The Samsung Galaxy S9+ builds on years of Samsung's excellence. It starts with a gorgeously sculpted metal and glass body that's waterproof, with features like dual speakers, a headphone jack and an SD card slot. Inside are the latest and greatest specs, plus a standout pair of cameras on the back and the best display on the market around front.

Our pick

Galaxy S9+

The best Android phone for most people.

Choosing the Samsung Galaxy S9+ doesn't require much thought — it can do everything, and looks great doing it, with few real downsides. It's beautiful, has the best screen, isn't missing any hardware features and has one of the best camera experiences available in a smartphone today.

Who should buy this phone

Samsung designs its phones to be appealing to the widest possible audience, and that makes the Galaxy S9+ a great device for just about anyone. It has a big and beautiful display that's quite simply the best in the industry, but with very small bezels and curved edges, it fits into a relatively compact size.

Internally, it has all of the latest specs to handle any app or task you need. It also has a pair of cameras on the back that are in the mix as the best available today. Samsung has also kept around crowd-pleasing features like wireless charging, waterproofing, an SD card slot and a headphone jack. Really, the Galaxy S9+ does a great job at being all things to all people.

Best of all, if you don't care for the larger size of the Galaxy S9+ for whatever reason, you can simply buy the smaller and less expensive Galaxy S9 instead and get the same core experience with only a few changes.

Is it a good time to buy this phone?

Yes. The Samsung Galaxy S9+ launched the first week of March 2018, meaning it is still the latest and great phone that Samsung makes. The Galaxy S9+'s successor will not be unveiled until March 2019.

Reasons to buy

  • Sleek and beautiful hardware
  • Top-notch specs
  • Waterproofing, wireless charging and more
  • Best-in-class display
  • Up to 256GB of storage available
  • Fantastic dual cameras
  • Dual speakers and a headphone jack
  • Available everywhere

Reasons not to buy

  • Lots of unnecessary apps installed
  • Slow update speed

There are so many great Android phones available, but one stands out just a little extra

The Galaxy S9+ is all about giving you the most features, both hardware and software, in a beautiful package. You get a great display, top-end specs across the board, plus all of the hardware features you expect: waterproofing, wireless charging, an SD card slot, a headphone jack and more. It's all wrapped up in a glossy and shiny metal-and-glass exterior that's efficient and great looking.

The camera is all-new this generation, with a sensor that does fantastic processing to remove noise and sharpen fine detail even in poor lighting. It's aided by a dual-aperture lens to get the best combination of light and detail in different shots, and is paired with a secondary telephoto lens for zoom and portrait mode shooting. Whether you shoot in auto or mess around in manual mode, you can get great shots in just about any scene.

You don't get the clean and simple software experience of phones like the Google Pixel 2 XL or OnePlus 6, which may take some extra customization and tweaking on your part, but the Galaxy S9+ is far less polarizing overall because it just has so many features to appeal to everyone. When you take it all together, it's a complete package.

Alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy S9+

The Galaxy S9+ has mass appeal, but it isn't for everyone. There are several other awesome picks out there depending on your specific needs.

Upgrade pick

Galaxy Note 9

An incredible phone with a huge price to match.

The Galaxy S9+ is great, but the Samsung Note 9 is even greater. It does everything the GS9+ does, but adds in a larger screen, more storage, longer battery life and an S Pen stylus. And it's about $200 more because of it.

The Galaxy Note 9 is easily the best Note phone Samsung has ever made, and for once it's actually better than the latest Galaxy S phone in every way. The battery has jumped up to 4000mAh, which gives you effortless all-day battery life, and the rest of the experience is the same as what the Galaxy S9+ offers.

That means you get top-end specs, a great camera, an industry-leading display and so much more. And the Note has an S Pen, which remains unmatched in the smartphone world. The problem is its $1000+ price tag, which is a tough pill to swallow when you can get almost the same experience for about $200 less with the Galaxy S9+. That makes this an "upgrade" and not the standard recommendation.

Budget pick

OnePlus 6

Great value for an amazing feature-rich device.

The OnePlus 6 is pretty much everything you expect in a high-end phone, but for $200-300 less. You don't give up much with this $529 phone, and in many ways, you get a better software experience.

These top-end phones are expensive, but that doesn't mean you're stuck paying top-dollar for your next upgrade. The OnePlus 6 provides nearly the same experience as these other devices at a substantial discount — just $529. You get all of the latest specs inside, and it's wrapped up in a beautiful metal-and-glass frame not unlike the Galaxy S9+.

There are a few shortcomings, like an average display, basic speaker, and subpar vibration motor, but the software experience is more akin to the Pixel 2 XL than the Galaxy S9+ — and that's a good thing. OnePlus has dramatically improved its camera offering to where the OnePlus 6 is just a stone's throw away from the top-of-the-line phones, which just adds to the great value this phone offers.

Amazing camera

Huawei P20 Pro

A high-end device that checks all the right boxes.

The Huawei P20 Pro is all about the cameras — a 40MP main sensor is assisted by an 8MP telephoto camera and a 20MP monochrome camera to give you so many shooting options and out-of-this-world results. It's a photographer's dream.

You may think that the "Leica" branding is a bit of a joke at first, but don't let that turn you away — the Huawei P20 Pro has an amazing set of cameras that can produce the best photos of any smartphone today. The combination of a 40MP main sensor, an 8MP telephoto camera and a 20MP monochrome sensor give you unending shooting options, and the software pulling it all together knows all of the tricks to create stellar photos.

The rest of the phone experience isn't subpar, either — Huawei's built a beautiful phone here with powerful specs. It's just let down as ever by the Huawei software that heavily tweaks and modifies Android — to a fault. Some can look past that to get those wonderful cameras, though, and will even go so far as to import an international version to the U.S.

Bottom line

The Note 9 is an amazing phone that goes above and beyond the Galaxy S9+, but its price is prohibitive and doesn't really add up considering the marginal improvements over the GS9+. If you fancy yourself more discerning about software experience, you'll want to look at the Google Pixel 2 XL — you'll have to buy unlocked or from Verizon, but that Google software is worth it. For less money, the OnePlus 6 gives you a near-flagship experience and also has great clean software. The most versatile camera imaginable can be found in the Huawei P20 Pro, and the rest of the phone isn't exactly bad.

That leaves us with the Samsung Galaxy S9+, which is the best Android phone for most people. It provides the best experience, top-end hardware and most features for the widest number of people. It's also available everywhere, from any carrier or retailer you could imagine.

Update September 2018: The Galaxy S9+ continues to be our top pick for its great features, hardware, camera and wide availability. The Galaxy Note 9 is on the list as an upgrade pick for when money's no object. The Pixel 2 XL remains, but only when it can be found on a discount as it's nearing a year old at this point.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

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