Sometimes leaks are obviously legitimate, and sometimes people go out of their way to dupe us with an elaborate hoax. And sometimes, you just can’t call it — say, when an image pops up on Reddit allegedly showing the box a Galaxy S9 will eventually be tucked up in. The gloves, the clinically white work space, the layout and font; nothing seems too suspect. And given we know the S9 and S9+ will be announced next month, this is when you’d expect the leaks to start flowing. Assuming this is, in fact, final Galaxy S9 packaging, then what does it tell us about Samsung’s next flagship? Well, that it’s much like the S8, but with a few new features thrown in.
Most of what’s listed on the box is completely believable: The 5.8-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED display, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, IP68 water and dust resistant rating, iris scanner, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, wireless charging support and earphones “tuned by AKG.” If anything, they might disappoint those hoping for a bigger step change this generation — we can’t not mention the iPhone X here — since you’ll find all this written on the back of the Galaxy S8’s packaging. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that this is just one box, so who knows what other storage and RAM configurations Samsung is cooking up.
One rumor that’s been doing the rounds is that the S9’s camera will feature a variable aperture, which this leak seems to confirm, but otherwise it’ll be the same “dual pixel” 12MP shooter with optical image stabilization found on the S8. And Samsung’s already launched a pricey flip phone in China with a camera that can switch (mechanically, not digitally) between an f/2.4 aperture and a wider, f/1.5 aperture for improved low-light performance. No great stretch to assume the rumor is true, then.
The box also speaks of a “super slow-mo” feature little birdies have been chirping about. Apparently, the camera is capable of shooting slow-motion video at 1,000 fps, besting the 960 fps limit of Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium and XZ1. Otherwise, we’re apparently getting stereo speakers “tuned by AKG,” which would be new, and we can safely assume the S9 will feature a functioning FM radio chip, at least in North America, given the partnership with NextRadio announced just a few days ago.
There’s no mention of any face-unlocking feature; not on the box anyway. There’s been speculation the S9 could have iPhone X-like face authentication and possibly another take on animated emojis, because Samsung’s latest Exynos 9810 smartphone chip is geared for that kind of thing. Not all S9’s will carry the Exynos 9810 chip, though. In regions including the US, you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in its place, but that chip is capable of the same level of face mapping. Perhaps the feature isn’t ready yet, or Samsung is having trouble getting it performing comparably across both chips. Or maybe it just didn’t make the box.
Predictably, all Samsung had to say was it “is unable to comment on rumors and speculation.” But in between now and the S9/S9+’s official reveal next month, you can definitely expect more leaks either confirming or challenging what we think we’ve learnt from this little drip.