Purely on a design standpoint, the Samsung Galaxy S9 isn't a drastic change from last year's Galaxy S8, but that's more a fault of the limited number of directions smartphone design can go rather than creative cul-de-sac from the South Korean electronics company.
Even still, there's no denying that the Galaxy S9 in itself is a pretty spectacular phone. Just look at the reviews. Sure, it's not a grand step above its predecessor, but for many consumers who upgrade annually, this will be their next phone.
Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S8
One can argue that the Galaxy S9 is a phone that corrects some of the mistakes of the Galaxy S8, particularly the fingerprint sensor placement, which is now below the camera instead of beside it. But the most interesting feature of this new phone is its camera. The Galaxy S9 has a sensor with a variable aperture, meaning it can change its aperture on the fly to allow more light in, as photographers would on DSLRs. At f/1.5, both the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have the widest aperture on a phone thus far, beating the LG V30's f/1.6 opening.
Galaxy S9 Specs
On the specs department, the phone gets a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, up to 6 GB of RAM depending on the model, and up to 256 GB of onboard storage. This is a phone every Android fan will most certainly love. Oh, and it's even got a headphone jack, which is a rarity these days.
With everything above in mind, is the Galaxy S9 worth an upgrade for users who already have an S8? How about those looking to replace their clunky old phones? Should they spend a fortune for a Galaxy S9 or look for a discounted Galaxy S8 instead? Check out some review excerpts from several critics below:
Wired: "If you're on last year's Galaxy S8 or an iPhone 8, you're not going to get a whole lot out of this phone. But if you're struggling along on something significantly older, the S9 will feel like a huge upgrade."
The Verge: "Owners of the S8 probably don't need to upgrade this go-around — the differences aren't great enough to warrant splurging on the S9 — but if you're using a Galaxy S7 or any other phone from two years ago, the S9 is a significant step up in every respect."
CNET: "The Galaxy S9 is a nice incremental upgrade, but its low-light camera isn't a game changer and some new features fall far behind the iPhone X. S8 owners can skip, but it's a good upgrade from older Androids."
TechRadar: "The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a great phone, but one that hasn't really kicked on from the Galaxy S8, bringing a very similar design and screen to 2017's version. The improved biometrics were sorely needed, and the camera is a leap forward, but the amazing low light capabilities have resulted in sacrifices elsewhere. A top, top phone, but the S9 Plus outshines it."
BGR: "Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are impressive phones, to say the least. They pack a tremendous amount of power into a wonderfully elegant design, even though that design is a spitting image of last year's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ ... It's certainly not as exciting as seeing a flagship phone launch with a brand new design, but the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are still two of the most stunning smartphones in the world. If Apple can get away with reusing its iPhone 6 design for four consecutive years, Samsung can't really be faulted for reusing its Galaxy S8 design a second time."
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are launching in March 16.