Samsung Galaxy S9+ is the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested

Few things changed in the Galaxy S9+ over its predecessor, but the one fundamental shift was in its camera hardware. Going with an all-new sensor, physically changing aperture and a secondary telephoto lens, Samsung knew it had something worth talking about. And according to DxOMark, it worked: the Galaxy S9+ received its highest-ever mobile rating of 99.

The Galaxy S9+ got to that combined score of 99 with big help from the "photo" portion of DxOMark's testing, where it scored 104. It said that the GS9+ was great at controlling noise and had great colors, but was held back slightly by exposure instability and color fringing. The "video" score was a bit lower, at 91, with great stabilization and noise control but also loss of fine details in most conditions.

This all looks extremely promising.

Those keeping up with this sort of thing will know that's just one point higher on DxOMark's score table than the Google Pixel 2, which has been lauded by just about everyone as a fantastic photographic tool. It's also two points higher than the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and five higher than the Galaxy Note 8. Remember that DxOMark's scoring system is not a fixed scale of 1 to 100 — you can read a bit more about its methodology here and also here.

We'll need to spend far more time with the Galaxy S9+ to make our own conclusions on the camera, but seeing a great score out of DxOMark is a good indicator of the class of camera we're dealing with here.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Need some pictures comparison between other phones to really prove it's value. Mate 10 Pro and IPhone X rated higher in still pictures than Pixel 2 XL but still doesn't beat it
  • So, the best screen by Display Mate and highest DXOMark. But, Sammy didn't show off any of this at the launch. That's well done.
  • So begins the merry go round!
  • Nice! Pre ordering 3 of them tonight 👍
  • Pfffttt....the Pixel 3 is going to have a score of 121,easily. The score will be so high, it will distort reality.
  • somehow I no longer trust dxomarks' ratings anymore. They seem like they are staged/set up. I prefer to rely more on human vision,e.g. using my eyes while taking a picture using the actual phones to distinguish which is the best camera rather than relying on a company that looks like it was paid by a smartphone vendor in order to give it higher ratings for its camera. Dxomark no longer has any credibility for its scores.
  • take a photo of iphone and pixel and post on imore and human vision will say iphone photo is better, then do the same in android that same human vision will say pixel is better. humans are biased and thats why we need this.
  • Human vision varies. So do things like color temperature preference, etc. That's why you expressly do not go by a person's preference when evaluating cameras. You use a definable, repeatable system of evaluation. That's all Dx0Mark scores are. As always, you still need to consider what looks good to you as well.
  • So far, shots I've seen haven't been enough to make me want to ditch my Pixel 2 XL.
  • Probably because the difference is negligible. The cameras on the Pixel 2 and iPhone 8/10 are both awesome, and it looks the like the S9 will be joining the ranks. Each will have some stronger points, but they are all great.
  • Heck, the cameras on almost every major vendor's flagships from 2016 on take very good pictures. It's getting to the point that "takes the best pictures" is just a bragging rights advertising point instead of something that customers base decisions on. I personally need to see what the camera's features are. Show me something new that works well.
  • Its always the same. A new Samsung or iPhone has the best camera and maybe best screen until it doesn't. Google "futility", it's a real thing.
  • Useless scores, testing the device in real time will provide best results.
  • Pixel defense force to the rescue...anything to avert the eyes from the fact that Samsung is the only Android OEM that matters...
  • Only android oem that matters? Uh no
  • To the average person, uh ya... There are no others. Samsung is android, android is Samsung. Only techies care about other brands.
  • The S9+ camera got a higher score than the Pixel 2 due to a significantly bigger sub-score for the "zoom" category (which is obvious, since it has 2x cameras). For sub-scores related strictly to photo quality, S9+ camera is at Pixel 1 level sub-scores. But sadly, most of the readers and buyers will only look at the total score then say "it's better!".
  • Yes and if I remember correctly the Pixel did very well with video which also got mixed in with the overall score.
    All details are published.
  • That's because for the majority of readers it's just a bragging rights point. They aren't really interested in the details of how good the cameras really are. For still photography the Mate 10 series and Pixel 2 still beat the S9 in photo quality, but hey.
  • Even if the Pixel takes a better photo in auto, the S9 has. Manual controls
    RAW capture
    Telephoto lens
    Adjustable aperture So that S9 is far more useful to me.
  • All that can be added if required. If not required you don't have software slowing everything down.
    The only thing I really noticed using a Pixel to my S7 was the speed it took good pictures.
  • And what about the score given by the Central Committee of the DPRK? You know, since we're talking about things with zero credibility...
  • Think we needed Samsung to move things along again.
    Give the Pixel 3 something to aim for.
    And yes I know it's personal preference and your phone takes better pictures than the S9 but when dxomark rate your phone top you will agree with them too...
  • I take scores from this outfit with a gain of salt. Sure, the S9+ is the absolute best phone camera ever created... Until tomorrow. The best camera, as someone is fond of saying, is the one in your pocket. My Note 8 serves me well.
  • Pixel 2 owners hardest hit.
  • Yes it may be the current best and I will be ordering one tonight! I can't wait to test the camera out on my camping trip in 2 weeks.
  • How exactly are we supposed to trust DxO? They changed their protocol right after the announcement of the iPhone 8, and guess what?, the changes they made were coincidentally advantageous for the new iPhones. I don't trust them anymore ; nowadays, commercial partnerships seem more important to them than photography.
  • they retested all old phones.
  • I don't take any of these "test" with any major weight. They rated the iphone 6s WAY higher than the 1020 and as we all know, the 1020 takes way better photographs than the 6s. Ever since then, DxO is a paid "review".
  • Does anyone take that company seriously anymore?
  • Well it’s not like we aren’t all aware that Samsung releases some of the best smartphone cameras every year. With or without this rating I already knew what to expect
  • Only those people who own the phone with the highest score. Then, when a new phone comes out that has a higher score, all of a sudden DXO scores don't matter or aren't reliable. I've seen it a thousand times.
  • LOL -- too true.
  • Apart from tech blogs who keep giving them free publicity, no, not really.
  • Nice good job Samsung, your turn Google in the fall 😁
  • Good job Samsung, looking forward to the 16th, very pleased about day one unlocked availability. I got hands on time with the black one yesterday at my local Best Buy, now I just have to check out the coral blue to make my final decision, color wise. Great feeling phone in the hand, with a beautiful display topped off by nice stereo speakers.
  • OMG, here we go again...the camera on this new S9 can take pictures all by itself and send them to your grandmother without even being turned on!!!!
    Go buy a real camera if you must see the pores on your friends nose. When looking at any camera's pictures on such a small cell phone screen they all look great! Useless Samsmug fanism!
  • Dude, you’re triggered. Time for your medication
  • HAHAHAHA. Oh now that shitdung is on top, DxO Mark scores matter? Typical shitdung central. You guys are laughably biased.
  • And you are laughably triggered 😂
  • Laughably triggered? I just thought it was funny is all.
  • It only has the best camera because of the zoom lens. If you look closer at the scores, the Pixel 2 beats it in the categories that actually matter. DxOMark scores need to die a horrible death.
  • No they don’t. They got clicks, and you just gave them another one. Mission accomplished
  • This is probably helped by its second zoom lense, which is something they started taking into account last year. That being said, DXo has proved itself to be pretty pointless numerous times at this point. Like any other synthetic benchmark.
  • This headline should finish with "... Until the next flagship."
  • I don't rely on DxOMark for true to life results but a high score is encouraging I guess.
  • Insert smartphone name here. Last year it as the U11, Pixel 2 or S8 depending on what day you looked at it
  • That’s because all the tech dollars are going into smartphone cameras, as everything else has plateaued. Every few months will see a new leader as OEMs use this for free publicity and people who don’t know better believe it My question, what happens after one of them cracks 100? Are we going to see a 5 way tie at the top? lol
  • Pretty sure that the Pixel 2 beats the S9 camera in every other category other than zoom and personally as good as the S9 camera undoubtedly is, I respect Google much more as the Pixel 2 and 2 XL use only one camera while the S9 uses a duel camera like every other tomorrow, dick and Harry.
  • Please show your test results
  • She doesn't have one. And no source to prove it either. I'm still waiting for some picture comparisons between multiple phones and not just the Pixel 2 XL.
  • The S9 has one camera it's not dual, think u mean the plus.
  • I was indeed talking about the S9+.
  • Not sure why people keep knocking DxOmark.
    I understand if you don't agree with their ultimate score as it is obviously subjective.
    Photography is a compromise between many factors and what is deemed important to one might be less so to others.
    BUT DxOmark publish all the test data and if you take your time to look through it most of what you need to make up your own mind is there.
    It really doesn't matter that their priorities differ from yours.