Point and Shoot
t2 checks out Samsung’s latest offerings — that may become your BFFs — in ?Barcelona??
Smartphone sales, especially in the premium segment, is stalling because people want to hold on to their devices longer, waiting for functions that are worth an upgrade.
The iPhone X impressed but did Apple manage to sell boatloads of this model during the last holiday season? Well, people managed to find one easily. What’s required is having a higher benchmark, something that would make us spend a stash on a phone. And that’s exactly what Samsung delivered during its outing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday.
The audience? Four thousand people. The two phones before them? Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. The one word buzzing around? “Wow!”
At a glance, the phones’ bezels are narrow to the point of being non-existent. Yet, the looks... an extension of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. It is the camera that matters.
It’s about the aperture
Before coming to the point, let’s understand why aperture is important. Aperture, in simple words, is an opening through which light enters the camera. A wider aperture means more light. And more light helps in taking selfies and pictures of people. But when you are capturing the landscape in daylight, you would like a narrower aperture. As aperture grows, closeup snaps and that of landscape photography suffers.
This is where the new phones win in a huge way because it offers dual aperture — f/1.5 and f/2.4. So, if the phone detects you are taking landscape photos, the latter would kick in, while a dimly lit situation or selfie would demand the former, complete with bokeh effect.
We finally have a smartphone that comes with optical zoom (dual-lens camera on the S9+), blur-free output and now multi-aperture. Let’s not forget, these cameras also have machine learning enhancements. In short, the camera now tries to copy what a human eye does automatically.
If the Galaxy S9 is on your buy-buy list, you might try enjoying your next holiday DSLR-free!
Upping the video game
There has been a lot of improvement in video recording, thanks to stereo speakers and enhanced slow-motion capture.
Recording of slow-mo videos can be done in two ways — start and stop recording. Second, automated slow motion. Here’s how it works. Press the record icon but the phone will start recording in super slow-mo when it detects motion. Go ahead and record at 960fps, resulting in addictive slow-mo shots. A 0.2-second clip turns into six seconds of wow film. The technology puts it in line with last year’s Sony Xperia XZ Premium, which is also capable of 960fps slow-mo.
Good work, Bixby
Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby is now more intelligent. Just fire up Bixby Vision, point at any text and immediately get a translation. Not just translate, the fonts in the translated text look similar to the original.
We had seen the DeX last year but we thought the device to connect the phone to a monitor, keyboard mouse (thereby turning it into a desktop) had some way to go. So, a new model of DeX is here and it sports a USB type-C connector, two USB ports and one HDMI port. And the docking station doesn’t come in the way of the phone’s headphone jack. Also, the dock keeps the phone at a horizontal rather than in an upright position, allowing the screen to be used as a trackpad.
No taking chances
Apple’s Face ID had its share of critics. Iris and face scanning technology is all fine but over the last few months there have been a couple of occasions of the technology being reportedly hoodwinked. Samsung is no stranger to iris and face scanning technology, yet the fingerprint scanner has not been done away with, which is now below the rear camera module.
Apple likes to improve on existing technology. This time Samsung has gone out and done something similar by taking a page out of Apple’s book of animated augmented reality emojis. The iPhone X’s animojis map facial expressions on to cartoon images of animals and even the poo emoji. The S9 can map expressions on to cartoon versions of your face! You can have 18 expressions and your choice of clothes. Not done. You can even share the resulting emoji, which will work on anybody’s messaging app.
Specs, at a glance
S9: 5.8-inch Quad HD curved AMOLED
S9+: 6.2-inch Quad HD curved AMOLED
S9: 12MP, dual pixel sensor and aperture
S9+: 12MP dual lens and aperture
S9 & S9+: 8MP
S9: 4GB RAM
S9+: 6GB RAM
S9 and S9+: 64GB/128GB/
256GB (plus 400GB expandable storage)
IF YOU’RE WONDERING...
1. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will ship with Android 8 Oreo.
2. It will come in four colours — midnight black, coral blue, lilac purple and titanium grey.
3. Expandable storage slot is up to 400GB.
4. Shipping begins March 16.
5. In the US, the S9 will start at $719 and its plus-sized sibling comes at $839. India prices to be announced soon.
Mathures Paul in Barcelona