Samsung Galaxy S9+: First Impressions

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android with 54 Comments

Samsung Galaxy S9+: First Impressions

My Samsung Galaxy S9+ arrived yesterday afternoon, and I’ve spent the time since setting it up and, most crucially, doing a bit of low-light photography tests.

Let me get the obvious out of the way first. This handset is absolutely stunning. It is both state-of-the-art and art, if you catch my meaning, a device that is both functionally impressive and pretty to look at.

And because my wife uses its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S8+, I’m able to do some useful side-by-side comparisons. I’ll save the details for my coming review, but the long story short will not surprise anyone: If you are using an S8/S8+, there is absolutely no reason to upgrade this year. Physically and functionally, these phones are virtually identical, the differences either subtle or non-existent. Save your money and see what’s coming down the pike in early 2019 instead.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ (left) and Galaxy S9+ (right)

For everyone else, however. My God. What a phone.

It’s big. And I don’t just mean that from a size or weight perspective. For better or worse, Samsung really overloads its flagship handsets with a lot of “stuff,” and that’s true both physically (with the packaging and accessories) and virtually, in the software and services it bundles.

On that latter point, I don’t mean to suggest that it’s all negative—indeed, many will prefer Samsung products for this reason—but only that it’s a lot to digest, to learn, and to understand. Even those who are familiar with Android, especially the pared-down Android that Google provides with, say, its Pixel phones, will find that they will need days of exploring, experimentation, and training. There’s just so much in there. It’s overwhelming.

It’s also worth the effort. Hidden in Samsung’s levels-deep menus, you will find a cornucopia of functionality that simply is not provided by pure Android.

I even got an Android system update on the S9+

For example, you can choose different system fonts, including a bolder font that resembles the effects of bolding the system font in iOS, an effect I greatly prefer.

As with OnePlus, Samsung provides for various icon styles, themes, and other customizations, and it provides an online marketplace for buying new items too. (Yes, that’s good and bad. Get used to that theme.)

There are Samsung-specific niceties, too, like the Apps Edge functionality that provides yet another way to launch commonly used apps. And, even more uniquely, app pairs, so that you can launch two apps together onscreen at the same time.

Likewise, there are more dubious Samsung entreaties, such as Bixby, its voice-activated digital personal assistant, Samsung-branded apps like Calendar and Mail, Samsung services like S Health, and more. Much of which, yes, duplicates functionality that is already provided by Android.

Stock home screen

I will try to get to all of it, to actually use all of it. If only to see where Samsung’s overreach is welcome. And where it is not.

Customized home screen

For now, let me focus on the two things that I think matter most. The design, which is amazing. And the camera, which, yes, is also amazing.

Like its predecessor—one might say exactly like its predecessor—the S9+ is a gorgeous, premium smartphone that absolutely justifies its price tag. This is in stark contrast with the even more expensive Google Pixel 2 XL, which does not share the same level of fit and finish or design acumen.

Looking at the two side-by-side, they are, of course, similar. Tall, thin form factors, with small bezels. Curved screen corners. The same basic form factor.

But Samsung pulls ahead of Google on so many levels that it’s almost comical. The overall fit and finish of the Samsung are in a different, um, galaxy as that of the Pixel 2 XL, in the same way that a Mercedes outclasses any Chevy.

The S9+’s body is sleek and without hard edges, aside from a subtle ridge next to the display on each side. I assume these are there for cases to latch onto, and the Google has them too; they’re just harder-edged and less elegant on the Pixel.

The curved screen corners, which look so ham-handed on the Pixel 2 XL—almost like Google simply applied a sticker over the normal rectangular screen—look natural and organic on the S9+. And they actually curved past the natural edges of the device, giving it a cool and unique “infinity pool” look. On the Pixel, the curved edges start where the display ends. It’s a fake where the Samsung is the real deal.

Both devices are the same basic size, and if you look at them side-by-side, they appear to be roughly the same height. But the Samsung is much thinner side-to-side, too, giving it a more elegant look. And the display is noticeably taller than that of the Pixel 2 XL. You have more room to work with, and that’s especially true if you hide the navigation bar at the bottom, and option that is not available in the Pixel 2 XL’s pure Android.

And then there’s that camera.

As you may have seen, DxOMark recently awarded the Galaxy S9+ as the smartphone having the very best camera overall. In doing so, it narrowly beat out the Pixel 2 XL that I’m currently using (and otherwise suffering with). So this handset, which was already very interesting to me, suddenly became a candidate for me to actually use day-to-day. If this camera pans out, I’d consider replacing my Pixel.

I’ll have a lot more to say about the S9+ camera in my review, and of course, I still have much more testing to do. But I was able to verify an assumption I had made about how its new camera system would work in low-light conditions. And this will have a very direct impact on my own decisions about this device.

As you may know, Google’s recent phones—the Nexus 6P and 5X, and the first-generation Pixel and Pixel XL—have all had, in their day, the very best camera available in smartphones. Key to this prowess, in my opinion, is their performance in low-light conditions, and if you’ve seen my low-light photos on Instagram or here on the site, you know what I mean: Google just gets this right.

The way it works is that you focus on a light source in an otherwise dark environment, such as when you’re in the dark, literally, outside or in. This light source can be a street lamp, a candle, lights from a store or cafe, or the backlighting in a bar. The Google phones will not so much lighten the lights, if you will, as they darken the darks. And the effect is often magical.

The Galaxy S9+, meanwhile, features a new two-lens camera system that offers a first: An automatically variable aperture in which a second aperture setting that lets in more light will be triggered in low-light conditions. The idea is a good one: You can take a photo of people, objects, or a scene in low-light and get a great photo without needing a flash. (And blinding your subjects and, just as bad, those around you in the process.)

My theory was that this is what most people would want: You’re outside or in a dark restaurant or bar with friends and you take a photo, and it comes out well-lit instead of a dark blob. But this also runs contrary to how the Google phones have worked, where you get this incredible HDR-like effect with dark darks and light lights. In other words, the Pixel 2 XL gives me the shot I want, but the S9+ would likely give the shot that most people would want.

In my admittedly limited testing so far, that is exactly what has happened. The S9+ can take great low-light shots, but the light up the scene in ways that are contrary to reality. And in many cases, those photos take on a weird softness.

Here’s a great example: Some candles in the fireplace. The Samsung version of this shot is actually pretty great, but it’s soft and that reddish color was not present in real life.

With the Pixel 2 XL, we get a better picture: It lacks the softness of the S9+ photo, and the colors are completely accurate.

The thing is, many would actually prefer the Samsung version, and if you were using only this one smartphone, which would be normal, I think most would be happy that this shot came out at all.

A better example: It’s getting darker and I’ve stepped back from the fireplace so that you can see three light sources. Here’s the Samsung version.

Again, it’s artificially lighter than it was in real life, and softer looking. But being able to see the room at all without a flash would probably impressive people.

Until they saw the Pixel 2 XL version of the same shot, which better depicts the darkness, colors, and sharpness of the real scene.

I’ll be testing the camera a lot more, of course. But the short version is that it appears to be excellent, and even these low-light shots that I find lacking would please most. There is also a ton of other camera functionality I’ve not yet written about, including some manual controls that somewhat close the gap with the Pixel 2 XL (with the resulting complexity of using manual controls).

There are other advantages, and other differences.

The S9+ features a headphone jack, as God intended. Having suffered through innumerable audio issues thanks to the Pixel 2 XL’s terrible USB-C connection and/or dongle, I can’t express enough how happy I am with this. Damn Google for following Apple down this rabbit hole and not getting it right. (Apple’s dongle always works fine, at least.)

The S9+, like the Pixel 2 XL, picks up stereo speakers, an improvement over last year’s mode. They sound great to my ears, and a quick viewing of the middle of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with the screen configured for an HDR-like high-color mode, made me reluctant to put it down.

The S9+ ships with “only” 64 GB of storage, but it does at least include microSD expansion, a feature the Pixels lack. (My Pixel 2 XL came with 128 GB of storage, however, and at great cost.)

There are miscues too, of course.

The fingerprint reader, while relocated to a better position below the cameras, is still far too close to those cameras.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ (left) and its predecessor (right)

And I’ve already touched the bottom camera at least once and no doubt left some greasy residue on its lens as a result. A case will help, but then that was true of the S8+ too.

Here, the Pixel 2 XL has the right design: Not only is the camera physically separated by distance from the fingerprint reader, it’s up in a corner of the device, and not centered over the reader. You would never touch it by mistake while groping for the fingerprint reader.

The Galaxy S9+ features an all-glass body, no doubt to accommodate wireless charging. That’s useful, I guess, but the phone is more slippery as a result. I prefer the Pixel’s matte body, which presents a less slippery feel.

Anyway, it’s been less than a day. I still have so much to explore, and so many more features to figure out. I’ll check back soon.


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Comments (54)

54 responses to “Samsung Galaxy S9+: First Impressions”

  1. obarthelemy

    Comparing S9 to S8 feels a bit inbred. Is the $800 S9 4x better than a $200 Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro ?

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      It's a first impressions article, not a review. I'll get there.

    • Daekar

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      Honestly, that value judgement varies by person. To me, in my life situation and finances, and given the value I place on Samsung Pay and a strong camera, the answer is yes, it's worth the extra $600 for my main computing device to be a joy to use, especially because we keep ours for more than 2 years. Others might feel differently.

      In Paul's defense, he did say right out the gate that S8 owners need not upgrade.

    • Winner

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      Is a Dell XPS13 worth 4x of a barebones cheap PC?

    • Jim Lewis

      In reply to obarthelemy: You don't get all the smartwatch features of a Samsung Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier with a non-Samsung Android phone. So for enjoying my S3 Frontier to the max, I'd have to say, YES! It would be nice to have some of the app functionality of Android Wear (or just "Wear," if you will) on the watch but I'm very happy with the battery life and swift functionality of the watch with my Samsung phone so that pretty much makes having a Samsung phone a must for me.

  2. Thumperyz69

    If I wasn't on Google Fi I would have gotten rid of my Pixel 2 XL months and went to Samsung. For me the Android Auto/headphone-to-USB C issues are a total mess. I am forced to reboot at least once a day.

  3. wolters

    I am anxious to see your real life experience with it over time. I totally agree that Samsung has the absolute best display and the camera looks to have made inroads. But the Samsung "bloat" (for a lack of better words) will rear it's ugly head eventually. That is unless you do embrace their equivalent versions of Phone, Contacts, Calendar, Messaging. I just don't like having those duplicate apps in the way with no way to remove them.

    On the flip side of that...if there ever was an OEM ecosystem that I'd embrace outside of Android, it would be Samsung.

    Having gone pure Google with the Pixel and Pixel 2 XL and having this seriously awesome camera, it is hard for me to go back to Samsung. But, I do await your full review to see if I can be swayed back, at least by Note 9 time.

    Side note - I put my wife into a Pixel 2 XL phone and sold her Note 8. She likes it and we both prefer pure Android. But when I powered on her Note 8 to reset it to sell, OMG, that screen. It truly is like night and day compared to the Pixel 2 XL. It was almost tempting me to keep it and sell the Pixel's. But that camera...THAT CAMERA!

  4. Stooks

    "My God. What a phone."

    And then I see that screen shot with thanks. I will say at least the Samsung Browser has ad blocking.

    Smartphone Camera's - for when there is not a real camera within reach. People put WAAAAAAY too much emphasis on these cameras.

    • Daekar

      In reply to Stooks:

      Eh, forget TouchWiz, just put the Microsoft launcher on it and move on. I haven't used TouchWiz on my S7 in over a year. In fact, I've been using a launcher that looks like the Windows Phone I never got to buy and I'm delighted with it.

      I used to feel that way about these cameras until I realized the quality of the pictures I had taken were of increasingly amazing quality, and that I hadn't felt the need to lug my DSLR anywhere in ages. Aside from the intuitive zoom control of a real lens and the increased zoom distance possible, I'm fairly certain that there is almost nothing I care about that it does better than my S7. In my opinion, this is an excellent illustration of the phrase "better is the enemy of good enough." In this case, "good enough" has gotten QUITE good.

      • Jim Lewis

        +1 for Microsoft Launcher. It also seems to consume less power in resting, screen-off state than the TouchWiz interface based on the AccuBattery app's report of battery usage.In reply to Daekar:

  5. thechise

    As a public service for Galaxy owners, I always like to remind them about BK Disabler and BK Plugin 2 in the app store to debloat the Samsung phones....sad it's needed, but it does the trick. Especially on Verizon like me

    Oh, and the Google Files Go app is helpful in some respects as well

  6. Daekar

    I don't actually have an opinion about which of the pictures look better, but I will say that there appears to be a contradiction regarding the color accuracy of the photos. The close-up of the candles in the fireplace from the S9+ have a pronounced warm color, which Paul declares to be inaccurate, and the neutral-white of the Pixel for the same shot is correct. Fair enough, we've all seen this kind of thing happen. However, that is directly contradicted by the pull-back shots of the same room, where the S9+ has a neutral color for the light sources and the Pixel has a warm color for the light sources. Again, both look good, but they both can't be right and they're opposite of what they were in the first shot.

    Unless Paul's eyes adapt to lower-energy wavelengths rather differently than mine, I don't see how the Pixel can be the accurate one in both shots, it has to be one or the other.

    Paul, have I misunderstood what's going on here? Curious to hear your thoughts.

  7. ulrichr

    When doing your camera testing, you should take some photos in RAW mode, because the colour shifts and softness you are observing may be due to the software JPG conversions rather than any camera artefacts. If you use the Advanced mode of the camera, you can change to taking RAW photos in Settings.

    When you later process the RAW photos in whatever photo processing software, you can process the photo exactly the way you wish.

  8. Winner

    Paul, I have the 2XL and I've not seen any of the lagginess that you say you are experiencing. But I never saw that on my Nexus 5x, either. So I wonder if you have an app or some otherwise unique use case that causes you to see lags/slowing that others don't. I've generally not seen any significant comments out there that indicate many or most Pixel users are seeing these issues. So your characterization of Android as a "dumpster-fire" is certainly not at all my experience.

    Conversely, I've seen the Samsungs slow from bloat. My wife's Note 8's fingerprint sensor is noticably less sensitive than the one on my Pixel. My experience is that partly due to the odd rectangular fingerprint sensor, and perhaps also due to lower sensitivity, the Samsung fingerprint sensors don't always read on the first try. Conversely the larger round sensor on my Pixel takes but a light tap and it unlocks with near 100% accuracy.

    The other thing I don't like about the Samsungs (and the iPhone X as well) is that they are beautiful and glass - sure, but then you put on a plastic case to protect the glass! So you have this beauty but in practice it's just not a reasonable material to use on a phone that is going to get banged around. IMHO.

    Thanks for the impressions and looking forward to the review!

  9. Jim Lewis

    Samsung Health with the Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier watch is great. Also, being able to pay with my watch (through the phone) at most card readers whether swipe or chip-based, is great. I also find Bixby very useful at calling up functionality hidden layers deep within the Android/Samsung OS, e.g., call forwarding, as I regularly switch between forwarding all home phone calls to my cell when I'm out or forwarding all cell phone calls to my home phone when I'm home, have no use for my cell other than receiving phone calls, and want to preserve battery life.

    Two interesting things Paul should cover about Samsung & phones. One is Samsung's deal with uBreakifix to make phone repairs, battery replacement a same day/possibly 2-hr turnaround experience, cutting into the Apple advantage on serviceability of the iPhone at Apple Stores.

    The second interesting thing for Paul to investigate would be the app Accubattery's claim that you can extend long-term battery lifetime of the "irreplaceable" battery (possibly not so needed now with Ubreakifix service available) by how far you charge up your phone each day, prospectively doubling the long-term life of your battery, for instance, if you don't charge above 80% (avg. % charge and avg. use temperature will also affect long-term life, too). Paul's journalistic life style is predicated for reviewing purposes on getting a new phone every year or so. At $700 to $1,000 bucks a pop for truly premium phones like Samsung's and Apple's, such a lifestyle may no longer be true for the rest of us (people are keeping their phones longer) and we may be interested in preserving battery life as long as possible before we risk a trip to the Ubreakifix or Apple Store, whatever, where our phone might end up getting trashed in the process of repair, etc.

    • Jim Lewis

      In reply to Jim_Lewis: A further comment. I find that the Galaxy Note 8 STYLUS is a BIG help. I can write/dictate a text message or e-mail with voice and stylus (to correct, etc) A LOT FASTER than pecking away on any keyboard. To get a super-expensive elite phone that Samsung truly regards as its best effort, flagship phone would not sync well with Paul's efforts to align with the most common basic interests of his followers. But if you want what makes a Samsung phone a 4x better buy than a Xaomi phone, go for a Note 8 or 9 and a Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier watch (or a Galaxy Gear Sport if you have no use for MST card payments). Hope as time goes by that competition levels the playing field more. But right now (for me), it's impossible to beat the Note 8 with its stylus and connection to a Galaxy Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch.

    • Daekar

      In reply to Jim_Lewis:

      I would DEFINITELY like some confirmation of Accubattery's claim. I've been using that app for around 6 months and charging to 85% to avoid wear on my battery, but I would like some objective evidence of the efficacy of this routine as well.

  10. rlcronin

    Yep Samsung makes great hardware. Too bad their flavor of Android is a bloated, embarrassingly lame mess. If I could put the Pixel 2 XL build on there and still get the updates as soon as they are available like I do now, I'd abandon the lesser Pixel hardware in a heartbeat, but I can't. So it's the Pixel for me, warts and all because I value the software more than the flashy hardware.

  11. ianhead

    I like your digs, Paul. Your wife has good taste in interior decorating.

  12. wocowboy

    I just can't deal with those gigantic bezels at the top and bottom, something truly modern, current phones do not have any more. Just ugly. At least Samsung did not move the screen to the top edge and include a notch, making the bottom bezel even larger. I have no problem with notches, front-facing cameras and sensors have to be placed somewhere, I understand and accept that, but having a notch with a HUGE bezel at the bottom looks hideous and makes no sense at all and I am glad that Samsung did not go that route.

    Then when you figure in the horrific problem with Android OS updates coming months or years after they are issued by Google and this thing becomes an even worse buy. And I will only allude to the problem of several different messaging apps, media apps, browsers, etc etc etc that Samsung piles on top of everything. Android is such a mess, and Samsung just makes it worse.

  13. Trickyd

    You'll love it Paul, Oreo update for my S8 is just downloading today, I've loved the S8 coming from a Nexus 6P with 2 hour battery life and it hasn't really bothered me going back to Nougat for a while, I turned off most of the Samsung apps straightaway and use the Google launcher and apps, but over time I've started using quite a few of the Samsung apps;

    The Samsung browser is better and faster for me than Chrome (I was actually using it on the 6P before switching) , with good reader support and a night view mode, Samsung email is perfect for corporate email , and Samsung Health is well worth a try - much more detailed and comprehensive than the feeble Google fit. For what I do with it Bixby works just as well as the google equivalent , though the positioning of its button is very irritating as its too near the volume buttons when using them as shutter buttons for the (excellent) camera.

    As everyone is saying a case is essential I can vouch for the gear4 ones with D30 round the edges having dropped mine on a stone floor on a corner - no damage to phone or case.

  14. ken_loewen

    Would love "recommended apps" and "recommended accessories" articles - more targeted (apps or accessories) and broader (wider selection of apps) than

    "what I use".

  15. lilmoe

    Paul, about the camera (bear with me a bit),

    Compared with Google's Pixel, Samsung's camera (or at least the GS9) does indeed have greater dynamic range in the JPEG file (and RAWs). Actually, I also believe my GS7 has greater dynamic range than the Pixel 2 (I actually tested my friend's Pixel 2 to verify that). The differences you're seeing in exposure of the final image are just a result of processing the shadows. You see, "dynamic range" isn't about the highlights/shadows you're "seeing" in an image, its about the information recorded in the file. Samsung's image files record more detail and more dynamic range than Google's, and with significantly less noise. That's what matters IMHO.

    The GS9 will mostly get you more consistently amazing results in most conditions. But, in the exceptions you want "more", or to get the effect you're looking for in the candle shot, make sure HDR is set to ON, not Auto, then simply tap and hold on the brightest object (the candle) until you see the exposure/af lock circle, then hit the shutter button. When you get the framing you're looking for, open the image preview, then hit EDIT (you can also check out the Auto Adjust button and see if you like the effects). This is where the "magic" starts:

    You get a LOT of options to choose from to adjust your images, but to get what you want specifically, hit Advanced, then Backlight. This increases the brightness of the shadows. You can also play with the Tone Curve if you're feeling adventurous. Afterwards, you can hit the check button (OK button), got to Tone and apply more contrast to the image.

    Here's something you also can't do but on Samsung and LG devices; native manual mode, not just with an "app". The phone can take both JPEGs (to share immediately) and RAW images for you to play with later on your desktop in Lightroom.

    You know, I really love my Canon 80D with Canon's 35mm f1.4, but other than the obvious optical advantages of my DSLR, I wasn't compelled to carry it around as often when I got my GS7. I'll be holding out for the GS10.

    • Winner

      In reply to lilmoe:

      The point is that most people use the camera app as-is on auto.

      The Pixel's dynamic range is increased because of the stacked exposures (up to 9). Each one is underexposed so that you prevent highlight blowout and still get the dim stuff, too. The exposures are combined in post automatically and it's all done in under a second with no user input.

      • lilmoe

        In reply to Winner:

        The GS9 has a stacked sensor that combines 12 images in groups of 4, AND does all that in hardware, unlike Google's software processing which takes more time and battery to process.

        The point is that most people will prefer Samsung's image processing to Google's. Google's image processing mostly caters to enthusiasts and bloggers. Samsung caters to the masses. The difference is that Galaxies can be tuned to suite ANYONE'S preference with a little work, no matter how more tech savvy (or less) they are, not the case for Pixels.

        The Verge has a piece with image comparisons between the GS9 and Pixel 2. Download those same images from their site, import them in Lightroom, then push a pull the exposure, highlights and shadows. The GS9 has much more detail and dynamic range, it's not even a contest.

        If you have more questions about dynamic range, you can search professional DSLR reviews on YouTube and watch how they check for dynamic range.

        • Winner

          In reply to lilmoe:

          The GS9 has much more detail and dynamic range, it's not even a contest.

          Most reviews I've seen, even those that like the Samsung better, admit that the Pixel still has more DR than the S9.

    • findle

      In reply to lilmoe: When you say there's no native mode in the GS, do you mean there's no way to adjust exposure or iso or shutter before the shot? I've been using LG 4 and 5 the last 2-3 years and was interested in the GS9+, but if that's the case...

      My other thought was, I wonder what the difference between the iso is between the GS and LG cameras, and what metering they are using to determine. The usual knock on the LG is the high iso it sets to, with the corresponding noise. I usually set to under expose for default low light shots.

      • lilmoe

        In reply to findle:

        I meant to say that's its only available on Samsung and LG phones. Both have it in the camera apps natively.

        I wouldn't worry about the LG if I were you, if you're using manual mode, you could always shoot with low ISO and recover a LOT of the details. The sensors on these cameras are great for their size.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to lilmoe:

      Thanks for this. Lots to experiment with, for sure. I will do so.

    • arunphilip

      In reply to lilmoe:

      Many thanks for this useful info. I've never even done "open the image preview, then hit EDIT" on my S8+ all these months!

  16. dallasnorth40

    I'm going to order one of these. It looks amazing. It's time to retire my aging iPhone 6.

  17. dcdevito

    Great post, Paul. But this is the rub with Samsung, great hardware, lackluster software. It appears to be a great phone overall, but I can't help but think, for enthusiasts, there will always be the but, if only, etc

    • thechise

      In reply to dcdevito:

      I bought the Note8 as my first Samsung phone. It is a great phone, but you do have to just get over the fact that you will rarely get updates and you have to deal with a bloated software experience. I have no performance complaints but you are right...if only

      • bleeman

        In reply to thechise:

        My first Samsung phone was the Note 5. I now have the Note 8. While I agree with the bloated software experience, I have been getting regular updates on both phones. Not sure if your Note 8 is with a specific carrier or unlocked, but both of mine are with AT&T and I have had several security and system updates on both since I've had them. As a matter of fact I received a security update on both earlier this week.

  18. starkover

    I understand your point on the wide aperture effect on the S9, but to me it appears as if you have reversed the order of the top two pictures, as the fireplace shot with the brighter background would be a characteristic of the wider aperture.

    The second set of photos matches the theory correctly.

  19. EDDS

    Finally leaving Windows Phone for android with this phone after using Windows Phones since 2010, should get the S9+ tomorrow and will be retiring my 950XL.

    I can see a lot of frustration ahead.

    • Bsobotta

      In reply to EDDS: jumped shop myself about a year and a half ago. Now on a Note 8 myself and am completely happy!

    • Malec

      In reply to EDDS: I work for Microsoft, and was a Windows Phone user up until the Note 8 came out last year.
      You've made an excellent choice in your leap from Windows Phone to Android.
      For me, loading up the Microsoft Launcher first thing (get on the beta train if you can--wait until you experience some of the new things they just put into it) helped me keep all my Onedrive and Outlook stuff in a meaningful way.
      There are going to be a few things you'll miss, but there are some really fantastic things that you'll discover as well.
      And the guilt of leaving Windows Phone eases ever so slightly with each passing day.

    • arunphilip

      In reply to EDDS:

      Welcome, from someone who moved from a Lumia 830 to an S8+ nearly a year ago. You'll miss the Lumia badly in your initial days, until you get used to the S9+ and set it up the way you want.

      Microsoft's apps (OneDrive, Outlook, Edge) on Android are stellar, so hooking into the Microsoft ecosystem is as easy as 1-2-3. If you want to pipe notifications from your mobile to PC, give Cortana a shot as well.

      Also, if you work on a computer a lot, try out Samsung's own SideSync app - it allows you to access your phone's screen on your PC - sort of like Remote Desktop. Very cool, so you don't have to keep firing up your phone's display to quickly check something.

    • Jim Lewis

      In reply to EDDS: You can always just keep using your Windows Phone whenever you want as a Wi-Fi device, which is what I do. For instance, I didn't want to burn up the battery of my Galaxy Note 8 in a ProClip car mount in direct sun while driving. So I use my Lumia 950 XL still for the Waze driving app, using my Galaxy Note 8 as a Mobile Hotspot for my Lumia. The Lumia, with its "replaceable" battery, takes the heating hit, even with the car A/C blasting on it, and the Galaxy Note 8 stays cool and uses very little battery providing mapping data, turn-by-turn directions, etc., to the Lumia screen and Waze voice from my cupholder console. Admittedly, since the WP version of Waze is a several-years orphaned app, I don't get all the latest Waze features, but I'm getting good use out of my old Lumia as a sacrificial slave to the Galaxy Note 8.

      • alabamaboy

        In reply to Jim_Lewis:

        I can't get Waze voice to work on my Lumia 950 XL. I thought it was a common problem. Does your's work?

        • Jim Lewis

          In reply to alabamaboy: The answer there (for me) is to go to Settings, All, Sound, and pick the option from the drop-down "Directions Only (with themes)." The option "Including Street Names" does not work. Also, if you want Waze to be able to work in the background with your screen off or another app in the foreground, be sure to go to the phone settings for Background Apps (search to find....) and make sure Waze is allowed to run in the background. For normal use to save battery, I turn off Waze's background functionality, then always have to remember to turn it on when I'm on a trip. I actually like the Waze view on my Lumia 950 XL better than the more modern Android interface on my more elongated and narrow Galaxy Note 8, too!

  20. wright_is

    My Mate 10 Pro has an USB-C to headphone dongle and the audio quality has been excellent so far, although it doesn't bother me that much, I use BT (Jabra Eclipse headset or Sony MDR-ZX770BN over ear, noise cancelling headphones, car entertainment system) most of the time. Only when it is raining do I use a pair of in-ear Sony headphones.

    With the photos, the first Pixel 2 image is better, but the second set is harder, there is more visible detail in the Samsung image, while the Pixel 2 is more atmospheric; it comes down to what you are trying to achieve.

  21. Sarge

    Using a slim case on my S8+, I have never felt the fingerprint reader was an issue and the case provides all the guidance I need for accurate placement w/o touching the lens

  22. MikeGalos

    Realistically, neither phone is showing accurate colors in a mixed color lighting scene. The candle light IS yellow but the brain changes perception to match what it thinks is white. Either way you're dealing with artistic interpretation and not really color accuracy. In this case it's about personal preference. Of course, you COULD use an X-Rite Color Checker card and readjust in Lightroom if you REALLY want accurate. Also, of course, that really should be done by shooting RAW not JPEG.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Given that my wife and I were both present in the room at the time of these photos and that we both agree the Pixel is very accurate to real life, I'm not sure else to say.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Right. It's accurate to what your brain interpreted the colors to be. That's how vision works. It's why you still perceive white light in a room full of incandescent lights (about 3500K) and why the actual white light out the windows (about 6000K) in both pictures looks blue. It's blue because both camera systems have white balances to match their auto programming for the room light - one for perceived color, one closer to accurate color.

  23. Pbike908

    I have the Galaxy S8 and I am VERY happy with it. I think it's a great product.

    The worst thing is Bixby -- which absolutely SUCKS -- however, I could care less as I am not a big fan of any voice assistants. The only VA I liked was Moto Voice as I only want a VA to call someone and it worked almost every time.

    • Jim Lewis

      In reply to Pbike908: I have a Galaxy Note 8 and I find Bixby very useful at calling up phone functions that are buried many layers deep within the Android/Samsung OS, e.g., call forwarding.  Since I can also use Google Assistant anytime I want by a long-press on the Home button or Cortana by a press on its microphone widget, app widget, or reminders widget, which I have distributed across the Home screens I use the most, I find Bixby a PLUS rather than a MINUS, a help for what I want and something I could "program" if I wanted to take the time to do so, that otherwise doesn't get in the way at all. Why having a hardware button that you don't have to touch at all if you don't want to should be the end of the world for some folks is beyond me ........

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Pbike908:

      I won't do this right away, but you can do three things here.

      1. Turn off the button.
      2. Configure long press on Home to launch Google Assistant.
      3. Install the Google launcher and then you'll get Google app when you swipe off the home screen

      Basically, no Bixby.

  24. mrdrwest

    No, Live Tiles...I just don't know...