Samsung Galaxy S9: what you need to know

What has Samsung got for 2018?

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Whether or not you're a seasoned Samsung fan, there's no doubt the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 were some of the very best handsets of 2017, all minimal bezels and Infinity Displays and soft curves. They even held on to their fingerprint sensors too...

It's now more than six months since the first of those phones made its debut, which means it's time to start thinking about what Samsung is going to do as a sequel - the sort of features we might see on its flagship phone line next year. Here's what we know so far.

Samsung Galaxy S9: the story so far

Before we dive into the features we're expecting on the Samsung Galaxy S9 (and Samsung Galaxy S9+), let's remind ourselves of the features we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S8 (and Samsung Galaxy S8+).

It's hard to think of anything much that Samsung left out - these two phones had top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processors, up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (plus space for a microSD slot), and 12 megapixel, f/1.7 aperture rear-facing cameras.

Then of course there were the displays, 5.8 and 6.2 inches respectively, extending the screens to 18.5:9 aspect ratios and packing in more than 4 million pixels each.

Apart from that screen size, and the size of the overall chassis, there's not too much to choose between the two handsets - as of this year, they both now feature curved edges at each side. The bigger S8+ has a bigger battery, but it also has a bigger screen to power.

Add in bonus extras like wireless charging and waterproofing with an IP68 rating, and those are two big acts to follow. They act as a baseline for what we're expecting to see in 2018 - Samsung is going to try and raise the bar in some if not all those areas.

In particular the camera didn't receive much of a bump between the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 - this is one place we might see a significant upgrade this time, which brings us on to...

Samsung Galaxy S9: what we're expecting

Let's start with that camera and it seems likely that we'll get a bump in this area - remember the Note 8 got an upgrade to a dual-sensor 12MP model, so there's every reason to suspect the Galaxy S9 will get the same improvements.

Another report suggests super-slow-mo video is going to be included for budding moviemakers, up to 1,000 frames-per-second if you need it.

Interestingly, there's a patent application doing the rounds that shows the fingerprint sensor might return to the front of the device via a notch down at the bottom of the screen. That would certainly be an improvement over the sensor placement on the S8 and S8+.

As for the internal power, it's likely that the rumoured Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 will be in the phone in some regions, and an upgraded Exynos chip in others. That should be paired with 6GB of RAM.

Reports from Asia say that the battery is going to get a major upgrade too, which wouldn't be a surprise - the battery packs inside the S8 and the S8+ weren't particularly huge, and everybody wants more battery life.

Samsung is also expected to match Apple with a 3D face-scanning system of some kind - you can already unlock the S8 and S8+ phones with your eyes, but the system in the Galaxy S9 should be much accurate, advanced and capable.

There have also been hints that the Galaxy S9 will launch with a series of modular accessories, but as other manufacturers like LG and Motorola have struggled to make modular add-ons take off, we're not so sure about that rumour.

Samsung Galaxy S9: launch date and price

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and its bigger sibling were announced and unveiled on 29 March, 2017, and so we're looking at around the same date or even earlier for the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

Interestingly, Samsung decided not to launch the phone at the big Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona at the end of February - that's something the company has done with its flagships in the past, and it may well go back to that routine next year. MWC 2018 is scheduled for 26 February to 1 March, though press launches usually happen a day or two before.

As for pricing, the Galaxy S8 originally retailed for £639 in the UK and $725 in the US SIM-free, with the S8+ coming in at £780 in the UK and $825 in the US SIM-free. We'd expect the S9 and S9+ to be around that level too, though maybe just a touch lower.

These are Samsung's premium phones, after all - so they'll be commanding premium prices next year as well. With the iPhone X starting at such a high level, Samsung won't feel under too much pressure to cut its prices next time around.

There's no doubt the two Galaxy S8 phones have been big hits for Samsung this year, and that means the Galaxy S9 should be well worth waiting for - look for camera improvements, a Bixby that's better than ever, another Infinity Display screen, and maybe a few surprises as well.