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Samsung Galaxy S9

Like clockwork, the new Galaxy is due to hit the shelves in March, with loyal Samsung users preparing to queue up all night to get their hands on one on launch day.

But, as ever, one big question remains: does the latest model really represent a significant improvement on the previous one, and if it does, is it worth upgrading?

Appearance

In terms of phsical appearance, we're sorry to report that the S9 is virtually identical to the S8 - at least to the naked eye. If you want to get technical, the model is a tiny bit slimmer at the side, theoretically accommodating easier one-handed use.

A generous three colour finishes will be available at the launch, with Lilac Purple and Coral Blue joining the traditional Midnight Black. A further colour - Titanium Grey - will be released at a later date.

The verdict here is pretty simple: it looks cool and stylish, but there isn't anything new.

Features

The big selling point of the new Galaxy is its camera. Though the baseline specifications remain the same - the front "selfie" camera is 8MP, with the back one 12MP - Samsung has made small tweaks that go a long way in improving picture quality. Things like allowing you to modify light settings to match your environment.

Elsewhere, there are said to have been big improvements made to Bixby (which, for those of you unaware, is essentially Samsung's answer to Siri). While voice-activated assistants can be a pain to use sometimes, this one is said to integrate more smoothly with your apps, ostensibly allowing you to operate your phone completely hands-free.

The other big addition is in the phone's emoji customisation. Essentially, you can take a photo of yourself using the front camera for a personalised emoji, which can be sent in gif form to your friends. This is only a minor thing for most, but if nothing else, it has the potential to be seriously fun.

On a more practical note, you can also translate things like road signs and posters while abroad using the S9's Live Translate feature, making this an ideal pick-up for frequent jet-setters. Remember, though: you will need a reliable, roaming internet connection to reap the benefits.

Full specifications

SpecS9S9+
Screen5.8 inch6.2 inch
Camera8MP (front), 12MP (rear)8MP (front), 12MP (rear)
RAM4GB6GB
Memory64GB128GB
ProcessorExynos 9810Exynos 9810

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S9 will retail for an initial price of £739, with its 'plus' companion piece selling at some £869. There are cheaper smartphones on the market - not least of all the Nokia 8, and the OnePlus 5T - but it compares favouraby to the iPhone X, which comes in at just short of a grand.

As ever, Samsung has succeeded in producing a phone kitted out with a great camera. If photography is your thing, then this is definitely worth a closer look: taking pictues on the go has never been as sophisticated as this - and Apple may take a while to match it.

For everyone else, the improvements are probably underwhelming. The emoji tweaks would be cool as a supplementary feature, but it's not going to cut it as one of the main selling points. Meanwhile, Live Translate seems like the kind of thing that sounds great on paper, but tricky to pull off in practice.