PREVIEW: Samsung S9 Plus

Mobile World Congress 2018: the new flagship Android smartphone has an ‘infinity’ display, cracking low-light images, and a headphone jack


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Smartphone cameras are terrible when it gets dark. But not this one. TravGear was lucky enough to go to the launch of Samsung’s new flagship phone in Barcelona, testing it outside in the twilight. Compared to what the iPhone we had on us could achieve with the same scene, the S9 Plus was a bit of an eye-opener. The reason? Aperture.

Wide-eyed

This 6.2-inch phone with a curved ‘infinity’ display has a 12 megapixel camera that can reach an aperture of f1.5. We can’t wait to see if it works with night photos – it’s seriously possible that this could be the first phone that can indulge in night sky photography.
 

Lost in translation

Although Samsung didn’t talk about it much at the launch, the S9 Plus also comes with a multilingual intelligent virtual assistant called Bixby. Unlike Siri or Alexa, Bixby can translate foreign languages identified by its camera’s artificial intelligence. It’s a bit like the Google Translate app, and it wasn’t any more successful in our brief experiment, but it can also convert currencies. So when you point it at a menu in a foreign language, not only will it identify what it is you are about to eat, but also convert it into your local currency.

Headphones jack

Lastly, it seems silly praising a flagship smartphone for having a 3.5 mm headphone jack, but in these days of minimalism among Apple and other brands, it’s great to see on the S9 Plus.

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