Samsung undeniably makes some of the best smartphones in the world, locked in an eternal battle for supremacy with fellow tech giant Apple. The South Korean company clearly worked hard to make its phones stand out in the crowd, providing a unique Android experience via apps and services like the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store, Bixby, and Themes Store, not to mention some of the finest camera systems on a handset ever. Its latest flagship phones, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, continue this legacy but they’re currently worth a small fortune. If you’re on a bit of a budget, you might want to look into the older but still fantastic Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus instead. Right now, they’re available on Best Buy at awesome discounted prices.
– $550, was $600
The Samsung Galaxy S9 looks nearly identical to its predecessor, albeit slightly shorter and with thinner bezels. Its 5.8-inch Super AMOLED screen has a so-called Infinity display, which gets its name from not having a hideous notch up top to obstruct your view. The picture boasts a Quad HD+ resolution of 2,960 x 1,140 pixels, and it is nothing short of stunning, with vivid colors, sharp details, and rich contrasts. This makes the S9 a great phone for watching Netflix and YouTube content in glorious HDR10. Rounding things up nicely are bottom-firing Dolby Atmos speakers fine-tuned by AKG.
This phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor along with 4GB of RAM, which is more than enough for glitch-free multitasking and playing mobile games. With 64Gb of internal memory that’s expandable to up to 400GB, you’ll have plenty of room for your growing collection of apps and multimedia files.
The S9 is outfitted with a single rear 12-megapixel dual aperture lens that can snap pictures that have plenty of detail and are very natural-looking. There are also lots of photographic modes and effects that you can play around with. This phone is capable of capturing 960 fps (frames per second), allowing you to enjoy fun Super Slow-Motion footage. Lastly, with an IP68 rating, the S9 can survive splashes, spills, and even submersion in meter-deep water, though for no longer than 30 minutes, while its 3,000mAh battery can last you a full day.
– $650, was $700
This phone is built to last. With an IP68 rating, it can withstand splashes, spills, and rain. You can even take it with you to the pool as it is water-resistant in up to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
With its dual rear cameras that both have a 12-megapixel shooting power (the other one has 2x optical zoom) and an 8-megapixel front cam, the S9 Plus is outfitted with one of the best camera systems we’ve seen on a phone. You don’t need to have extensive knowledge of lighting and apertures as the camera app is incredibly simple to use. Photos taken during the day are finely detailed with exceptional color accuracy, and those taken at night tend to have very minimal noise and maintain a surprising amount of detail. Live Focus is where the S9 Plus stumbles a bit, as the photos taken using this feature were very inconsistent. One time the bokeh, or blurry background effect, looks great, the next everything looks uniformly fuzzy.
The S9 Plus’s battery life is a little disappointing considering its price. At the end of the workday, you’ll find yourself reaching out for the charger to top it up. Fortunately, this phone supports fast wireless and wired charging, so it won’t take too long to recharge.
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