CNET Tech Review
Samsung Galaxy S9 highs and lowsThe best and worst features in Samsung's new phones.
[MUSIC] Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and larger Galaxy S9 Plus are two of the best Android phones you can buy. They're packed to the gills with all the features you want in a high end phone. There's a great 12 megapixel camera with a cutting edge trick. Beautiful curved glass edges with even thinner bezels. Two gorgeous new shades, water resistance, wireless charging, some entertaining software, and currently the fastest processor on the planet. But no phone is perfect, and the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have plenty of highs and lows, you'll see what I mean. Here's what's good, starting with the two phones all screen design. On the S9 you've got 5.8 inches of display space to play with and 6.2 inches on the S9 Plus. The fingerprint reader has moved beneath the camera module on the back of the phone. It used to be way off on the side. And Samsung is letting Keep the headphone jack. A second speaker at the bottom edge of the phone makes audio loud and rich, a definite improvement over the Galaxy S8. The S9's camera also deserves a shout out, at least some aspects of the camera anyway. The 12 megapixel sensor takes clear beautiful outdoor shots with a lot of color and detail. And live focus on the S9 Plus Gives that phone the ability to create artful portrait shots that you can add it later on. You can even undo the close up scene if you want to. The jury's still out on the S9 low light photos. These are the first phones to have a dual aperture lens that physically and automatically switches between settings for daylight and low light shot. Photos are very bright and not too noisy, but the low light setting tends to be a little aggressive, making some pictures artificially bright and blurry. A new photo mode called selfie focus does a nice job adding that portrait feature to the front-facing camera, but it also wound up blurring out the edges of people's hair. Samsung also used the S9 phones to introduce two features that mimic Make the iPhone 10. And they're both really bad. AR emoji scans are faced to make an emoji of you that you can send as an animated gif or turn into a video. The problem is, there aren't enough customization options to represent actual human diversity and the animations themselves are disturbing. Take a look. Smiles don't work. I'm grimacing. [MUSIC] I hate it. My mouth is always like quivering like I'm about to cry. I feel like I always look angry no matter what. [MUSIC] Then there's intelligence scan, a not-so intelligent unlocking feature that combines face unlock and iris scanning. It's supposed to speed up how quickly you can unlock your phone, but it isn't secure at all and you can't use it for mobile payment If intelligence scan is meant to copy Apple's face ID, then this new tool if a big fat fail. Despite some [UNKNOWN] parts, I still hardly recommend the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. These are both terrific all-arounders that connective to your online world. [BLANK AUDIO]