form of Sunrise Gold and Burgundy Red.
Burgundy Red and Sunrise Gold are available around the world, and we took a look at the latter and it’s beautiful!
You can get as much as 256GB of internal storage
No matter where you decide to buy the Galaxy S9, 64GB is the default storage space that’s available with the phone. 64GB should be more than enough for most people, but if you want, you can always expand it with a microSD card.
However, if you’re someone who has a lot of local files and goes through GB like nothing, you may want to consider upgrading to a 128GB or even a 256GB model.
These larger configurations are sold exclusively on Samsung’s website and you’ll spend an extra $50 per each storage upgrade.
Where can I get the best deal on a Galaxy S9?
The Galaxy S9 is now available worldwide, both from carriers and also unlocked.
In the U.S., the Galaxy S9 costs between $720 and $800, while the Galaxy S9+ goes for between $870 and $915. For all the details, take a look at our roundup of the best Galaxy S9 deals.
Getting started with the Galaxy S9
Once you pick up your new phone, there are a few things you should do immediately. Here’s how to make your GS9 experience great!
What’s this about bad battery life with the Exynos processor?
Samsung has regularly used both its own processors and Qualcomm’s latest chips in different markets, and it’s regularly been a point of discussion between enthusiasts as to which one is “better” overall.
In the Galaxy S9 and S9+, there’s a clear differentiation in that the Exynos versions of the phone have been getting much shorter battery life. To make things worse, the Qualcomm models are also outperforming Exynos in many synthetic benchmark tests.
So what can you do? Well, not much — Samsung doesn’t sell both versions of the phones in the same markets, so you can’t exactly cross-shop the two processors. The hope is that Samsung could update the firmware on the Exynos models to improve processor efficiency a bit.
Help me get started with accessories!
Once you have your Galaxy S9 or S9+, you’ll want to look into accessories like cases and screen protectors that make the phone even better. We’ve rounded up our favorites for you.
Having battery life problems?
The Galaxy S9 isn’t perfect —obviously, no phone is — but if you’re experiencing battery life problems, we have a guide on how to fix that.