3 things we learned from Galaxy S9 teardown

iFixit's examination of Samsung's flagship phone may explain why low-light images are often blurry.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read

The Galaxy S9 is finally here, and it's time to take a look at what makes Samsung's new flagship handset tick.

The phone features a sexy dual-curved design and a terrific camera for well-lit shots. But low-light images often look blurry and lack the fine texture and contrast of competing phone cameras. So what gives?

Thankfully, our friend tech repair site iFixit has posted its extensive Galaxy S9 Plus teardown, as it does for many a new gadget upon release. Here's what we just learned from Samsung's flagship laid bare.


The Samsung S9 Plus's dual cameras, one of which has a dual-aperture lens as well.


First let's get to that industry-first dual aperture lens that Samsung put in both Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones . While standard camera lenses use at least five aperture blades, the S9 uses just two rotating, ring-like blades for its single auto-adjust for low light, which might explain the sometimes blurry photos.


The S9's biometric hardware hasn't changed much.


The S9 sports 3D avatars and new face unlock tools meant to match similar features in the iPhone X, but they fall short of the mark. The reason may lie in the S9's biometric hardware. iFixit found the handset's iris scanner, front-facing camera, IR emitter and proximity sensor are "pretty much exactly" what was found in last year's Galaxy S8 .


The battery should seem familiar too.


The Galaxy S9 Plus delivers strong battery life, but that's not so new either. In a bit of déjà vu, iFixit found the battery to be a 3.85V, 3500mAh unit weighing in at 13.48Wh. If that sounds familiar, it's because those are same specs of the battery found in the Galaxy S8 Plus last year. Also, iFixit found that while replacing the S9 Plus's battery is technically possible, accessing it's a bit of a challenge.

My CNET colleague Jessica Dolcourt calls the Samsung S9 a good upgrade from older Androids, but says S8 owners can skip it.

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