At Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2018 event in Barcelona, the Korean tech giant officially unveiled the followup to its flagship smartphone, the S9 and S9+. While we already knew what the devices looked like from a leak back in January, we're now privy to more information surrounding the anticipated release.
Under the direction of "Do What Can't Be Done," Samsung's successor to the Galaxy S8 taps into the needs of the social media age, ramping up its camera and speakers, while introducing a slew of new features like AR Emoji and Super Slo-mo.
First up is the camera, which Samsung spent a large chunk of its one-hour keynote fawning over - and rightfully so. Both models feature a Super Speed Dual Pixel sensor, which can combine up to 12 distinct images into one photo. Perhaps most impressive is the dual aperture lens, supported in F1.5 and F2.4 mode, and installed on the rear camera of the S9 and the rear wide-camera of the S9+.
Essentially what that allows, in addition to better photos of course, are some of the models' most talked-about features. Super Slo-mo, for instance, captures video at 960 frames per second. Users won't even have to be prepared for it: through an intelligent feature that detects movement in the frame and automatically begins to record, all users have to do is set up the shot. After capturing the Super Slow-mo video, users can select background music from 35 different options to accompany the detailed shot.
AR Emoji is Samsung's answer to Apple's popular Animoji, released a few months ago on the iPhone X. It works by using a data-based machine learning algorithm, which analyzes a 2D image of the user and maps out over 100 facial features, to create a 3D model that reflects and imitates expressions. Thankfully, AR Emoji isn't restricted to Samsung users, as the file is saved as a standard AGIF file format, so users can share their emojis across third-party messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Samsung also announced a partnership with Disney, so users will be able to make Mickey Mouse versions of themselves.
Samsung's AI platform, Bixby, continues to rival that of its competitors with camera integration that allows for real-time language translation, and somewhat incredibly, live nutritional information of food directly before you via the camera.
The speakers, meanwhile, now appear on the top and bottom of the phone, and were given an upgrade with AKG tuning and Dolby Atmos surround sound. Combined with the S9's 5.8-inch or the S9+'s 6.2-inch AMOLED edge-to-edge Infinity Display, that should make watching videos a more satisfying experience compared to previous models.
Users of previous Galaxy models will be pleased to learn that the fingerprint sensor is now in its rightful place: directly below the rear camera. Even better, both models opt to keep the tried and true 3.5-mm headphone jack.
Look for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ to launch in the U.S. on March 16, 2018 through Samsung.com and the Shop Samsung app. Pre-orders begin March 2, 2018. Customers who pre-order a Samsung Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ can save up to $350 with a qualifying trade-in.
U.S. customers will have color options of black, purple or blue at launch, while a grey version will also be available internationally.
An Unlocked Galaxy S9 will run you $719.99 ($30/month for 24 months financing), while the Unlocked Galaxy S9+ will retail for $839.99 ($35/month for 24 months financing).
Stay tuned for more coverage and find out more about Samsung's Galaxy S9 and S9+ through the videos below.
If you'd like to watch the entire keynote, hit play below.