Samsung Galaxy S9 Review: Lab Tests - Display, Battery Life, Loudspeaker, Audio Quality

By 09:29 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Infinity, we meet again

The curved 5.8" AMOLED, also known as Infinity display, returns to breathe life to the Galaxy S9. It has the same specs as the classy screen we saw and loved on the Galaxy S8 - dual-curved Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) panel of 2960x1440 pixel resolution in a 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

It's no secret that Samsung uses Diamond Pentile pixel arrangements on its screens - meaning less blue and red subpixels and a factual resolution of 2,960x720 pixels. But through some complex math for the subpixel rendering and proprietary display driver the classy screen is capable of reproducing the promised Quad HD resolution. Yes, the times we live in!


We measured a maximum brightness of 370nits on the S9 when set to manual, somewhat lower than the S8 and in line with the S7. Auto can boost that all the way up to 658nits, slightly higher than its S8 bro, and very bright. We recorded a minimum brightness of 2.8nits, which is also excellent.

Display test

100% brightness

Black, cd/m2

White, cd/m2

Contrast ratio

Samsung Galaxy S9 0 370

Samsung Galaxy S9 (Max Auto) 0 658

Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440 ∞

Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618 ∞

Samsung Galaxy S7 0.00 391 ∞

Samsung Galaxy S7 max auto 0.00 563 ∞

Samsung Galaxy Note8 0 412 ∞

Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Max Auto) 0 647 ∞

Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840

Apple iPhone X 0 679 ∞

Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone) 0.397 554 1395

Apple iPhone 8 (Max Auto) 0.468 640 1368

Google Pixel 2 0 432 ∞

Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423

OnePlus 5T 0 437 ∞

Oppo R11 0 410 ∞

Samsung's AMOLEDs have always excelled in sunlight legibility and the S9's unit follows suit by acing our test.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X

    5.013

  • OnePlus 5T

    4.789

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    4.768

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+

    4.658

  • Samsung Galaxy S9

    4.63

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+

    4.615

  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play

    4.459

  • Oppo R11

    4.454

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

    4.439

  • OnePlus 3

    4.424

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    4.376

  • HTC One A9

    4.274

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7

    4.247

  • Samsung Galaxy A3

    4.241

  • Nokia 8

    4.239

  • Google Pixel 2 XL (pre-update)

    4.234

  • OnePlus 3T

    4.232

  • Google Pixel XL

    4.164

  • ZTE Axon 7

    4.154

  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

    4.148

  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus

    4.147

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

    4.124

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

    4.124

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)

    4.096

  • Samsung Galaxy Note5

    4.09

  • Google Pixel 2 (pre-update)

    4.023

  • LG V30

    4.022

  • Huawei Nexus 6P

    4.019

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

    3.998

  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite

    3.983

  • OnePlus X

    3.983

  • Apple iPhone 7

    3.964

  • Oppo R7s

    3.964

  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)

    3.957

  • Huawei P9 Plus

    3.956

  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus

    3.935

  • Lenovo Moto Z

    3.931

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

    3.918

  • OnePlus 5

    3.914

  • Samsung Galaxy C5

    3.911

  • Samsung Galaxy C7

    3.896

  • Samsung Galaxy A5

    3.895

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor

    3.879

  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor

    3.873

  • Samsung Galaxy A8

    3.859

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

    3.842

  • Sony Xperia XZs

    3.818

  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

    3.817

  • Motorola Moto X (2014)

    3.816

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    3.812

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    3.804

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode

    3.802

  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro

    3.798

  • LG V20 Max auto

    3.798

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    3.795

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

    3.789

  • Apple iPhone 6s

    3.783

  • Meizu Pro 5

    3.781

  • Microsoft Lumia 650

    3.772

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    3.767

  • Sony Xperia XZ1

    3.765

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)

    3.756

  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

    3.729

  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)

    3.725

  • Oppo F1 Plus

    3.709

  • Vivo X5Pro

    3.706

  • Sony Xperia X Compact

    3.694

  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)

    3.688

  • Apple iPhone SE

    3.681

  • Huawei Mate 9

    3.68

  • Samsung Galaxy A7

    3.679

  • Meizu PRO 6

    3.659

  • BlackBerry Priv

    3.645

  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra

    3.597

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus

    3.588

  • LG G6

    3.556

  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus

    3.53

  • Motorola Moto Z Play

    3.526

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)

    3.523

  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode

    3.523

  • Acer Jade Primo

    3.521

  • Microsoft Lumia 950

    3.512

  • Oppo R7 Plus

    3.499

  • nubia Z11

    3.466

  • Huawei P10 Plus

    3.456

  • HTC U Ultra

    3.453

  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

    3.445

  • Samsung Galaxy J7

    3.422

  • Meizu MX5

    3.416

  • LG V20

    3.402

  • Huawei P10

    3.379

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

    3.378

  • Oppo R9s

    3.352

  • Honor 8 Pro

    3.341

  • Oppo R7

    3.32

  • Lenovo P2

    3.316

  • Archos Diamond Omega

    3.305

  • Honor 9

    3.289

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s

    3.276

  • Nokia 5

    3.261

  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)

    3.244

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    3.238

  • Samsung Galaxy J2

    3.235

  • Sony Xperia X Performance

    3.234

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    3.228

  • Motorola Moto X Play

    3.222

  • Oppo F3 Plus

    3.218

  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro

    3.206

  • Huawei P9

    3.195

  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

    3.19

  • ZTE Nubia Z17

    3.159

  • Oppo R11s

    3.153

  • Lenovo Vibe Shot

    3.113

  • HTC U11 Life

    3.108

  • Motorola Moto X Force

    3.105

  • LG Nexus 5X

    3.092

  • HTC U11

    3.089

  • Huawei Mate S

    3.073

  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

    3.065

  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL

    3.019

  • Sony Xperia XA1

    3.012

  • Motorola Moto X4

    3.012

  • Sony Xperia L1

    2.994

  • Sony Xperia X

    2.989

  • LG Q6

    2.987

  • Huawei P10 Lite

    2.974

  • Samsung Galaxy Note

    2.97

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    2.951

  • Huawei Mate 8

    2.949

  • Sony Xperia XA2

    2.938

  • Xiaomi Redmi 4

    2.92

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S

    2.913

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    2.913

  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra

    2.906

  • LG G5

    2.905

  • Huawei Honor View 10

    2.896

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime

    2.893

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    2.884

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)

    2.877

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    2.877

  • Sony Xperia Z5

    2.876

  • Nokia 3

    2.871

  • Microsoft Lumia 550

    2.851

  • Lenovo Moto M

    2.813

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro

    2.803

  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact

    2.784

  • Nokia 2

    2.752

  • Meizu MX6

    2.751

  • LG V10

    2.744

  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)

    2.742

  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus

    2.737

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    2.735

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    2.734

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    2.714

  • Meizu M5

    2.71

  • Sony Xperia M5

    2.69

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    2.689

  • Huawei P9 Lite

    2.679

  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime

    2.679

  • vivo V7+

    2.671

  • Vivo V3Max

    2.659

  • Xiaomi Mi Mix

    2.658

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite

    2.654

  • Oppo F5

    2.653

  • Doogee Mix

    2.642

  • Xiaomi Mi 4i

    2.641

  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a

    2.635

  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)

    2.616

  • Sony Xperia XA

    2.609

  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus

    2.582

  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)

    2.582

  • Meizu M5s

    2.58

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    2.574

  • LeEco Le Max 2

    2.567

  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL

    2.563

  • Microsoft Lumia 640

    2.563

  • Huawei P Smart

    2.563

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    2.561

  • HTC U11+

    2.556

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    2.556

  • Lenovo K6 Note

    2.544

  • Lenovo Moto G4

    2.544

  • Oppo F1

    2.528

  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

    2.525

  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c

    2.506

  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

    2.503

  • BlackBerry Motion

    2.494

  • Oppo F1s

    2.481

  • Motorola Moto G

    2.477

  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus

    2.473

  • Huawei G8

    2.471

  • Huawei nova

    2.467

  • Sony Xperia Z

    2.462

  • Lenovo Vibe K5

    2.459

  • Meizu m3 max

    2.447

  • Xiaomi Mi 4

    2.424

  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)

    2.417

  • HTC 10 evo

    2.407

  • Huawei Honor 7

    2.406

  • Vivo V7

    2.404

  • Sony Xperia E5

    2.386

  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo

    2.382

  • HTC 10

    2.378

  • Oppo F3

    2.376

  • vivo V5 Plus

    2.371

  • Meizu m1 note

    2.362

  • Huawei nova plus

    2.329

  • Razer Phone

    2.328

  • HTC One E9+

    2.305

  • Alcatel One Touch Hero

    2.272

  • Sony Xperia L2

    2.266

  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note

    2.254

  • HTC U11+ (EU)

    2.253

  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra

    2.253

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)

    2.249

  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual

    2.235

  • Xiaomi Mi Note

    2.234

  • Motorola Moto G (2014)

    2.233

  • LG Nexus 5

    2.228

  • Huawei P8

    2.196

  • Meizu M5 Note

    2.189

  • Huawei Honor 6

    2.169

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    2.166

  • OnePlus Two

    2.165

  • HTC One X

    2.158

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)

    2.145

  • LG Aka

    2.145

  • Archos 50 Diamond

    2.134

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note

    2.119

  • Xiaomi Mi 4S

    2.095

  • Acer Liquid X2

    2.084

  • Huawei P8lite

    2.078

  • vivo V5

    2.059

  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual

    2.026

  • Xiaomi Mi 3

    2.001

  • Xiaomi Mi Max

    1.996

  • Sony Xperia E4g

    1.972

  • OnePlus One

    1.961

  • Sony Xperia Z2

    1.944

  • Meizu m3 note

    1.923

  • Meizu m2 note

    1.892

  • BlackBerry Leap

    1.892

  • HTC Butterfly

    1.873

  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini

    1.759

  • Sony Xperia U

    1.758

  • Asus Zenfone Selfie

    1.68

  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)

    1.675

  • ZTE Nubia Z9

    1.659

  • Jolla Jolla

    1.605

  • Motorola Moto E

    1.545

  • Sony Xperia M

    1.473

  • Sony Xperia L

    1.351

  • HTC Desire C

    1.3

  • Sony Xperia C

    1.283

  • Meizu MX

    1.221

  • Sony Xperia E

    1.215

The Galaxy S9 has a total of four selectable classy screen modes, each with its own gamut specifics. If you really want to acquire technical about it, AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Cinema is very accurate as per the DCI-P3 color gamut. AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Photo is what you want to come as close to Adobe RGB as possible and Basic Screen mode aims towards sRGB or Rec. 709. The latter is usually what consumer digital cameras, TVs, laptops and other tech aim for, so it could be a familiar sight, if you spdiscontinue a lot of time in front of other screens.

We measured the color accuracy against the all of those color spaces and the Galaxy S9 was perfectly accurate with average deltaE of 1.8 for sRGB, 1.9 for DCI-P3, and 2.2 for Adobe RGB. The maximum deltaE never went higher than 3.

However, the fourth mode - Adaptive display - is what you probably want as your day-to-day setting. What it does is try to detect what kind of content is currently on-classy screen and adjust itself to that. It also makes fine utilize of the entire extra wide color gamut range of the panel to offset some of the washout in brighter ambient light. This is remarkable for outdoor use.

Battery life

There's a 3,000mAh battery inside the Galaxy S9 - same power as the cell inside the Galaxy S8. It should be enough for some fine power autonomy enhanced by the efficient AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) and the recent 10nm chipset. There is quick charging supported which fills 38% of a depleted battery in half an hour, while a full charge takes about 1 hours and 40 mins.

In our tests, the Galaxy S9 clocked in north of 15 hours looping videos and around ten hours when browsing the web over Wi-Fi. In voice calls, it is close to a full day. Surprisingly, the standby battery consumption was barely average though, which prevented the endurance rating of reaching flagship-grade numbers.

Anyway, the Galaxy S9 achieved an overall Endurance rating of 78 hours, which is a few hours behind the Galaxy S8 becautilize of the mediocre standby performance. The Always-On Display was turned off by default and we kept it this way for our standby test. Keeping it on will noticeably diminish the endurance rating down to 50 hours.


Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you utilize the Samsung Galaxy S9 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Loudspeaker

Samsung Galaxy S9 is the first flagship Galaxy with stereo speakers. Samsung is the owner of Harman and thus there is no surprise the recent setup has AKG by Harman enhancements.

Depending on the orientation of the phone the sound changes for better stereo effect and immersive experience. Dolby Atmos is supported on compatible content, too.

The speakers were noticeably louder than the single one on the S8 and the S9 setup scored a Very Good imprint in our loudness test. Indeed, Samsung delivered the promised boost in loudness. And while this is rather subjective, the audio output is among the best we've heard from a smartphone to date.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score

Samsung Galaxy S6 66.5 66.0 70.3 Average

Samsung Galaxy Note8 67.8 69.5 71.5 Good

Samsung Galaxy S8 66.2 70.5 72.5 Good

Samsung Galaxy S7 69.5 69.3 71.1 Good

OnePlus 5T 68.4 73.2 69.9 Good

Apple iPhone X 68.9 74.0 76.2 Very Good

Huawei P10 67.7 70.0 83.6 Very Good

Samsung Galaxy S9 68.5 74.3 81.1 Very Good

Google Pixel 2 70.0 77.0 81.1 Excellent

Apple iPhone 8 71.7 77.8 80.3 Excellent

Impressive audio quality

The Samsung Galaxy S9 did an fantastic job in the first part of our audio test. When hooked to an active external amplifier it delivered very loud and perfectly accurate output.

When we plugged in our standard headphones the volume remained just as high and the accuracy of the output was barely affected too. The hike in stereo crosstalk was so minor it is hardly worth mentioning, while the other readings remained unchanged. Certainly a performance worthy of a flagship, this one.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk

Samsung Galaxy S9+0.01, -0.03-93.493.50.00570.0074-93.9

Samsung Galaxy S9 (headphones)+0.02, -0.03-93.092.90.00380.048-75.5

Samsung Galaxy S8+0.04, -0.00-92.592.50.00160.0072-92.8

Samsung Galaxy S8 (headphones attached)+0.03, -0.03-92.392.30.00560.060-77.2

Samsung Galaxy S8++0.01, -0.03-92.192.10.00200.0086-92.5

Samsung Galaxy S8+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.592.50.00240.046-77.3

HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5

HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7

LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2

LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1




Samsung Galaxy S9 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.


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