Samsung has launched new 2018 Galaxy S flagship phones, in the form of the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+. The Galaxy S9+ sees a few additional features over the smaller model, including the introduction of dual-rear cameras, which we first saw on the 2017 Galaxy Note 8.
But which of these phones should be looking to buy? What are the differences and similarities between the Galaxy S9+ and the mighty Note 8? We've reviewed both, lived with both and had plenty of time to evaluate both. Here's how these two flagship Samsung devices compare.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Design
- Both IP68 water and dust resistance
- Infinity display, dual cameras on both
- S9+ smaller but heavier
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ and the Galaxy Note 8 both feature similar designs. The two devices opt for a metal core sandwiched between a glass front and back and they both come with IP68 water and dust resistance. The Galaxy S9+ is curved in the corners, while the Note 8 has a squarer look - partly to accommodate the S Pen.
The display dominates the front of both devices with super slim bezels at the top and bottom, coupled with curved edges, while dual-lenses and a fingerprint sensor are present on the back, albeit in a different layout.
The Galaxy S9+ has a vertically-aligned camera on the back with the fingerprint sensor positioned below, while the Note 8 has a horizontally-aligned camera with the fingerprint sensor to the right, so the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is easier to unlock with a finger tip.
Both devices come with USB Type-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but the Galaxy Note 8 also adds the S Pen to its list of features, which tucks in at the bottom of the device, next to the charging port. It is the slightly bigger device, measuring 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm compared to the S9+ at 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm, but it is surprisingly lighter at 168g, compared to 189g.
Overally, the S9+ is slightly curvier, with the Note 8 being subtly flatter, but the Note 8 does have slightly larger top and bottom bezels.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Display
- S9+ smaller display by 0.1-inches
- Both curved AMOLED, 18.5:9 aspect ratio
- Both 2960 x 1440 pixels
- Both support HDR
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ and the Note 8 both come with a curved Super AMOLED Infinity Display but the Note 8 is slightly larger than the S9+ at 6.3-inches compared to 6.2-inches.
The two devices both have Quad HD+ resolutions though, which translates to 2960 x 1440 pixels, meaning the S9+ has the sharper display on paper with a pixel density of 530ppi, while the Note 8 offers a 522ppi - so you won't really notice much of a difference. Worth noting however is that both default to Full HD+ to preserve battery and in reality, the drop in resolution doesn't make much of a difference in daily tasks like browsing and emails.
Both the S9+ and the Note 8 also have an 18.5:9 aspect ratio and both devices support HDR. The Galaxy S9+ is newer and the display is be a little brighter - although both devices offer top quality visuals. The S9+ is slightly more pronounced on the curved edge, with the Note 8 being a little flatter to support S Pen functions.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Hardware
- S9+ offers newer hardware platform
- Both have 6GB RAM
- S9+ has larger battery capacity
- Note 8 has S Pen
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ will run on one of two new 10nm, 64-bit octa-core platforms, depending on the region, the Exynos 9810 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Both have the same level RAM at 6GB.
The Note 8 meanwhile, runs on the Exynos 8895 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, so the S9+ is incrementally improved - although there's no real discernible difference in day-to-day performance. When it comes to graphics performance there is a boost, so if you're into the latest demanding games, like PUBG Mobile, the the Galaxy S9+ offers the better performance.
Both start at 64GB storage and both offer microSD for expansion of the internal storage.
The Galaxy S9+ has a larger battery capacity than the Note 8 at 3500mAh compared to 3300mAh, though both feature support for fast charging and fast wireless charging. The real world battery performance of both devices is similar from our testing, and neither are best in class, perhaps down to the extreme screen brightness that they will push at times.
AKG-tuned speakers are present on both devices, although the S9+ blows the Note 8 out of the water when it comes to speaker performance. The addition of Dolby Atmos on those speakers makes them a whole world better. Both the S9+ and the Note 8 retain the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Both offer face, iris and fingerprint scanning, although the Galaxy S9+ combines iris and face into Intelligent Scan for more reliable unlocking.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Camera
- Both have dual 12MP rear cameras
- Both have 8MP front cameras
- S9+ has dual aperture rear camera
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Note 8 both feature dual rear cameras and both are 12-megapixels, but there are some differences.
Both devices see two 12-megapixel sensors make up the dual setup, consisting of one wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens. Both have dual optical image stabilisation and both are capable of 2x optical zoom, but there the similarities end.
The S9+ also has a dual aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4 on the wide-angle sensor, adjusting automatically to the lighting conditions, which offers improvements on the Note 8 camera when it comes to low-light shooting. The S9+ also offers super-slow motion video at 960fps and thanks to a new sensor design, it's better at dealing with low light noise, for cleaner images, because it has a stacked sensor design with integrated DRAM.
There is an 8-megapixel autofocus sensor on the front of both the S9+ and the Note 8 featuring an aperture of f/1.7 so no change on the front camera. Overall, the S9+ is a slightly better camera, with better low light performance and a few new features, a clear evolution of the Note 8 camera.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Software
- Android Oreo with Samsung Experience UX on the S9+
- Note 8 upgrades a little slow
- Note 8 also offers S Pen features
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ launches on Android Oreo with Samsung Experience UX over the top. The Galaxy Note 8 launched on Android Nougat though it will be upgraded to Oreo at some point ... hopefully. At the time of writing, the Note 8 has yet to see that upgrade.
The overall experience of these two devices is very similar but there will be a couple of extras on the Note 8 thanks to the S Pen functionality. The Galaxy S9+ however adds things like AR emoji. Whether that will come to the Note 8 as well, we're not sure. Both have Bixby and Google Assitant.
The real functionality difference comes with the S Pen. This offers things that the Galaxy S9+ just won't do, like off-screen memo and the huge range of highlighting, translating and other manipulation functions that the S Pen makes really easy to do. Translation is now also a feature of Bixby Vision, but for those who want to write, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 remains the smartphone of choice.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Price
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ costs £869
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 costs £799
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ costs £869, which is the same price that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 launched at - although the new RRP for the Galaxy Note 8 is now £799, so it's the cheaper phone. It's impossible to ignore the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is an expensive phone - one of the most costly devices currently on the market - so it's worth shopping around for the best deals.
The Galaxy Note 8 has been a fairly expensive phone - often because it's loaded with innovative tech and has that unique S Pen. Having seen an official price cut on the SIM free device, it's still pretty expensive, but there are some good deals to be had.
Samsung Galaxy S9+ vs Galaxy Note 8: Conclusions
- Galaxy S9+ has an enhanced camera
- Galaxy S9+ offers more power and better speakers
- Galaxy Note 8 has S Pen and is cheaper
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note 8 feature similar designs though the Note 8 is a little lighter and comes with the advantage of a built-in S Pen and a slightly larger display.
The S9+ has a larger battery capacity, a couple of camera extras in the dual aperture and super slow motion video, and a faster processor. It's an incrementally better phone, where gamers will see better performance, but in day-to-day use there's not a lot in it. If you just want space for browsing of emails, the there's practically no difference.
Although the S9+ is more expensive, the camera is a little better. The low light performance is the real differentiator here as both offer zoom; the S9+ has more power in the camera for that super slow-motion, but that's unlikely to be a key reason for buying the phone.