Samsung Galaxy S9 price, release date, features & specs: S9's facial recognition is 'no more secure than S8'

Previous news

21/02/2018:S9 will be shown off in augmented reality during MWC launch event

Shortly after notorious leaker Roland Quandt outed what is essentially a final set of renders for the proposed upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones, new rumours have surfaced that the devices will be shown off in augmented reality during their respective launch events at MWC next week.

The rumour came about thanks to siteXDAdevelopersspotting some augmented reality feature hidden deep within Samsung'sUnpacked 2018 app, which is already available for Google's Android on the Play Store. The app is intended for registered and invited users, but can also be used by people who want to view the event's live stream feed.

The hidden feature allows users to scan the Samsung logo or a box of a Samsung product to see a number of small teasers for the event as well as its location. A Reddit user going by the name of /u/thesbros was able to take this further and decompile the app and find 3D models that Samsung has hidden inside the app that allows for people to scan a lanyard from the event to show the Samsung Galaxy S9 in augmented reality.

The discovery wasn't easy to achieve, however, andrequired the Reddit user to modify Samsung's Unpacked 2018 app and a proxy to download the 3D models. He was able to successfully do it though and managed to get access to the Augmented Reality 3D models in get a glimpse as to what the Samsung Galaxy S9 will look like.

The augmented reality sneak peek shows that the phone will come in a lilac purple colour option as well as feature a speaker grill at the bottom, which is rumored to be used as part of the AKG Tuning used for the Galaxy S9's new dual speaker system. IThere is also a fingerprint scanner placement and a new flash which might be similar to Apple's quad LED model.

12/02/2018:Snapdragon 845 tests reveal S9 could still lag behind iPhone 8

The Galaxy S9 might lag behind the iPhone 8 in terms of CPU performance, according to new benchmark tests.

Qualcomm, the company behind the popular Snapdragon chips that power the vast majority of Android handsets, recently invited reviewers to come and test its brand-new processor, the Snapdragon 845.

It is widely rumoured that this chip will power the Samsung Galaxy S9 - at least in certain territories. For the past few years, Samsung has fitted its flagship devices with the latest Snapdragon chips for markets like the US, while using its own silicon in markets like Europe.

Assuming Samsung continues this trend and uses the Snapdragon 845 at the heart of the forthcoming phone, customers can expect it to outperform almost everything else on the market.

Computer Shopperreviews editor James Archer went out to San Diego to test the chip for himself and reported that when tested on a demo Android 8 handset with 6GB of RAM and a QHD screen, the Snapdragon 845 racked up GeekBench scores of 2,444 and 8,339 in the single and multi-core tests respectively.

For the purposes of comparison, theGalaxy S8managed scores of 1,994 for the single-core test and a multi-core result of 6,629. In fact, the only smartphones that outperformed these figures were Apple's latest crop of iPhones, the speediest of which racked upas-yet unassailable scoresof 4,254 and 10,517 for single and multi-core operations thanks to Apple's super-powerful A11 Bionic processor.

The 845 will also likely power a slew of other Android handsets released over the course of 2018, including any potential follow-ups to theOnePlus 5T,Nokia 8,Google Pixel 2and others. With this in mind, this year's smartphones look to be very impressive indeed, although Apple remains king of the hill.

09/02/2017:UK will get more powerful Samsung Galaxy S9 iteration

As has been the case for the history of the Samsung Galaxy series of flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S9 will arrive in two versions - the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845-powered device for the US and China market and a Samsung Exynos 9810-powered device for the rest of the world.

The good news is the UK will be one of the territories taking on the faster Samsung-powered device, while the US and China's devices will run a slower chip, as demonstrated by leakster Ice Universe.

He took to Twitter with a benchmarking screenshot of the US version, showing the single-core Samsung Galaxy S9 has a Geekbench score of 2378, versus the multicore score of score of 8132.

Although this is marginally better than last year's Samsung Galaxy S8, they are "mediocre" according to the source and the Exynos version of the device will provide much better scores in comparison. In fact, Ice Universe thinks the Exynos processor is one of the Samsung Galaxy S9's strongest features, so it's good news for the UK, but not necessarily for other territories.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is due to be released at a Samsung Unpacked event on February 25th, with pre-orders set to begin on March 1st and shipping on March 16th.

06/02/2018: Samsung's Galaxy S9 '100 more expensive than S8'

Customers could be expected to pay 100 more for the new Samsung Galaxy S9 than last year's S8 according to a source within the UK mobile deals industry.

The new S9 will cost 789 compared to the S8's 689, according to sources speaking toTechRadar, which is a 220 hike from the launch of the flagship Galaxy S7 just 24 months ago, which arrived at just 569.

The S9, Samsung's flagship launch in 2018, will be officially revealed at MWC in February, but the circulation of leaks and rumours has meant Samsung will be unlikely to have much in the way of surprise features.

The reported cost of the S9 will still be a price difficult for many to stomach. The source attributed the hike to "last year's massively inflated smartphone prices handsets like the S8, Note 8 and iPhone..." believing it demonstrates a willingness amongst many customers to pay these high prices.

Samsung is also said to be releasing a 'lilac purple' version of the S9 that will go alongside the leaked Midnight Black, Titanium Grey and Coral Blue models.

The new S9 will also offer high-speed wireless charging and could match high-speed cable charging. Its camera features will include a Super Speed mode, dual pixel and a Super Slow-mo mode.

Other rumoured features include a new "intelligent Scan" technology that will apparently combine the iris scanner and face recognition to improve biometric authentication in difficult lighting conditions.

29/01/2018:Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ pictured in new renders

Prolific Samsung tipster EV Leaks has revealed new front renders of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, showing a design that's pretty much identical to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.

Given the design overhaul the Galaxy S8 received, it's unsurprising that the S9 is more iterative than innovative, and most of the changes will be internal. The majority of the feature changes are said to be happening around the back of the device, with a new improved camera, although the renders don't show the back panel.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, as expected, is larger than the standard Samsung Galaxy S9, with a 5.8in and 6.2in screen respectively. The fingerprint scanner is apparently embedded into the edge-to-edge glass front panel and they'll be powered by Samsung's ownExynos 9810 SoC.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is unsurprisingly the heftier of the two when it comes to internals. It'll feature6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, while its smaller sibling will only have 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. That deviates slightly from the S8 models, as a model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage is currently only available in a handful of regions.

"With this distribution of basic components, Samsung is making it more difficult for users, some of whom may even want a smaller screen, to choose the basic S9 without additional trade-offs," tipster Evan Blass wrote onVenture Beat.

26/01/2018:Samsung has revealed its Galaxy S9 flagship will launch on February 25th at its pre-Mobile World Congress Unpacked event.

The company revealed the launch date on Twitter with the caption, "from 02.25.2018.will change how you experience everything," and a trailer centred around the number 9. It put a strong focus on the camera (excuse the pun) with the tag line "The Camera. Reimagined."

Judging by the rumours about the Samsung Galaxy S9's ISOCELL camera sensors (story below), it comes as no surprise to hear the camera would be its headline feature, offering full-resolution slow-motion video and enhanced photos when taking snaps in low-light conditions. It'll apparently have a12 megapixel rear camera with an F1.5 aperture and the larger S9+ will feature a dual sensor, while the smaller standard S9 will only have a single sensor.

The video doesn't really give much more about the phone away at all, so we'll have to assume the rumours about itsY-OCTA tech and fingerprint sensor embedded into the screen are true.

Samsung has a habit of launching its flagship devices just before Mobile World Congress, preferring to avoid the hype of the show and ensuring its device remains the star launch.

24/01/2018:The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus could seriously up the Galaxy S8 series' game, with news of the Korean manufacturer's ISOCELL camera sensors debuting on the incoming flagship devices.

According toNDTV, the company'sISOCELL Fast tech could allow the devices to record video in full HD resolution at a rate of 48 frames per second. This means slow-motion video could also be recorded in high resolution. It's likely to debut on the two flagships when they launch next month, the website said.

Other features under the ISOCELL umbrella includeISOCELL Bright, which uses Samsung'sTetracelltech to brighten up photos. It works by combining the neighbouring pixels in a photo into one pixel, ensuring the light balance is perfect, even when conditions are not particularly favourable.

ISOCELL Dual offers enhanced features such asoptical zoom, low-light shooting, and depth sensor for out-focusing effects. The Samsung Galaxy S9 is already rumoured to includea Super Speed-backed Dual Pixel 12-megapixel camera sensor, as previously pictured on the device's packaging (full story below).

Samsung's ISOCELL tech was first announced by the company last year, although this is the first time it's revealed what the features will actually be able to do.

18/01/2018:Samsung's newest Neural Processing Units (NPUs),technologythat enables devices to use sophisticated AI and process and analyse data without being tied to the cloud, will reportedly be ready for the launch of the Galaxy S9 next month.

The South Korean tech giant was slow to jump on the new processors, with rivalsAppleand Huawei being able to boast more advanced AI features on their flagship devices.

Although Samsung only started work on its own NPUs in the second half of 2017, sources speaking to theKorea Heraldsaid that its mobile versions were not only par with rivals, but would be ready for the release of the Galaxy S9.

Sources also revealed that Samsung is working on a server-grade model of the advanced AI processors to be released later in 2018, as well as a more advanced version of its mobile chip, hinting that this could be a major feature of the Galaxy Note 9.

NPUs sit alongside traditional CPUs found in smartphones, allowing the device to analyse and store data in a way that would normally require the support of a cloud server. The improved efficiency and removal of any server latency mean the chips not only make AI features like smart assistants or translation tools respond almost instantly, but also help increase device performance.

16/01/2018:The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9+ have both passedFedealCommunications Commission (FCC) accreditation, according to reports, suggesting they'll be winging their way to stores very soon.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 will have the model numberSM-G960, while theSM-G965 will be better known as the S9+, the filings revealed.

As is usually the case, both these devices will come in different variations according to which operators and markets they're designed for. They're listed asSM-G960U, SM-G960U1, SM-G960W and SM-G960XU, withGSM Arenaspeculating the first two versions are likely to be for the US market, with the third for the Canadian market.

Unfortunately, the FCC leaks don't tell us a whole lot about the devices, only that they're fit for use and meet all its guidelines for new devices entering the market. In fact, like many filings with the FCC, both device listings includeConfidentiality Request Letterthat asks the FCC doesn't reveal any images, operational descriptions, schematics or photos of the devices.

The FCC filing was issued to the authority on 17 November last year, although as the FCC only covers the US and Canada, it's not clear whether they've been granted permission to enter the UK market yet.

15/01/2018:A leaked picture that appears to show off the packaging for theSamsung Galaxy S9 has appeared on social networking site Weibo, and gives a pretty detailed insight into what's packed in the upcoming Samsung flagship if it is actually the box in question.

The vital stats listed on the packaging include a 5.8in infinity display, super speed dual pixel 12-megapixel, OIS-powered rear-facing camera supportingslowmotion and an eight-megapixel front-facing "selfie camera".

Stereo speakers and the earphones in the box will both be "tuned by AKG" and there's also the same IP68 water and dust resistance to make the device as robust as seen on the Samsung Galaxy S9's predecessor, 2017's Samsung Galaxy S8.

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, it'll include an iris scanner for security (not quite the same as the iPhone X's Face ID).

The information on the box also confirms it'll ship with 64GB memory and 4GB RAM and wireless charging capabilities, just as we expected.

If the packaging is the real box, there aren't too many surprises inside the Samsung Galaxy S9. Samsung plans to unveil the device at Mobile World Congress next month, and it should be available to buy soon after.

11/01/2018:The Samsung Galaxy S9's launch date has been confirmed by the president of the company's mobile division, DJ Koh, in an interview with tech siteZDNet.

Although it was pretty hotly tipped to arrive at CES 2018, which took place this week, Koh said it will instead launch next month, with the most likely target being Mobile World Congress at the end of February. The on-sale date will also be revealed at the event - likely to be roughly a month after the announcement.

Koh said Samsung also expects to launch the next iteration of its Bixby voice assistant - Bixby 2.0 - this year, but whether it will launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy S9 is yet to be confirmed.

"Many companies have AI competence, but not many have hardware competence," Koh said at the company's CES press conference. "We started a little later [than others] but we are confident in offering the best experience for consumers."

This time period would fit in nicely with the launch of previous Samsung flagships, with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus launching in March 2017. However, Samsung took a slightly different approach then, announcing the device at a standalone Samsung Unpacked event in New York. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 went on sale a month after, in April.

Koh added that Samsung expects to launch its first foldable phone in 2018 too, although he didn't pin such a precise timescale to that device.

08/01/2018:Fresh leaks have suggested that Samsung's Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus smartphones will ship with varying RAM and storage configurations, potentially allaying concerns that the device will be restricted to 4G of RAM.

The S9 will ship with 4GB RAM and options of 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, according to rumours on the Chinese microblogging siteWeibo, however, the S9 Plus will use 6GB of RAM with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage variants.

A translated comment reads: "According to insider revealed S9 / S9 + will launch the following memory with: S9 DDR and Flash Combo 4 + 64 & 4 + 128, S9 + DDR and Flash Combinations 6 + 64 & 6 + 128 & 6 + 256."

The post also suggests that Samsung will be rolling out a 512GB version of the S9 Plus, but this will only be available in specific regions where demand is high enough.

If true this would mean an S9 Plus that's more in line with Samsung'sNote 8in terms ofspec,and will go some way to convince users that the larger model offers a more premium experience over the standard S9.

Samsung is expected to unveil the S9 range at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

04/01/2018:Samsung's new chip brings iPhone X features to the Galaxy S9

Samsung has launched its newest flagship Exynos 9 Series 9810 processor, which will almost certainly be used to power upcoming Galaxy S9 smartphones, as well as its tablets and AI projects.

The Exynos 9810 is built using Samsung's second generation 10nm FinFET process, which has been able to pack in an eight-core CPU split into two parts four supercharged cores capable of reaching 2.9GHz, with the other four tuned for efficiency.

The new processor series promises to have improved cache memory, double the single-core performance, and 40% increased multi-core performance over theGalaxy S8processor, the Exynos 8895.

While there was no mention of the Galaxy S9 in the announcement, it's safe to say the processor will make its way to Samsung's next flagship smartphone when it releases later this year. If the company follows the same release cycle as previous devices, the US and China versions of the S9 will feature aQualcomm845 processor, with the Exynos powering those released in the rest of the world.

As well as a notable performance increase, users should also expect to see some more advanced machine learning-based features with the new processor. The new technology allows the chip to "accurately recognise people or items in photos for fast image searching" and through depth sensing, "scan a user's face in 3D for hybrid face detection", according to Samsung.

Security has also been enhanced, with a separate processing unit being responsible for safeguarding biometric data gathered by the chip.

It also boasts a new 1.2Gbps LTE modem, which promises to provide more stable data transfers over its predecessor, and better multimedia experiences with a "dedicated image processing and upgraded multi-format codec (MFC)".

Other highlights include advanced stabilisation for images and videos, UHD recording and playback at 120fps, reduced noise and blur in low-light pictures, and improved colour reproduction with 64 times the number of possible tones.

"The Exynos 9 Series 9810 is our most innovative mobile processor yet, with our third-generation custom CPU, ultra-fast gigabit LTE modem and, deep learning-enhanced image processing," said Ben Hur, vice president of system LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics.

"The Exynos 9810 will be a key catalyst for innovation in smart platforms such as smartphones, personal computing and automotive for the coming AI era."

The chip represents a major shift in focus towardsAI, building on a recent investment into an AI research centre designed to develop the next generation of smart mobile and consumer electronics.

Dale Walker

Dale Walker is the Managing Editor of ITPro, and its sibling sites CloudPro and ChannelPro. Dale has a keen interest in IT regulations, data protection, and cyber security. He spent a number of years reporting for ITPro from numerous domestic and international events, including IBM, Red Hat, Google, and has been a regular reporter for Microsoft's various yearly showcases, including Ignite.