03-22-2018 10:43 PM
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  1. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    Hey everybody! I got my S9+ on Tuesday and so far so good. I was coming from an iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL (both used a little bit for the past four months) and am coming out pretty impressed so far with how the phone handles and the new features and improvements. Lets get into it!

    Likes
    Hardware: First let me give a big thank you to Samsung for listening to fans and moving that FP sensor! Aside from that, and the camera on the S9+ being 2 and vertical, it's the same great design of the S8+. The bezel is smaller I guess but I don't notice much, it is much smaller than the Pixel 2 XL and the screen is also about a million times better. I didn't have screen issues with my Pixel, but the quality wasn't great during darker scenes on a movie or video and I got a weird scrolling issue that I had on the two devices that make everything stretch out as I was scrolling and none of that is even remotely present on this display. The speakers are LOUD and sound pretty durned good for my tastes.

    Software: I must say this UI is largely the same but with the added benefits of Oreo coming out of the box (instead of an update like with the S8 and Note 8) and it runs smoothly on the SD845. The add ons like Bixby and S Pay work well with S Pay being a star for me. I love getting rewards for using it and it works in a surprising amount of places that Apple Pay and Google Pay don't work. I haven't seen ANY lag at all which is awesome because I noticed a teeny bit on my Note and S8 even straight out of the box. Well done Sam.

    Camera: This is supposed to be the key improvement this year right? Live Focus works well, not quite up to par with whatever the heck Google did with their software but the bokeh looks good most of the time, it's faster than Apple's Portrait Mode by a fairly wide margin and it also allows for editing of the bokeh and the blurriness of the background which is cool to me. The video on this phone looks great, especially in 4K when viewed on a 4K display (like my Samsung 55" 8800 series in my living room, yes I'm bragging on my display) and is stabilized well and has good sound. The front camera is even pretty decent, though I don't do selfies, I don't like looking at myself a whole lot. The super slow-mo is...cool? Idk I haven't been able to get a good video of something that I want to see going that slow yet. I do love the UI better than the Pixel Camera. I feel like Apple had it right with the whole swipe to get to different modes and Samsung copied them and it works for me, others may disagree though and thats cool too!

    Battery: This one is harder. So day one was setup, obviously the battery went to crap quick with downloading apps, setting up accounts, etc. Day two was a mixed bag but I was also trying to use that horrible Smart Switch to try and drag some stuff off of my iPhone and Pixel, more on that in a minute. Since then though my battery went 12 hours and had 3.5 SOT and my battery was at 38% when I went to bed last night. It is sitting on 82% right now after almost 3.5 hours and about 1.5 SOT so I'm fine with it. It also charges quick, duh, and that makes it draining not a bit deal at all to me. For reference I watch a lot of YouTube and Twitch, stream music and audio ALL DAY at work, like 8 hours+ with the IconX 2018 and I also tend to text, talk on the phone and more quite a lot throughout the day. I don't hold the phone back from anything so everything is syncing in the default manner and I have a lot of location services turned on as well. Basically, I use it, it never dies during the day and I top off at night like most people.

    Intangibles/Misc: I love all of the stuff Samsung still crams into their stuff. Headphone jack, wireless charging, expandable storage, FP scanner, facial detection, iris scanning, Always On Display, variable Aperture, stereo speakers, HDR display, etc. etc. etc. phew! That's a lot of stuff and it all works great and makes it for probably the most well rounded phone available every year.

    Dislikes:
    None
    .
    .
    .
    Okay just kidding there are a couple.
    Bluetooth: Randomly cuts out for a second and scares me to death when it does because it makes a loud sound in one, or both, ear buds. Kind of a bummer but every phone I have had recently does something weird with BT so not too awful.

    FP scanner is still a little bit close to the camera. I've rubbed the camera a few times in the 2+ days and I feel like maybe the camera being in the corner of the back instead of right next to the scanner would help. Still way better than last year though.

    Bixby button: Nuf said

    This last one is more of a complaint in general about earbuds and my ears too but nobody makes comfy earbuds for my ear shape. AirPods legitimately made me bleed, Pixel Buds were super uncomfortable, and the IconX are the best fit for me so far but also kind of hurt when I remove them. Luckily, unlike the previous 2, that pain goes away quickly, but it is still weird to me. Not really anyone's fault, just wanted to place it here.

    So all in all a great showing by Samsung for the S9. I'd like to say I'll hold onto it for awhile but I know myself. I do think that it is incredibly solid and a worthy successor to the S8 and Note 8 as it ticks all the boxes and then some and offers improvements over the previous year. For those wondering, if you have an S8+ and it is still running well, keep it. The S9 is awesome but I wouldn't say it's enough to upgrade from last year's phone.

    Hope you guys likes my initial impressions! Sound off below with your impressions, I'd love to read them.
    03-15-2018 07:31 AM
  2. geraldem's Avatar
    Great review. Thanks so much for the detail! So if you had Note8....worthy move?
    03-15-2018 07:42 AM
  3. Kayza's Avatar
    Nice, thorough review. If someone had a choice of buying a Note 8 or an S9 today, which would you recommend?
    03-15-2018 07:44 AM
  4. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    Great review. Thanks so much for the detail! So if you had Note8....worthy move?
    Not really, the Note has dual cameras, 6gb of RAM and a very good processor in the SD835. I think once is get official Oreo it'll be basically the same phone save for the FP scanner location, orientation of the camera, and speakers. If you have the Note, keep it unless you can get a great deal and essentially trade.
    03-15-2018 07:53 AM
  5. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    Nice, thorough review. If someone had a choice of buying a Note 8 or an S9 today, which would you recommend?
    100% I would recommend the S9 over the Note 8, but if you have the Note 8, as said above, you have basically the same phone. I only say get the S9+ because it's actually cheaper MSRP, has a bit more future proofing into it and is the new kid on the block.
    03-15-2018 07:54 AM
  6. geraldem's Avatar
    Really good advise and what I expected about the two phones from what I have read. I guess the only other difference would be the variable aperture on the wide lens. but from what I could tell from the picture samples so far, the difference is not huge...thoughts?
    03-15-2018 08:47 AM
  7. Monee_121's Avatar
    Lovely review. That Bixby button is so annoying! I hit it at least twice a day trying to turn volume down lol
    03-15-2018 08:57 AM
  8. stillintheD's Avatar
    Still not a Bixby fan. I disabled it first thing.
    03-15-2018 09:33 AM
  9. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    Really good advise and what I expected about the two phones from what I have read. I guess the only other difference would be the variable aperture on the wide lens. but from what I could tell from the picture samples so far, the difference is not huge...thoughts?
    So, from what I have seen, it makes a HUGE difference at night. I'll post a pic in a minute but I took a pic of my dog with only the light from my TV and it looks great. Not much graininess and you can see my dog pretty visibly.
    03-15-2018 09:36 AM
  10. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    Here's the pic of my pup, no editing. As you can see, the TV is a little blown out but it was also a brighter scene. No visible grain. My Initial Impressions-20180313_211128.jpg
    03-15-2018 09:38 AM
  11. bhatech's Avatar
    Why does the pic looks purple? Is it the lighting?
    03-15-2018 09:42 AM
  12. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    Why does the pic looks purple? Is it the lighting?
    Yeah it's mostly the TV, it looked a little purple without it though, maybe my room is secretly purpleish
    03-15-2018 09:45 AM
  13. rahool360's Avatar
    great review man!!! covered everything!!! howzz the sound quality via earphones??
    03-15-2018 10:03 AM
  14. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    great review man!!! covered everything!!! howzz the sound quality via earphones??
    Thanks! Sound quality is incredible for being wireless and ear buds. Bass is surprisingly impressive. They do hurt though which is making me want to return them. Darn these tiny ears.
    03-15-2018 10:07 AM
  15. Fred98TJ's Avatar
    Here's the pic of my pup, no editing. As you can see, the TV is a little blown out but it was also a brighter scene. No visible grain. Click image for larger version. 

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    I’m seeing this a lot on the S9 cameras. Lack of detail. Very aggressive noise reduction is wiping away so much detail. Thats why no “grain” (actually noise). Pinch zoom a touch. Looks like no focus point anywhere. Even the dog (sweet looking dog btw. ).
    DMP89145 likes this.
    03-15-2018 06:00 PM
  16. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    I’m seeing this a lot on the S9 cameras. Lack of detail. Very aggressive noise reduction is wiping away so much detail. Thats why no “grain” (actually noise). Pinch zoom a touch. Looks like no focus point anywhere. Even the dog (sweet looking dog btw. ).
    That's just my dog. He's very blurry.
    mariusfilip likes this.
    03-15-2018 06:02 PM
  17. popkurn611's Avatar
    That's just my dog. He's very blurry.
    I am tempted in trying the pixel again and trying to steer away from the iPhone X.

    I said I'd never buy a Sammy again and I kind of stand behind that. I just always seem to come back to the boring X! Need help!
    Wildo6882 likes this.
    03-15-2018 08:26 PM
  18. nate0's Avatar
    I posted this over on the WC forums but adding here to. Thanks @Jtshurtleff for letting us all share.

    S9+ -- mini overview from my own use:

    The S9+ SD 845 model G965U1 Coral Blue, no case yet. Disabled most google apps/services except play store and photos. Using bk disabler disabled many of samsung bloat software and certain features I do not use, like the Edge panel, Samsung pay, etc.

    Battery life is excellent. I have a minimalist AOD always on and SOT is at about 5hrs, 2 Exchange accounts, 3 tapatalk accounts, mms/sms/handful of phone calls, web surfing, youtube usage a bit, and about 10 Groove tracks played more or less. Now with total time off the charger of 19hrs or so and I have 34% left.

    The display is as we would expect. Samsung uses a proprietary driver I believe along with their display service(s) and panel, and the brightness and color modes compliment each other well. The Sunlight readability is pretty good. But I have not assesed all the panel configurations to see which is optimal for my use/needs. It has done some buggy things though, like prior to the latest OTA update night mode was funky and super orange. It would kick in a couple seconds after unlocking the phone each time I unlocked it while enabled, meaning it was turned off at unlock and turned on after the screen got settled. Another is that more than twice I have unlocked the phone during the day and Autobrightness crapped out and the display was completely dim and would not adjust to a readable brightness.

    The Sound from this thing is top notch. The stereo speaker setup and dolby atmost are just great. I thought the Idol 4s was nice and the most acurate with sound reproduction (without and EQ mind you) but the way Samsung did theirs and combined Harmon speakers just works excellently. And you can crank it loud with little distortion. Off the 3.5mm wire I am still trying to get what I think sounds good to my ear but so far the quality and range are excellent.

    Call quality is great and it has used Wifi calling mostly. It is fast and snappy. The UI works for me. I download a dark them called sd-Black by aire design and it reminds me alot of the Windows Phone UI now. The finger print sensor is fast and accurate. Samsung has a ton of goodies baked into the OS that I am not sure I have looked at even half of them thorougly. I kninda like the one handed mode double tapping the home button 3 times, but it is not ideal imo. I can provide more detail on that if anyone needs...

    The camera is pretty good. I have not fully used it enough to know how to use it quicky and fluidly. I need a case to be able to hold it appropriately and safely when trying to snap photos. However the few that I have taken are good. In low light it is a good shooter too. I have not really used the camera though to make a complete judgement from y view but it works really well and for my average camera usage it is good. I like that it uses a motion photo feature like living images for photos you take.

    The phone is a bit thicker, heavier wider and a bit shorter than the S8+. It feels easy to use and should be even better once I get a case. I ordered a spigen liquid air armor case.

    The one thing that is really impressive on it so far is the battery life. I did disable a lot of stuff. But compared to the s8+ with the same battery size this is good. It should be expected from the SD 845 anyway right?. IMO the standby drain is where I think it excels the most and why the stamina is so good when it needs to be in use.

    It really is a great device to use for me personally if moving from a Lumia. I just hope Microsoft has an Andromeda-like device lined up soon that can replace this hunk of glass though (sorry just had to say it). Am hoping what they want to do with their new device will be something I and others can use and need for our daily lives to replace devices like this most were forced to move to. I moved off Google entirely except gmail and was happy for several years. Now I have to embrace it a bit more unfortunately. I have not decided what I will do with all my Lumias yet. I will try to provide more about my use with this device as it progresses.
    geraldem, sulla1965 and AustinTech like this.
    03-15-2018 08:44 PM
  19. qz0xr3's Avatar
    Appreciate the reviews
    03-16-2018 09:08 AM
  20. chazglenn3's Avatar
    Lovely review. That Bixby button is so annoying! I hit it at least twice a day trying to turn volume down lol
    Are you aware that you can turn the Bixby button off? Hey Bixby still works, but no more annoying accidental button presses. I did it on my Note 8.
    03-16-2018 10:15 AM
  21. Kayza's Avatar
    To the extent that Bixby ever works...
    03-17-2018 10:14 PM
  22. areyes163's Avatar
    To the extent that Bixby ever works...
    Bixby works great for me. It's very useful. Love having both. Bixby and Google Assistant. Both have their own functions and work well together.
    03-17-2018 10:42 PM
  23. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    So a quick check in after having a weekend with the phone. For reference I was off work Friday, hung out with my son, took my daughter to school, did some cleaning, played outside a bit, did boring stuff until my daughter's Tee Ball game and also went out to dinner. I didn't use my phone a ton that day, took some pics, tried downloading the Pixel Camera, watched a little YouTube and made a few calls and texted a bit. Also played a friend in Magic via Hangouts which TORE UP my battery, like 80% in about an hour, and then recharged in about an hour. Saturday was a rainy lazy day for the first half and then we went outside and went on a walk, took some pictures and videos of my kids and pups, did some more YT watching, tried setting up Kodi and that was mostly it. Sunday was a ton of pictures, outside time, Tee Ball pictures, using Samsung Pay at stores, being out and about.
    So my biggest gripe so far is the camera. To me, it is nowhere close to the Pixel 2, doesn't do as well as the iPhone in normal shots, and the low light camera lacks any detail. I have a few pics to post and will do so below but I just feel like Sammy took a huge step back here, almost breaking the phone for me. If I can figure out how to get Pixel's camera on here I will and I will keep it but for now it's leaning towards a no because of how much I use the camera. The software has been brilliant though, easily blowing through any process, no bugs yet, hiccups rarely and is genuinely pleasant to use. The battery is hit or miss. Friday, not using it much, I ended the day at about 40% and Saturday, with heavier but not heavy use was at 22%. Yesterday I was at 35% when it went on the charge after using it for pictures a S Pay a bunch. I like the FP sensor a bit more than the S8, enjoy the new speakers and LOVE the screen. But the camera...what am I doing wrong?
    03-19-2018 08:38 AM
  24. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    See pictures for reference. My Initial Impressions-20180318_133612.jpgMy Initial Impressions-20180317_081757.jpgMy Initial Impressions-20180318_072958.jpgMy Initial Impressions-20180318_133204.jpg

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    03-19-2018 09:14 AM
  25. Jtshurtleff's Avatar
    I don't know after posting these. They look better than I thought, maybe I am just looking for a reason to not like the camera. The low light still has sharpness issues and the window in the shot of my daughter is blown out but that was with the f/1.5 so that could be why. Still hoping for the Pixel camera port as the Live Focus mode has yet to yield a great pic.
    03-19-2018 09:17 AM
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