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Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus release date, news and rumors

See this original article here

Update: A photo possibly showing the standard Galaxy S9’s retail box points to stereo speakers and hints at innovative camera upgrades.

Samsung will almost certainly launch a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus alongside the standard Samsung Galaxy S9, if past form is anything to go by.

And based on previous launches we can predict that this will be a bigger phone than the S9, with a larger battery too, but otherwise very similar.

The information disseminating onto the web about the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has yet to reach groundswell, but there are a few whispers, along with a number of Galaxy S9 rumors.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The Galaxy S9’s larger sibling
  • When is it out? Looks like it’ll be MWC 2018
  • What will it cost? Likely upwards of $850/£780/AU$1,350

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus release date and price

Hottest leaks:

  • An announcement is confirmed for February
  • It’s likely coming at MWC 2018 alongside the Galaxy S9

Samsung’s president of mobile division DJ Koh has confirmed the Galaxy S9 will be set to launch at a tradeshow in February during an interview with ZDNet. Considering there’s only one big tradeshow for phones in February, it looks like MWC 2018 will be the big event.

MWC starts on February 26 this year, but Samsung usually goes slightly ahead of the doors opening at the show so we may see it on Sunday February 25.  

DJ Koh confirmed the Galaxy S9 in his interview, but he didn’t specifically mention the Galaxy S9 Plus.

Expect that it’s going to be expensive. There aren’t any price rumors yet, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus launched for $850/£780/AU$1,350. We’d expect the Galaxy S9 Plus will have a similar or higher price.

TechRadar’s take: The S9 launch in February will likely reveal the Galaxy S9 Plus too, but we don’t know about the price yet. 

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A fingerprint and water resistant coating
  • An in-screen fingerprint scanner

We have no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will have a big, curved Super AMOLED screen. We don’t know exactly what size yet, but it’s likely to stay around the same size as the 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.

It may well stick with the same 1,440 x 2,960 resolution too, and will probably have the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio, given Samsung needs time for that new screen shape to bed into the apps market. We’ve also heard that exact ratio rumored.

And although we haven’t seen any shots of the screen on the S9 Plus yet, we have seen renders (below) apparently showing the standard Galaxy S9, which will likely have a similar but smaller display.

This could be the design of the Galaxy S9 and we’d expect the S9 Plus will be similar. Credit: @OnLeaks

As you can see, it looks a lot like the screen on the Galaxy S8. We’ve heard of a few ways in which it might differ though. For one, there’s a chance that a fingerprint scanner will be built into the screen, which would allow Samsung to move it back to the front without increasing the size of the bezels.

This is a rumor that’s been around for a while and was originally aimed at the Galaxy S8, but it didn’t pan out, and some sources reckon we won’t see it before the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, if at all, so don’t count on this feature.

Another possible feature is a glass coating which resists fingerprints, reduces reflections and causes water to bounce off your screen. This hasn’t been specifically linked to the S9 Plus, but Samsung has licensed the tech and plans to use it on smartphones.

TechRadar’s take: We doubt the Galaxy S9 Plus will have a fingerprint scanner built into the screen or that there will be many other substantial upgrades to the display.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus design

Hottest leaks:

  • Smaller bezels than on the S8 Plus
  • A notch at the bottom housing the fingerprint scanner

The closest look we’ve had at the Galaxy S9 Plus is perhaps a render showing it alongside the standard Galaxy S9.

You can only see the front, but it looks a lot like the Galaxy S8 Plus, complete with the same button layout, but perhaps with slightly smaller bezels.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus could look a lot like the S8. Credit: Android Headlines/Weibo

We’ve also seen a case render, which comes direct from case-maker Olixar.

It shows a familiar design but with a dual-lens camera and with the fingerprint scanner moved below the lens, where it should be easier to reach.

The Galaxy S9 is on the left, while the dual-lens S9 Plus is on the right. Credit: Mobile Fun / Olixar

A TechRadar reader also saw the image below on Samsung’s own website that may detail what the Galaxy S9 Plus looks like from behind. 

We don’t think it’s an accurate picture of the Galaxy S9 Plus considering how many concept photos are on that web page, but it may give a hint at what the phone will look like on the rear.

Elsewhere, one source has stated the bezels on the standard Galaxy S9 will be even smaller than on the S8, which would make sense, and which would likely also be true of the S9 Plus.

That would mean Samsung could either shrink the body while keeping the screen the same size or make the display bigger without increasing the size of the phone.

That aside, the design is likely to be similar to the S8 Plus, with a glass back and a metal frame, though as noted the fingerprint scanner might move. Probably not into the screen, but possibly to a more central position on the back, or, as one patent shows, built into a notch at the bottom of the screen.

The Galaxy S9 Plus could have a notch at the bottom of the screen. Credit: GalaxyClub / KIPRIS

Another possible design change – though a very unlikely one – is that the Galaxy S9 Plus could go modular, allowing you to attach hardware accessories a bit like Moto Mods. We’ve only heard this from one source though, and it doesn’t sound likely.

The phone might also come in a new color, as Samsung is apparently considering a purple option.

TechRadar’s take: Expect a similar design to the Galaxy S8 Plus but with some refinements. Smaller bezels are likely.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus camera

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens camera
  • A 3D face scanner
  • 1,000fps slow motion shooting

Samsung may be working on a camera that can shoot at 1,000fps according to some industry sources, allowing for very high quality slow motion footage – the brand announced a sensor capable of this last year, so the Galaxy S9 seems like the right time to unveil it.

We’ve also heard that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will have a dual-lens rear camera, which is no surprise since the Galaxy Note 8 does, but that the standard Galaxy S9 might have just a single-lens camera.

The Galaxy S9 Plus might have a similar camera to the Galaxy Note 8

A leaked photo seemingly showing the standard S9’s retail box might give us other camera clues, as it seems to mention an f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture 12MP lens with optical image stabilization.

That would mean the lens can switch between f/1.5 – which lets a lot of light in, ideal for darker scenes, and f/2.4 – which would offer a deeper depth of field for sharper shots when the light is good.

Of course, even if this is accurate it may only apply to the standard S9, but for what it’s worth it also mentions ‘super slow-mo’, which could refer to those 1,000fps speeds mentioned above.

The only other camera rumor relates to the front-facing camera, which leaker @UniverseIce claims might have a ‘3D sensor’. That might mean a facial recognition system a bit like Face ID on the iPhone X.

TechRadar’s take: We’d be surprised if Samsung didn’t add a second lens to the rear camera, given that it has for the Note 8. Other changes are likely too and a Face ID competitor is possible. We’re not convinced it will have both a dual-lens camera and a variable aperture though.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus battery

We haven’t heard much of anything about the Galaxy S9 Plus’s battery yet, but it’s likely to be a similar size to the 3,500mAh one in the Galaxy S8 Plus. It’s possible that it could be slightly smaller though, especially as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a smaller 3,300mAh unit despite being a bigger phone.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A Snapdragon 845 chipset in the US
  • An Exynos 9810 elsewhere
  • 6GB of RAM

The chip you get in the Galaxy S9 Plus is likely to depend on where in the world you are. In the US you’ll probably get the Snapdragon 845, while in the rest of the world you’ll likely get the Exynos 9810.

The Snapdragon 845 has been announced by Qualcomm so we know some of the details, including the fact that it’s an octa-core chip with four cores running at 2.8GHz and four at 1.8GHz.

The fastest of those four cores apparently deliver up to 30% better performance than the fastest cores in the Snapdragon 835.

It looks like the chip might live up to those specs too, as a benchmark seemingly for the Snapdragon 845 version of the Galaxy S9 Plus shows scores roughly 30% higher than those for the Galaxy S8.

We also know about the Exynos 9810, as Samsung has announced it, revealing that it has “3rd-generation custom CPU cores, upgraded GPU, and gigabit LTE modem with industry-first 6CA support.”

Notably it supports download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps (if your network can cope), which is 20% faster than the Galaxy S8.

As for RAM, the most recent leak points to 6GB (along with a choice of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and perhaps even 512GB of storage).

However, earlier rumors pointed to just 4GB (despite the Note 8 having 6GB of the stuff). We’ve also seen a benchmark seemingly for the Galaxy S9 Plus, which again lists 4GB of RAM, although that’s very little to work with, as the benchmarks often change in the lead up to launch. Indeed, a more recent benchmark lists 5GB.

The operating system meanwhile will probably be Android Oreo, since that’s the latest version of Android. Of course, Samsung will skin the OS as it always does.

TechRadar’s take: The Galaxy S9 Plus will almost certainly use the Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810 chipsets. We’re less sure about the RAM amount – 4GB should be enough, but with some rivals moving higher Samsung won’t want to be left behind, so it might well have 6GB of the stuff.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus other features

Hottest leaks:

  • Stereo speakers
  • A pollution monitor
  • An improved iris scanner

Samsung is likely to give the S9 Plus an iris scanner, given that the S8 Plus has one, but it could well be improved, with one source saying it will be boosted from 2MP to 3MP, be better at recognizing eyes behind glasses or in poor lighting, and be faster.

Other possible features according to rumors include AKG stereo speakers, which could mean superior sound to the S8 range, plus you might get Bluetooth AKG headphones in the box, both of which have now been rumored again, while the 3.5mm headphone jack might remain intact.

Another accessory might come in the form of a redesigned Dex that’s a pad rather than a dock. Dex allows you to connect your phone to a larger screen and have a desktop experience. Whether redesigned or not, we wouldn’t expect Dex to be thrown in though – you’ll probably have to pay extra.

And a more unlikely feature is a sensor that monitors atmospheric conditions and warns you about environmental pollution. We doubt the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will include this, but Samsung has published a patent for it.

We’ve also heard that the S9 Plus might come in a dual-SIM version, though we wouldn’t count on seeing it in the US or UK.

TechRadar’s take: Don’t count on getting a pollution monitor, but stereo speakers and a redesigned Dex are believable.