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Someone got his hands on a Galaxy S9 and spilled its remaining secrets

Updated Feb 16th, 2018 1:16PM EST
Galaxy S9 Specs
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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We have just over one week to go until Samsung finally takes the wraps off its new flagship smartphone duo, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Well to be honest, there aren’t really any “wraps” on either new smartphone anymore. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are two of the most hotly anticipated handsets of 2018, so they’ve been the focus of countless leaks and rumors for nearly six months now. Despite the fact that neither phone has been made official by Samsung, we’ve already known everything there is to know about them for what seems like an eternity. Or at least, we thought we knew everything.

The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+’s release date, specs, price, and key features leaked out ages ago, but it turns out that there are still a few things left unknown. At least, there were. Someone managed to get his hands on a Galaxy S9 and shared some interesting specifics surrounding some upcoming Galaxy S9 features. The new details help paint an even more complete of what we can expect when Samsung hosts its first Unpacked press conference of 2018 in just over one week.

An anonymous Reddit user supposedly spent 20 minutes of hands-on time with a “very close to production” Galaxy S9. He posted an “Ask Me Anything” thread, or AMA, in which he took questions and answered them over the course of more than 12 hours.

In fact, the user had posted 75 comments in the AMA thread at the time of this writing, addressing a wide range of questions from eager Android fans. At least some of the details covered in the thread were previously unreported, and BGR confirmed with a well-placed source that many of the details provided in the thread are accurate.

First and foremost, the user reaffirms that visually, the new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are nearly identical to the flagship phones they replace, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. It’s almost impossible to distinguish them from the front, in fact. “I was really so [surprised] at the fact that it looked like I was holding an s8. It’s really that similar,” the Redditor wrote. Around back, the fingerprint sensor has notably been centered and moved beneath the camera lens on both new Galaxy S9 phones. One model — the Galaxy S9+ — also has a new dual-lens camera setup on the back.

Of course, these are things we’ve known for quite some time. In terms of new information, there are a few interesting tidbits to be found in the thread.

For one thing, the user confirmed a recent rumor that the Galaxy S9 has stereo speakers, one in the earpiece and a second at the bottom of the phone, just like Apple’s recent iPhones. He says the sound is a “major improvement” compared to Samsung’s current Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. The Redditor also had good things to say about the Galaxy S9 camera, which offers dramatically improved photo quality as well as 4K video support at higher frame rates. He did note that 1,000 fps slow-motion is not supported, though.

Finally, the Reddit user shed some additional light on the upcoming 3D Emoji feature, which is Samsung’s copy of the Animoji feature that debuted last year on the iPhone X. According to the Redditor’s AMA, it’s not a one-to-one copy of Animoji, instead offering a slightly different user experience that is apparently better in some ways, but worse in others.

“They’re not a direct ripoff of animoji, more like a mix between animoji and bitmoji,” he wrote in a reply on Reddit. “You create an avatar, and can control its facial features, similar to an animoji. IMO it looks less polished than ‘apple’s version.’ They are similar but different things. If they’re worth the hype or not is another question. Personally I don’t care at all about apple’s animoji, and I also don’t care about samsung’s avatar-thingys.”

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.