What about the Samsung Galaxy S9's screen?
As mentioned above, it sounds like Samsung is sticking with the 5.8in and 6.2in screen sizes from the Galaxy S8, and as before, those will be extra-tall displays that dominate the entire front of the screen.
Every time a Galaxy S phone is coming, there's always speculation that Samsung is considering a 4K display – which would make Gear VR experiences significantly better. But we haven't seen too much talk on that this time around, so we expect another Quad HD (2K) Super AMOLED screen on there. Which is still awesome.
VentureBeat says that the screens will be nearly identical to last year's in size and quality, so that's what we're expecting.
Putting a 4K display on a smartphone requires a lot of extra power to keep things running smoothly, not to mention extra battery capacity – but the visible advantages are incredibly slim on a device that small. We're not expecting that to happen with the Galaxy S9.
How much power will the Samsung Galaxy S9 pack?
It'll be evolution here again, as Samsung is expected to use a newer version of its 10-nanometer Exynos system-on-a-chip for the Galaxy S9 in some territories, and the just-revealed Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 elsewhere.
How powerful those chips will be remains to be seen, but they should provide a nice step up over the still-top-of-the-line Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835. Apple's latest iPhone chip, the A11 Bionic, is beating every Android contender in benchmark testing, so we'll see whether Samsung and Qualcomm can take a fresh lead in the spring. Samsung has pretty much confirmed it will be revealing the chip on the 4th of January, complete with gigabit LTE and a beefier GPU for smoother gaming at high resolutions.
As for RAM, VentureBeat suggests that the Galaxy S9 will ship with 4GB RAM while the Galaxy S9 Plus will join the Note 8 in offering 6GB RAM for a little extra zippiness.
No huge surprises here: those are the chips we expect the Galaxy S9 to use, although we don't know yet now big of a performance boost they'll offer over the S8. And giving the S9 Plus some extra perks over the S9 will help differentiate the handsets beyond just the size... and maybe let Samsung widen the price gap too.
What kind of cameras will the Samsung Galaxy S9 have?
Here's another rumoured advantage the S9 Plus will have: a second back camera. Much like the iPhone 8 and 7 models, the core S9 will reportedly have a single camera on the rear while the S9 Plus will offer a Note 8-esque dual-camera setup.
The main camera on both could offer the widest aperture seen on a smartphone to date: f/1.5, which is a notch better than the f/1.6 aperture seen on the LG V30 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro. This is very much a rumour right now, though, as no other phone company has managed to create a camera with such a wide aperture. Samsung has a China-only flip phone that can do it, but that's made in much smaller numbers than what would be needed for the global Galaxy S8.
The secondary camera on the S9 Plus will reportedly come in at f/2.4.
That's not all: a report from Chinese site VTECH (via Neowin) suggests that the Galaxy S9's main cameras will offer adjustable aperture, ranging between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the lighting conditions. Consider that a serious step towards true DSLR-like quality from a phone camera. Samsung just launched a flip phone with that kind of feature in China, interestingly enough.
Also, Samsung's Galaxy S9 event invite (up top) suggests a major camera reinvention, and an adjustable aperature on a smartphone would certainly fall into that category.
And now VentureBeat has confirmed the reports about the variable aperture setting on the main 12-megapixel camera, although the secondary 12MP sensor will be a fixed camera. They also report that it will offer "motion-detected, 'super slow-mo' video capture (rapid movement triggers 480fps recording at 720p)." We should also see an 8MP selfie shooter on the front.
With more and more larger flagship phones going for the double-camera setup, including Samsung itself with the Galaxy Note 8, it doesn't surprise us to hear about the plans for the S9 Plus. In any case, Samsung used to hold the smartphone camera crown but has been bested by other phones – we'll see if that wider and potentially adjustable aperture helps put the S9 on top of the competition.
Is there anything else I should know about the Samsung Galaxy S9?
Yes! Both phones will still have a headphone port, according to VentureBeat, so Samsung remains a welcome holdout in that regard
Also on the audio front, the site suggests that the Galaxy S9 models will have AKG stereo speakers, adding a bit more bump to your playback.
And lastly, the so-so DeX Station (shown) from the last time around – which let you link up a display, keyboard, and mouse and use the S8 as a PC – is getting a reboot. Now the docking station will lay flat, letting you use the screen as a touchpad or keyboard. Handy! Samsung is probably going to call it the DeX Pad, or at least that's the name the company trademarked in December. It sounds like you might just lay the phone down on the pad, rather than dock it or plug it in, with wireless charging keeping you topped up.
That's great to hear on the audio front, if true, and the DeX Station upgrade seems like a really smart idea. It's still super niche, but at least that approach sounds a lot more useful and functional, and could ship more units if it's priced affordably enough.