Last night Samsung hosted its Unpacked event in Barcelona, Spain where it showed off its latest smartphones – the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

Not much has changed in the year since the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were announced but that’s not a bad thing considering how well that handset was received.

The edge-to-edge Infinity Display is back again in 5.8 inch format for the S9 and a 6.2 inch display in the S9+. Both handsets retain the IP68 water and dust resistance rating as well.

Both handsets also still boast a QHD+ native resolution.

As for storage users have access to 64GB of capacity with space for a microSD card to get more space.

So what has actually changed?

The camera has been given a substantial upgrade. In fact Samsung South Africa’s Justin Hume told us that the handset is designed from the camera out.

At the back of the S9 you’ll find a 12MP Super Speed Dual Pixel sensor with auto focus and an adaptive aperture. The aperture size can be switched from F2.4 to F1.5 so that more light hits the sensor.

It is an impressive feature and images taken in low-light do look better than anything we’ve seen up until now.

The S9+ has a dual rear camera set up with the same huge aperture sensor we saw in the S9. This handset also has a second sensor which Samsung describes as a “telephoto”.

The stand out feature however is the slow-motion capabilities.

The camera is capable of capturing video at 960 frames per second which translates into superb slow motion video. The video is only captured at an HD resolution (1280 x 720) in slow motion mode but it’s smooth as butter and we should congratulate Samsung for getting this to work and work well.

The fingerprint sensor has also been moved. It now sits below the camera.

Your life as an emoji

When Apple released Animojis, we all groaned. When Samsung revealed AR Emoji we groaned as well but then Samsung explained why and we’re onboard with AR emoji.

Snapping a selfie will let you turn yourself into a virtual emoji which you can then send to friends. We mean that because Samsung says the feature is supported across various platforms and works in third party applications such as Whatsapp.

It’s pretty cool and the option to put my face in messages instead of a yellow blob is one that I can get behind.

Samsung has partnered with Disney to offer users custom stickers to place over their faces to create their own “Animoji” just like Apple.

My life as emojis.

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Will the battery explode?

Following the Note 7 disaster in 2016 Samsung used the S8 and S8+ launch to show off its safety measures to insure the battery didn’t ignite.

That same show wasn’t made this year but Samsung has seemingly learned from the past and both new S-series handsets feature reasonably sized batteries.

The S9 features a 3 000mAh battery while the S9+ sports a 3 500mAh battery. The firm says that the 10nm architecture of the CPU and various other tweaks should keep the power suck down but we’ll take a closer look at battery life in our review.

When you can get it and for how much

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be released on 16th March and South Africa is one of the first batch of nations to receive the handset. Pre-orders are open right now and Samsung South Africa says that pre-order will begin being filled from 9th March.

As to cost, the cash price of the S9 is R15 499 while the S9+ will set you back R16 999.

So while not much has changed that’s not altogether a bad thing. Whether making the camera the star of the show has left other areas of the handset lacking remains to be seen. Thankfully we have our review unit and we should be able to give you our full impressions soon.

For now though we are impressed. Good job Samsung.