Samsung has two flagship smartphones, the S9 and the S9 Plus – but which one is the best one to buy for photography? We’ve taken a long, hard look at both…
Here’s a quick look at the specs of both the phones, in order to help you make the best decision.
Naturally, we’re mainly concentrating on photographic specs (and those which we think are relevant to photographers), so there may be other differences that are not necessarily listed here.
Samsung S9 vs Samsung S9 Plus: Camera and Lenses
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two phones is the camera setup. The standard S9 has just one camera, with a 12 megapixel sensor and wide-angle f/1.5-f/2.4 lens.
The S9+ has one of these lenses, but also adds a second 12 megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens (f/2.4). Both the Samsung S9 and the Samsung S9+ are notable for being the first smartphones in the world to offer a variable aperture option – meaning there’s a physical aperture that can be changed depending on the shooting situation. Only the wide-angle lens on the S9+ offers this option.
In practice, the cameras on both the S9 and the S9+ perform the same – or at least I couldn’t see any particular differences – of course, with the S9+ you have the bonus of a telephoto lens though, whereas you’d have to rely on digital zoom on the S9.
Both phones offer a front-facing 8 megapixel camera, with an f/1.7 lens.
Samsung S9 vs Samsung S9 Plus: Screen
The other big difference between the two phones is the size. The standard S9 has a 5.8-inch Quad HD + Curved Super AMOLED screen, while the S9+ uses the same type of screen, but is bigger at 6.2-inches.
Samsung S9 vs Samsung S9 Plus: Battery Life
Presumably because of its bigger overall size, the S9+ has a better battery rating. The S9 has a 3,000mAh rating, compared to the 3,5000mAh rating of the S9+.
If mAh ratings don’t mean all that much to you (and why would they!), the ratings of other phones are as follows:
Huawei P20 Pro: 4,000mAh
iPhone X: 2,716mAh
Google Pixel 2 XL: 3,520mAh
HTC U12+: 3,420mAh
So the S9+ has a pretty good chance of lasting all day, and while it may not be quite as good as the Huawei P20 Pro, it’s better than, or very close to, most of the competition, including the iPhone X.
Samsung S9 vs Samsung S9 Plus: Memory
The S9 has 4GB RAM, while the S9+ beats that with 6GB – in practice that may mean that the S9+ is slightly quicker in operation. I can’t say I noticed much of a difference when using both phones, though.
Both of the phones can have their storage memory increased with the addition of a MicroSD card (up to 400GB), which marks them apart from most of the other high-end phones on the market.
Samsung S9 vs Samsung S9 Plus: Price
If you want to buy these phones outright, the standard S9 will set you back £739, while you’ll pay an extra £130 if you want to go for the bigger S9 Plus.
Of course you might be tempted to get either of the phones on contracts, so the amount you pay – up front at least – can vary depending on the contract you go for.