Samsung is riding high with S9 Plus superphone and new QLED TV lineup

And it even makes phone calls

We’ve finally gotten our hands on it: The new Galaxy S9 Plus, the XL version of the latest halo smartphone from Samsung. While it’s not a revolutionary phone, it certainly is a strong example of the never-ending evolution of the pocket computers we all carry now. DT Mobile Tech editor Julian Chokkattu put the new premium handset to the test – and came away impressed.

While it’s basically a rectangle like every other smartphone, it’s a very pretty rectangle packed full of performance, especially when it comes to the screen, camera and, surprisingly, sound. The top camera and sensor array on the front is more subtle, the 2960 by 1440 AMOLED screen is very sharp and colorful, and the redesigned dual-camera array on the back has impressive low-light performance, let alone what can do in regular light – including a super slow-mo mode.

Inside, the bigger S9 Plus is packing 6 gigs of RAM to back up the new Snapdragon 845 CPU, which even outpaces the iPhone 10’s processor. There’s lots to see and learn about the S9 and S9 Plus, so check out Julian’s full review and video.

TV to the power of Q

The way TV makers are battling it out these days, you’d think the holidays are right around the corner. (Put away that calendar – it’s still March.) But anyway, we just got through checking out Samsung’s new lineup of 4K flat panels, and suffice to say it’s game on with Samsung’s “QLED” technology against LG’s – and Sony’s – OLED tech. LED/LCD TVs have always been at a disadvantage against true OLED screens because they use a backlight system.

But Samsung has tweaked their QLED tech to make those problems go away, or at least be minimized, and the result is amazing picture quality: deep blacks and bright highlights without the “halo” problems that can sometimes show up. Furthermore, Samsung has gone to great lengths to make the TVs more “invisible” when off, including a sort of picture frame mode that blends into where the TV is placed. Pretty slick. Check out our in-depth first look.

Pulling power

We told you yesterday how Uber is already rolling freight around Arizona in their new Uber Freight self-driving trucks, now comes word that Tesla’s electric semis are also punching the clock. Tesla boss Elon Musk posted a photo showing two Tesla electric semis leaving the Tesla Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada to make their first-ever deliveries. So what were they carrying? Tesla battery packs for Tesla electric cars, of course.

The trucks were headed – under electric power only – for the Tesla Motors assembly plant in Fremont, California. A round trip would be just under 500 miles, so the trucks could complete the journey on a single charge if need be, but Musk says they are also working on building out charging stations for the big rigs. We can only wonder at what a Tesla Truck stop might look like.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.