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Four ways the Galaxy S9 design could change from the S8

Here's what the rumors and "leaked" renders tell us.

Josh Miller/CNET

There's no shortage of alleged leaks and fan-made renders to satisfy our appetite while we await Samsung's official Feb. 25 unveiling of its next flagship phone. We've heard rumors about the Galaxy S9's performance and features -- like its potential face-scanning features and camera upgrades -- but we've also heard murmurs about the phone's design.

At first glance, the Galaxy S9 could look just like the Galaxy S8, which expanded the screen-to-body ratio, slimmed down those bezels and stretched the phone to be a little taller and more narrow. Look a little closer, though, and a few rumored differences hint that the Galaxy S9 might not get a 100 percent cookie-cutter design. 

Keep in mind that none of these rumors have been verified, and that Samsung has not responded to a request for comment.

Rumor 1: Even narrower bezels

The Galaxy S9's bezels may get marginally smaller, according to rumored CAD-based factory renders. Although the Galaxy S8 already sports thin bezels, this could help maximize screen space on the S9.

Rumor 2: Vertical rear cameras 

Another physical change may be exclusive to the larger S9 variant, the Galaxy S9 Plus. Several renders and references point to this model getting dual rear cameras. Instead of sitting side by side as they do on the Galaxy Note 8, the images consistently forecast these lenses stacked one on top of the other. This change would affect the way the phone looks, and could play a big role in how the Galaxy S9 Plus takes photos.

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Rumor 3: Fingerprint scanner relocates

Samsung could also move the fingerprint reader from the right side of the rear camera lens to just below the camera, on both the S9 and S9 Plus. That would fix our biggest complaint with the S8 design, the awkwardness of reaching around the lens to unlock the phone with your fingerprint.

Rumor 4: Phone front will get Samsung's version of iPhone X's Face ID

The Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones can already unlock when they scan your face, but Samsung admitted this feature was never as secure as the fingerprint reader. Now, the S9 phones are rumored to get their own version of a secure face unlock, one that Apple gained attention for with the iPhone X's Face ID.

Rumored to be called Intelligent Scan, it could combine iris scanning, which is considered secure enough for mobile payments, with face unlock. It isn't clear if the technology would use capabilities unlocked with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 845 processor, which would make it a lot more like Face ID, scanning your melon with up to 50,000 infrared dots (Face ID scans with 30,000).

Want to know what the Galaxy S9 will really look like? Stay tuned to CNET as we cover the Galaxy S9 unveiling on Feb. 25.