At the Mobile World Congress trade event that'll be held in February, Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) is expected to unveil two new flagship smartphones: Galaxy S9 and its larger sibling, Galaxy S9+.
Someone recently posted what purports to be a picture of the retail packaging for the Galaxy S9 on Reddit, and if that photo is legit, it lets us know some of the key features of the device. Let's take a closer look at what the apparently leaked packaging tells us about the South Korean giant's upcoming flagship smartphone.
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Familiar display, upgraded cameras
The posted image indicates that the Galaxy S9 will feature a Super AMOLED display that measures 5.8 inches along the diagonal. The display, the box in the image says, features a Quad HD+ resolution. All of these point to the display being virtually identical to the one found on last year's Galaxy S8.
While Samsung might have some surprises in store for us, like a high-refresh-rate display (a feature that was rumored to be coming to last year's iPhone X but was ultimately a no-show), I'd imagine that such a feature would've gotten a fancy marketing name from Samsung and would be advertised on the box.
Where the phone seems to have gotten a huge upgrade is in the camera subsystem. The box indicates that the rear-facing camera is a "Super Speed Dual Pixel 12 [megapixel]" camera with optical image stabilization. The rear camera also seems to have a larger f/1.5 maximum aperture, which should help improve low-light performance compared to the rear-facing camera on the older Galaxy S8 (which has an f/1.7 maximum aperture).
Several credible rumors suggest that the Galaxy S9+, in a bid to differentiate itself from the standard Galaxy S9, will include a dual-lens camera. Samsung's Galaxy Note8, which was introduced in the fall of 2017, incorporated such a dual-lens camera setup to enable features like optical zoom.
The front-facing camera is listed as being an 8-megapixel one with the company's "Smart Auto Focus" capability. At least from what I can tell, the front-facing camera in the Galaxy S9 seems to be similar to, if not identical to, the one in the Galaxy S8.
Other Galaxy S9 specs
The rest of the specifications listed on the box in the image posted on Reddit seem rather straightforward. The phone reportedly has 64GB of storage and 4GB of system memory, just as the Galaxy S8 does. It's also apparently IP68 water and dust resistant -- same as the Galaxy S8. And, of course, it features an iris scanner, just as the Galaxy S8 does.
Beyond what's listed on the box, I think it's safe to expect that some versions of the Galaxy S9 as well as the Galaxy S9+ will come powered by Qualcomm's (NASDAQ: QCOM) Snapdragon 845 processor, while others -- particularly those sold outside of North America and possibly China -- will include Samsung's home-grown Exynos 9810 processor.
Those new chips should lead to improved CPU and graphics performance and also contribute to whatever improvement in photo and video quality that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will ultimately deliver over their predecessors.
Ultimately, it seems as though the Galaxy S9 will be a straightforward enhancement of the prior-generation Galaxy S8. There don't seem to be any obvious whiz-bang feature improvements/additions, but the improvements across the board should make for a noticeably better device. It might take a while to see how customers respond to these improvements, though I think it'll be clear shortly after Samsung begins taking orders for the phones whether it's an instant hit or simply not good enough.
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