Samsung has taken the wraps off its latest Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones at its Unpacked 2018 event in Barcelona.

With over 1.2 trillion photos taken in 2017, the S9 models are focused on giving consumers more of what they love, a great camera experience, along with enhanced entertainment as well as connectivity.

Visually, the S9 and S9+are similar in size and appearance to their S8 and S8+counterparts. The S9 comes with a 5.8-inch display, and the S9+ a 6.2 inch, and both have similar cases to the S8s, with curved screen edges and a sleek profile.

It’s also good to see that the S9s retain their IP67 dust and water resistance, fast wireless charging and headphone jack. Expandable MicroSD card memory has been increased from 256GB to a massive 400GB, which, when added to the 256GB internal memory of the top end models, adds up to 656GB of potential storage.

It’s all about the camera

The new camera system in the S9 brings a few new mode: Super Low Light, as well as Super Slow Motion video recording. The new dual aperture 1.5 and 2.4 lens system lets 28 percent more light hit the sensor, meaning that the camera can perform even better in low light than the S8, which was already very good. This also brings faster low-light auto-focus, where otherwise, the focus system would need to spend time hunting for something to focus on.

The S9 (right) compared to the S8 (left) when taking a photo in near-dark conditions.

Added to this is a new multi-frame noise reduction process where 12 pictures are taken at once and combined to deliver the best possible clarity, and reduced ‘graininess’ in low-light photos. Compared to the S8, the system is said to reduce noise by 30 percent.

With the demo that we saw, a photo was taken in very low – nearly dark – conditions. The result was a sharp photo that looked like it was taken in near daylight settings. We’ll continue to test the S9’s low light performance for a full review to be published next week.

On the video side of things, the S9’s improved processing and memory architecture mean that it can capture more imagery in less time. While the S8 has a Slow-Mo feature that recorded video at 240 frames a second, the S9 models’ Super Slow-Motion can record 960 frames a second, for a .2 second duration. This equates to 6 seconds of Super Slow-Motion playback.

And to help you time your recordings perfectly, there’s an auto-start feature that lets you define an area on the screen that will trigger the recording once movement is detected in that zone. We tested out a recording of a water balloon breaking, and the results were spectacular.

The S9 and S9+ look quite similar to the S8’s that came before, but there are subtle differences.

Bear in mind, however, that to use the auto-start feature, the phone should be stationary and any movement within your selected zone will trigger the recording, so it’s only useful in certain circumstances.

Otherwise, once you create your Super Slo-Mo recordings, you can convert them into GIFs to share, add music to them, or set them as your wallpaper or lock-screen artwork.

Fun times

While Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X introduced the ‘Animoji’ idea, which is a 3D ‘avatar’ that matches your facial expressions, and that you could record and send to friends, the S9 has a more personalised take on it.

Samsung’s new AR Emojis, use Augmented Reality to create a personalised 3D avatar from your own face. You can then customise your avatar’s look, give it a haircut, add glasses and outfits.