MWC (Mobile World Congress) has long been one of the most important events on the mobile calendar. The tech show, which is held annually in Barcelona, is often where the most exciting handsets of the coming year are unveiled from the biggest names in tech. In 2017, MWC brought us the LG G6, the Huawei P10 and many more. But it's Samsung's 2018 offering we're most excited to see.
Although there are plenty of handsets, and not to mention smartwatches, we’re gagging to get a glimpse of at MWC 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is tipped to be one of the best and a highlight of the show.
The good news is that the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus is official. Often we’re left relying on rumors when it comes to new smartphone releases, but the upcoming flagship has been officially confirmed for MWC. Or rather for February 25, one day before MWC begins.
But just because the launch is official, doesn’t mean we’ve got all of the details – despite numerous leaks. So we're taking a look at what we’re most excited about for the smartphone, from the information we know, the most-likely rumors and the stuff we’d just love to see.
1. A great camera
During the lead up to MWC, Samsung has released a series of teaser videos on its South Korean and Mobile YouTube channels, providing us with some clues about what to expect from the S9.
One of the main focuses of these teaser videos, particularly this 30-second clip on the brand's Samsung Mobile YouTube Channel, is the camera. The MWC 2018 launch event invite also heavily teases the Samsung Galaxy S9 camera by including the words "The Camera. Reimagined."
So it's pretty clear the camera will at least get a significant upgrade from the S8 and will give other top phone cameras – like the Google Pixel 2 – something to worry about.
The latest Samsung Galaxy S9 camera rumors point to a 12MP Dual Pixel lens with optical image stabilization and a variable f/1.5-2.4 aperture, which means it can switch between f/1.5 (the best for low light shots) and f/2.4 (the best option when the lighting is better and you want more of the photo to be in focus).
There are also some short, looping videos in the teaser video, which look like GIFs, so we may see the S9 have a feature that's similar to Apple's live photo.
These guesses would align with the rumors that came from a leaked image of the Galaxy S9's box, which also hints at an 8MP front-facing camera which supports a 'super slow-mo' mode. We're not sure what that means, but sources have been claiming the camera may be able to tell when motion starts and automatically begin recording slow motion footage when that happens.
2. Better battery life
According to a rumor based on a picture of a replacement unit, the Samsung S9 will have a 3,000mAh battery and the S9 Plus will have a 3,500mAh cell. We know what you're thinking. Isn't that the same as the flagship handset's predecessor, the Galaxy S8? Correct.
Although this is a little disappointing, what makes the S9 different is that the improved CPU inside will likely lead to a big boost in battery life. This means we're expecting that the Galaxy S9 could last easily over a day for more users than ever before.
3. Animoji-like features
Bound to excite some and frustrate others, it looks like Samsung is set to include its own answer to Apple's Animoji. Based on one of the South Korean teaser videos on YouTube (above), it looks like the S9 will allow you to map your own face onto a 3D emoji.
This was also a feature explored in detail over on Reddit, when an anonymous user claimed to have had significant hands-on time and detailed their experience in an AMA thread.
The interesting bits for those interested in animoji-style fun will see the feature might be called 'Samsung 3D Emoji' and rather than be a straight rip-off of Apple's efforts, it's likely to be a mixture of animoji and bitmoji, in that you can create an avatar and then control its face.
4. Improved stereo sound
The Samsung Galaxy S9 looks like it'll have improved audio. There are plenty of rumors circulating that it’ll have both AKG stereo speakers and a set of Bluetooth AKG headphones too. These have also now been listed on an image that seems to show the handset’s new box.
There may also be a bottom-firing speaker, as well as one built into the earpiece. We’re not sure how much you play music out loud from your phone, but maybe if the quality was better you would.
The speakers may not have made it into our list of exciting features based on those rumors, but it’s been claimed that those who have already used the phone said its sound is a “major improvement”.
5. A power boost
Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 845, which rumors suggest is likely to be powering US versions of the S9.
The 845 is an octa-core chip with four cores running at 2.8GHz and four at 1.8GHz. The fastest cores will deliver up to 30% better performance than the fastest cores in the Snapdragon 835. Other notable performance upgrades include AI processing and graphics, while power usage has been reduced.
The chipset also allows cameras to record 4K Ultra HD video at 60fps, which could fit nicely with rumors about a significantly upgraded camera.
If you live outside of the US, you can expect to get Samsung's own Exynos 9810, which includes an LTE modem and supports theoretical download speeds of 1.2Gbps. That's much faster than any other phone, which means in theory you could download an HD movie within seconds.
But, disappointingly, it seems unlikely that we'll get 6GB of RAM within the handset, which is what other smartphone brands are offering nowadays. Samsung is apparently planning on sticking to the 4GB specification instead.
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.