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Samsung Galaxy S9: what we know so far

The Samsung Galaxy S8 was one of the biggest smartphones of 2017, and now attention has turned to its successor – the S9. We’ve rounded up the latest rumours.

2018 is nearly upon us, and so begins another calendar year of smartphone predictions and launches. One of the first flagship smartphones on the list is the Samsung Galaxy S9, as well as its larger brother – the S9+.

Nothing has been confirmed but that hasn’t stopped tech enthusiasts from making predictions, and sharing rumours. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the key ones we’ve stumbled across, as well as what we expect to see. Plus we point you to our expert reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ if you’re looking for a new smartphone now.

Mobile phone reviews[1] – find out which smartphones are at the top of our league table.

The latest Samsung Galaxy S9 rumours

Price and release date

It’s almost certain we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy S9 in the first three months of 2018. There has been some speculation that it could make an appearance in January at CES, the biggest consumer tech show, in Las Vegas – but this has largely been squashed. More likely is an unveiling at Mobile World Congress in late February/early March.

2016’s Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were announced here – though the more recent S8 didn’t make an appearance until the end of March 2017. While the launch date of the S9 and S9+ are rather up in the air at the moment, we’d be pretty surprised if we didn’t see them before April. Even though we don’t know the price of the upcoming models yet, we’re certain that they’ll be expensive.

These are Samsung’s highest-profile phones and will be packed with the latest technology, which comes at a price. This year’s S8 launched at GBP689, while the S8+ was GBP779. Expect similar prices for the new phones in 2018.

Design changes

The infinity display on the S8 went down such a treat that we’ll be eating our hats if we don’t see it on the upcoming Samsung flagships.

Many rumours also suggest that we’ll be seeing a 5.8-inch screen on the S9 – the same as the S8. It’s also likely to have the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which means it will be just more than twice as long as it is wide. This is to make large-screen phones easier to hold and use with one hand.

Most phones have a 16:9 aspect ratio.

A supposed leaked image of the S9 from @OnLeaks.

In September 2016, Samsung licensed optically clear superhydrophobic film technology. In terms of what this could actually mean for the S9, there are a few suggestions that water will jump off the screen’s display, making the phone much easier to use if you’re strolling in the rain. We’re looking forward to seeing whether there’s any credence to this.

In case you were worrying about Samsung following in the footsteps of a few other manufacturers and removing the headphone socket, we don’t think this will happen with the S9.

Fingerprint sensor – moved or hidden?

The placement of the fingerprint sensor on 2017’s S8 was criticised by some. It sits next to the rear camera as part of Samsung’s effort to create symmetry in the design. However, it’s not the most practical location for it, as it’s all too easy to put your fingerprints on the camera lens, which could make your photos look a little smudged.

We think Samsung will rectify this with the S9, but we’re not exactly sure how. It could retain its spot on the back of the phone, but move under the camera lens. Other rumours suggest Samsung could move the fingerprint scanner to underneath the front glass display.

This means you’d simply place your finger on the screen, and it would unlock. Certainly futuristic and innovative, but we don’t want to get your hopes up too much so take this with a pinch of salt.

Camera

In August 2017, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 8 – the first in its series to feature dual rear cameras. Both of its cameras are 12Mp, but one is a telephoto lens while the other is wide angle.

The theory is that this lets you zoom in on objects without losing clarity, and it also lets you play around with some depth-of-field effects (to blur the background, for example). We imagine we’ll see a dual rear camera set-up at least on the S9+. There’s a chance it could also feature on the smaller S9, but we’re not yet sure.

Rendered image from @Samsung_news_ suggests that the S9+ will have dual rear cameras, while the S9 will have one.

It also suggests the fingerprint sensor will be below the camera set-up on each phone.

Some sources suggest that the rear camera on the S9 will be able to shoot 1,000 frames per second. This means that motion in videos should be really smooth, and could lead to some exceptional slow-motion footage.

Samsung smartphones in the Which? test lab

Samsung Galaxy S8

As one of the most talked-about smartphones of 2017, the Samsung Galaxy S8’s specs sheet makes for an impressive read. The Android-powered mobile features a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display and comes with 4GB of Ram, a 3,000mAh battery and 64GB of internal storage.

If that doesn’t sound like much, you’ll be pleased to hear it also has a Micro-SD card slot offering expandable storage. It also has a 12Mp rear camera, and an iris scanner on the front of the mobile for quick unlocking. At around GBP670 Sim-free, the Galaxy S8 doesn’t come cheap, so is it worthy of its hefty price tag?

See how this smartphone fared in our test lab with our full Samsung Galaxy S8 review[2].

Samsung Galaxy S8+

The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is larger than its sibling, featuring an attention-grabbing 6.2-inch edge-to-edge display.

At the time of writing a Sim-free model will set you back around GBP750.

That’s a big chunk of money to spend on a mobile, so read our full Samsung Galaxy S8+ review[3] to see if this gadget’s worth it.

References

  1. ^ Mobile phone reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 review (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8+ review (www.which.co.uk)

Hands on with the Samsung Gear Sport and Gear IconX headphones

We’ve been busy trying out the new Samsung Gear Sport and Gear IconX wireless headphones – two additions to Samsung’s wearables range designed to work completely independently of a smartphone. Will these new arrivals keep you fit, or frustrated? If you’re looking for some tech to track your steps or keep you company on an evening jog, either of these new Samsung Gadgets could be on your radar.

We’ve had some hands-on time with both, so see our first look reviews for initial impressions. Best Buy smartwatches[1] – Comfort, style and plenty of features

New Samsung gadgets in our test lab

Samsung Gear Sport

The ?299 Gear Sport is Samsung’s latest smartwatch, featuring a 1.2-inch touchscreen display running at a 360×360 resolution. Samsung says that the wearable will help you stay healthy with regular exercise updates and calorie-counting tools, so we took it for a spin to see if it’s an effective gym buddy.

Sat next to the older Samsung Gear S3, we think the Gear Sport is a touch sleeker, but take a look for yourself and see if you agree.

Fitness fanatics have plenty of features to get stuck into, whether you’re running, cycling or swimming (the Gear Sport is water resistant up to 50 metres). It will measure steps taken, calories burned and changes in heart rate throughout the day. The gadget will even tell you to stretch regularly if you’re on a long flight, and if you’re hitting the slopes after landing you can try out the altimeter, too.

A swipe up on the screen will take you to the Moment Bar, which essentially acts as a settings menu.

From that single swipe, you can adjust screen brightness, turn on Airplane Mode, set alarms and more.

NFC functionality on the Gear Sport means you can make wireless payments

Take a look at our full Samsung Gear Sport first look review[2] [3]to see if we think this wearable deserves a spot on your wrist.

Samsung Gear IconX wireless headphones

The second of Samsung’s new releases is also part of the Gear family – the Samsung Gear IconX. These wireless earbuds are the successor to last year’s model[4] of the same name, which hardly took the market by storm. Samsung’s to-do list included improving the battery and sound – pretty important features in a set of wireless headphones that cost a hefty ?200.

The new IconX is pretty feature-packed.

It has 4GB of storage space so you can copy songs locally onto the earphones and use them without a phone. Samsung doubles-down on the independence by building in a fitness-tracker as well, which can log time, distance and calories burned, and even includes a running coach that will help keep you motivated with reassuring voice prompts. All of this can of course be synced to your phone when you’re back home.

As part of Samsung’s ‘Gear’, it should connect seamlessly to other wearables like the new Sport smartwatch above and predecessors like the Gear S3[5] and Gear S2[6]. Practically speaking this means you can control music, exercise routines and tracking through the watch, while remaining completely wire (and smartphone) free. We put all this to the test, and walk you through our first impressions in our Gear IconX First Look review[7].

Torn between wearables?

Find out whether you’re better off buying a fitness tracker or a smartwatch[8].

References

  1. ^ Best Buy smartwatches (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Samsung Gear Sport first look review (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ last year’s model (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Gear S3 (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Gear S2 (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Gear IconX First Look review (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ fitness tracker or a smartwatch (www.which.co.uk)

Samsung TVs reviewed – could these be 2017’s Black Friday bargains?

In August this year, we found a range of new Samsung TVs on its support pages that we thought could be discounted for the Black Friday shopping spree. Our interest was initially peaked when, at the same time last year, Samsung added new models – the UE40KU6020 and UE50KU6020. Despite little fanfare, these TVs were among the most popular products on which.co.uk during 2016’s Black Friday period, after retailers dropped their prices.

It’s possible that the same thing could happen this year – in which case you’ll want to know which models we found.

  • Samsung M5520, likely similar to the M5500
  • Samsung M6320, likely similar to the M6300
  • Samsung MU6120, likely similar to the MU6100
  • Samsung MU6220, likely similar to the MU6200

True to form, these TVs have now appeared on the shelves, and most importantly, we’ve put them through our test lab for a thorough examination. Could these be TVs that get some healthy discounts around the Black Friday period? If so, you’ll want to do your research in advance – and we have all the details for you below.

We reveal two Best Buys from Samsung but a mixed performance overall, and we also unveil new TVs from Panasonic and Philips. Best Buy televisions[1] – these TVs soared through our lab tests

Reviewed: Samsung’s potential Black Friday bargains

Samsung’s 32-43-inch TVs

If your Black Friday bargain hunting includes a smaller TV for your bedroom, you might want to consider one of the recently tested models above. The Samsung UE32M5520 has a 32-inch display and comes with Freeview HD built in.

It has various smart-TV apps pre-installed, so you’ll have instant access to streaming services including Netflix. You can’t watch 4K Ultra-HD content on this TV, but it does have PVR functionality, meaning you can record programmes if you plug in an external USB storage device. To see if this TV scored well in our lab, head over to our Samsung UE32M5520 review[2].

A step up in terms of screen size, the Samsung UE43M5520[3] has a 43-inch display. It plays online content in the form of catch-up apps and streaming services, sat alongside traditional TV channels. This larger Samsung model doesn’t support 4K Ultra-HD resolutions, but there is still a Freeview-HD tuner tucked inside.

Similar to its 32-inch sibling, this TV can also act as a PVR, meaning you can record programmes to an external USB storage device, and as an added bonus you can pause live shows if you need to put the kettle on.

Samsung’s 49-50-inch TVs

Black Friday can be one of the best times of year to treat yourself to a new large-screen TV for your living room – so these 49-50-inch sets should be on your radar. Competition is very tight in the 49-inch area of the market, but our expert reviews can help you spot the right model for you.

The Samsung UE49M5520[4] has just returned from our test lab. This 49-inch model has Freeview HD and smart-TV functions, and we found the set-up process hassle-free.

As this TV has built-in PVR functionality, you can record programmes without the need for a separate box, though this does require an external USB storage device. If you’ve got a bigger budget, you might want to treat yourself to a 50-inch display. The Samsung UE50MU6120 comes with a 4K Ultra-HD screen.

It runs on Samsung’s smart-TV platform, which is a breeze to use from the get-go. You can manually sort your streaming apps and there are more available through the TV’s built-in app store. See our Samsung UE50MU6120 review[5] to find out if this Samsung TV is a proven Best Buy.

Samsung’s 55-65-inch TVs

If you’re really pushing the boat out, there’s nothing better than getting a hefty Black Friday discount on a big-screen TV.

The Samsung UE55MU6220 might be on your wishlist if you’re looking for a curved model. It’s a 55-inch set from Samsung’s popular 6 series, arriving with a 4K Ultra-HD screen and support for high dynamic range (HDR) content. But can that big screen serve up plenty of colour detail?

You’ll have to see our Samsung UE55MU6220 review[6] for the details.

Other TVs on test

Our experts have also put the Samsung QE49Q7C[7] through its paces. This top-of-the-range Samsung TV has a 49-inch curved screen and is part of the brand’s QLED range. It has 4K Ultra-HD resolution and supports HDR content, which in theory should offer up brighter whites and darker blacks on-screen.

The list of features also includes a Freeview-HD tuner and built-in Freesat HD, wi-fi support and a box attached to the TV designed to hide unsightly wires. Samsung wasn’t the only big-name TV brand under the spotlight in our recent TV tests. We’ve also had our hands (and eyes) on the Philips 55PUS6162/05.[8] This hefty 55-inch Philips TV supports 4K Ultra-HD resolution, and has a Freeview-HD tuner to pick up the free-to-watch HD and SD channels.

Unlike others in the range it doesn’t run on the Android TV platform, though it does offer the intuitive Freeview Play. Last but not least is the whopping 65-inch Panasonic TX-65EX600B. It’s a mid-range Panasonic model with a 4K Ultra-HD display, which means it offers four times the number of pixels as a Full-HD rival.

Popular catch-up apps including BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub are on-board, along with Freeview Play, and you can ‘pin’ your most-used to the homescreen for quick access. See what we made of the picture quality in our Panasonic TX-65EX600B review[9]. Only Which? members can see what our experts made of the picture quality of the TVs mentioned above.

For the full details on the latest modes from the likes of Samsung, Panasonic and Philips, see our TV reviews[10] page.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy televisions (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Samsung UE32M5520 review (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Samsung UE43M5520 (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Samsung UE49M5520 (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Samsung UE50MU6120 review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Samsung UE55MU6220 review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Samsung QE49Q7C (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Philips 55PUS6162/05. (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Panasonic TX-65EX600B review (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ TV reviews (www.which.co.uk)