When the Galaxy S8 arrived, we said “wow”. 2018’s Galaxy S9 family caused a more measured response. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are good, great even, but also familiar. 
They look a lot like their predecessors, and improvements are subtle tweaks rather than revolutions. 
The rear camera can switch between two aperture settings. This hasn’t been seen since the Nokia N86 almost 10 years earlier, but only has slight sharpness benefits for your photos. 
And while the S9 Plus has a great 2x zoom camera, this just brings it up to the expected standards for the time. The speaker upgrade was another overdue change. Samsung worked with AKG to add louder speakers to the S9 phones, with a 30% volume boost and stereo sound provided by the secondary earpiece driver. 
What Samsung didn’t do is just as important, though. The Galaxy S9 family has headphone jacks, currently disappearing from phones as if they’re made of expensive rare elements. And there’s no notch in the display. 
The fingerprint was also moved to a more ergonomic position. Samsung showed real consideration and restraint with the S9 and S9 Plus. 
That said, it did also bring us AR Emojis, a slightly rubbish take on Apple’s Animojis. Let’s not give Samsung too much credit. 
Early reports suggest early sales were slower than the S8’s, although this may be down to an overall slowing in phone sales in general. Samsung may need to make bolder moves in 2019.
At launch the Galaxy S9 cost $719 (£739, $AU1199), the S9 Plus $850 (£869, $AU1349).