Skip to main content

Samsung thinks an iPhone X-like design will turn China on to the Galaxy S9

samsung galaxy s9 review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Samsung may launch a revised Galaxy S9 specifically for China, where it doesn’t enjoy the same level of success it does elsewhere in the world. How will it win over Chinese smartphone fans spoiled for choice? By taking away some of the key Galaxy S9 design traits we know and love, and replacing them with at least one taken from the Apple iPhone X.

The phone is currently known by its model number, the SM-G8850, one which shares more with the old Galaxy Alpha than it does the current Galaxy S9, which could mean it won’t take on the flagship Galaxy S name when it launches. The phone has passed through the hands of TENAA, the regulatory body in China where new smartphones are cleared for use, and also been spotted revving its engine on the AnTuTu benchmarking site.

Initially speculated to be a Galaxy S9 Mini, the phone has since been viewed as a more powerful version of the Galaxy S9, with an octa-core processor running at up to 2.8GHz, with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM inside. The Galaxy S9’s Exynos chip operates at 2.7GHz, and the phone has 4GB of RAM. To get 6GB of RAM, you’d have to buy the Galaxy S9 Plus. The AnTuTu benchmark says the phone has a Snapdragon 660 processor with 4GB of RAM, considerably less powerful than the Galaxy S9.

Samsung SM-G8850 seen on the TENAA website in China.

Like the Galaxy S9 Plus, the SM-G8850 may also have a dual-lens rear camera. Instead of centrally mounting the lenses, though, the TENAA image shows Samsung has offset them to the left and placed them inside an oval camera bump, just like a trend started by Apple with the iPhone X. The fingerprint sensor sits top center on the back panel. Another change comes with the screen, which does away with the familiar curved edges seen on Samsung’s Galaxy S series for several generations, and opts for a flat screen instead. The TENAA listing indicated it was a Super AMOLED panel with a 2960 x 1440 pixel resolution. Opinion varies on the size of the display, with the latest claiming it’s a massive 6.3-inches, rather than the 5.8-inch size — the same as the Galaxy S9 — first rumored, and mentioned by TENAA.

The SM-G8850 is a mystery. On one side it’s a more powerful version of the Galaxy S9 Plus with a different design, and on the other a less exciting big-screen phone that has received more attention than it expected. But while we don’t know what the phone will turn out to be, we do know Samsung is having a hard time in China. A recent report said it has less than 1 percent market share there, and is willing to try different things to improve on this. Could a redesigned, more powerful Galaxy S9 Plus be one of them?

We’ll keep you updated with all the SM-G8850 rumors here.

Editors' Recommendations

I’ve used Android phones for 10 years, and I hate these ones the most
pixel 4 xl rear sticking out

I’ve been using and reviewing Android smartphones for at least a decade, and during that time, I’ve spent time with a massive variety of devices that mostly fall into three distinct categories: good, passable, and bad. But what about the ones that have really stirred my emotions in a negative way? The phones that have elicited a visceral, guttural response? I’m not talking about the ones I love, but the ones I’ve downright hated.

Here are the six models that have irked me the most over the last 10 years of using and reviewing smartphones, and the reasons why they’ve made this list.
Google Pixel 4

Read more
The one thing the iPhone 14, Galaxy S23, and Pixel 7 all get wrong
Apple iPhone SE (2020) being plugged in to charge.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, new smartphones broke cover as one would expect. I won't bore you with all the details; Digital Trends' Joe Maring and Jacob Roach wrote an excellent roundup of all the best MWC 2023 announcements already.

One key quality-of-life-improving feature we picked up on as a theme was charging speed. Apple, Samsung, and Google, the mainstream phone brands by coverage (even if not all by sales), stick to a fast-charging average speed of just over an hour — even with the latest iPhone 14, Galaxy S23, and Pixel 7. By comparison, a phone from Xiaomi, Oppo, or OnePlus can get you moving in 30 minutes or even less. It's time to demand more from our phones.
Fast charging exists — just not for you

Read more
The Galaxy Watch 6 may fix one of the Galaxy Watch 5’s biggest mistakes
Man wearing a Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Samsung ditched its physical rotating bezel with the Galaxy Watch 5 series, and it was a change met with much dismay. But it seems like the feature is all set to return in the next iteration. The Galaxy Watch 6 Pro is said to sport a physical rotating bezel to interact with the device.

This news is according to Korean tipster SuperRoader. It is said that the next Pro smartwatch will bring back a physical rotating bezel to interact with the software. Further, the Galaxy Watch 6 Pro will also retain the focus on offering at least two-day battery life.

Read more