Yesterday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung unveiled the latest in its Galaxy line of smartphones, the S9 and the S9+. During the press conference, they talked about a ton of features and specs, which would probably bore many of my readers, and honestly, there are a ton of websites with a rundown of the devices already. Our focus here is on families, so I’m here to discuss the features you will really care about with these new phones!
The camera. Reimagined
The highlight of the press conference was the discussion on the camera. Almost every single one of the people who ask me for advice on their next phone purchase will ask me which one will have the best camera. It’s just a fact that the way we communicate now is more visual than it has ever been in the past. From apps like Marco Polo, to Snapchat or instagram, we use are cameras probably more than we use the actual phone part of the smartphone.
So, what Samsung decided to do with this next generation of Galaxy phones is create a really great camera, and then build a phone around it.
The first thing Samsung did with the S9 devices is they built the camera with Dual Aperture. If it’s dark, the lens opens to F1.5 mode to pull in light for a bright and clear photo and in the daylight, the lens shifts to F2.4 mode to help your picture come out sharp. These settings happen automatically, or you can manually set either in the advanced settings of the camera.
Both S9 devices also come equipped with a super slo-mo setting. The really awesome thing about the way Samsung has set it up though is that the slo-mo function can happen automatically. Say you are trying to record your daughter’s volleyball serve in slo-mo. You never actually know when she’s going to hit the ball. So you can create a square around the area she will hit the ball, and it will start the slo-mo as soon as there is motion in that square!
Finally, the S9+ has dual cameras, similar to the Note8, so you can create really amazing photos by combining the best of both cameras, and blur backgrounds after the shot has been taken.
The rarely used Bixby button is getting a few new features as well, (which may be available in an update to older devices at a later time, but it is not clear if that will be the case). Through the use of the camera, Bixby will be able to use augmented reality to translate foreign language signs and text in real time using Google Translate. You just point your phone’s camera at the menu or street sign, and you will see the translation.
The company also claims it will be able to recognize food and give you the calories you are about to consume. I imagine this will take a lot of time before the readings are actually accurate, but it might be in the ballpark sooner than later.
Lastly, the phone will also be able to create an avatar for you based on a scan of your face. Much like Apple’s Animoji’s this will allow you to use this avatar for reaction GIFs and stickers to use in chat programs. The company also mentioned that they have inked a deal with Disney so you can create characters like Mickey Mouse and more.
The S9 seems like it will be a GREAT camera. Obviously, I haven’t been able to put it to the test, but I hopefully will be able to soon. I won’t be buying this smartphone though, as I usually hold out for the Note, which will likely come out this Fall.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com