Review of Samsung S9+ mobile phone

I'd avoided smartphones, never really having the need, nor wanting the expense of buying one, or the risk of damage or losing an expensive phone.  But after seeing friends with some (finally) decent smartphones I decided to take the plunge, but also decided to treat myself to buying their top-of-the-line model with the most memory, storage, fastest processor, and hopefully best camera (oddly, I've come to the conclusion that the S7's camera, from two models back, was actually better, at least with low-light photography).  Hoping that by buying the best model I wouldn't regret it later.


Out of all the phones I've used, this does have the nicest screen.  My model has a reasonably large screen, but still phone-sized, or fit-in-your-pocket size, to put it in another very important way.  It's got great resolution, and nice colour.  There's a eye-friendly blue-reduction feature, that lets you reduce blue output by the amount you like, and it manages to do so without destroying the colour response (well, not until you go too far).

I don't go in for all that malarkey about blue light from screens damaging your eyesight (screens have nowhere near the intensity of daylight).  But blue is the hardest colour for the eye to focus on, especially for some people with eyesight problems.  And many screens are unnaturally way too blue.  This gives you a simple way to compensate for that.


There's two mike holes on the camera, both on the short ends.  They're used for stereo recording (in supported apps), as well for phone calls, obviously.  The bottom one being the mike in normal phone calls, and the top one in speakerphone calls (the earpiece swaps sides, too).  This stops you putting a too loud speaker next to your ear if you do so accidentally, as well as rearranging things more efficiently for when you're holding the phone in front of you, instead of against your cheek.

I found they had surprisingly good sound quality, enough so for recording music and not being displeased by the quality, and handling recording loud audio very well.  I've been using them to record music very close to loud instruments for a long time now (e.g. one metre away from an electronic organ with powerful audio amplifiers).

Fingerprint reader

I've read other reviews where people have said, “finally the fingerprint reader is in the right place.”  I could hardly disagree more, it's next to impossible to scan your fingerprint without smearing your finger across the camera lens, to scan your finger without holding the phone in the other hand, to get your finger through the hole in the cover for the reader to scan it.  And thanks to the design of the cover, you have to swap hands to hold the phone in your right hand to get a finger from your left hand under the cover.

An older model had the scanner on the front, and you could unlock your phone while it was sitting on the table, or on your knee.  Considering the number of alleged reviews which made that comment about the fingerprint scanner, I tend to believe that they're not reviews but paid advertising.

Bixby, the assistant from hell

What the hell were Samsung thinking with that Bixby app?   They're pointlessly trying to reinvent the wheel to replace Siri, or Google Assistant, and doing a terrible job of it.  It's dreadful at speech recognition, and I didn't get anywhere trying to command it to do anything useful.  It pops up and gets in the way if you happen to catch the Bixby button on the side of the phone, right where you're going to put your thumb if holding the phone in your left hand.  And the only way to disable that button is to create a Samsung account, let Bixby run and install an update, then you can disable the button (see killing Bixby).  You can't delete this app.  I hate uninstallable apps.  If it's not actually essential for the operating system of a phone, and I can't see how it could be, it shouldn't be a mandatory app.

Eventually they gave us a way to remap the Bixby button to load a different app, so I use it to bring up the app we're having to use all the time thesedays, the QR sign-in app for the covid plague from 2019.  If that ever goes away, I'll either use it to turn the torch on and off, or bring up the camera.


The included AKG earbuds are crap.  I don't know what other reviewers are comparing them with, but they're totally lacking in bass.  They're okay for a phone conversation, but are useless for enjoying listening to music.  At least the phone still has a 3.5 mm headset socket (TRS for headphones, or TRRS for headsets with a mike), meaning that you can plug virtually anything else into it, instead.

It came with a fast charger and cable, too.  No more than I expect, though.

An interesting option is the Dex Pad, which is a docking station that allows you to connect the phone to a HDMI monitor, and easily connect a mouse and keyboard, turning it into a miniature computer.

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