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Samsung S9: more evolutionary than revolutionary

It’s been a busy six months for mobile phone manufacturers.

Apple came first with the iPhone 8 followed by the highly anticipated iPhone X. Google stepped in with its Pixel 2. Now it’s Samsung’s turn to join the party.

The new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are ready to chat, text and enjoy the view.

While the phones aren’t “game changers,” they do represent big strides in improvements, the ones Samsung says are most important to consumers.

The phones are the same size as their predecessors, the S8 and S8+. The screens are a bit bigger and brighter.

An advanced camera is on board along with stereo speakers.

Some fun new add-ons that Samsung thinks users will really enjoy are enhanced slow-motion video, AR emoji, and photo language translation.

Like other Samsung phones, the S9s are waterproof. They include an infinity display, a headphone jack, and wireless charging.

Better audio is promised for streaming audio and video can be made slow, no we mean really slow. Slower than that actually.

Cell phone cameras keep getting better and the S9s click the same way. Like its recently updated competitors, the devices take sharper photos in more challenging light.

The phones have a dual camera with a new dual aperture that adjusts to light like the human eye. You need more light, you can have it. You need less light, you can have that too.

The improved camera will help you with your video recording. In fact, there is a slow motion tool that can take videos 32 times slower than normal.

The slower video can give you some unusual shots. Whatever the outcome, Samsung will automatically match it with some music to go along with the look of your efforts.

Record something festive and you’ll get some happy sounds. Take something a little more serious and Samsung will match it too. The music can be adjusted as needed.

Many are familiar with Snapchat’s Bitmoji app. The S9s have something similar called AR Emoji. It will take your selfie and turn it into an emoji sticker. Hair and clothes can be customized. Glasses and other accessories are easily added. You can also appear as a bunny or a cat.

No matter what your emoji taste is, it all appears in 18 preset GIFs attached to the keyboard.

Do you need something translated? Phones can help with that too. Like the Google Translate app, you can hold it up to a sign and get a translation in your native language. The app works in 54 languages.

Not to be outdone by Apple, Samsung phones feature enhanced facial recognition called “Smart Scan.” Now facial recognition is combined with a scanner. A new tool allows you to open the phone with the iris or the full face depending on the sunlight.

Audio is touted to be clearer and louder on stereo speakers tuned by AKG. Samsung claims that the sound is 1.4 times more powerful than previous Galaxy phones. Dolby Atmos technology will provide a multi-dimensional sound experience similar to that of a cinema.

Available colors include black, blue and purple. A gray option will be available later.

Unsurprisingly, the price is on par with similar phones, but still under $1,000. The S9 will cost just over $700, while the S9+ will set you back around $840.

While various updates make the phones more versatile and fun, the wow factor is less than in other product debuts. Still, the new S9s add enough pop to provide a real Android-based challenge to the Apple X and other competing mobile devices.

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