Samsung is one of those rare Android smartphone makers that have resisted the temptation to copy the iPhone X’s display notch. There seems to be a race among Android vendors to copy the top cutout, which was merely a design compromise for Apple. Huawei, LG, and OnePlus’s upcoming flagship smartphones are also said to have the notch. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, in contrast, still have bezels at the top and bottom of the screen.
Instead of adopting the notch, Samsung chose to keep the Galaxy S9’s design similar to last year’s Galaxy S8. That’s why many have described the new phones as a ‘boring’ update. But the S9 and S9 Plus with their curved Super AMOLED screen still look as modern and beautiful as Apple’s iPhone X. Samsung could easily have chosen to include the notch to give it a fresh, new look. But it didn’t. Now noted designer Martin Hajek has imagined what the Galaxy S9 would look like if it had the display notch.
The Galaxy S9 looks stunning with the notched all-screen design. Its Super AMOLED Infinity display stretches all the way from top to bottom of the face. The display notch appears a bit narrower and larger than it is on the iPhone X. If Samsung had indeed incorporated the notch on the Galaxy S9, the cutout would be smaller than the iPhone X because Samsung’s flagship doesn’t have the TrueDepth camera system.
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Google recently released the Android P developer preview, which adds native support for the display notch. So, we wouldn’t be surprised if future Samsung smartphones launch with the top cutout. Samsung is the global leader in OLED displays. Hajek’s notched Galaxy S9 design with a curved edge-to-edge screen looks fantastic. The curved edges give the impression that Galaxy S9 has even slimmer bezels than the iPhone X.
Anyway, the notch is a design compromise. It screams loud and clear that Apple couldn’t figure out how to integrate the earpiece, front camera, TrueDepth camera sensors, and other components under the display. No company has been able to make it work by placing them under the display yet, but Galaxy S9 doesn’t hurt the user experience like iPhone X. The Galaxy S9 is narrower than the iPhone X, which makes it easier to hold in one hand and operate it.
Meanwhile, experts at iFixit have cracked open the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus to see how easy it is to repair and what components it uses. They concluded that the all-glass S9 is going to be pretty expensive to repair due to excessive use of strong adhesives. Small internal components make the process even more difficult. Experts at iFixit were able to access all the major components in twelve steps. The rear glass panel is prone to cracking during the removal process, which could further push up the repair costs.
You will have to remove the rear glass even for simple things like replacing a broken screen. Folks at iFixit gave it a repairability score of 4/10, meaning it is incredibly difficult to repair. Last year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 had also scored the same four points in repairability. The repair firm also showed how the Galaxy S9’s dual aperture works. Samsung has included variable apertures of f/1.5 and f/2.4 on the wide-angle camera of Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. There are two aperture blades to control how much light passes through them.
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are Samsung’s most powerful smartphones to date. They are similar in most aspects, but there are also a few differences between the two that make the larger Galaxy S9 Plus a better choice than its smaller sibling. For instance, the S9 Plus packs 6GB RAM compared to 4GB for the S9. The Plus variant also has a bigger 6.2-inch display, which comes handy when you are watching movies, playing games, browsing the web, or running two apps side-by-side.
The Galaxy S9 Plus packs a 3500mAh battery that is rated for up to 35 hours of battery life. By comparison, the Galaxy S9 with its 3000mAh battery offers up to 31 hours of battery life. The Plus model also has a dual camera setup on the back. The addition of 12MP telephoto lens allows you to capture depth-of-field portrait images with blurred backgrounds. The Galaxy S9 Plus has a price tag of $840 in the US, which makes it $120 more expensive than its smaller sibling. But it’s worth the extra cost, and it’s still cheaper than the iPhone X.