Samsung has also, for some reason, tried to emulate one of the sillier features of Apple’s latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone X. That launched with “Animoji,” which deploy the sensors on the phone to animate emoji to make it look like you’re a talking fox, alien, or poo. Samsung has created “AR Emoji,” where you can use the phone’s front-facing camera to create a cartoonish version of yourself, which you can use to record short clips and send to your friends (or enemies, depending on the results). It didn’t work great for me, though I’m guessing it got flummoxed by my giant glasses:

Improved battery life. Both phones feature relatively large batteries for their size (3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh for the S9 and S9+, respectively). Coupled with some software and hardware optimization, the phones should get you through a day of normal use without too much trouble.

Surround sound. The S9 and S9+ feature stereo speakers—one on the bottom of the phone, and a receiver at the top that can also emit sound—along with Dolby’s Atmos tuning technology. That means that phone can pump out (relatively) loud sound that can seem like it’s moving around the device (which could be fun for games and videos).

What’s the same

Many of the best features on the S8 are back. The new phones feature sharp AMOLED HD displays, are water and dust resistant, still have speedy wired and wireless charging, and an SD storage slot (expandable up to 400 GB). The phones also still have analog headphone jacks, with fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, and facial recognition technology.

Both phones have 64 GB of internal storage, and the S9 has 4 GB of memory, while the S9+ has 6 GB.

Pricing and availability

The S9 will start at $720, and the S9+ at $840. There were rumors that the new device will cost upwards of $1,000, matching Apple’s iPhone X, but mercifully, Samsung’s new flagship phones cost roughly the same as last year’s models did.

Samsung also said that customers will be able to trade in their old phones on the company’s website and receive up to $350 in credit towards a new S9 or S9+.

The S9 in all three launch colors.
The S9 in all three launch colors.
Image: Samsung

The new phones will come in black, blue, and a new color Samsung calls “Lilac Purple,” which looks like a metallic mauve to my bespectacled eyes.

They’ll be available for preorder on March 2, and available at retailers on March 16.

New DeX workstation

Samsung also announced a new version of its DeX workstation. This is the little dock that can turn your Samsung phone into a relatively full-featured desktop computer. When Quartz tested the previous model, we found it to be a pretty useful device. The new version puts the phone flat in the dock, allowing it to be used as a touchpad, meaning all you need to turn your phone into a workstation is a monitor and a keyboard.

Now, the dock can be managed remotely by a company’s IT department, and loaded up with company software. That means in the near future, offices could theoretically cut out the expense of supplying staff with computers, just giving them a screen, a keyboard, and a DeX instead.

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