Reevaluating the Samsung Galaxy S9+

Posted on October 25, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 43 Comments

Given the issues with the Pixel 3 XL, I’ve been shopping around for a suitable alternative. So why not turn to a recent favorite, the Samsung Galaxy S9+?

Why not, indeed: When I reviewed this phone earlier this year, I did so over three separate articles, which focused on design, hardware, and specs, the camera, and unique software and features, respectively. I don’t normally write that much about a single device, but in examining this handset again, I get it: The Galaxy S9+ was, at the time of its release, the single best smartphone on the market today. And in the wake of the iPhone XS launch, it’s still in the top 2 or 3.

So. Given my background with this handset, what’s the thinking behind this second go-round?

I did consider the Note 9. I spent a bunch of time researching the newer Note 9—by which I mean an afternoon watching Samsung’s launch event video and various reviews on YouTube—and determined that the Note 9’s bigger size and higher price weren’t advantages. And I would never use the few unique features, like the S Pen anyway.

It’s still modern. When it was released earlier this year, the Galaxy S9+ was the first major handset to utilize the Snapdragon 845. Today, handset makers are still putting this processor in their flagships, so the S9+ is still very much modern. And with 6 GB of RAM in the version I bought, the device should be future-proof.

I would keep the Pixel 2 XL. If I do choose the Galaxy S9+, I would also keep my current phone, the Google Pixel 2 XL, so that I can keep up on Android P (and stock Android) and have a superior camera for international trips.

I would have to switch carriers. I would also need to transfer my main phone number from Project Fi to Consumer Cellular (or some other carrier). I would keep my Project Fi account, but only activate it as needed, as on those trips. (Google lets you “sleep” the account when you’re not using it.)

Headphone jack for the win

A new color. I ended up buying the Galaxy S9+ directly from Samsung because that’s the only place you can get the new “Sunrise Gold” color. I kind of regret it, as it looks more copper than gold in real life. But given my experience with the gold iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone XS, I thought it’d be nice. Nope. That’s OK, I am already covering it up with a case.

Configuration. I choose the 128 GB unlocked configuration, for a total price of about $943.39 after taxes and fees. The good news? That includes a free Gear 360 camera, should I choose to keep it. And that price is a savings of $135.68 over the Pixel 3 XL, which cost $1,079.07 after taxes and fees.

Hardware quality. As I noted in part one of my review, this phone is gorgeous and it stands well above the Pixel 3 XL in both build quality and design.

Software. I don’t normally like third-party Android skins, but there’s something special about the Samsung Experience on this device. The bad news? It’s still on Android 8.x, and Samsung is pretty slow about shipping updates. I know there’s a beta version of Android 9 Pie out there for this phone, so hopefully, that will be released soon.

That said, I have already received a system update

Software bloat. Samsung’s determination to replace as much Google on its phones as possible results in a lot of unnecessary duplication. (There’s even a special Samsung store for its own apps, which is groan-inducing.) I feel like I can deal with this. But it’s certainly jarring.

Camera. I care a lot about the camera. And while the Galaxy S9+’s camera is excellent, I still prefer the Pixel 2 XL (or 3 XL). But if I do keep this, I could live with it, and I would certainly spend timing fidgeting with the camera app’s Pro mode to see if I could get better low-light results. This won’t be that painful, really.

Beyond this, I’m looking forward to seeing the OnePlus 6T, which I think will arrive next week. And then, of course, the iPhone XR, which will likely arrive a week or so after that. Put my initial reaction to this new Galaxy S9+ has been so much more positive than my reaction to the Pixel 3 XL, and that was before I had any issues with it. This thing is just a design masterpiece.

More soon.

 

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Comments (44)

44 responses to “Reevaluating the Samsung Galaxy S9+”

  1. jrickel96

    Reality is that Apple makes the best phones in quality followed by Samsung on the high end (their mid-range and lower end phones are not very good). Other phones are all a big step down.


    OnePlus is not bad for the money, but I've run into several issues and returned the 6 that I had.


    I've got the XS Max and think that and the XS are the best overall phones you can get right now when you factor in the OS, long term support, design, functionality, etc.


    Pixel started off well with the first gen and has not been able to really take the big step up that I had hoped.


    I think the XR will sell like crazy. The Verge had a nice review and noted the engineering Apple did on the LCD to minimize the backlight bleed through, etc. It's quite impressive that they did a LCD like that and fit it into that form factor. I do agree with The Verge that it would be nice to have a smaller XR version next year for some people - maybe a 5.5" or slightly smaller display so they can have something the size of the iPhone 8 for people that like that.

    • lilmoe

      In reply to jrickel96:

      Define "quality".


      I see this word used left and right by people that that are, well, not very knowledgeable in hardware design and engineering. Quality and design aren't the biggest selling points of iPhones.


      Fact: Samsung is the only smartphone maker that builds their flagship devices with nothing but grade A+ parts (go to Shenzhen and ask around what that means). Proof is in the BoM; they cost more to make (for Samsung, a parts manufacturer) than iPhones cost (to Apple, an outsourcer) .


      But who gives a damn about these details. All what people look at is the outer shell. But wait, none of the last 4 generations of Galaxy flagships look dated today, or are plagued with serious hardware issues.


      Software? Again, Samsung's Android just works, with ANYTHING. And for me, it looks and functions better than anything else. Same goes for their first party apps.


      To each their own. You're entitled to your subjective bias. But facts are facts. Please note that if another manufacturer builds a better experience, I would happily declare them better. No allegiances here whatsoever, it's just that there's honestly no one who builds better devices.


      Apple is selling you for a grand what Samsung is selling for $700. Let that sink in a bit. It damn better be of higher quality.... But it's not. It's the opposite.


      Apple is very capable of building something better and offer better value. But their customers aren't helping.

      • jrickel96

        In reply to lilmoe:

        FACT: Samsung has a higher failure rate than Apple. In fact Samsung has the highest failure rate of Android manufacturers at 34%. They don't use A+ parts. Apple's failure rate for their newest phones is 3%. Samsung is trash. Like I said, they use better parts on the top end, but barely anyone buys Samsung's good phones. They only sell about 30 million Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones a year compared to over 200 million iPhones.


        FACT: It's hard to calculate Apple costs for parts Apple has created themselves. There's a lot of custom hardware, including the OLED panels that Samsung builds.


        FACT: I work with Android and develop for both platforms and have telemetry from hundred of thousands of users due to my work. The iPhones are the most stable in their connections and have the least down time.


        I have over a dozen Android phones and the Samsungs are the worst ones to use. The overheat frequently and operate differently.


        FACT: Qualcomm and Samsung's chips are way behind what Apple is building and Apple's chips use A LOT more silicon and have a lot more connections.


        Android is a trash OS. None of my devs like it. They have intense criticisms of memory management, etc. The garbage collector is a pain to get to work right and Android allows so much laziness in programming that most of the apps are pretty terrible. iOS apps are almost universally better and also native coded - Android apps (outside of some of Google's own) are not native.


        I see it all the time in testing and in using the phones. An iPhone XS Max can run the same apps as the Galaxy S9+ and it will run circles around the Samsung because iOS has much better architecture, it uses native apps, and the architecture for the apps is generally better. This goes for FB, Snapchat, Twitter, Outlook, and even Google's OWN apps. YouTube is so much better on iPhone than on Android. Same for the Gmail app.


        Facts are facts. Android is not very good and Samsung has the highest failure rate of any smartphone manufacturer. Maybe it's YOU that is not very subjective.


        I use these things day in and day out. I have A lot of phones I can choose from as my daily driver. I use the iPhone. I tried Nexus and then Pixel for a time. I tried Samsung (S8, not S9). The experience is just not as good and the phones are no where near as reliable.


        I know how long an iPhone battery will last based on usage. I don't know with Android. Processes can go rogue, garbage collection is bad, and the OS can let an app turn an ALL cores - that can't happen on an iPhone.


        I work with everything from high end Android to lower end phones. Frankly if I were going to buy an Android flagship based on my experience, I'd go with LG. I've found LG and Moto to be the most consistent in quality, battery, and performance.


        But what do I know with all my hundreds and hundreds of hours testing? I was paying Samsung a compliment on their high end, but that's just from a build perspective - as in how the glass and frame come together. Every other aspect of Samsung is just not very good.


        There are much better Android phones out there. And none of them come close to the iPhone. None. There's a reason why the iPhone is so dominant in the market when it comes to high priced phones.


        You realize the average sale price of an Android phone is under $200? You also know that Samsung's average sale price is $250? That platform is going nowhere fast because most Android hardware is utter garbage and even high end phones can't hold a candle to the iPhone.


        BTW, the iPhone has faster internal storage and faster memory than the newest Galaxy. That means it has better parts.



        • lilmoe

          In reply to jrickel96:


          So edgy. Sorry for raining on your parade.


          I have no idea where you're pulling your facts out of, but with the exception of Google having the crappiest client development platform, everything you say is not accurate. Keep the discussion to flagship devices. Don't lump in cheap phones. You're comparing BMW's 5 series to Toyota's Corolla. You don't. You compare it with a Lexus.


          No shit? Native code runs faster than interpreted code? You're claiming Apple having faster hardware because they run native code faster than Android flagships can run interpreted code? You must be an amazing "developer", and hardware "tester".


          No, Apple doesn't have faster storage or RAM. UFS2.1 has faster IOPS than Apple's NVMe implementation, and consumes less power.


          CPU/RAM/Storage are NOT the only parts in a smartphone. You have antennas, modems, transceivers, buttons, ports, boards, solder, internal design (which apple seriously sucks at; form over function), batteries, screens, DACs, controllers, and the list goes on. NONE of that in an iPhone is better than those found in a Galaxy S/Note. NONE.


          Take your complaints to Google. They're the ones running the show when it comes to Android. They can't even run the damn thing reliably on their own devices, yet Samsung and other OEMs do it better.


          If you really developed for Android, you'd know that if you target API level 27, and build an app to behave the same way it would on iOS (no background tasks, only push notifications), with the minimum of best practices, that it would run better than it would on iOS, and would have more OS features available to it.


          You're blaming Android OEMs for the crappy job Google is doing, and the crappier job the developers you know are doing??? Yes I've seen the catastrophes that most Android developers make writing code. It's simply because most of them are self taught, most of them don't have an engineering background. The only good part about Apple's IDE is that it FORCES you to clear your junk, and handle your exceptions.


          All I see and hear is a bunch of kids thinking that scrolling and animation smoothness (not speed) is the sole factor of deciding whether one platform is better than the other. FAR from it. Apple products only work with Apple products; any monkey engineer can make that work. But my Galaxy works with ANYTHING I throw at it.


          Take care. Good luck testing devices.

          • jrickel96

            In reply to lilmoe:

            You're not. I can see you have no idea what you're talking about.


            Apple has faster hardware. Sorry. It's been tested repeatedly. Yes, underlying OSes play into this. But in the real world, Apple is faster. Even if Samsung hardware is theoretically faster, it's not in practice. My PC could be a lot faster if I could reduce the bottlenecks in the system. BTW, nVME routinely beats UFS 2.1 in real world tests. Samsung's implementation has bottlenecks. Apple has stuck with nVME because it is much more predictable in real world usage at the moment. And differences in speed are even small in theoretical tests so it doesn't justify extra expense.


            I've done raw data read/writes on both in a testing environment. The iPhone is always faster. It's close. The Samsung is pretty fast, but the iPhone read/writes to memory and storage faster. As developers we test these things. So it's nice to say Samsung has better hardware "in theory" but they don't in practice.


            Apple cares a lot more about real world usage and reliability. Samsung is much more likely to use unproven tech to push the cutting edge and they pay for it in their low reliability scores.


            Do you have any idea how few apps actually target level 27? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the garbage collector to work right? Even using best practices the apps perform like trash and the OS can't manage them well.


            If we're being honest Samsung's high end will be equivalent to iPhone on hardware. Samsung's isn't any better and Apple's has a better reliability. I've never returned an iPhone, I've returned several high end Samsungs. So QC is a problem with Samsung, And Samsung is bogged down by the bottlenecks in the OS it uses.


            I can build an awesome machine and then put Windows XP on it. That won't run it as well as the newest version of Windows. Problem is Android has made very little headway in quality and Google still lets legacy apps target ancient SDKs. The whole ecosystem is a catastrophe - so I see no reason why you want to brag that your phone "runs everything" when most of that is garbage.


            Apple invests A LOT more in QC. And Apple will also support their phone for much longer than Samsung will.


            Samsung is the worst Android manufacturer for reliability. That's a fact. You can have all the shiny parts in the world but if you don't QC them well it doesn't matter. Part of the problem is they use tech that's not ready for prime time.


            And you just admitted the Android ecosystem is terrible. It is. Samsung hasn't modified Android to prohibit bad code as one of the mods they make over stock. Android OEMs CONTRIBUTE to the problem with Android by making their own enhancements and packaging all the garbage on their phones.


            Samsung's own packaged programs don't adhere to the best practices you champion. Again, Samsung's quality control is horrible. That's one of the corners they cut.


            Your Samsung also will suffer system rot that I won't get on my iPhone. Even if you reset it, the rot will never completely go away.


            As I said, Samsung could make things as great as they like, but Android is a weak link and Android devs are weaker and won't get any better. Why? Because Android has far less money in it on a per user basis.


            Again, you also show why the iPhone is superior because Apple FORCES you to not put garbage in their ecosystem. Actually the current system in iOS handles garbage collection pretty automatically. Garbage collection to work well in Android requires A LOT more work to get it to work right - and then if one program does it and no others do it makes it irrelevant.


            Basically you've made all my points for me as to why the iPhone is superior.


            I'm glad you like your Galaxy. Enjoy it. Most people just want a phone that works so that's why so few people buy high end Samsung devices. That's really why most people that spend money buy iPhones.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to lilmoe:


        I am knowledgeable enough. What do you wanna know?

      • Illusive_Man

        In reply to lilmoe:


        You can buy used and still have a very nice device. Androids don’t retain value well...performance also degrades over time...and switching between different Android devices isn’t always seamless.

    • Davor Radman

      In reply to jrickel96:

      Define quality please.


      If it's the "feel", that's not it. That's just makeup. Plus, you put it in a skin so it's moot.

      Longevity? Could be.

      Failure rates? I don't see anything special there.

      Support? I've had far better support experience with Oneplus than I had with apple or samsung, though that should be moot as well, since the only difference was speed (oneplus was by far fastest in europe where I live).

      OS? Preferences.

  2. wolters

    I truly love Samsung's hardware and accessories. Before I picked up my Pixel 3 XL, I was sporting the Note 9, Galaxy Watch, Gear 360 camera, Dual Charging Pad, Tab S4. It is truly great hardware. "Samsung Experience" launcher isn't really that bad (still don't like the rounded squares) and I love the use of themes. The S-Pen is nice and comes in handy when taking photos. You can easily "hide" the Samsung apps (when using their stock launcher) and it all just worked and worked well.


    Like you Paul, the camera is huge for me. The Note 9's camera is capable but just way too inconsistent for me. Lags, not taking photo when I press the button, way too many blurry shots. I know a camera update is coming but it hasn't reached most carriers yet.


    I really tried to like the Note 9's camera but it ended up producing more missed shots than good ones...for every one like this...



    Or this...



    I'd get as many like this:


    Or see this:



    I got tired of battling that and so glad to be on the Pixel 3 XL now. Consistently good shots...

  3. maethorechannen

    Why do I have the feeling that we're on a long and winding road to a "Why I've gone back to the iPhone (but keeping my old Pixel around)" article?

  4. wocowboy

    There is a huge disconnect here between what Paul says he wants out of a phone and what he says he will endure in order to use a phone. On the one hand, he evidently really desires an Android phone that you can turn on the first time and immediately change the launcher, all the icons, all the fonts, the default apps, screen layout, app drawer, absolutely everything about it, losing every last vestige of the stock experience. Then in the next breath he bemoans Samsung for having duplicate apps, their own app store, the Touch-Wiz modifications, everything Samsung does, which when you get right down to it is exactly what he wants to do to the phone himself. One should not gripe about losing the stock Android experience when that is exactly what you want to have the ability to do yourself. Yes, the iPhone is locked down in the interface department, but for me personally, and I am just one user, I don't mind that one bit since it means the dependability and stability of my phone is MUCH better than any Android device I have ever used, and I have used a lot of them over the years as work phones provided by my employer.

  5. dcdevito

    My money's on the iPhone XR. Who wants to bet?

  6. red.radar

    Alternative idea.... just get a warranty extension for the pixel 3 and enjoy it while it works? Or is it that bad ? Seems like some of the issues are software and you just got to give them a few months to iron it out.


    I see this going like this:


    why I moved to the galaxy

    argg back to the iPhone

    revisiting the pixel

    moving to the pixel

    Pixel is great !

    Pixel4 rumors

    pixel4 release

    rinse repeat



    I say sit on your hands and wait.

    • wolters

      In reply to red.radar:

      I do get Paul's pain...I kind of do the same thing. When I was on Windows Phone for several years, didn't have this issue. Just wanted the next model with the better camera and not worrying about features and performance. I miss my Icon sometimes.

  7. marbo100

    Paul, I'd like to see you test some android one phones. Something like the Nokia 7.1. Maybe you'll end up saving some money.

  8. nicholas_kathrein

    I'd bet Google updates the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL and all the multitasking issues go away as well does the taking a photo saving issue and it doesn't save as it's about multitasking as well. Something is coded wrong as 4gb is plenty of ram on the phone. I think that takes care of all Paul's problems he has on the phone other than his issue with the speakers which none of the other reviews seem to have as they rave about the speakers to saying they are just good. Also Paul hasn't been able to use the night sight add on to the camera yet and I think once he gets that (if he still has the phone) he'll be so impressed he might just ask for a replacement to fix his speaker issue.

  9. Jaxidian

    Have you tried the leaked Night Sight camera functionality on either of your Pixel phones? Be sure to try that if it's possible that would influence your decision in any way. Night Sight really is magical compared to anything else.

  10. christian.hvid

    Since you care a lot about camera quality, you probably know that the Huawei P20 Pro still holds the #1 spot at DxOMark, and is likely to be surpassed only by the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro. So why not just... oh, wait, never mind. :)

  11. marcerickson

    What about the Xiaomi Pocophone F1?

  12. Rug

    I’m so glad that since Windows Phone I was able to settle into the iPhone ecosystem. I’ve had two, the 6 plus (which was nice, but the phone was a bit bigger than I liked) and now the X (which I consider to be the best phone I’ve ever owned).


  13. Jedi Dwight

    My opinion while using a 4.5" Galaxy S II Skyrocket circa 2014 was that the 5.0+ inch screens of new phones were too big, that you would need two hands to use them. I decided to go with a 6.3" Galaxy Mega, which was OK -- barely pocketable, and had performance issues, but alright. After using that around a year, I discovered the 5.7" Note 4 was preferable with a quad core CPU, a nicer screen, and a more agreeable size. I now feel like the new 6.0+ inch screens like the S9+ and Note 9 are too large.


    I never thought I'd use an LG phone, but I moved from the Samsung Note 4 to the LG V35 AT&T version. Google also sells an LG V35 for Fi.

    Pros:

    • 6.0" 18:9 screen is the same form factor as a 5.7" 16:9 screen, just slightly taller
    • Flagship specs with Snapdragon 845 and 6GB with 64GB of storage + MicroSD slot
    • Monthly updates with Android 8.0 (and the gesture interface I do not really use)
    • No notch
    • AI Cam can identify objects in a live photo viewfinder. 16MP 4:3 or 12MP 16:9 photos
    • Premium feel with super thin, well crafted bevels, no need for curved edge screens
    • Qi wireless charging and USB Type-C
    • Headphone jack (company cars need this)

    Cons:

    • Not on Android 9 yet
    • On-screen buttons that hide are not as good, IMO -- S7 was the last gen with physical home/back
    • Fingerprint reader on the back on the power button can be less practical. The workaround is you double tap the screen to wake and to blank the screen, though I find the touch-screen sensitivity to be imperfect.
    • I miss the notification LED and do not want to use the always on display (wanting to avoid any burn-in).
    • I liked S Health better than LG Health
    • Note taking is quite poor using your index finger vs. a stylus like the S Pen.
    • Less flair than a Samsung made smartphone


    I felt like with Android phones going in a direction I did not appreciate, this was the best compromise I could find, so this is my phone for the foreseeable future.

  14. Stocklone

    I have the S9+. I really have an issue with the camera because of how much it softens details compared to the S8 series. Way over processed. Things like fur and hair look not quite right. And Samsung always will choose to suck up more light and give you a blurry photo over less light with a sharper photo. It's annoying. Also, why oh why does Samsung show every single image on your phone in the camera preview mode? I don't want to see screenshots or downloaded pictures when trying to see pictures I took with the camera.

  15. nbplopes

    The S9+ it's a lovely device. The price just came down dramatically, Samsung style ... you will like it.

  16. Bats

    This article reminds me of that old Wendy's commercial, "Where the Beef?" Wasn't it just over a year ago, where he going to be a One Plus guy? I remember he was RAVING about one of their phones. LOL...what happened? I remember how a Thurrott.com reader followed him and bought the same phone. When Thurrott reviews phones, he just reads it off the description and describes the look of the phone. He doesn't really talk about the phone, but just the specs. Does Thurrott actually know how to use Android? Does he even know how to get the Developer features? Does he actually spend time to using the phone? Seriously, who cares about Snapdragon 845? I am currently use a Pixel 2 XL as my daily driver, but I use my Pixel XL as my backup using Project Fi. There is no noticeable performance difference at all between the two phones.


    LOL...why not just use his Pixel 2 XL? WHy spend more money on another expensive phone, when the 2 XL gets the job done? The Pixel 2 XL is still a great phone. The only person in the world who has issues with Pixel phones is Paul Thurrott. He must be doing something really weird with his phone to be having major issue with every Pixel that he has owned, as well as the replacements. My theory is ,...he must be using the Microsoft Launcher, which probably screwed up his phone. I remember when Thurrott one time called the Microsoft Launcher the best launcher on Android (LOL). On a sidenote, I remember when he celebrated on the news that "Cortana can now control the Android Lock Screen."


    LOL...Paul Thurrott with a Galaxy S9? LOL...there is gonna be a hot mess coming! I predict a train wreck! LOL. Not just that, but it's October already. You know what that means, with regard to the Galaxy S9? In a few months, Samsung will release the Galaxy S10. Thurrott will have another conundrum, because he spent about $1k for a phone that will soon be obsolete! This is just too funny.


    I haven't order my Pixel 3 XL yet, but when I do, I am sure an update is gonna fix the known issues that it's having now. Plus, ya gotta know the tech that is on the Pixel 3 XL now, is gonna be copied by Samsung and Apple eventuallty. When that happens, you wait and see....Thurrott is going to change phones again. This guy is sooooooo weird! And he says he's not rich?


    As for Consumer Cellular, isn't that the service favored by retired people who are AARP members? I remember seeing commercials of people (I assume) are over 60 years of age raving about their cel-service and recommending it to their friends.


    Well, if Thurrott does go to Galaxy S9, have fun with Bixby.

  17. Belralph

    Held onto my Note 5 as long as I could. Note 9 was several months away when it finally suffered hardware issues so I got the S9+ and I was curious how much I would miss the pin.

    I loved the phone, it was fast, camera was better than the note 5 which I was totally happy with.

    I use the Microsoft launcher and an app to remap the Bixby button to launch the camera.

    The OCD side of me wishes more apps could be I uninstalled and there wasn't so much Samsung duplication but ultimately this is just a problem in my head and doesnt effect the function of the phone once you pick your apps.

    I have smaller hands so I lean towards liking the taller size without being a lot wider. Ultimately I did get the Note 9. I use the pin enough and I had a home for the 9+ after I moved off it. If you have a legitimate need for a large powerful phone the S9+ is a solid contender.

  18. rmlounsbury

    I pretty much agree with most the points above. I've had the Samsung 8, 8+, Note 8, and 9+ thanks to T-Mobiles Jump on Demand program (to which I'm grandfathered on the JOD anytime I want) allowing me to test any phones they offer with JOD. I always run into hating the Samsung Experience and their extra Samsung cruft that they force upon me including Bixby. Also the fact that they tie it to a hardware button that I can't re-program is infuriating.


    For all those reasons whenever I pickup a Samsung phone the love affair is mostly with their hardware design until the software annoys me enough that I move onto something else. I did see that the Android P beta of the Samsung Experience does appear to be far more material design in nature instead of fighting Google's design language they seem to be embracing it finally.


    I'm holding out hope that the OnePlus 6T will be the Android Phone that will be my main device going forward. My job lives enough on the iOS side of things I'll keep the iPhone XS that I picked up at launch of that device. At least with Apple their phones tend to have a long shelf life so I can hang onto that one for more than a year or two.


    The biggest sacrifice of the OP6T I imagine will be IP rating and camera quality since it usually punches a weight class below the Samsung, Apple, and Pixel's of the world. But my usage of the camera on my phone is pretty casual. If I want to capture good quality photos I usually use my Sony Alpha.


    If all else fails, I suppose I'll just go S9+ again. Thank goodness for T-Mo JOD!

  19. Xatom



    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Samsung's apps many of which are superior to Google's. The cost is a bit of storage-Cry me a river. Also nothing wrong with their own store. Use or or don't use it. At least it's better than the Windows store.

  20. Travis

    Paul you are like a kid in a really expensive toy store. I think you would be best served by just switching back to ios and stopping all this craziness.

  21. Ben Moore

    Why not port your FI number to Google Voice? I realize this would probably require an interim stop at something like a pre-paid service. Then you could continue to use that old legacy number by setting up your new carrier number(s) as a forwarding number to Google Voice. This doesn't address the outbound calls presenting Caller ID with your new carrier number (unless you outcall using the Hangouts dialer). Better check that you can forward a Google Voice number to a FI number though.

  22. brettscoast

    Good choice Paul sounds about the right specs for now and into the future. The phone is gorgeous and performance should be speedy will be interested in any future articles on this device

  23. minangman

    Paul you need a dual sim phone like my Huawei Mate 10.


    When I travel from Pennsylvania to Indonesia, I can still you my MintMobile to get calls and SMS messages from the US. When I am back in the US, I can use my Indonesian Sim to get SMS varification codes from Indonesia.


    For a great phone, I have just ordered the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro dual sim, should get it in a week here in Jakarta Indonesia. It is shipping with Android Pie.


    consumer.huawei.com/en/phones/mate20-pro/

  24. Davor Radman

    Paul, you have atrocious taste in covers :)


  25. Ourtech

    Just a quick comment. The S9+, as you have decided, is a great phone. Regarding the duplicate apps, I think some miss a point on usefulness. Bear with me on this.


    Although I am not a Google hater, I too often hear reports that Google is collecting more information than they Identify. I personally just had the experience where I logged in to my Gmail once at work and Google repeatedly from that point began forwarding my search history to my persinal account. When I check the settings, I have verified that according to Chrome, I am not signed in, but it was collecting all my work search history and forwarding it to my personal account. Unmistakable as specific things I searched at work then showed up in my news feed the next day. And my work computer shows up in my devices. I have changed browsers at work.


    Why am I saying this? Because I trust Google apps less than I did. Not enough to make me switch to an iPhone (I did briefly until I couldn't stand it anymore), but I have decided to lessen my Google exposure by replacing Google apps where possible. Samsung apps work well as Google replacements and I don't think they are spying on me as I do not keep my Samsung account active. So give them a look. They do have a purpose.

  26. larrymcj

    Hi, Paul...hope you're doing well (Larry McJunkin here). I can't believe the timeliness of this article! Two months ago I gave up on iPhones after 10 years and bought the Galaxy S9+. Being 95% in the Google ecosphere these days, anyway...it just seem right to get rid of the last Apple device I owned. In short, I loved the S9+ hardware, display, etc., but absolutely hated the software bloat and the Samsung Experience. I wanted the Pixel, but at that time the 2 XL display was just awful, so I went with the S9+ and spent the last two months tweaking it and trying to make it look like a Pixel.


    The day the Pixel 3 launched I bought the 3 XL and for the first two days was very happy. Then I started missing the gorgeous display on the S9+ and the feel of the sleek hardware design, the snappiness of the UX...and a lot more. Then, magically, I started getting hit with a couple of the nasty problems the Pixel 3 XL has...memory management (this can get really bad with heavy usage), phone would even lockup after a call, and of course, the missed photos that I found out weren't being saved to Google Photos.


    I thought...It'll be OK, Google will fix all this...it's still a good phone...and a great camera. Or is it? I spent the last day making some real-world (my real world) camera comparisons between the Pixel 3 XL and the S9+. I was astonoshised! Only a couple of the comparisons were in favor of the Pixel, at least with the photos that I take. I know...all the experts say it's the best phone camera out there, and while that may be true, it's not for me. I discovered that Samsung overexposes a little bit and lowers the shutter speed...their intention is to produce more brilliant and vibrant photos, and they succeed. I happen to like that more than the subdued, and in many cases...sort of washed out pictures produced by the Pixel. The Samsung zoom blows the Pixel completely out of the water. The AI enhanced zoom is nice, but it's not the same as using two cameras on the S9+. The video (and accompanying audio) of the S9+ is WAY better than the Pixel. The only place where I saw better performance from the Pixel was in very, very low light. In average low light (restaurants, etc.) I didn't see that much difference. Also, Top Shot is way cool, as is Night Sight...but I lived without them before.


    I have a few days left on my VZW return period, but just this evening I put the SIM card back into the S9+ (this may be the beginning of the end). I tweaked the Nova Launcher settings on the S9+, made sure Bixby was as turned off as possible...and I think I'm in love with my S9+ again! I'll miss the deep ties the Pixel has with Google, but they're almost as good on the Samsung. Maybe Google will get it right with the Pixel 4.


    Take care, my friend...always good to see you in print!

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