The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are fantastic handsets, but they aren’t perfect—no smartphone ever is. The flagships have their share of drawbacks that we hope Samsung will address with their successors.
The Galaxy S9 series will be announced sometime next year, likely in February/March, although we have heard reports claiming we’ll see it as soon as January. As we’re still months away from its reveal, there aren’t a lot of specific rumors going around regarding which exciting new features it may bring to the table. Nevertheless, we have a few good ideas on this topic we want to share with you.
In this post, we take a look at some of the things we want to see on the Galaxy S9 that would make it a lot more interesting than its predecessor.
An under-display fingerprint scanner
The fingerprint scanner is one of the biggest drawbacks of the Galaxy S8 due to its location. You’ll find it on the back, next to the camera, which not only looks weird but is also impractical.
Placing it below the camera in the middle of the device on the Galaxy S9 would be an improvement, but that’s not what we’re hoping for. What we want to see is Samsung equip its flagship with an under-display fingerprint scanner that will allow you to unlock the device by placing your finger on a certain part of the screen.
This would be great for a number of reasons. It would make the overall design of the device a lot cleaner, as the scanner should be invisible. Also, moving it from the back to the front would make it easier to unlock the smartphone while it’s placed on a table, for example, because you wouldn’t have to pick it up to quickly check something.
We’ve heard plenty of rumors regarding under-display fingerprint sensors in the last year or so, which initially claimed the Galaxy S8 will be the first to get it. The latest rumors now suggest that the technology is still not ready yet and that the first Samsung device to feature it could be the Note 9. However, things change, so there’s still a chance the development will speed up and that we’ll see an under-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S9. Fingers crossed.
A larger battery
Samsung has decided to play it safe with the batteries found inside the Galaxy S8 series based on what happened with the Note 7. The battery life of the two devices isn’t bad, but it’s not great. There’s room for improvement, so we hope the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will come with larger batteries.
The Galaxy S8 packs a 3,000 mAh battery, just like its predecessor that has a much smaller 5.1-inch display. The LG G6, on the other hand, which is around the same size as the S8, sports a 3,300 mAh battery.
The battery of the Galaxy S8 Plus has a capacity of 3,500 mAh, which is slightly smaller than that of last year’s S7 Edge (3,600 mAh). The leader in the phablet category is currently the Huawei Mate 10 that has a similar footprint as the S8 Plus but features a much larger 4,000 mAh battery.
Based on the assumption that the upcoming Galaxy S9 smartphones will have roughly the same footprint as their predecessors, a 4,000 mAh battery for the larger handset is something we would like to see. If Huawei can pull this off, so can Samsung. As for its smaller brother, bumping the battery up to at least 3,300 mAh is the way to go, which would put it on par with other similarly sized devices.
By combining larger batteries with the next-generation of flagship Snapdragon and Exynos chipsets that could be more energy-efficient than their predecessors, the battery life of the Galaxy S9 series might be a lot better when compared to the S8 smartphones.
A dual-camera setup
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have a single primary camera, while the majority of their rivals are equipped with two sensors on the back. Therefore, a dual-camera setup is something we want to see on the Galaxy S9.
The Note 8 is the first Samsung device to come with a dual-camera setup, and the likelihood of the company bringing it to its Galaxy S series is extremely high. The only major flagships that don’t have it at this point are the Pixel 2 smartphones, but they are still able to capture those fancy bokeh images despite missing the second lens.
If our wish is granted, we expect the setup on the Galaxy S9 to be the same as the one on the Note 8: a standard sensor and a secondary telephoto lens that can achieve 2x optical zoom. However, we would like to see both lenses sport larger apertures that would improve the quality of images taken in low-light conditions.
Related: Understanding aperture
The Note 8’s main camera has an f/1.7 aperture, while the aperture of the secondary lens is f/2.4. For comparison, the market leaders in this category are the two Mate 10 smartphones, which are equipped with dual cameras both featuring an f/1.6 aperture.
The camera is one of the key factors that influence consumers’ purchasing decisions, so we’re almost certain the Galaxy S9 series will have two sensors on the back. Otherwise, it will fall behind the majority of the competition, which could potentially have a negative effect on sales.
A headphone jack
As you may know, the Galaxy S8 does have a headphone jack. So why did we include it on this list? The problem is that the headphone jack is on the way to becoming a thing of the past. A lot of flagship smartphones don’t have it these days, including the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL that were recently announced. We hope that Samsung won’t follow this trend with the Galaxy S9, as the headphone jack is still widely used among consumers.
Can you live without it? Sure you can, especially if you don’t listen to music very often. And even if you do, you can get yourself a pair of Bluetooth or USB Type-C headphones, or an adapter that allows you to plug in your standard pair of headphones into the charging port of the device.
However, none of these things are ideal. Bluetooth headphones may not offer the same audio quality as wired ones, while those with a USB Type-C plug don’t allow you to listen to audio and charge your smartphone at the same time. The same goes for the adapter, which can also be easily misplaced due to its small size. To learn more why not having a headphone jack is a bad idea, check out the great post on this topic written by our very own Joe Hindy.
The headphone jack is still seen as an essential part of a smartphone by many, so we hope Samsung won’t decide to ditch it.
The point I’m trying to make is that we still see the headphone jack as an essential part of a smartphone in this day and age, which is why we hope Samsung won’t copy others and decide to ditch it. Because if that happens, a number of other manufacturers will likely follow soon after.
Dual front-facing speakers
The Samsung Galaxy S8 excels in the performance department, but we can’t say the same when it comes to audio. The device only has a single bottom-firing speaker that gets the job done, but is average at best. A flagship smartphone should be able to produce high-quality sound, which is why we hope Samsung will equip the Galaxy S9 with a pair of loud front-facing speakers.
Sure, that might be a problem due to the thin bezels the smartphone will likely come with. However, the Pixel 2 XL also has a bezel-less design with two speakers on the front, so we do know that it can be done.
Front-facing speakers offer a great audio experience, as the sound is directed straight towards you. Unlike bottom-firing speakers, they are also more difficult to cover up with your fingers when playing games or watching videos.
We’ve seen them on a number of smartphones so far, especially those made by HTC. Hopefully, Galaxy S9 handsets will join this list once they make their debut sometime next year.
A cheaper price tag
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are expensive. The unlocked versions of the two smartphones launched in the US with a price tag of $724.99 and $824.99, making them more expensive than their predecessors ($669.99 and $769.99). Not only are we hoping this trend won’t continue with the Galaxy S9, we also wish the two smartphones will be more affordable.
Samsung dictates pricing on the flagship smartphone market with its Galaxy S series.
The reason for this is that the Galaxy S series dictates pricing on the flagship Android smartphone market. Other manufacturers including LG and Huawei normally sell their high-end handsets for a little less than Samsung in hopes of getting a competitive advantage over the largest smartphone maker in the world. If Samsung lower its prices (or at least doesn’t increase them), the majority of other players in the market would have no choice but to do the same.
A lower price tag could potentially also increase demand for the Galaxy S9 series and, therefore, make the company even more money. Additionally, it would allow Samsung to gets its Bixby digital assistant in front of more users, which is a must if it really wants to compete with Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.
Nevertheless, the chances of Samsung actually lowering prices are slim. Although we do hope it happens, we wouldn’t bet on it. The company has a loyal fan base that is willing to spend big on Samsung-branded devices, as shown by the sales numbers of the Note 8, which is even more expensive than the Galaxy S8 Plus ($929 unlocked).
These are the main features we want to see on the Galaxy S9, but there are also a few others that come to mind. One of them is an official way to remap the Bixby button that the two smartphones will likely come with, without downloading any third-party software. Not everyone likes or wants to use the company’s digital assistant, so it would be great for Samsung to offer an option that would enable users to open an app of their choice with the button.
We also wouldn’t mind if Samsung could guarantee three years of OS updates for the upcoming devices, just like Google does for the Pixels. This is something that would definitely make the Galaxy S9 even more appealing and could set a new trend other manufacturers may follow.
What are some of the features you would like to see on the Galaxy S9? Let us know in the comments.