Editor's Note: This article was originally published on 26 February and is being re-published keeping in mind the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus in India from Rs 64,900 onwards
The much-awaited annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) is finally underway and we have already seen the first couple of launches at the event. A day before the start of MWC 2018, we saw phone launches by Samsung, Nokia and today Sony announced its flagship Xperia XZ2 series.
At the annual conference, Samsung finally launched its flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus.
Another major player, HMD Global returned to the stage almost a year after announcing its big return to the mobile market. The company launched five devices at its event that include the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 1, Nokia 6 (2018), Nokia 7 Plus and the Nokia 8110 Slider with 4G VoLTE. The company did not launch the much rumoured Nokia 9 or Nokia 10 probably because of not getting hands on the supply of Nokia 845.
On the first day of MWC 2018 it was the turn of Sony Mobile to launch its Xperia XZ2 along with Xperia XZ2 Compact.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are both powered by the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC and Samsung’s Exynos 9810 (market-dependent). The S9 will pack 4 GB of RAM and the S9 Plus will sport 6 GB of RAM. The screen size of both the devices remains the same with 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch for the S9 and S9 Plus respectively. This time users will get an option to choose from 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB storage variants while buying any of the two devices.
More than usual improvements in the internal hardware powering the device, the most significant improvement for the S9 line-up is expected to be the camera. S9 and S9 Plus will be the first devices from the Galaxy S-series to pack a variable aperture from an impressive f/1.5 for low-light conditions to f/2.4 for sharper images. Another interesting feature that Samsung has added is the ability to shoot 960 fps video at 720p by integrating DRAM in the camera sensor module.
Talking about the second major release, Nokia 8 Sirocco, HMD Global has packed the high-end device with a Snapdragon 835, the same chipset that was in flagships of 2017. The dated SoC is accompanied with a 6 GB RAM, 128 GB internal storage, dual camera setup with 12 MP, f/1.7 and 13 MP, f/2.6 image sensors on the back of the device.
The third major launch, the Sony Xperia XZ2 along with Xperia XZ2 Compact saw the company upgrading both the devices to the new taller 18:9 displays. The company has added that the XZ2 features a 5.7-inch FHD+ display while the Compact makes do with a 5-inch FHD+ unit. Both smartphones also come with Sony's S-Force Surround sound and Hi-Res Bluetooth audio with LDAC.
Sony Xperia XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC paired with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of internal storage with support for microSD cards of up to 400 GB in capacity. Even though Sony showcased an intriguing dual camera set up it would only arrive in future smartphones. The current batch makes do with a 19 MP Advanced Motion Eye f/2.0 camera on the back and a 5 MP f/2.2 setup on the front.
With the launch of three high profile flagships in just about a matter of hours, it is only right to bring them to the comparison table and see how these devices stack against each other and against the competition. It may not be fair to pit it against the flagships from last year but it does it will paint a more comprehensive picture of the comparison.
The reason we selected these smartphones is that almost all of the devices are flagship devices sold as the best a particular company can sell. These devices also pack similar (or the custom-made equivalents) of the top-of-the-line hardware. Bear in mind that we're still not done testing some of these smartphones, so we're currently comparing them going only by their specifications on paper.
|Smartphone||Samsung S9 Plus||Sony Xperia XZ2||Nokia 8 Sirocco||iPhone X||Google Pixel 2 XL|
|Display Size (inch)||6.2||5.7||5.5||5.8||6|
|Resolution (pixels)||1,440 x 2,960||1080 x 2160||1,440 x 2,560||2436 x 1125||1440 x 2880|
|Pixel Density (PPI)||529||424||534||458||538|
|Display Type||Super AMOLED||IPS LCD||p-OLED||OLED Super Retina HDR||pOLED|
|Dimensions(mm)||158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5||153 x 72 x 11.4||140.9 x 73 x 7.5||143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7||157.9 × 76.7 × 7.9|
|Dual SIM||Yes (Variant)||Yes (Variant)||Yes||No||No|
|Connectivity Types||GSM / HSPA / LTE||GSM / HSPA / LTE||GSM / HSPA / LTE||LTE, SCDMA, CDMA EV-DO Rev. A, UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA, GSM/EDGE||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE / VoLTE|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Exynos 9810||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|CPU Cores||Octa-core, Octa-core||Octa-core||Octa-core||Hexa-core||Octa-core|
|CPU Clock Speed (GHz)||4x Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7 & 4x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7 and 4x Mongoose M3 @ 2.8 & 4x Cortex A55 @ 1.7||4x Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.7 & 4x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.7||4x Kryo 280 @ 2.5 GHz & 4x Kryo 280 @ 1.8 GHz||Hexa-core 4 x effieciency cores + 2 Performance cores||4x Kryo 280 @ 2.35 & 4x Kryo 280 @ 1.9|
|GPU||Adreno 630, Mali G72 MP18||Adreno 630||Adreno 540||-||Adreno 540|
|RAM||6 GB||4 GB||6 GB||3GB||4 GB|
|Ruggedness||IP68||IP68||IP54||IP67 under IEC standard 60529||IP67|
|On-Board Memory||64, 128, 256 GB||64 GB||128 GB||64, 256 GB||64, 128 GB|
|Expandable Memory||Yes, up to 256GB||Yes, upto 400 GB||Yes, up to 256 GB||No||No|
|Sensors||Iris scanner, fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Heart-rate, SpO2||Fingerprint reader (side mounted), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, barometer, compass||Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Heart rate, Barometer||Face ID
Ambient light sensor
|Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Active Edge, Magnetometer, Hall effect|
|Primary Camera||12MP, f/1.5-2.4, 12 MP f/2.4 52 mm||19 MP, f/2.0||12 MP, f/1.75 and 13 MP, f/2.6||12 MP wide-angle ƒ/1.8 aperture,
telephoto ƒ/2.4 aperture
|12.2 MP, f/1.8|
|Optical Image Stabilization||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Camera Array||Dual Camera||Single Camera||Dual Camera||Dual Camera||Single Camera|
|Autofocus System||Phase detection||Laser and Phase detection||Dual-pixel phase detection||Autofocus with Focus Pixels||Laser, Dual-pixel phase detection|
|Secondary Camera||8MP, f/1.7||5 MP f/2.2||5 MP||7 MP, f/2.2||8MP, f/2.4|
|Video Capture||4K, 720p 960 fps, HDR||2160p@30 fps, 1080p@960 fps||4K||4K upto 60 fps||4K|
|OS Version||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 8.0 Oreo||iOS 11||Android 8 Oreo|
|AI (Smart Assistant)||Yes, Bixby||Google Assistant||Google Assistant||Siri||Yes, Google Assistant|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Hotspot||802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual, band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA|
|Bluetooth||v5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX||5.0, A2DP, aptX HD, LE||v5, A2DP, LE||v 5.0||v5, A2DP, LE, aptX HD|
|Fingerprint Scanner||Yes, Rear button||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, Rear button|
|USB Type||Type-C Reversible connector||Type-C reversible||Type-C Reversible connector||Reversible connector||Type-C Reversible connector|
|USB Standard||USB 3.1||USB v3.1||USB v3.1||Lightning||USB 2.0|
|Quick charge||Yes||Quick Charge 3.0||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Colors||Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Titanium Gray, Lilac Purple||Liquid Black, Liquid Silver, Deep Green, Ash Pink||Tempered Blue, Polished Blue, Steel, Polished Copper||Space Grey, Silver||Black & White, Just Black|
|Prices in India||Rs 64,900 onwards||TBA||TBA||Rs 89,000 onwards||Rs 73,000 onwards|
Apple iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 XL are the reigning champions in the smartphone market when it comes to performance and camera according to our tests. However, considering that Galaxy S9 Plus packs a revamped camera system and Samsung Note 8 was almost at par with the Pixel 2 XL, it is likely that Samsung can beat the Pixel 2 XL with the new variable aperture technology. But we will reserve our verdict till we actually test the new flagships. But on paper at least, both the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Sony Xperia XZ2 and Nokia 8 Sirocco look quite impressive.