It seems absolutely inevitable that a Galaxy S9 Plus will launch alongside the standard smartphone from Samsung. But what can we expect from this phablet-sized device?
The first thing to note is that it is expected that the Galaxy S9 Plus will be unveiled in February at the very latest. Rumors were abound just a weeks ago that the phablet could be teased for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which takes place from January 9-12.
However, Samsung has already dismissed this suggestion has been unlikely, telling the Korea Herald that it has no current intention of exploring this possibility.
Thus, it seems far more likely that the Galaxy S9 Plus will follow on from its predecessors and be officially announced at the Mobile World Congress. This will take place in Barcelona between February 26 and March 1.
The bad news regarding the Galaxy S9 Plus is that it is likely to be an expensive smartphone. Obviously there is no official word on the price tag of this device, but the Galaxy S8 Plus launched at $850 in the United States, and the Galaxy Note 8 was priced at $950.
Considering that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are likely to be ambitious devices, intended to compete directly with the hugely successful iPhone X, it won’t be at all surprising if they receive a price hike compared to last year.
While the Galaxy S9 Plus will probably remain under the psychologically significant $1,000 price point, the device could be priced in the $900 ballpark.
The big question on the lips of all Android fans with regard to the Galaxy S9 Plus is whether Samsung will deliver 4K resolution. While this would undoubtedly be a headline-making decision, the likelihood is that the Korean corporation will instead opt for the Quad HD Plus resolution that it introduced last year.
This would be logical for the mega-corporation, as it would allow Samsung to delay 4K resolution for the Galaxy Note 9. The gap in performance and specifications between the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges has undoubtedly narrowed over the last few years, and the Korean company certainly needs to reserve some standout specs for its premium phablet.
So expect the Galaxy S9 Plus to be capable of displaying 1,440 x 2,960 pixels.
One of the major innovations that could be delivered in the Galaxy S9 generation, though, is the embedding of the fingerprint scanner that has been rumored for some time. Both Apple and Samsung have been engaged in a race to achieve this design feature first, and it seems that the Galaxy S9 will win out.
Not only would this be a nifty addition to the Galaxy S9 Plus, but it would also enable Samsung to move the scanner back to the front of the device without increasing the size of the bezels. This is a key design point after the stronger reception afforded the virtually bezel-less iPhone X, and would certainly put the ball in Apple’s court.
Another rumor being associated with the Galaxy S9 Plus is the inclusion of a glass coating with the ability to resist fingerprints. This revolutionary material will also reduce reflection and glare, and result in water bouncing off the display of the device.
This nifty technology hasn’t been developed with the S9 or or S9 Plus specifically in mind, but Samsung has licensed the technology with the intention of utilizing it in future smartphones. And it’s the sort of non-spec technology that could see its first hearing in the Galaxy S9 Plus.
There is absolutely no doubt that camera technology is increasingly important in the smartphone niche, and that Samsung has delivered some outstanding snappers over the years. But Apple has certainly rivalled the best Samsung cameras with the iPhone X in particular, meaning that the Korean corporation needs to respond suitably with the photographic capabilities of the Galaxy S9 Plus.
So it is widely believed that this phablet will benefit from a dual-lens rear camera, and that this may even grace the Galaxy S9 in 2018. Samsung is also reportedly working on a shooter capable of capturing footage at 1,000 frames per second in slow motion mode, according to industry sources.
This would allow incredible high-quality slow motion footage, with Samsung having already announced a sensor that is capable of delivering this spectacular feature. Samsung is likely to focus on this as a particularly marketable aspect of the Galaxy S9 Plus, so it will be interesting to see whether or not it comes to fruition.
The word ‘battery’ tends to send chills down the spine of Samsung executives, after the disastrous exploding Galaxy Note 7. And there hasn’t been too much noise regarding the cell to be included in the Galaxy S9 Plus, meaning that it could be a rather conservative battery once more. Any battery life improvements in the Galaxy S9 generation are likely to be achieved by software innovations.
It now seems inevitable that the Snapdragon 845 chipset will make its first appearance in the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. There have even been reports that the new Qualcomm unit has been snapped up in an exclusivity deal, meaning that the Galaxy S9 generation will be the only smartphone to benefit from the release for a few months.
Elsewhere, the Exynos 9810 is likely to be utilized in large parts of the developing world, but this obviously won’t particularly impact on US consumers.
Samsung has stated that the 845 features “3rd-generation custom CPU cores, upgraded GPU, and gigabit LTE modem with industry-first 6CA support.” It is also known that it supports download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps (depending on network capabilities), which is 20 percent faster than the Galaxy S8.
One decision that is likely to be received favorably by many Android consumers is the retention of the headphone jack for the Galaxy S9 range. It is believed that Samsung has already rubber-stamped this physical port for its 2018 mobiles, meaning that it could also be retained when the Galaxy Note 9 is released.
Another aspect of the Galaxy S9 Plus that could be stepped up is its virtual reality capabilities and compatibility with Gear VR headsets. While virtual reality is growing in prominence, it would also be fair to say that it hasn’t exactly captured the public imagination as of yet. Both Oculus Rift and the PlayStation VR headset from Sony have achieved decent market penetration, but there has yet to be a killer app that really makes people sit up and take notice of the virtual reality format.
With Apple having thrown its hat into the augmented reality ring in public, it will be left to Samsung to advance virtual reality in mobile. Can the Galaxy S9 Plus really achieve this? The proof will be in the pudding.
Finally, some reports are suggesting that Samsung has been tinkering with new technology that will deliver 512GB of native storage for the Galaxy S9 Plus. This could result in micro SD being removed from the device, although this latter suggestion is highly speculative. It would certainly fit in, though, with a trend of greater storage quantities being included in mainstream smartphone devices.