Have made a breather: impressions from Galaxy S9

The Korean company continues to go its own way, but still peeks for competitors.

Over the years, the Internet has been popular joke about the fact that the main toolkit for Samsung designers is a ruler and a pencil: they say, they simply outlined new iPhones and did not invent anything of their own. In 2017, this negative image successfully destroyed a new marketing strategy, timed to launch the Galaxy S8 with an “infinite” screen: it was really a new smartphone unlike any other competitor.

Running S8 for me personally became a breath of fresh air in the smartphone market: it was interesting to study it, to follow the reaction of users. I think it was something similar for the company: at least after the release everyone forgot about the exploding Galaxy Note 7 – new smartphones differed from the old and visually, and ideologically.

A year after the release of S8, the new S9 does not excite the imagination, because outwardly and internally it is very slightly different from the previous generation. And although by formal features, it is very different from Apple’s flagship, in my opinion, from a close observation of the competitor (let’s say) the Korean company has not refused.

Judge for yourself. Apple abandoned the headphone port back in September 2016 in the iPhone 7, and although many manufacturers picked up the trend, after a year and a half, Samsung still leaves an audio CD in the Galaxy S9. This is a game on the counter, Koreans consider this an advantage and use it in marketing: by the way, we have a headphone port, use it!

In the iPhone X, the fingerprint sensor was abandoned – there is only face recognition from the biometrics, Face ID. In the Galaxy S9 there is a face recognition, and a fingerprint sensor – you want it, but you want it. Also an advantage in comparison: we give the user options. I personally know many people who did not take themselves to the iPhone X, because they believe that it is more convenient to use the scanner of a print.

And the possibility of expanding memory? A popular universal port with the ability to quickly charge USB Type-C? A adapter to USB Type-A in the kit, thanks to which you can throw photos on a USB flash drive or watch a movie from it? A camera with an adjustable diaphragm ? “How do you like that, Tim Cook?” – as they say in Samsung, but for some reason they continue to spy on him.

For example, these silly AR-emoji, which in marketing are also called “selfmiages” (how do you call them?), Are clearly copied from Animoji from the iPhone X. Only they work out badly: yes, they are allegedly trying to create your digital model , just scan the face, but the animation there is buggy, the polygons in the model are small, the facial muscles are treated too little, the customization is low, and the resulting virtual avatar looks like a character from VRChat (that is not very). On their background Animoji leave a sense of the work of a professional studio of Motion design, although in fact they are the same pampering at once.

Powerful unlock customization

Another feature about which it tempts to write is that it is peeped – a combined way of unlocking by scanning the face and the retina. Technically, Samsung first made a face recognition – it appeared in the S8 as a separate mode, but caused a lot of discontent. It turned out that when using this method, a two-dimensional (and not three-dimensional, as in Face ID) model of the face is read, and because of this it is not safe enough – theoretically the algorithm can be deceived with the help of photography. The second way to unlock, scan the retina, was not so convenient as face recognition – many complained of the difficulty in using it, with bright light or glasses it does not work.

In S9, there is an additional combined face recognition method, and it works better than the previous two: in the normal situation, it uses the camera, and if the facial features can not be recognized (for example, they are covered with a scarf or hat), then it uses a retinal scanner. The only thing that can be confusing in the process is a red laser that is ominously shining in the eye (though it does not dazzle), while in Face ID, everything is completely invisible.

Although you can choose from a whole list of unlock methods when setting up S9, smart scanning is now offered first. However, this method is still unsafe , and you can not authorize with it the payment for Samsung Pay (and through the ID ID you can use Apple Pay).

The third basic way to unlock is by fingerprint. The scanner was moved to the camera: if it was on the side, and when you tried to grope for its camera it was very easy to slap, now it’s harder to do, and it’s easier to reach, probably especially on S9 +, which is quite a bit longer (but I have not tested it yet) ).

Particularly pleased with the fact that all three methods – face scanner, eye retina and fingerprint – work simultaneously. If you are wearing gloves – unlock the smartphone face, if the smartphone is already in the palm of your hand – it’s easier on a fingerprint. In the extreme case (with reboots and for any situations with increased security like changing passwords) you will need to draw a picture on the screen – this is the fourth way.

Many small things

For an incomplete week, I was able to test S9 (I remind you that for three days we gave it to photographer Yevgeny Feldman for testing the camera), I faced a lot of unusual things for me – some pleased, some not very.

I already wrote above about the adapters: this is a pleasant attention to the user, which is worth appreciating. There is an adapter from USB-C to microUSB (if suddenly there is no necessary wire at hand), there is also an adapter that allows you to use large flash drives or other external drives with a smartphone.

Because of the same convenient features as AirDrop in iOS and macOS, Samsung Experience does not exist in the shell, sometimes the ability to quickly transfer to a computer a large video clip can be vital. Or, say, take a document from someone else’s flash drive – and in fact, in the absence of such an adapter would have to look for a computer, insert a flash drive, authorize in the mail and send a file through it, and then download it to the smartphone. This feature can actually help out, if you came to print out documents for a visa, and in your hand you only have a smartphone.

I understand very well that I myself would rarely use adapters, because in 2018 almost all the processes and data are available to me in the cloud – but one can not help but admit that there are a lot of people who will simplify such daily life. As, for example, audiojack – the more that complete with S9 is a headset from AKG (the same that was in the box with S8). The headphones themselves do not represent anything outstanding, but together with the built-in S8 special sound enhancement mode (which is still to be found – it is in the Equalizer settings section) they sound just fine. When I turned it on for the first time, I smiled directly at the quality of the sound.

In addition to improving the sound in the headphones, the S9 incorporates Dolby Atmos technology – it uses the top and bottom (by the way, a seriously modified and apparently more powerful than before) speaker to create not just stereoscopic but surround sound. I was frank about the flashlight – I watch a video from the phone or listen to music only in headphones.

The bottom speaker, the microphone to the right of it, the USB Type-C charging port and the audio jack. Yes, they are not very symmetrical

With S9, I finally rasproboval sidebar with quick access to applications that opens on the right side of the svaypu. A year ago it seemed useless and not very convenient, but now for some reason it came: I put there settings and photo galleries, between which I often switched during the study of the features of the smartphone, and it was easier than every time to return to the home screen .

But the button Bixby, located on the body from the left end, rather interfered. Both in the West and in Russia, techno-bloggers and journalists agree that the “smart” assistant of Samsung is still extremely useless (especially in Russia). This button is often pressed accidentally, because it is directly under the swing of the volume – opening and closing the panel with Bixby cards takes time, and each time it irritates more and more. Of course, the button can be turned off, but it would be better if it could be reassigned – though, it’s unlikely Samsung will do it: for some reason, the company is counting too much on the bright future of its “smart” assistant.

Another little thing is the heart rate and blood pressure sensor, which is located on the back cover next to the flash. I did not use it once, so I can not say anything – maybe I will test in the future (there are some plans). But I read that he can measure blood pressure only with the help of special software that is not available in Russia – and in the integrated system Samsung Health there is no such possibility.

Thank you, you tried, but I’m not impressed

Formally, to Galaxy S9 is very difficult to find fault. It’s an absolutely fantastic quality screen, which the profile portal DisplayMate called the best of all modern smartphone screens and even “better than your 4K Ultra HD TV in the living room.” Samsung did not go on about the trend for “bangs” and remained true to its concept of Infinity Display, even more by disguising the sensors at the top of the screen – in the off state the smartphone looks like a real monolith.

The company took into account the error of the previous generation and changed the location of the fingerprint scanner, improved face scanning, added a variable diaphragm and professional mode to the camera. I will not talk about the camera for a long time: I will only say that one of its main features, slo-moe shooting at 960 fps and 720p, in practice was not impressed either by the quality of the video or the convenience of work.

The time of work is also not very good: the smartphone I was living through until the end of the day, but with not too active use. Western technoblogers unanimously complained that they did not have the capacity of a battery for a day of work (even in S9 +, where the battery is not 3000 mAh but 3500 mAh), and this is not the level of the flagship smartphone in 2018. In addition, fast charging is actually not very fast: it rapidly boosts the smartphone somewhere by 30% in half an hour, but the remaining 70% will charge another one and a half hours.

Not the last factor – the price: the novelty has risen in price in comparison with the last generation. S8 cost 54,990 , and S9 – 59,990 . S9 + has risen in price more strongly – it costs 66 990 in comparison with 59 990 for S8 +. Considering the fact that last year’s models also became much cheaper, the difference is significant, and the point in buying Note 8 for 69,990 fell completely.

In general, S9 and S9 + are the best smartphones from Samsung at the moment, as it almost always happens with the flagships of the new generation. It makes sense to buy one who has always loved Samsung, but “overslept” the S8 revolution – but I did not see the upgrade from the previous generation of reasons.

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