It's getting easier and easier to stick with last year's model rather than upgrading to the latest one.
New smartphones are only getting incremental updates over their predecessors these days, and that's the case with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9. That's not to say the Galaxy S9 isn't a superb smartphone. It's absolutely one of the best smartphones you can buy at the moment. But if you have a Galaxy S8, you have one of the best smartphones of 2017. And the features and power that makes the Galaxy S8 one of the best phones of 2017 go a long way.
Check out why you don't need to upgrade to the Galaxy S9 if you already own the Galaxy S8.
Pictured above is the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S8. They share pretty much the exact same design, save for slightly narrower bezels on the Galaxy S9.
The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 share most of the same hardware features, including:
Samsung brought no major improvements to the Galaxy S9's screen compared to the Galaxy S8. Both phones have the best screens in the business.
The Galaxy S9 comes with a two aperture modes, which each mode individually specialized for low-light environments and brightly lit environments.
Part of the reason Samsung added this feature is because the new camera with an incredible wide f/1.5 aperture is very well suited for low-light environments, but perhaps not so much for brighter situations. Having such a wide aperture on a sunny day could let too much light through the lens and potentially cause overly bright photos. So, for a bright day, the S9 switches over to the narrower f/2.4 aperture, which prevents overblowing some of the brighter parts of a photo.
It works, but it's somewhat gimmicky. You'll be fine with the f/1.7 camera in your Galaxy S8, which offers a good balance for low light and bright environments.
The larger Galaxy S9+ comes with a dual-lens camera, where the secondary lens is dedicated for 2x zooming. Unless you like to zoom a lot when you're taking photos, this isn't a feature that warrants upgrading from the S8.
The Galaxy S9 also lets you take super slow motion videos at 960 frames-per-second (fps), which is incredibly slow. But it only records 960 fps slow motion video up to 720p resolution, which isn't very sharp at all when smartphone screen are four times as sharp. It won't make the best use of a 4K TV, either.
The Galaxy S9 has the latest Snapdragon 845 processor compared with the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy S8, but you'd be hard pressed to feel a significant difference in speed between the two. You might start feeling the Galaxy S8's Snapdragon 835 slowing down after a year when the Galaxy S10 – or whatever it'll be called – is announced.
Both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 have 3,000mAh batteries, and the larger Galaxy S8 Plus and Galaxy S9 Plus have 3,500mAh batteries. Unfortunately, neither Samsung nor other smartphone makers have reinvented the battery yet, and battery life hasn't changed very much – if at all – between the two models. You'll get the same battery life on the Galaxy S9 as you did with the Galaxy S8 when you first took it out of the box.
The Galaxy S8 is currently still running on Android 7.0, and Samsung is in the process of rolling out an update to Android 8.0. The Galaxy S9 is already running Android 8.0, but you won't really see or feel much of a difference between the two.
Samsung added a second speaker in the Galaxy S9's earpiece for stereo sound, and the loudspeakers sound surprisingly good. Still, it's not a feature that makes the Galaxy S8 obsolete by any means.
The effort of selling your Galaxy S8 to buy a Galaxy S9 just for AR Emoji is not worth it. At all. AR Emoji are awful in their current state, and you can just use an existing app called Bitmoji if you really want a caricature of yourself to share with friends and family.