Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review: What can the luxury smartphone do?

Is the premium smartphone still worth it today?

Tech specs: The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus at a glance

In 2018, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus smartphones were among the fastest, most beautiful and most technically sophisticated devices on the market. A look at their spec sheets quickly reveals why: a lightning-fast processor, a high-end camera, and a brilliant, colourful display. 

Samsung has since discontinued the smartphone, but it is still available as a second-hand or refurbished device – and it still scores strong in performance too. ⚡

👉 How strong is the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and how does it compare to smartphones like the Huawei P20 Pro or the Galaxy S9? Read ahead to get all the facts on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus right here.

✅ All the facts on the table 

From the Samsung S9 Plus’s display to the camera to the user interface - Samsung's 2018 flagship merits praise. Why was it so highly revered? A look at the specs provides the first answer to this question:

  • Display: 6.2 inches / 15.75 centimetres Super AMOLED Gorilla Glass 5

  • Resolution: 440 x 2960 pixels at 530 ppi

  • Processor: Exynos 9810 Octa-Core (64 Bit) with 4 x 2.70 GHz + 4 x 1.70 GHz

  • RAM: 6 GB

  • Storage: 64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB

  • Expandable Storage: Up to 400 GB with microSDXC card

  • Camera: 12MP Dual camera (wide + telephoto lens)

  • Weight: 189 grams

  • Battery capacity: 3,500 mAh

  • Features: IP68 waterproof, wireless charging via Qi standard

⚫ The S9 Plus differs in many ways from its little brother, the Samsung Galaxy S9. Besides the most obvious feature - the larger screen - the S9 Plus model offers 2GB more RAM, a 500 mAh bigger battery and a dual camera. The display looks even sleeker thanks to the lack of bezels too. 

⚫ Samsung also fixed one small shortcoming of the S9: the fingerprint scanner on the S9 Plus is more conveniently placed. Namely, it’s no longer next to the camera, but below it. This makes it much easier to reach, which is particularly advantageous with a bigger phone.

How does the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus perform?

It's down to the nitty-gritty: after all, a smartphone should not only look good but also offer stable performance. Samsung does a lot right here.

📱 The 8-core processor

The 8-core Exynos 9810 processor was industry-leading in the spring of 2018, and it still impresses today. A processor doesn’t just allow a phone to run smoothly, it should also make it run efficiently. Admittedly, the S9 Plus battery is not the strongest at 3,500 mAh since some smartphone batteries come at twice the size. One example comes from the Samsung Galaxy M51, equipped with a battery that boasts 7,000 mAh.

🔋 Performance & battery

But back to the S9 Plus: the processor and battery work so well together that you can expect an average runtime of more than 13 hours - at least when new. That's a full three hours longer than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S8, which does have the same battery capacity. And even after two years, the battery hardly loses any capacity: you can still expect around 90% performance.

Additionally, Samsung has installed 6 GB of RAM in the Galaxy S9 Plus. Complex programs and demanding games will run smoothly on the smartphone, even with several apps open.

📸 Can the camera of the Galaxy S9 keep up?

And then there's the camera in the S9 Plus. The dual cameras come with a special variable aperture feature. This is still rare in the smartphone market, and it allows you to choose between an aperture size of f/2.4 and f/1.5. The automatic mode uses the smaller aperture in bright surroundings and prevents overexposure, among other things. The larger f1/.5 aperture is suitable for dark light situations. It, too, is automatically activated as soon as the brightness drops below a certain level. 

Samsung included this to balance performance in all kinds of lighting situations. However, many tests rated the photo quality in low-light conditions as being pretty poor. In particular, the detail is greatly reduced with the larger aperture.

Samsung did integrate some fun photo functions though. These include the super slow motion with 960 frames per second, which can be activated automatically thanks to a clever trick. The portrait mode is great for taking pictures of people and automatically blurs the background for a professional-looking photo. 💁

Samsung S9 Plus vs Huawei P20 Pro

Also released near the beginning of 2018, Huawei unveiled the P20 Pro, directly competing with the S9 Plus. Releasing a high-end smartphone represented a new direction for Huawei since they were previously known for their affordable smartphones. 

A look at the P20 Pro’s specs shows that Huawei made strides to catch up to the S9 Plus:

  • Display: 6.1-inch OLED Gorilla Glass 5

  • Resolution: 1080 x 2240 pixels at 408 ppi

  • Processor: Kirin 970 8-Core with 4 x 2.36 GHz + 4 x 1.80 GHz

  • RAM: 6 GB

  • Storage Capacity: 128 GB

  • Camera: Triple camera (40 + 20 + 8 MP)

  • Weight: 174 grams

  • Battery capacity: 4,000 mAh

  • Special features: IP67 waterproof

👊 Want a closer look at the comparison: Huawei P20 Pro vs S9 Plus

In terms of real-life performance, the smartphones do not differ much, but Samsung is just a bit ahead of Huawei in the benchmark tests

There are significant differences in the camera though. The triple camera system in the Huawei P20 Pro was a novelty in 2018. A whopping 40 megapixels allow razor-sharp resolutions, plus a colour-strong sensor. The battery is a little more powerful too and depending on the intensity of use, you can look forward to a few additional hours of life.

In the end, it's down to details as far as the difference between these two smartphones. Samsung is a little faster; Huawei has a stronger camera. Both are excellent smartphones – and the models are of great value relevant to their price.

👊 Competition from within: Samsung Galaxy S9 vs S9 Plus

What does the Galaxy S9 vs S9+ look like? That link will take you to our comparison guide so you can see how both devices perform in detail. 

To make it simple, the Galaxy S9 Plus does perform better than its little sibling in most areas. However, at the end of the day, the Samsung S9 Series is full of premium smartphones, and you’d be happy with either option.


Is the Samsung S9 Plus price worth it?

At release, the Galaxy S9 Plus 64GB was priced at £869. 💸 The larger-storage options were some of the most expensive smartphones in 2018. In view of the features, however, the price-performance ratio was still pretty good.

Now years later, the Samsung phone is available at a fraction of the price. Less than a year after its release, the smallest version was selling for around £499. Today, you can pay less than £200 -- at least, if you opt for the refurbished version.

Conclusion - winner for the price-conscious

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is still a high-end smartphone. lt’s worth buying especially in certified refurbished condition. 

Many people always go straight for the latest devices when buying a new phone, although you can often be happy with slightly older models. It’s just important to be clear on what you expect from the phone and what your budget is. 

If you are interested in the Galaxy S9, we have some exciting articles for you here:

Is the Samsung S9 Plus price worth it?

At release, the Galaxy S9 Plus 64GB was priced at £869. 💸 The larger-storage options were some of the most expensive smartphones in 2018. In view of the features, however, the price-performance ratio was still pretty good.

Back Market

Written by BrianMarketing Manager Back Market UK & Ireland

When not talking about the latest eco-friendly tech and reducing our carbon footprint, Brian enjoys the odd game of football, a classic horror (book or film) or just to kick back with a beer or a proper Scottish whisky. Slàinte Mhath!

Did you find this article useful ?

Related articles