My second date with the Samsung Galaxy S9

My second date with the Samsung Galaxy S9

These past 48 hours with the Galaxy S9 have flown by. I've begun to uncover both pleasant surprises and the device's rough edges, some of which I've seen already in previous Samsung devices. After two days, I have more impressions of the S9 to share with you.

Bixby is winning me over little by little

After taking the S9 out of the box and configuring the device for the first time, you have to choose the device's language. At that moment, I thought of Bixby. It only speaks three languages ​​at the moment: English, Korean and Chinese. In the last two I'm not even able to say 'hello', but English with an Andalusian accent I can manage. So, in order to get the most out of the S9 with Bixby, I had no choice but to choose English, which isn't my first language.

For the initial configuration of Bixby you have to say a few sentences more than with Google Assistant, which is also on the device. Once everything is set up, I can go deep into its settings. It has a power that other assistants don't have which has compelled me to use it every now and then. With Bixby you can automate actions with phrases or words. For example, you can say 'Hey Bixby, dog' and have the camera start recording video automatically. There are many options to choose from for settings and actions.

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I like when it listens to me. / © NextPit

Though this isn't anything new for Bixby, it's my first time truly making use of it and I'm really enjoying it. I've noticed that Bixby gets a little jealous and does not answer me sometimes when I use Google Assistant at the same time, but I have to dig deeper into this problem before drawing a conclusion. On the other hand, I look forward to seeing how the new Bixby 2.0 applications will work; I can't wait to start counting calories with the camera. 

Facial unlocking isn't the best, but it's versatile

The facial unlocking of the S8 was criticized for its speed, or lack thereof. In the S9, it is combined with the iris scanner and the results are better. It may not be as good as Honor or Apple yet, but I see some progress.

To start with, you can unlock the device from different angles: with the phone on one side and almost looking sideways, with the phone resting on the table or lying on the bed. It also works more or less well in the dark. The advantage here is not that it is faster, but at least it is more versatile. 

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It unlocks from almost any angle. / © NextPit

If what you want is to unlock your phone quickly, the best thing is still to use the fingerprint sensor on the back, and this time it's in a good location, unlike on the S8.

You can have bokeh effects without a dual camera

The bokeh effect went mainstream thanks to the trend of smartphones with dual cameras. But you don't need a dual camera to take portrait photos with a blurry background. The best example of this is the Pixel 2, and now also the Galaxy S9. After all, the effect is replicated through software, although it's easier to do with two lenses.

With the S9, both selfies and portraits with an out-of-focus background are pretty good. It still has limitations, with some bad effects on the edges, but generally the results are very satisfactory.

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Bokeh effect with the front camera / © NextPit
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Bokeh effect with the rear camera / © NextPit

Getting lost in all the menu options

There's one thing I hate about Samsung: Touchwiz. Samsung reformed its custom interface with the new Grace UX and Samsung Experience in the latest flagships, but there I still have reservations about it. In the S9 we also find those same reordered menus, which for a pure Android fan like me can be become somewhat convoluted. There's more than one way to get to the same place and endless options to configure.

There are times when I appreciate being able to have so many options, but when I want something quick, it bothers me not to find it the first time. I also think about the less experienced users, for who half of the options may sound like Chinese, and not to mention users who come from a much simpler system like iOS. I guess it's the usual dichotomy: you either have too many options, or not enough.

There are still many things to discover and try. That's how dates are. I'll have more to tell you tomorrow!

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  • Richard Fernandez Mar 8, 2018 Link to comment

    ill wait for something other than the s9, im not impressed with it. s8 note stil works , and in anouther few months s9 will be old news.