BARCELONA: Samsung Electronics launched its latest top-of-the-line smartphones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, at its Galaxy Unpacked event on Sunday (Feb 25).
Many of the rumours that leaked in the lead-up to the launch proved to be true – including the most anticipated feature: The upgraded camera, which Samsung claims is its most advanced yet.
The rear camera on the Galaxy S9+ has a dual aperture lens that provides a variable aperture of between f/1.5 to f/2.4, and a resolution of 12MP.
The Galaxy S9 does not come with a dual camera, but is fitted with Samsung’s Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensor. This allows it to produce a software-based bokeh effect without the need for dual cameras.
Both phones sport an 8MP front camera.
Like the iris of a human eye, which expands and contracts in response to the level of ambient light to maintain subject focus, the Dual Aperture intuitively lets in more light when it is dark and less light when it is too bright.
If a user is taking a wide-angle shot – a landscape photo, for example – f/2.4 will kick in to ensure that the entire composition is in focus.
If the camera senses that the user is in a dimly-lit room and is about to take a portrait, f/1.5 activates to gives sharper, brighter images and portraits with a bokeh effect.
The new camera system is a slight improvement over that of the Galaxy Note8, Samsung’s first smartphone to offer dual cameras. That had an aperture range of f/1.7 (wide-angle) to f/2.4 (telephoto), and it did not have the dual aperture function.
Compared to the Galaxy Note8, the redesigned camera of the Galaxy S9+ also admits 28 per cent more light while cutting down “noise” in images by 30 per cent. It does so by combining a total of 12 frames into one – it reads four frames to create one image, and three of these are combined to offer the effect of capturing 12 frames.
It is similar to, but also an improvement over, the dual cameras offered in rival Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
SUPER SLO-MO AND PERSONALISED AR EMOJIS
Other than the Super Low Light function, the powerful camera drives two other innovative features: Super slo-mo and personalised AR emojis. All three features are available on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.
By capturing slow-motion video at 960 frames per second (fps), Super Slo-mo gives users the ability to shoot and record The Matrix-style action sequences.
Automatic Motion Detection recognises movement in the frame and automatically begins to record. Users simply have to set up the shot and hold the phone steady.
Once done, users can add music from their playlists and convert the Super Slo-mo videos into GIF files to be shared.
In a move set to upstage Apple’s Animoji feature, the new phones let users create customisable emojis. AR Emoji uses an advanced machine learning algorithm that analyses a user’s portrait to map out more than 100 facial features.
This creates a true-to-life 3D model of the user, like an avatar, that imitates subtle expressions such as winks and nods.
The AR Emojis are saved as GIFs, which can then be used across most third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat. There is also a feature that transforms personalised emojis into GIF stickers.
Other notable features include Live Translation on Bixby – Samsung’s intelligence platform – which lets users translate foreign languages and currency in real time.
The DeX Pad, a new flat docking system, allows the new phones to couple to a larger monitor, keyboard and mouse via a USB-C connector. This enables users to edit documents or play mobile games on a full screen. Additionally, both phones can transform into Touch Keyboards and/or Touch Pads.
The fingerprint sensor has also been repositioned below the rear camera, instead of being adjacent to it.
Like its predecessors, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ sport 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch edge-to-edge Super AMOLED displays, respectively.
The chassis are comparable in size to their counterparts in the previous generation, though the new phones are slightly heavier. Battery life remains the same as their counterparts as well: 3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ respectively.
The Galaxy S9 has a 4GB RAM – no change from the Galaxy S8/S8+. The Galaxy S9+ is equipped with a 6GB RAM.
Operating on the Android 8 OS, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be available in four colours – Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, Coral Blue and a new hue, Lilac Purple – starting Mar 16.