I ditched my iPhone to finally try my first Android, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ – here’s what it was like

There’s never been a better time to evaluate your smartphone options if you’ve always been an iPhone user.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

If you’ve always only ever used an iPhone, there’s no better time to start evaluating your options than now.

With so many world-firsts laid out by Android smartphones arriving way before the iPhone – from bezel-free designs, OLED displays and augmented reality – many of these features have even undergone upgrades that the iPhone struggles to play catch-up with.

I finally decided to see what the hype was all about and took the plunge by ditching my trusty iPhone 7 Plus for a new Samsung Galaxy S9+ in a two-week trial, and what I’ve learnt has been somewhat surprising.

The S9 and S9+ might not look very different from its predecessor, the S8, and many reviewers have even said that current S8 users may not even see a need for an upgrade.

One big focus of the new S series phones are its camera updates and while some functions are certainly impressive, some aspects are not that great – even to someone like me who’s using an Android for the first time ever.

On first glance, it’s apparent that Samsung clearly listens to its customers and kept the 3.5mm headphone jack even on its latest flagship model so there’s no need for any silly adapters like on an iPhone – which is one big plus in my books.

At a retail price of S$1,348 for the 64GB S9+, it is comparable to the Apple iPhone 8 Plus (S$1,308) and cheaper than the 64GB iPhone X (S$1,648).

But it comes with so many cool features, even if some aren’t entirely new, which should question the loyalty of any iPhone fan – myself included.

Here’s are some features on the Samsung Galaxy S9+ every long-time iPhone fans should really take a look at:


1) That sexy infinity screeen

It’s a superficial design point, I know, but when you spend a considerable part of your day staring at your phone, you want to feel that tingle each time your fingers run over that edge-to-edge, near-bezel-less screen – that thankfully, doesn’t come with an annoying notch.

Check out those sexy curved edges.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

2) Bigger doesn’t always mean better

The S9+ is of a good size and width measuring 6.22-inches in length and 2.91 inches in width. It’s not too small till you find yourself squinting and not too big till you can’t type or launch any apps without having to grip it with two hands.

A huge boon on the S series are the People and Apps edge screens, which give you a quick access to your favourite contacts and apps with just a swipe from the side of the screen.

The feature’s not entirely new and has been around since the S7 but it’s user-oriented and something all smartphones should come with, I feel.

The Apps and People edge are great for quick access to your favourite apps and contact lists. Best part is, the lists are completely customisable.
Business Insider/ Sujin Thomas

3) The AR emoji is fun for about 2 minutes

Everyone’s been talking about the S9’s AR emoji that’s exciting for a grand total of two minutes before you immediately call it out for being a blatant gimmick.

The same probably applies to Apple’s Animoji, which I’ve read about but yet to try for myself.

It doesn’t help that there are also limitations to how accurately you manage to emoji-fy yourself, and that’s no thanks to a fixed range of looks (like hairstyles, glasses, and clothes) you can choose from.

This is best I managed to pull off, but no, it still doesn’t look like me.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

4) Super slow-mo mode

This year’s updates on the S9 and S9+ appear to focus on the cameras so I spent most of my time testing it out.

The S9+ comes with two rear cameras and has features like Live Focus for focus-pulling shots, a manual Pro mode, as well as an impressive 960 frame-per-second super slow-mo function.

BI intern reporter Haymun Win shows off the fine art of tossing paper in slow-mo.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

My gripe with the super slow-mo mode is that it only works well in well-lit environments like the great outdoors.

Many attempts to record a super slow-mo video in low-light areas like my living room left me disappointed, with flickering videos like this one below:

Chewie the cat’s mad ball skills get hazy with some intense light flickering.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

5) Other camera features – the good, and the bad

The S9+ comes with an f/1.5 aperture and manages to pull in more light than its predecessor and this really showed up in photos I took at dusk.

I decided to test this out by taking outdoor photos of the same subjects at about 7.30pm using my iPhone 7 Plus and comparing it with the S9+.

The photo taken with the S9+ was a vibrant winner, as you can see for yourself:

The photo on the left was taken with an iPhone 7 Plus while the one on the right was shot with the S9+.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

I’m sure most Samsung fans would be used to this already but as a newbie, I hate the apparent smoothening effect the camera has on photos when shooting in Auto and Selfie modes.

Here’s a selfie of Chewie the cat, who looks like she just had a beauty makeover.
Business Insider/Sujin Thomas

You’ll be hard pressed to find that perfect smartphone but if you’ve always used an iPhone, maybe it’s time to step out of your comfort zone for once and see what else the world has to offer.

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ will require some tinkering to get it to work the way you optimally would want it too (it’s all about customisation) but I’ve been told that’s just how Android phones work.

What a ride the past two weeks have been for me, and one thing’s clear in my mind: The S9+ is a strong contender in marking my first foray into Android territory.

Wish me luck.