I have the privilege of using most, if not all, smartphones that hit the Kenyan market, or at least the ones that matter and thanks to this, I have always been hit up with the question, “which phone should I buy?” This is probably one of the hardest questions to ask anyone out there because our phones are one of the most intimate things about us. We have different tastes, different needs and even different depth of pockets and thus “the best smartphone” is very relative.
However, we have those who want the best of the best without minding the price and that’s why we have this piece. So far, we have seen most flagships get launched and the rest, Google Pixel 3, the next iPhone and OnePlus 6T, will be coming towards the last quarter of the year. So, for now, which is the best smartphone of 2018 yet? I am taking to the bank, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (including the Plus model).
I have spent some quality time with the S9, since it’s Kenyan launch and there’s no one time that the device has left my pocket, regardless of which other smartphone lands on my desk for review. My clingy behaviour is not just because the S9 is the most expensive smartphone I have used this year but because it’s down-right the best and here’s why:
I have the S9 in Lilac Purple, some people might call it pink and I think it’s pink too but this is the first phone I would gladly walk around with such a colour because it’s beautiful. Phone colours have become part of their design aesthetic and that’s why Samsung has not shied away from releasing bold colours on their smartphones. Aside from the Lilac Purple, we have one other head turner and that the Burgundy Red S9. There’s also sunrise Gold, the classy Coral Blue, Titanium Gray and the basic Midnight Black colour options.
It’s not just the colour, the whole design of the Galaxy S9 stands out. True, you can get the same feeling with the S8 but is it the latest though? The curved-edge infinity display, the glass back, the black front, all add up to the most beautiful smartphone design we have seen yet.
Best in Class Camera
Forget the Pixel, we don’t get that here and don’t mention the iPhone X, it’s so last year. 😁 The camera on the S9 is class-leading – I will not taunt you with how Megapixels don’t matter, I will just let you see for yourself what it means to have a class-leading smartphone camera:
Food Shots (Because it’s a necessity nowadays)
960fps slow-mo Videos (I had to convert these to GIFs)
Impressed yet? No? Well, how about taking it further with underwater shots thanks to an IP68 Water and Dust Resistance Rating?
What Samsung will not tell you is that you can get pretty good looking underwater shots with the S9 but this is for a good reason. Technically, the phone’s water resistance is meant to protect it from accidental drops in water or you handling the device with wet hands but there’s more that’s possible with an IP-rated smartphone such as the S9. The best thing about it? Underwater photos!
Oh, remember to rinse off the phone with clean water after taking it for a swim and don’t push it to its limits.
Dual Stereo Speakers, Intelligent Scan and Everything You’ll Forget Exist
One thing about Samsung flagships is that they go all out to offer features like heart rate sensor, blood oxygen saturation measurement and a variety of biometric security for your device. While most of these features will probably only be used once in a while for show-off purposes, there are a couple of features that will be a delight every time you use them. Case in point, the dual stereo speakers. The S9 speakers are so loud, it could easily act as a portable Bluetooth speaker when needed.
Notable mention goes to intelligent scan. This is a new security feature that combines facial scanning with iris scanning to provide a much more reliable way of unlocking your device in case you want to jump on the “face unlock” craze, I just wish it was as fast as the less secure facial unlock we have seen on other Android devices.
The biggest challenge about the S9 is its price tag – that mountain is a bit stiff for most but if you’ve got the heart for it, Samsung partnered with LipaLater to offer monthly instalments on the device, otherwise, you could just go ahead and make a purchase on Jumia.