Update: The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus probably won’t be teased in January, so we might be waiting until March to officially see it.
Samsung will almost certainly launch a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus alongside the standard Samsung Galaxy S9, if past form is anything to go by.
And based on previous launches we can predict that this will be a bigger phone than the S9, with a larger battery too, but otherwise very similar.
The information disseminating onto the web about the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has yet to reach groundswell, but there are a number of Galaxy S9 rumors which we can use as a starting point.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The Galaxy S9’s larger sibling
- When is it out? Probably early 2018
- What will it cost? Likely upwards of $850/£780/AU$1,350
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus release date and price
- A January tease looks unlikely
- An announcement may happen in March
It’s been rumored that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will be teased in January at CES 2018 (which takes place from January 9-12). However, Samsung has now claimed that this is “unlikely.”
Even if a tease does happen, the phone apparently won’t be fully unveiled and launched until later in the year, probably around the end of March (since that’s when the Samsung Galaxy S8 landed).
Alternatively, there’s a chance that the Galaxy S9 Plus will be fully announced at MWC 2018, which takes place from February 26 to March 1.
Whenever it lands it’s going to be expensive. There aren’t any price rumors yet, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus launched for $850/£780/AU$1,350. We’d expect the Galaxy S9 Plus will have a similar or higher price.
TechRadar’s take: Our best guess is a launch in late March, while a January tease now seems unlikely.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus screen
- A fingerprint and water resistant coating
- An in-screen fingerprint scanner
We have no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will have a big, curved Super AMOLED screen. We don’t know exactly what size yet, but it’s likely to stay around the same size as the 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.
It may well stick with the same 1,440 x 2,960 resolution too, and will probably have the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio, given Samsung needs time for that new screen shape to bed into the apps market.
We’ve heard of a few ways in which it might differ though. For one, there’s a chance that a fingerprint scanner will be built into the screen, which would allow Samsung to move it back to the front without increasing the size of the bezels.
This is a rumor that’s been around for a while and was originally aimed at the Galaxy S8, but it didn’t pan out, and some sources reckon we won’t see it before the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, if at all, so don’t count on this feature.
Another possible feature is a glass coating which resists fingerprints, reduces reflections and causes water to bounce off your screen. This hasn’t been specifically linked to the S9 Plus, but Samsung has licensed the tech and plans to use it on smartphones.
TechRadar’s take: We doubt the Galaxy S9 Plus will have a fingerprint scanner built into the screen or that there will be many other substantial upgrades to the display.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus design
- Smaller bezels than on the S8 Plus
- A notch at the bottom housing the fingerprint scanner
We haven’t see much information about the design of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, though one source has stated the bezels on the standard Galaxy S9 will be even smaller than on the S8, which would make sense, and which would likely also be true of the S9 Plus.
That would mean Samsung could either shrink the body while keeping the screen the same size or make the display bigger without increasing the size of the phone.
That aside, the design is likely to be similar to the S8 Plus, with a glass back and a metal frame, though the fingerprint scanner might move. Probably not into the screen, but possibly to a more central position on the back, or, as one patent shows, built into a notch at the bottom of the screen.
Another possible design change – though a very unlikely one – is that the Galaxy S9 Plus could go modular, allowing you to attach hardware accessories a bit like Moto Mods. We’ve only heard this from one source though, and it doesn’t sound likely.
The phone might also come in a new color, as Samsung is apparently considering a purple option.
TechRadar’s take: Expect a similar design to the Galaxy S8 Plus but with some refinements. Smaller bezels are likely.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus camera
- A dual-lens camera
- A 3D face scanner
- 1,000fps slow motion shooting
Samsung may be working on a camera that can shoot at 1,000fps according to some industry sources, allowing for very high quality slow motion footage – the brand announced a sensor capable of this last year, so the Galaxy S9 seems like the right time to unveil it.
We’ve also heard that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will have a dual-lens rear camera, which is no surprise since the Galaxy Note 8 does, but that the standard Galaxy S9 might have just a single-lens camera.
The only other camera rumor relates to the front-facing camera, which leaker @UniverseIce claims might have a ‘3D sensor’. That might mean a facial recognition system a bit like Face ID on the iPhone X.
TechRadar’s take: We’d be surprised if Samsung didn’t add a second lens to the rear camera, given that it has for the Note 8. Other changes are likely too and a Face ID competitor is possible.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus battery
We haven’t heard much of anything about the Galaxy S9 Plus’s battery yet, but it’s likely to be a similar size to the 3,500mAh one in the Galaxy S8 Plus. It’s possible that it could be slightly smaller though, especially as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a smaller 3,300mAh unit despite being a bigger phone.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus OS and power
- A Snapdragon 845 chipset in the US
- An Exynos 9810 elsewhere
- 4GB of RAM
The chip you get in the Galaxy S9 Plus is likely to depend on where in the world you are. In the US you’ll probably get the Snapdragon 845, while in the rest of the world you’ll likely get the Exynos 9810.
We know more about this chip, as Samsung has announced it, revealing that it has “3rd-generation custom CPU cores, upgraded GPU, and gigabit LTE modem with industry-first 6CA support.”
Notably it supports download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps (if your network can cope), which is 20% faster than the Galaxy S8.
As for RAM, rumors point to just 4GB (despite the Note 8 having 6GB of the stuff). We’ve also seen a benchmark seemingly for the Galaxy S9 Plus, which again lists 4GB of RAM, although that’s very little to work with, as the benchmarks often change in the lead up to launch.
The operating system meanwhile will probably be Android Oreo, since that’s the latest version of Android. Of course, Samsung will skin the OS as it always does.
TechRadar’s take: The Galaxy S9 Plus will almost certainly use the Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810 chipsets. We’re less sure about the RAM amount – 4GB should be enough, but with some rivals moving higher Samsung won’t want to be left behind.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus other features
- Stereo speakers
- A pollution monitor
Other possible features according to rumors include AKG stereo speakers, which could mean superior sound to the S8 range, plus you might get Bluetooth AKG headphones in the box.
Another accessory might come in the form of a redesigned Dex that’s a pad rather than a dock. Dex allows you to connect your phone to a larger screen and have a desktop experience. Whether redesigned or not, we wouldn’t expect Dex to be thrown in though – you’ll probably have to pay extra.
And a more unlikely feature is a sensor that monitors atmospheric conditions and warns you about environmental pollution. We doubt the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will include this, but Samsung has published a patent for it.
TechRadar’s take: Don’t count on getting a pollution monitor, but stereo speakers and a redesigned Dex are believable.