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Samsung Galaxy S9 launch: as it happened

It’s almost time to see the new Samsung Galaxy S9, and you’ll be able to get all the information right here.

What time is the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch?
Samsung’s MWC 2018 press conference, where it will launch the new Galaxy S9, kicks off at 18:00 CET / 17:00GMT / 12:00EST / 09:00PST / 04:00AEDT

You can either stick around here to see the live blog unfold before your very eyes – with our own inimitable brand of attempted humor – or watch it yourself, with our guide on just how to do that.

We’re live blogging the MWC 2018 event from this page – so be sure to bookmark it so you can come back – and we’ll start filling it with delightful from-the-mouth-of-Samsung goodness as soon as we’ve negotiated our way into the room… although judging by previous launches, that’s going to be far harder than it sounds.

Will we just see the two phones? Will there be any more surprises unveiled? Will the Wi-Fi hold up? These are key questions, people. I want nothing else on your mind today.

If you’ve got any questions you want answered, have any thoughts on the Galaxy S9 or just have tip-top recommendations for where to get some ace chorizo, please ping me a note on Twitter. I’ll be answering them right here – so chat away!

Live blog

 (All times in CET) 

19:02: Aaaaaand we’re done. Thanks for sticking around, it’s been lovely to have you here. Please let me know what you actually though by tapping my Twitter*, and I’ll do my best to answer any questions.

Have lovely nights, all. Stay safe. Love one another. Be awesome.

*I’m sorry about that phrase. I don’t know what came over me.

19:01: Looks like we’re wrapping up now. So, how do you feel it went? Damp squib or all your dreamed?

You can pre-order the S9 from March 16, as well as being able to trade up and save, with better trade-in values when you upgrade to the S9.

There’s an Enterprise Edition, which will also be available on March 16. DJ Koh is back, but he’s taken off the lovely jacket.

19:00: Dammit, there’s more Bixby information later this year. Why not today? Bixby is already behind the game… we need extra information as soon as possible to work out whether this is actually going to be any good.

18:58: There’s not really a lot in this little chat, to be honest, although wait! We are getting a new DeX pad, which is a flatter pad, with Knox integration and the ability to use the phone as a touchpad.

Bixby will now ‘unite’ all the different elements of the phone and throughout the different devices, able to understand and anticipate your needs. Nothing concrete today though… we’ve heard this loads of times before. We need some proof Samsung, proof!

18:57: Samsung Knox has been thrust throughout the phone – and it’s enterprise ready, with a full suite of services to help IT managers to configure and deploy the key software updates you need.

18:55: Let’s hear about Samsung Pay – this was started to make things easier to pay with a single touch. Nothing to do with getting a slice of the financial transaction.

Bixby is being talked about again – it adapts to your behavior, anticipates your needs… but what’s new?

18:52: Now we’ve got some business chat coming up – now, this we’ve seen leaked. It’s Eui Suk Chung, who’s in charge of software and AI. 

18:51: Back to multi-tasking – Samsung has been talking about this for five years now. Ooooh, the phone now supports horizontal viewing on both handsets, so you don’t have to keep spinning your phone around.

Wireless charging on the menu again, and it’s been sped up this year, so you can just plop it down without having to worry about how long you need to put it away from your grasp.

18:49: Dolby Atmos also works over your headphones – in the jack that Samsung has just made a point of saying is still on the phone. That’s a good point in this case though… Apple and others getting rid of it is still incredibly annoying.

I get that it’s archaic, but it worked. It’s like saying ‘we need to stop using wheels. If we stop making cars with them, we’ll definitely get hover-cars quicker’.

18:48: Back to the phones, we’ve got dual speakers on both of the phones as well, meaning we’ve finally got dual speakers on a Samsung phone. It’s got Dolby Atmos on board as well, for a more immersive sound.

18:46: Now we’re talking about Bixby, with Erin telling us that she likes shopping, and most of all buying make-up. Now you can try different styles on yourself, with brands like Sephora on board, and you can buy them directly through Bixby too.

Did we have to have the only woman on stage so far tell us she loves shopping and make-up? Fair enough, it would have been worse if the man was ‘buying it for his wife’… but perhaps just get more women on stage in the first place?

18:41: Justin is back to show off his AR Emoji. We’re doing a ‘bit’ with Erin, John and Justin and they’re having a really contrived conversation about how they work. 

You can use celebrities too – it’s only Mickey Muthaflippin’ Mouse! That same dude that’s on the Apple Watch, right? Although you can also use the Incredibles and others here too thanks to a new partnership with Bixby.

18:39: This is called AR Emoji, and it makes me sad a bit. OK, that’s not fair, but this looks like a feature that so many people won’t actually use that much. Although, you can share them as GIFs on things like WhatsApp etc… actually, I’m coming around to this.

You get a plethora of emoji to play with as well… get ready to be that person on your group chat.

18:37: Erin Willis is on stage to talk more about the camera. Please stop. We’ve heard enough.

OH CRAP WE’RE TALKING ABOUT EMOJIS. I’d forgotten about this, Samsung’s take on the Animoji from Apple. Oh no.

This is happening. You can use the front or back camera to make emojis that actually look like you.

18:35: The phones both get 400GB of external storage on top of the 64GB (Galaxy S9) and the 128GB (Galaxy S9 Plus)  – and confirmed that the Galaxy S9 Plus will have two cameras as well, with one of them a telephoto lens to more easily zoom in.

18:33: The videos get ‘epic’ music as background too – some guys just spontaneously yelped when he heard that. We’re having a video demo of it working with some water now – it’s pretty cool, and you can use the videos on your lock screen too.

18:32: Now we’re comparing slow motion video, as you can take up to 20 slow motion videos in one – with loads of different sections in there.

This is hard to see if you’re Sony – this is what that brand launched last year, but the fact it has smarts built in and can do so many slow motion bits in a single take makes this much more usable.

18:29: Next up, the slow motion video on the phone. The chip on the S9’s camera can watch the action and decide when to shoot the slow motion element, stretching 0.2 seconds into six seconds.

It’s precisely the same thing Sony announced last year, but this one has smarts:  when it senses motion, it starts slow motion recording.

The Slo-Mo guys have been drafted in to test it – and it does look impressive at capturing the right moment.

18:28: The camera has DRAM in the sensor itself, so it can process noise and create a  really impressive low light shot. We found this to be really rather true in our testing of the phone – Samsung could have nailed the camera here actually.

The picture shown is a touch noisy, but man, it’s bright.

18:26: Now we’re going to hear about the new phone. I literally missed who this is on stage because Marc was thrusting his phone in my face to make me look at the augmented reality world. I’ve had to give him a Tamagotchi to calm him down.

Anyway, we’re hearing about the new camera features, how the pupil of the human eye can get larger and smaller depending on how bright it is. And now, the Galaxy S9 can do smaller and larger apertures to take shots in bright and dark scenarios.

Now this is what we’re talking about.

18:23: We’re now able to look at the phone in the virtual world, thanks to being able to scan the badges that got us in here in the Unpacked app we were told to download a billion times. You can see the phone from all angles by just tilting it in the hand.

My joint EIC, Marc Chacksfield, was very excited about this. But I’m sure I saw him marvelling at a piece of foil earlier, so… 

18:21: Four new colors in the mix – purple, black, blue and silver. Not available in all countries though…

Justin has does told us about Intelligent Scan, which uses facial recognition and iris scanning together to find out if it really is you in front of you.

18:18: It’s good ol’ Justin Dennison from Samsung US! He’s telling us that phones don’t work the same way any more, so now we’re getting a phone that lets us ‘capture every fleeting moment’. 

He’s just announced the Galaxy S9 again… people weren’t sure whether to applaud. What’s he doing though? This phone is just the same as we’ve seen before… right now it’s just hyperbole without anything more. ‘We’ve refined it’. How?

‘Oh, and there’s no notch’. No need, Justin, no need. You’ve got a big bar at the top.

Also he’s just referenced how they moved the fingerprint scanner (and kept it)… another dig at Apple.

18:16: If you’re at the event, you can already see how the phone looks in your hand using AI – it’s a very strange thing to do when you’re trying to watch the stage at the same time.

18:15: DJ Koh stands there, arms wide, saying: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus!’

Then waits on stage not moving for a few seconds. It was weird.

We’re now seeing the phones in a video with lots of booming and swooshing sounds.  Surprised this didn’t leak out onto the web.

18:13: Apparently now images are replacing words, with a new kind of camera being needed to ‘see the world clearly in any light’. Hard to work out what’s happening here… *inserts sideways smile emoji’.

18:11: Samsung is also partnering with the University of California to help people monitor more elements of health from your phone – that’s clearly the new thing for smartphone brands.

18:09: Despite the fact we’ve gone live with our previews of the phones, we’ve still not seen the new Galaxy phones on stage yet. To keep you going, here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy S9.

18:08: Koh tells us that that the brand is ‘inspired by the questions you ask us’. My first question would be: where did you get the delightful jacket?

18:06: DJ Koh is on stage, after a long video introduction about how people shouldn’t listen to the world ‘can’t’.

Not a good idea when someone tells you ‘you can’t go in there, it’s filled with snakes and crocodiles’.

18:02: OK – we’re live! And we’ve already got aaallllll the info on the new phones… we’re sorry that we couldn’t tell you until now.

17:56: As Madonna and JT once sang (in the back of a car and in a supermarket?!) we’ve only got 4 minutes to save the world. Or until we see the Galaxy S9…

17.47: Have you ever been so tired that you think you can see into the future? That’s how I feel right now and there’s some cheeky little man singing the Spice Girls behind me. This is going to be a tough press conference, I can tell.

17:23: And we’re still waiting to get into this building… Below you can see exactly where we’re queuing looking up at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Yeah, we’re so cultured we knew exactly what that building was without having to search Google Maps.

16.28: We’re now trying our hardest to get into this building – looks like it could be a while. We’ll snap some pictures to pass the time…

15.40: We’re worried about getting to Samsung now though – apparently the queues are around the block to even get a taxi there, let alone getting into the venue. We might have to throw some smartphones on the floor and see if we can convince some people to leave the queue…

15.47: Well, that was a bit of a while without internet. We’ve been trawling around checking out the new stuff from Huawei and getting lost in taxis in the hills… it’s not been the most pleasant of afternoons.

Wait – not because of the Huawei stuff. That’s been good to see – the Matebook X Pro is well worth checking out, as the brand has positioned it as a Macbook alternative… and it has a pop-up camera!

11.56: Just letting you know what we’ll be doing today – this is a two-way conversation, after all – we’ll have the whole TechRadar team at the launch event, bringing you hands on previews of the new phones and analysis of what’s happening on stage.

But before then we’re going to be checking out new releases from Huawei and Nokia – although we’re not expecting to see the P20 here at MWC 2018.

10.23: Well, if I’m going to be telling you how wonderful we are and all the ways we can help you watch the conference, then I suppose I should incite you to click on our ‘how to watch the Samsung Galaxy S9 unveiling‘.

That creates a quandary for me: on the one hand, the more you click the easier it is for us to pay our staff… on the other, I want you to stay here with me. How about you go and look at that page and come back? Or keep both open? That would be delightful.

10.16: Let’s get down to business and tell you about all the wonderful things that we’ve been doing. Firstly, if you want to know anything about the Samsung Galaxy S9 release date, price, news and leaks then we’ve got this piece that explains when the Galaxy S9 release date will be, how much it will cost, all the news and the top leaks. 

Please read it thoroughly. There will be a test later.

10.00: Welcome, welcome, welcome! We’ve been expecting you. How have you been? What’s been going on? Are you excited for the Samsung launch later today?

We’ve already seen a huge amount of leaks of this phone, so some people aren’t going to be that bothered about what’s coming later – but that’s foolish, as there are often little tidbits that will change the Galaxy story.

What are you most looking forward to seeing – or is it just too little of a change, in your eyes? Here’s the video that leaked out last night – you can pretty much see everything.

And don’t forget to ask any questions or share any thoughts with me on Twitter – and I’ll do my best to answer them here, with the help of our intrepid phones team, throughout the day.

What to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch

Well, if you’re still in the dark about what’s going to be unveiled… where have you been? The Galaxy S9 has been shaking its metaphorical smartphone booty all over the internet for weeks now, with leaks pouring out on nearly every little facet.

But from the launch itself, we’re thinking that there’s going to be a big augmented reality component, with leaks showing that within Samsung’s Unpacked app (the official companion to the launch itself) you’ll be able to scan an image and see the new Galaxy S9 from every angle.

On stage we’re unlikely to see many surprises, with the main focus being on the Galaxy S9 itself and the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus launching alongside.

The two phones will be rather similar, with the main differences being to the screen (likely still 5.8-inch vs 6.2-inch on the ‘normal’ and Plus sizes respectively) and more battery power on the larger of the two phones.

We’re also certain that we’re going to see two cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, with just a single sensor on the smaller version. Why Samsung wants to deny the technology to the likely more popular variant is unclear, but both will have some serious camera smarts if the teasers are to be believed.

Will we see media packs announced for the Galaxy S9 pair like with last year’s phone?
(Image: © Samsung)

One of the key things we’re hoping will be announced is the Samsung Galaxy S9 price, as that’s something we’ve heard a fair few whispers about.

Sadly for those that were hoping to see an affordable Galaxy flagship, we’re expecting to hear of another price hike again – which is surprising given the leaks haven’t really pointed to many changes.

The expected price is £739 – this means we’d expect it to land around $775 / AU$1300, and for that it seems you’re only getting an upgrade in power (from the uprated CPU, likely to be the Exynos 9810 for most of the world and the Snapdragon 845 in the US) and a much better camera.

The snapper could be a lot more expensive to produce, but given the lack of upgrades we would have expected the phone to remain the same price, and the more expensive new component costs are offset by the absence of change elsewhere.

What we want to see from the Galaxy S9 launch

While we’re expecting the conference to be very much focused on the two new phones, we’re still waiting for more information surrounding the Galaxy world.

Firstly we’d love to see more from DeX, the dock for the Galaxy phones that allows you to connect monitors and keyboards to the phone and turn the device into a fully-fledged PC environment.

A smoother docking system, wireless charging and a less obvious device would all be welcome – as would improvements to the amount of things you can actually do on the desktop too, with more powerful programs on offer.

A new Gear VR hasn’t been rumored, so we doubt it’s going to turn up, but we’d love to see something new there – ideally one that’s moving closer to Daydream, with the end goal of the two platforms one day merging and the best virtual reality experiences being offered to all smartphones in the future.

And the main thing we want to see: a release date for these phones that isn’t weeks and weeks away. 

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

  • Will the Samsung Galaxy S9 make it onto our best phones list? We’d be tremendously surprised if it didn’t…


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