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Here's how much Samsung's Galaxy S9 will cost in the U.S.

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A ‘Black Panther’ moment

  •  This week we’re bringing you a special edition of CTRL+T, the podcast that examines TechCrunch stories through a cultural lens. You might have heard that Marvel released a film called Black Panther last week and it saw near-record crowds descend on theaters all over the world. The CTRL+T podcast team was among them. We headed to Oakland on an unseasonably cold-for-California evening… Read More

    9 hours 55 min ago

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X

  • The iPhone X is one of the most high-end and desirable phones on the planet, but it’s now got some serious competition in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S9.

    The two phones have a number of similarities, including their OLED screen technology and focus on photography, but there’s a whole lot more that’s different.

    So, to help you decide which of these to buy, we’ve put the two handsets head to head, comparing their design, screen, specs, cameras and battery.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X design

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a high-end but familiar design, with a glass back, a metal frame and a curvy screen, similar to the Galaxy S8. It has small bezels above and below the display and it’s IP68 certified, meaning it can be submerged up to 1.5 meters deep in water for up to 30 minutes.

    The iPhone X meanwhile was a completely new design for Apple and in some ways it arguably looks more modern than Samsung's effort, with even less bezel on the front, and instead just a small notch jutting into the screen.

    Its screen is flat though and it too has a glass back and a metal frame. The iPhone X is also water resistant, but it’s only IP67 certified, meaning it can be submerged up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes.

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 is slightly larger and thicker than the iPhone X, but not as wide, at 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm to the iPhone X’s 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm. At 163g, the Galaxy S9 is lighter than the 174g iPhone X. One thing that might work in the Galaxy S9’s favor depending on whether or not you’re happy to go wire-free is that it has a headphone port, which the iPhone X doesn’t.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X display

    Both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X have 5.8-inch Super AMOLED screens with wide aspect ratios (18.5:9 in the case of the S9 and 19.5:9 in the case of the iPhone X), but they also have a lot of differences.

    For one, the Galaxy S9’s screen is slightly curved while the iPhone X’s is flat, but the iPhone X has less bezel around its display, relying instead on a notch to house the front-facing camera and sensors.

    The iPhone X has a big, almost bezel-free display

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a higher resolution screen at QHD+, while the iPhone X’s is a little below QHD at 1125 x 2436. Though Apple’s screen does sport 3D Touch, allowing it to judge different levels of pressure so it can respond differently to a light press or a hard press.

    It’s a great screen overall as our review attests, and the Galaxy S9’s sounds great too but we’ll let you know exactly how good it is once we’ve had a chance to fully test the phone.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X OS and power

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 has 4GB of RAM and either an octa-core Exynos 9810 chipset with four cores clocked at 2.7GHz and four running at 1.7GHz, or an octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset with similarly fast cores.

    Which chipset you’ll get depends on where you are – it’s Snapdragon in the US and Exynos in most other places, but both of them are top-end chipsets.

    The iPhone X on the other hand has 3GB of RAM and a 2.39GHz hexa-core A11 Bionic chipset, which is also top-end. It’s unknown yet which is the most powerful but neither of these phones should feel slow at all.

    As for the OS, you get Android Oreo on the Samsung Galaxy S9 (overlaid with Samsung’s own interface) and iOS 11 on the iPhone X. The differences between Android and iOS are well-documented, but in both cases you’re getting the latest, most polished version of the operating system.

    There are also some differences in storage – the Galaxy S9 comes with 64GB built-in along with a microSD card slot, while the iPhone X comes with a choice of 64GB or 256GB, but there’s no microSD card slot.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs iPhone X camera and battery

    In our review we praised the iPhone X’s cameras and there’s a good chance we’ll be doing the same with the Samsung Galaxy S9, because the company has clearly put a lot of effort into them.

    The S9 has a 12MP camera on the back and while it has just a single lens it can switch between two different apertures. There’s f/2.4 which is what you’ll probably want to use in daylight, and f/1.5 which is better for low light scenes. That latter aperture is the highest ever on a smartphone, and the camera also has optical image stabilization (OIS), to help keep shots blur-free.

    The iPhone X meanwhile has a dual-lens 12MP camera with one f/1.8 lens and one f/2.4 lens. It also sports OIS and we’ve found it to be a capable low light shooter.

    Another thing Samsung has focused on with its camera is slow motion shooting, allowing you to shoot at up to 960fps, compared to just 240fps on the iPhone X.

    The iPhone X has Animoji while the Samsung Galaxy S9 has 'AR emoji'

    The Galaxy S9 also has a similar-ish feature to Apple’s Animoji called AR Emoji, letting you create an emoji of your face and have it mimic your expressions. That’s powered by the 8MP f/1.7 front-facing camera, while the iPhone X has a 7MP f/2.2 one.

    Battery-wise you get a 3,000mAh unit in the Samsung Galaxy S9, capable of both wireless charging and fast charging. The iPhone X meanwhile has a smaller 2,716mAh one, and also supports wireless and fast charging.

    In our review we found its life was average, but it remains to be seen whether the slightly larger battery in the Galaxy S9 will translate to longer life.

    Takeaway

    If it lives up to its specs the Samsung Galaxy S9 looks set to be one of the best phones around, just like the iPhone X, but choosing between them could come down to what you want from your handset.

    The choice of Android or iOS is a big one of course, but expandable storage, a variable aperture and a curvy screen among other things could push you towards the Galaxy S9, while the absence of bezels and the extra camera lens are both things in the iPhone X’s favor.

    One thing’s for sure, you’re going to have to spend a lot either way, £739 for the S9 ($719, AU$1,199) - though we expect a lower official price) so you might want to wait for our full Samsung Galaxy S9 review before making your final decision.

    9 hours 56 min ago

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8

  • The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus looks to be a phablet fan’s dream and its main competition could come from another Samsung phone, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

    While the S9 Plus is newer and more powerful (at least in theory) that doesn’t necessarily mean the Note 8 isn’t worth considering though, as with the Galaxy Note 8 you get a stylus.

    And those aren’t the only differences between these two phones, so read on to find out everything else you need to know about how they compare.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8 design

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a similar but slightly less angular design than the Galaxy Note 8, as both phones have a glass back, a metal frame and a curvy screen with small bezels above and below.

    The cameras and fingerprint scanners are positioned differently though, as while both phones have dual-lens cameras on the back, the S9 Plus stacks them vertically with the fingerprint scanner below, while the Note 8 has them horizontally placed with the scanner to the side.

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 isn't as rounded as the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

    Other differences include the dimensions, with the Galaxy S9 Plus coming in at 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm, while the Galaxy Note 8 is slightly larger in every dimension at 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm. The Note 8 is unsurprisingly therefore also slightly heavier at 195g, while the Galaxy S9 Plus is 189g.

    The two phones are also available in different colors – the S9 Plus is launching in Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple, while the Note 8 is available in Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Grey and Deep Sea Blue.

    Both phones are IP68 certified though, meaning they’re dust proof and water resistant to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8 display

    Both of these phones have big screens of course, but the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is slightly bigger than the 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

    Other than that they’re very similar, with both being curved, both using Super AMOLED, both having 18.5:9 aspect ratios and both having QHD+ resolutions.

    As well as being bigger though, the Galaxy Note 8 has its stylus, giving you another way to interact with the screen so you can really make the most of all that space.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8 OS and power

    If you live in most parts of the world then you’ll be able to buy a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with an Exynos 9810 octa-core chipset, which has four cores running at 2.7GHz and four running at 1.7GHz, but if you’re in the US you’ll get it with a similarly speedy octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset. Those are both new, top-end mobile chipsets and in both cases you get 6GB of RAM.

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 also has 6GB of RAM but the chipsets are different. In most of the world you get the octa-core Exynos 8895, which is the predecessor of the 9810 and has four cores running at 2.3GHz and four clocked at 1.7GHz.

    If you’re in the US you get the octa-core Snapdragon 835, which again is the last generation of that chip and has four cores clocked at 2.35GHz and four running at 1.9GHz. The upshot is that the Galaxy Note 8 is a very powerful phone, but thanks to its newer chipsets the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus should in theory be even more powerful.

    The Galaxy Note 8 has as much RAM as the Galaxy S9 Plus but an older chipset

    The Galaxy S9 Plus also supports Gigabit LTE, which means that you can theoretically get faster mobile data, though only if your network supports it.

    There’s little difference in operating system, as while the Galaxy S9 Plus ships with Android Oreo and the Note 8 landed with Nougat, the latter can now be updated to Oreo, though it won’t be supported with updates for as long as the S9 Plus.

    The Galaxy S9 Plus also comes out on top when it comes to storage, as there’s 128GB built-in plus a microSD card slot, though the Galaxy Note 8 comes with a still-substantial 64GB and a microSD card slot.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera and battery

    Both the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 have dual-lens cameras, but they’re quite different.

    The Galaxy S9 Plus has two 12MP ones, one of which is a telephoto one with a fixed aperture of f/2.4, while the other is a wide-angle one which cleverly lets you switch between an f/2.4 aperture and an f/1.5 aperture – the latter being good for low light.

    The Galaxy Note 8’s lenses both have a fixed aperture, there’s a wide-angle one that’s f/1.7 and a telephoto one that’s f/2.4, so it's less flexible, but we found it to be a highly capable camera. And both the Note 8 and S9 Plus have optical image stabilization.

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus also has some new video features, as it can record slow motion footage at 960fps, while the Note 8 tops out at 240fps.

    In fact, slow motion seems to have been a major focus for Samsung, as there are also new slow-motion shooting modes, such as the ability to set a focus area which will cause the camera to start recording in slow motion when it detects movement. And with the S9 Plus you can easily turn a slow-motion video into a GIF and even set it as your lock screen wallpaper.

    The front-facing cameras aren’t so different, as both phones have an 8MP f/1.7 one, but in the case of the S9 Plus there’s a new ‘AR emoji’ feature, letting you use the camera to create an emoji from your face, mimicking your expressions.

    One area that you might expect to be better on the Note 8 given its larger screen is battery, or rather you might expect a bigger battery, but in fact it’s smaller at 3,300mAh to the 3,500mAh one in the Galaxy S9 Plus.

    Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Galaxy S9 Plus will last longer, and in our review we found that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 offers all day life, so it’s not overly lacking in any case. Both phones charge up quickly too, as well as supporting wireless charging.

    Takeaway

    With a bigger battery, more power, increased storage and a more feature-packed camera the Galaxy S9 Plus stands out from the Note 8 in a lot of ways.

    But even ignoring cost, which is mighty high at £869 for the S9 Plus ($839, AU$1,349) - though we expect official prices in these regions to differ) there are reasons you might prefer Samsung’s other phablet flagship, such as its bundled stylus and its marginally larger screen.

    In fact - as our review attests - you really can’t go wrong with the Note 8 if a big screen phone is what you want. The same will probably be true of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, but you’ll have to wait for our full review to know for sure.

    9 hours 56 min ago

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S8

  • We’re only two months into the year and already one of the most anticipated handsets of 2018 has been announced, namely the Samsung Galaxy S9.

    But it’s sure to face some steep competition, including from its own predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S8. The two handsets are similar in many ways, so what sets the newer S9 apart? And is it different enough to justify the inevitably higher price?

    We’ve put the two phones head to head to answer the former question and help you come to your own conclusions about the latter.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 design

    Samsung hasn’t changed the design much for the Samsung Galaxy S9, as with both that and the Galaxy S8 you get a metal frame and curved glass panels on both the front and back.

    Both phones also sport IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, meaning you can submerge them up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes. And yes, both phones also have a 3.5mm headphone port.

    There are some differences though. The fingerprint scanner has been moved from the right of the camera where it sits on the S8 to underneath the camera on the S9. The Galaxy S9 also has slightly smaller bezels above and below the screen, leading to a marginally reduced height of 147.7mm compared to 148.9mm on the Galaxy S8.

    Notably though the rest of the Samsung Galaxy S9’s dimensions are slightly larger, at 68.7 x 8.5mm compared to 68.1 x 8mm on the S8. The S9 also weighs slightly more at 163g, while the S8 is 155g.

    You also have fewer color choices with the Galaxy S9, as it’s just launching in Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple, while the Galaxy S8 is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold, Rose Pink and Burgundy Red (though not all shades are available in all regions).

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 display

    The Galaxy S8 display was already pretty good

    Both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S8 have a 5.8-inch curved QHD+ Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, so there’s seemingly little to choose here, though the S8’s display is already one of the best in the business so it’s understandable that not much was changed.

    The Galaxy S9 does have smaller bezels though as noted above, and there are some software tweaks related to the display, such as the ability to view the entire interface in landscape orientation.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 OS and power

    The Galaxy S9 offers the chance to create cartoon-based animated characters, and needs a bit more grunt to do that.

    What chipset you get with either of these phones depends on where you are. In most of the world the Samsung Galaxy S9 has an octa-core Exynos 9810 chipset with four cores running at 2.7GHz and four at 1.7GHz.

    But in the US it has an octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset which can run at up to 2.8GHz. Both of these are brand new top of the range chips though and in both cases you get 4GB of RAM.

    The Samsung Galaxy S8 meanwhile uses an octa-core Exynos 8895 chipset in most of the world, with four cores running at 2.3GHz and four running at 1.7GHz. In the US it uses the octa-core Snapdragon 835, which has four cores running at 2.35GHz and four at 1.9GHz.

    The Samsung Galaxy S8 is still a powerful phone but the Galaxy S9 has it beat

    Those are the previous generation of each chipset – still powerful, but now around a year old. However, the Galaxy S8 can match the S9 for RAM, with 4GB of the stuff included.

    As well as a newer, faster chipset the Samsung Galaxy S9 also has the edge when it comes to 4G/LTE, as it supports Gigabit LTE, allowing for faster downloads using mobile data.

    The Galaxy S9 also ships with Android Oreo, but while the Galaxy S8 landed with Android Nougat you should be able to update to Oreo very soon – in fact Samsung started rolling out an update not long ago, but then halted it due to a bug. It's worth bearing in mind though that the S9 is sure to be supported with updates for longer.

    There’s no difference in storage between the two handsets, with both having 64GB built-in along with a microSD card slot.

    Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 camera and battery

    The Galaxy S9 sticks with a single sensor, but adds in dual-aperture capabilities.

    This is the big one, as the camera seems to be the most significant area of focus for Samsung in the Galaxy S9.

    It has a single 12MP lens on the back, but it’s one with a variable aperture, meaning it can change between f/2.4, which is ideal for daylight scenes, and f/1.5, which is meant for low light shooting, providing more light, more detail and less noise. It’s the highest aperture ever found in a smartphone.

    In fact, it apparently delivers 30% less noise than the 12MP camera on the Galaxy S8, which has a fixed aperture of f/1.7. The ISP (Image Signal Processor) in the S9 is also supposedly four times faster than the S8’s.

    The Galaxy S9’s camera also improves on the S8’s with its slow motion shooting skills, as the S9 can shoot at up to 960fps, allowing for footage that’s four times slower than the Galaxy S8’s. It also offers more shooting modes, such as one which automatically starts recording in slow-mo when movement enters a focus point.

    And when you’re done shooting you can set your slow-motion footage to play back with a soundtrack or easily convert it into a GIF.

    The Galaxy S9’s camera also lets you create your own emoji, mirroring your facial expressions, and Bixby has been powered up, as it can tell you how many calories are in the food you’re looking at or provide a live translation of text.

    The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a single-lens 12MP camera with a fixed aperture

    All that said, the Samsung Galaxy S8 already has a camera which hugely impressed us, and both phones sport optical image stabilization.

    There’s also little to choose in their front-facing cameras, with both sporting 8MP f/1.7 lenses.

    As for the battery, that’s not been changed much either, as both phones have a 3,000mAh battery and support both fast charging (via USB-C) and wireless charging.

    Takeaway

    On paper the Samsung Galaxy S9 sounds to be an improvement on the Samsung Galaxy S8 in most but not all ways.

    The most significant changes seem to have been reserved for the camera, while the design has just been slightly refined, the chipset has had a generational boost, and the screen and battery have been more or less left as they were.

    It’s not the total transformation some might be hoping for, especially in the face of the iPhone X, but as the S8 was already one of the best phones of last year it’s arguable that Samsung really didn’t need to do much here.

    Of course, price plays a big role in the purchase decision. In the UK, the S9 will cost you £739 – that's a bit more than the £689 that the S8 ran for when it launched, though you'll obviously find it for much lower than that since it's about a year old at this point.

    The story is a bit different if you're in the US or Australia. Compared to the S8's launch price of $725 (AU$1,199), the S9 will launch for $719 (AU$1,199). You'll find the S8 cheaper these days, dropping as low as $549 during promotions, but it's not as much of a sticker shock for the S9 as we were expecting.

    We're still waiting on pricing details for the S9 in regions like Australia and we'll be sure to update this post with more details.

    10 hours 1 min ago

Huawei reveals 5G-ready modem

  • Huawei has revealed the next stage of its journey towards 5G with the announcement of its first 5G-ready modem.

    The company unveiled the Balong 5G01, its first 5G-ready modem, during its Mobile World Congress launch event in Barcelona today, as part of a move to roll out its first 5G commercialised deployment by the end of 2018.

    Huawei CEO Richard Yu said that the company is currently working with more than thirty of the world’s biggest carriers to further its 5G research, including BT, EE and Vodafone in the UK.

    Leap forward

    To support this research, part of the $600 million Huawei said it has spent on 5G research so far, the company also unveiled a 5G CPE sporting dual 4G/5G connectivity, bringing the reality of speedier networks closer than ever.

    Huawei says that the CPE device and has already shown download speeds of up to 2Gbps – 20 times that of 100Mbps fibre networks. The device is available in both indoor and outdoor variants, which could also mean a further push into IoT and smart cities development for Huawei soon.

    “5G technology will underpin the next leap forward for our intelligent world, where people, vehicles, homes and devices are fully connected, delivering new experiences, insights and capabilities,” Yu said.

    “From connected vehicles and smart homes to AR/VR and hologram videos, we are committed to developing a mature 5G ecosystem so that consumers can benefit from a truly connected world that transforms the way we communicate and share.”

    MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

    10 hours 3 min ago

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