Samsung’s ever so slightly frivolous new Android phone

The top-notch S9 combines fast performance and a great screen with some genius features courtesy of its Bixby AI system

Samsung Galaxy 9, from £739
Samsung Galaxy 9, from £739 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

When you register the Samsung Galaxy S9’s Bixby artificial intelligence system, it assumes, before you input your birthday, that you were born on April 1 1988. I understand the thinking. The S9, which I rate as the best smartphone after the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2, is too expensive for most people under 30 and too heavy with gimmickry for people much older. You can ignore the gimmickry, of course, and enjoy the S9’s magnificent (although starting to look dated) edge-to-edge screen, its blazingly fast (though not as quick-witted as the iPhone X) performance and some features I mention below. But if you decide not to delve into Swiss watch-style complications, you will miss a lot of the fun of Samsung’s flagship.


Among the genius features you will try once and never again is a supercharged 960 frames per second slowmo, which stretches 0.2 of a second to six seconds – a hilarious way to make an animated emoji of yourself. The S9’s version of me was accurate, apart from mistaking my short grey hair for total baldness. I quite liked the look, as it happens. More useful to you as a grown-up, however, is Bixby’s Live Translation feature – just point the phone at a sign in a language you don’t know and it will translate on-screen. Bixby will also identify an object you like, tell you what it is, where to buy one and so on. Android lovers, sit up and take note.

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