Want a big phone but don’t need a stylus? Then there’s a good chance you want one of Samsung’s ‘Plus’ range. And what luck! The company has just announced a new one, sporting even more tech – and an even higher price tag – than its new standard flagship, the Galaxy S9.
Only you can answer that question, but we can help, as we’ve compared the two phones across every key category, so you can see exactly what’s new and what’s not.Price comparison
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will be coming for £869 / $839.99 / AU$1,349, which is an odd way around for the pricing across the territories.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus launched for around £100 / $100 cheaper when it was unveiled in the UK and US, but now can be found for £599 in some places. However, the Galaxy S9 Plus doesn't seem to be all that more expensive, given how much technology has been placed into the mix and you can still pick up the S8 Plus in the US for $825.
In Australia, the S8 Plus launched at the same starting price of AU$1,349 as the S9 Plus, although last year's big phone can be found for considerably less at this point, similar to the other territories.Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus design
The differences between these two phones won’t be totally obvious just from looking at them, as they’re superficially quite similar – both have a curved screen, a glass back and a metal frame.
Look closer though and you will see some differences, as among other things the bezels above and below the display are slightly smaller on the Galaxy S9 Plus.
You might think that would mean the S9 Plus was slightly more compact overall, but while it’s not as tall as the S8 Plus it is wider and thicker, coming in at 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm to the S8 Plus’s 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm.
It’s also heavier, with the Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy S8 Plus weighing 189g and 173g respectively. Of course, these differences in size and weight are all very small.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus looks rather similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Perhaps more noticeable is the extra camera lens on the back of the Galaxy S9 Plus, and the fingerprint scanner that now sits below those lenses, rather than to the right of the lens as it does on the Galaxy S8 Plus.
The available colors are another difference, with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus launching in Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple, while the Galaxy S8 Plus is available in Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold and Rose Pink.
One thing that’s not different though is the level of water and dust resistance offered, with both phones being IP68 certified. That means you can submerge them up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes. They also both have a headphone port.Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus display
The Galaxy S9 Plus' display looks rather familiar.
While Samsung’s flagships typically have some of the best smartphone screens, further improvements to the display don’t seem to have been a priority this year, as the Galaxy S9 Plus has a 6.2-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, just like the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.
That puts both of these among the larger phones you’ll find, and the Galaxy S9 Plus possibly has a slight edge here thanks to smaller bezels and new software features, such as the ability to take more advantage of the super widescreen aspect ratio by viewing the interface in landscape orientation.Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus OS and power
The S9 Plus offers more power than ever seen on a Galaxy
In most of the world the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has an Exynos 9810 chipset. This is an octa-core one with four cores running at 2.7GHz and four clocked at 1.7GHz. However, if you’re in the US you’ll get a similarly high-end octa-core Snapdragon 845, which can be clocked at up to 2.8GHz. In both cases there’s also 6GB of RAM.
That’s a top-end configuration and it has the S8 Plus beat, as that has either an octa-core Exynos 8895 chipset with four cores running at 2.3GHz and four running at 1.7GHz, or an octa-core Snapdragon 835 chip with four cores clocked at 2.35GHz and four at 1.9GHz.
The Snapdragon/Exynos split is the same – so you’ll get the 835 in the US and the 8895 elsewhere, and while both of those were top-end chips when the S8 Plus launched they’ve now been superseded by the chips in the S9 Plus.
The S8 Plus is less powerful than the S9 Plus and is likely to get fewer Android updates
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus also has just 4GB of RAM – 2GB less than the Galaxy S9 Plus, but all that said it’s still a speedy performer.
Other improvements for the Galaxy S9 Plus include faster mobile data thanks to support for Gigabit LTE, and the S9 Plus ships with Android Oreo onboard – the Galaxy S8 Plus is due to be updated from Nougat to Oreo soon, but the Galaxy S9 Plus is likely to be supported with updates for longer.
Storage-wise you get 128GB in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which is double the 64GB found in the Galaxy S8 Plus, but both phones have a microSD card slot.Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus camera and battery
Dual sensors make it to the Galaxy S series for the first time.
One of the biggest changes to this year’s model comes in the form of the camera, as among other things Samsung has added an extra lens.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has a dual-lens 12MP camera, with one lens being a wide-angle one that’s able to switch between an f/1.5 aperture, which should be great for low light shots, and an f/2.4 one for when the light is better, and the other lens being a telephoto one with a fixed aperture of f/2.4.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus meanwhile has just a single-lens 12MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture, so it’s far less flexible in terms of the types of shots you can take and the situations it theoretically excels at.
Shots taken with the f/1.5 camera on the Galaxy S9 Plus apparently exhibit 30% less noise than those taken by the S8 Plus, though in our review we still found the S8 Plus to have a great smartphone camera, even in low light, and both phones have optical image stabilization.
Away from the hardware, the S9 Plus’s camera also has some software improvements, such as the ability to shoot slow motion videos at 960fps, which is four times slower than the S8 Plus.
You also have more control over the slow-motion footage you shoot, by for example being able to set a focus point that will automatically trigger the camera to start recording in slow motion once it detects movement, and by being able to add a soundtrack to the footage you shoot or convert it into a GIF.
The camera on the Galaxy S9 Plus also has a new ‘AR emoji’ feature, which lets you turn yourself into an emoji.
And there are new Bixby features that use the camera, such as one which will translate any text that you point your phone at.
One thing that’s not different though is the front-facing camera, as both phones have an 8MP f/1.7 one.
Both phones also have a 3,500mAh battery and support for fast charging via USB-C, as well as wireless charging.Takeaway
New features make the S9 Plus an intriguing, if expensive, phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus sounds like it probably has a significantly better camera than the already-great one found in the Galaxy S8 Plus, so this could be a strong flagship choice for photography fans - though you'll have to wait for our review to know for sure.
It also has more power, as you’d expect, and smaller bezels, plus there’s twice as much built-in storage, which could be handy if you like to store a lot of media on your phone.
But in many ways it also sounds very similar to the Galaxy S8 Plus, at least on paper, especially when it comes to the overall design, the screen and the battery.
Aside from the camera Samsung has seemingly focused on polishing rather than completely reworking its flagship range, so if you want something totally new you might have to wait for the Galaxy S10 Plus or the Samsung Galaxy X.
- The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might have an even bigger screen
You've heard about the two new Samsung phones, and you're wondering whether you should be plumping for the Galaxy S9 or heading northwards, into the heady territory of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.
It's a tough one, as the larger model is around 20% more expensive in most territories it's being sold in... so is there enough there to justify the increase in price, or would you be better just sticking with the smaller model?
Thankfully for you we've been hands on with both, pored over the spec sheet and had a jolly good think about what each phone represents - so here's what you need to know.
- Read our hands on reviews: Samsung Galaxy S9 | Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
The Galaxy S9 Plus comes in three distinct colors, like the smaller S9
OK, there's not a lot different between these two phones stylistically, as the same design language has (predictably) been followed between the two.
Both of these handsets off IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, meaning you can plunge them into water for one and a half meters and hold them there for 30 minutes before wondering what you're doing with your life.
Both have the same rolling glass design at the sides of the phones, and both have the moved fingerprint scanner on the back, below the camera rather than alongside it. However, here's where we hit the first big change: the Galaxy S9 Plus has two cameras, rather than one, so has a larger camera module on the back.
In terms of dimensions, the Galaxy S9 is 147.7mm x 68.7mm x 8.5mm and weighs in at 163g, where the Galaxy S9 Plus is 158.1mm x 73.8mm x 8.5mm and 189g. As you can see, the S9 plus is both longer and wider, as you'd expect, but not by a huge amount.
Both phones will come in the same three colors: Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple, with other variations for different regions.
The Galaxy S9 is no slouch thoughDisplay
Both phones technically have the same display, a Quad HD+ Infinity Display, using Samsung's Super AMOLED technology.
However, the Galaxy S9 Plus is offering a 6.2-inch display, where the Galaxy S8 only comes with a 5.8-inch option. You won't notice very much difference at all in the way they look, as the OLED technology helps mask any loss in sharpness... it really depends which you like holding in your hand more.
The Super AMOLED display still impresses on both phonesOS, power and specs
Both of these phones have identical power units running things: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset in the US that can run at up to 2.8GHz, and an Exynos 9810 octa-core option with four cores running at 2.7GHz and four at 1.7GHz in the variant for the rest of the world.
However, there are slight differences here, as the Galaxy S9 Plus has 6GB of RAM, where the S9 'standard' comes with only 4GB. And if you want to pour more media into the mix, you're getting 64GB on the S9 and a much better 128GB on the S9 Plus.
You can chuck up to 400GB more on both phones through the microSD slot at the top of the phones though, so the expansion options means there's little to worry about here.
And in terms of the Android operating system, given these are pretty similar phones you're getting Android 8 Oreo on both. So that's something nice that you can tell your mother, right?
The S9 Plus is the more powerful of the two phonesCamera and battery
The single sensor on the S9 has the smartest camera facility in, but it's not top end.
Now we're onto a couple of the key differences between the two phones, and arguably the reason you'd pick the handset up.
Let's start with the camera - and it's pretty powerful on both of these phones. The new feature on the Galaxy S9 duo is the fact that the dual aperture feature offers the best of both worlds, with f/1.5 for those incredible low-light moments, but a f/2.4 option for when you want to be capturing the perfect scenario when the lighting levels are just fine.
However, where the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes into its own is when you want to get a bit closer - without having to move. While it's got the wide-angle dual aperture lens, just like the S9, it also has a telephoto option that's constantly zoomed a little further into the action.
This means, just like on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the phone is capable of taking a wider variety of shots, and you can still see what the wider option looks like after, if you so wish.
The S9 Plus has the superior snapper of the two
There’s also little to choose in their front-facing cameras, with both sporting 8MP f/1.7 lenses.
In terms of the battery power, you're getting a significant upgrade on the Galaxy S9 Plus thanks to the 3500mAh power pack in there, compared to the 3000mAh option in the Galaxy S9.
That equates to the difference between probably getting all-day battery life out of the S9, and almost definitely on the S9 Plus.
That said, we'd like to really test the credentials of the latter as we've found with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the battery life really isn't superb - so perhaps Samsung has tuned that issue out.Takeaway
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is easily the more impressive phone - but it's far more costly
So, that's all the key differences between the two phones, and it depends on what you want out of your phone.
Well, actually it depends on whether you can afford the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus in the first place, as it's the second most expensive phone on the market after the iPhone X, which isn't the most pleasant place to be.
But if you're OK with that, then you'll need to consider a few things: do you mind the extra height and width? Would you really use the extra battery life, or would the added screen real estate annoy you too much when reaching your thumbs across?
With the cameras: are you going to get the most out of the telephoto lens, or will you be OK with the dual aperture sensor on the Galaxy S9 alone?
Going for the higher-spec model always seems like the good idea, and with 6GB of RAM inside, you might enjoy that if you really like taxing your phone, but the lower-priced (but certainly not low price) handset isn't bad at all.
- The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is due later this year
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.
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Or just read more coverage about: Google,Samsung
Now that the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have officially been revealed, we can finally start talking about how much it'll cost to get one of these bad boys on a plan from Australia's major telcos. You'll want to get in early, as they're likely to get snatched up fast.
The first telco to announce its Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus plans is Virgin Mobile Australia, which will open up its pre-orders from February 27, 2018. You'll be able secure each phone in 64GB and 256GB variants, though at present, there's no word on which colour options will be available in Australia at launch.
Virgin is also offering 10% off the price of its 24-month contracts when you sign up before March 26, 2018, starting at $68 per month for a 64GB Galaxy S9 with 2GB of total data (minimum total cost $1,632 over 24 months), all the way up to $109 per month for a 256GB Galaxy S9 Plus with a total of 30GB of data to play with (minimum total cost $2,616 over 24 months).
As has become standard with the telco, each plan will rollover the previous month's unused data, and you can also gift your data to other Virgin Mobile Australia customers.
You'll also get unlimited standard calls and texts within Australia, and anywhere between $50 and $500 worth of international calls and texts depending on the level of plan you opt for.
For a full list of Virgin Mobile Australia's Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus plans, head over to the telco's website.
- Compare all the best Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile plans
- Compare all the best Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus mobile plans
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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the newest really big Android smartphone, and also the worst-kept secret by Samsung. We all knew it was coming today.
Samsung's Unpacked 2018 event ahead of MWC 2018 has given us our first official look at the handset and its massive 6.2-inch display – and it honestly doesn't look all that different from last year's S8 Plus.
But looks are deceiving. You're in for a decidedly better camera thanks to the new adaptive-aperture technology and the world's first f/1.5 aperture on a smartphone. The low-light photos are going to be top-of-the-line for a phone camera.
Big changes worth noting are fixes to the fingerprint sensor location and the long-overdue debut of stereo speakers on a Samsung flagship. The S9 Plus has everything we want, except a convincing price.
We're finally able to lay out all of the facts about the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Here's what this camera-focused smartphone is all about.
- Read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review
- Don't want the big phone? Everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S9
- Or read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S9 review
- What is it? The Galaxy S9's larger sibling
- When is it out? March 16 release date, but announced today
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus release date: March 16
- Pre-orders begin today (in Europe); March 2 (US)
- Price: £869, $839, AU$1,349 depending on carrier
The official Galaxy S9 Plus release date is Friday, March 16, Samsung announced at its Unpacked 2018 reveal event in Barcelona.
Pre-orders for both the S9 and S9 Plus open today in Europe and Friday, March 2 in the US. This gives American carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile time to hype up their S9 Plus deals in the US.
In the UK we've already seen prices from EE, which says the phone will start at £63 a month/£150 upfront with 4GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts.
It's coming very soon. That's the good news. The bad news is that it'll be even more expensive than the S8 Plus was last year. In some countries, the price jump is significant.
In the US, it'll cost $839.99, or $35 a month for 24 months for the S9 Plus unlocked. That's through Samsung's official website. Individual carrier prices may differ, of course.
In the UK the S9 Plus will cost £869 – that's a lot more than the S8 Plus launch price of £779, and £130 more than the smaller Galaxy S9.
In Australia, the price hasn't shifted from the Galaxy S8 Plus launch, sticking with the AU$1,349 starting price.
- Fingerprint sensor is center-aligned on back, stereo speakers debut
- Samsung's classy glass-and-metal smartphone design
- Minor changes to the dimensions compared to the S8 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a screen-first smartphone with minimal bezel on the front. It's easy to appreciate its giant 6.2-inch display, Quad HD resolution and Super AMOLED technology, even if practically nothing has changed from the S8 Plus.
You will find some newness to the Galaxy S9 Plus look. The fingerprint sensor is on the rear of the phone again, but shifted to the center. That contrasts with the much-maligned offset scanner on the S8 Plus. Samsung listened to last year's overwhelmingly negative feedback when it made the Galaxy S9 Plus, it seems.
Another important shift is that Samsung has finally decided to use stereo speakers on the Galaxy S9 Plus. It's 40% louder than the S8 Plus, thanks to the addition of a second speaker in the earpiece that's combined with the familiar bottom-firing speaker. These aren't dual front-facing speakers, but this is a big step in the right direction for a Samsung flagship.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus colors include three options, and maybe four depending on where you are. There's Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple – Samsung's new standout color – which you'll see everywhere when Samsung markets the new phone. There's also a Titanium Gray color, although this won't be coming to every region.Dual-aperture, dual-lens Galaxy S9 Plus camera
The Galaxy S9 Plus camera is a big upgrade for smartphone photography, thanks to Samsung putting all of its energy into the world's first phone with an f/1.5 aperture.
It should be fantastic at capturing low-light photos as the camera is now able to pull in up to 28% more light, and capture images with 30% less noise. This is due to the fact that it can switch from the f/1.5 aperture when it's dark to a more typical f/2.4 when there's enough light.
Samsung has also added a second telephoto lens to the S9 Plus, just like it did for the Note 8. And beneath the dual-lens is DRAM as part of the image sensor stack. This gives you a photo that's really a composite of 12 frames. That's an upgrade from the three frames used in last year's phone.Super-slow-motion video
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus video capabilities have been upgraded, too. It can now take-super-slow motion video at 960 fames per second at 720p. The previous 240fps has been enhanced to 1080p.
Our favorite part of Samsung's take on super slo-mo video is that it automatically starts rolling when the camera senses motion. There's no need to try to haphazardly press the shutter button just to capture split-second action.Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus AR emoji
The font-facing camera is taking on Apple's Animoji viral sensation with more masks and props that appear over your face. Samsung is adding Snapchat-like special effect to the Galaxy S9 selfie camera to the default camera called AR Emoji.
You can create an avatar in your likeness or assume a completely different persona. It's also possible to add AR oversized hats, sunglasses and other fun accessories. There's more variety to AR Emoji with customizations that remind us of bitmoji, but with a moving avatar that matches your facial expressions. It's not as expressive as Apple's Animoji, however.
Sending AR Emoji to friends is easier thanks to the fact that Samsung decided to export the animations as GIFs. That'll make it easier to send AR Emoji to your friends, even if they're on a non-Samsung device.Samsung Galaxy Plus specs and software
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is poised to be the fastest Android phone when it launches. It comes with either Samsung's Exynos 9810 chipset or the Snapdragon 845 chipset (in the US and China). We're expecting them to be 30% faster, according to our recent tests of the Snapdragon 845 chip on a Qualcomm reference phone.
There's also 6GB of RAM, a reason to get it over the smaller Galaxy S9 that has just 4GB of RAM. 64GB of internal storage is supplemented by a microSD card slot that can store up to 200GB of extra data.
If you're looking for a Samsung phone with Android 8.0 Oreo, this is it. It runs the latest Google operating system with the 'Samsung Experience' skin that was once called TouchWiz. It's streamlined compared to years past, and we no longer have a problem with it. In fact, many of Samsung's default apps, including the camera app are better than Google software.Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus battery life
You're likely going to get all-day battery life out of the S9 Plus due to the fact that it contains the same 3,500mAh battery capacity as last year's phone. It's another reason to go with the bigger phone over the normal S9, which has a 3,000mAh battery.
We're hoping that its new chips are efficient enough to make the battery last a bit longer – we'll know for sure when we conduct our full Galaxy S9 Plus review. The good news is that the phone supports both fast charging and fast wireless charging, so you should be able to juice up again in no time.