Samsung may be brave enough to go notch-free, but they don’t seem to be taking many other risks. Our Galaxy S9+ teardown revealed some very familiar sights, a familiar body, and a lonely bit of hardware innovation in the dual-aperture camera system. Samsung must have a lot of confidence in their quality assurance department—the batteries in the S9+, S8+, and Note7 share the same specs and, to our eye, the same basic compartment buried underneath a wall of glue and glass.

Last year it was exploding batteries; this year it’s batteries slowing things down. Wouldn’t it be easier (and cheaper) for manufacturers—and everyone—to make battery replacement more consumer-friendly?

Samsung Galaxy S9+ Teardown Highlights:

  • The aperture-adjusting dual camera array uses its wide-angle f/1.5 setting for low light, and the f/2.4 for crisp everyday photos. While most cameras use at least five blades to adjust their aperture, the S9+ gets away with just two blades to switch between its two settings.
  • One thing Samsung “borrowed” from Apple is animated emoji—but its solution is lower-tech. The S9+ front-facing hardware (iris scanner, front-facing camera, IR emitter, and proximity sensor) remain pretty much exactly like those in the S8. So think Snapchat filters, and not Kinect-level tracking here.
  • Along with its familial design, the S9+ inherits its “meh” 4/10 in repairability from the S8 and Note8 lineage. With the iPhone score dropping to a 6, this coulda been Samsung’s year. We’ll cross our fingers for next time.

Samantha Lionheart is a content curator and guide photo guru at iFixit. She enjoys tea, cats, and thinking too much about movies.

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