You'll finally get stereo speakers for the first time ever on a Galaxy device, which means you hear audio from the top and bottom or left and right while holding the phone. You'll no longer muffle games or movies while holding the device with two hands. The speakers are nice and loud and balanced, at least for a phone. They're noticeably better than my iPhone X.
Samsung also kept the headphone jack, which means you don't need to rely on dongles or Bluetooth headphones. Both models come with 64GB of storage — enough for saving apps, music and movies for most people. There's also still the option to expand storage using a microSD card, which is a nice plus.
Samsung's fast charging system also juices up the phone quickly, so you don't need to spend hours at the outlet. There's also wireless charging, allowing you to drop it on a wireless charging pad instead of plugging it in, which is a convenience I've grown accustomed to from earlier Galaxy devices and the latest iPhones.
A lot of focus was placed on improving the cameras this year, and they don't disappoint. Most folks probably won't see a massive difference between the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X cameras, which means Samsung did a good job. The lens is particularly good in low-light situations, like a pub or at dusk. You also get fun features like the ability to shoot portrait mode, though it doesn't seem to do as well as the iPhone X in this case. Finally, there's a new 940fps slow-motion mode that records really fun clips intelligently: Just turn it on and take the picture and the phone will detect movement and take the best slo-mo shot it can. You can save these as GIFs, too, for sharing.
There are plenty of options for unlocking the phone, including a secure iris scanner, a slightly less secure fingerprint reader and face unlock, which Samsung says is more of a convenience than a security option. All worked well in my tests and I preferred face unlock since it was fast, even if it's not as secure as Apple's Face ID technology.
Finally, unlike most other phones currently on the market, it will support next-generation Gigabit LTE networks that will begin rolling out in the United States this year. Think of it as a bit of future proofing for when these roll out: You'll be able to download movies and games much faster when you're not on Wi-Fi.