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Samsung S9, the smartphone for boat owners?  

 

Dan Corcoran
(@dan-corcoran)
Active Member
Joined:3 months  ago
Posts: 5
17/04/2018 2:44 pm  

In reviews for the Samsung S9, in the two articles below, it looks like the display has 700 nits of brightness in normal mode, and 1130 nits in "high brightness mode" / Adaptive Sunlight Mode.  That is on par with cockpit mfd's nits of 800+ and blows away phones like the new Google 2 XL which is rated at 420 nits.

https://www.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s9-preview

http://www.displaymate.com/Galaxy_S9_ShootOut_1s.htm

Is this the smartphone for boat owners that want to run navigation, Signal K, and other app's in the cockpit?  Perhaps Panbo can take this new phone for a spin and report back if it is?


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Steve Mitchell
(@stevemitchell)
Member Moderator
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 37
17/04/2018 3:13 pm  

I actually have a second day job (or third?) testing phones out for a review company, and have the S9, plus the Pixel 2, Essential Phone, and about 5 others of the Android persuasion.

My go to phone is still the iPhoneX/8 because of the eco system behind it (App Store, iPad+watch+Mac, etc.) and the fact that it seems to take a beating in the sun and rain and keeps going. However, iOS is so very limiting when it comes to app capabilities and notifications (just to name a few).

The Samsung is impressing me so far. I have never liked the additional bloated software Samsung adds onto Android, preferring a Pixel, OnePlus or Essential phone, all whom have a much lighter touch. But the S9 is much better than the previous model in that regard.

The camera is outstanding, screen brightness is always impressive from Samsung, and this one does not disappoint - it is frankly amazing. I've only had mine for about a month or so, and it has not been (ahem) that sunny here in Seattle, so I haven't gotten to test that out fully. It is very weather resistant!

I've run a bunch of boat-connected apps without any issues, the screen size, brightness, and battery life all make the S9 a great companion on the boat. If there are specific things you would like tested, let me know!

Editor, SailBits.com


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Richard Cassano
(@rcassano)
Active Member
Joined:1 month  ago
Posts: 3
17/04/2018 4:45 pm  

I’m actually really interested in the Pixel because of the pure version of the Android os. The Pixel seems to get updates first when other Android phones lag. I’ve been an iPhone user since the first one but getting tired of the early demise of the Apple batteries. I’m considering jumping ship when Pixel 3 comes out. Currently using an iPhone 7. 


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Ben Ellison
(@ben-ellison)
Member Admin
Joined:3 months  ago
Posts: 24
18/04/2018 2:31 pm  

Hi Richard, I've had a Pixel 2 XL for about 2 months -- Verizon had a deal! -- and am very happy with it. Excellent Android performance, fantastic camera, and amazing battery life.


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Dan Corcoran
(@dan-corcoran)
Active Member
Joined:3 months  ago
Posts: 5
18/04/2018 2:34 pm  

I had to choose a phone two weeks ago to replace my failing Google Pixel XL, it was a hard choice, and I eventually settled on the Google 2 XL for the frequent updates, ease of changing phones, and memory of bloatware on the Samsung S7

I was really tempted to go for the S9, with all the brightness, but in the Verizon store the sample phones were set so you could not increase the brightness and compare them, and no matter how bright it is, reading a phone while bouncing around on a sailboat and all the reflections off the water may still hold back it's successful use in a bright cockpit. 

If the phone has breached the barrier of being used in a bright cockpit, I think that would be EdBlog worthy to report on.


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Steve Mitchell
(@stevemitchell)
Member Moderator
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 37
22/04/2018 12:25 am  

Did some testing over the last few days with a few phones in the cockpit running Navionics just for the fun of it. I also set them up this evening and took a few pictures, but will describe the results too since pictures are somewhat affected by exposure. For the pictures, I was using my big DSLR.

First up from left to right:

Samsung S9
iPhoneX
Google Pixel 2

The iPhone and S9 are very close, although the S9 has a bit deeper colors. Perhaps the S9 has a slight edge on brightness. It does warn you rather ominously when you turn it up as bright as possible that you could damage your eyes. The Pixel is not even close to the other two.

1524371152-DSC06764.jpg

Editor, SailBits.com


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Steve Mitchell
(@stevemitchell)
Member Moderator
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 37
22/04/2018 12:26 am  

Here is the S9 and iPhoneX. I think it comes down to personal preference of the color depth and palette and such. The S9 does seem slightly brighter.

1524371211-DSC06762.jpg

Editor, SailBits.com


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Steve Mitchell
(@stevemitchell)
Member Moderator
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 37
22/04/2018 12:29 am  

Final one from left to right:

Samsung S9
iPhone X
Google Pixel 2
OnePlus 3T
Essential Phone

I have small hands, so I prefer the smaller versions of handsets if available. The Google Pixel 2 XL does have a slightly different display panel (I don't have that one right now) but is supposed to be equal to the smaller Pixel 2. 

The OnePlus phones are some of my favorites due to their cheaper cost, similar build quality to flagships, and minimal bloat. The Essential Phone I had hoped would be much better, and the updates and such are great, but the camera is absolutely horrible. And it is super dim as you can see here.

If I had to choose I would go with the Pixel 2 personally. Even with the brighter screen on the S9, their bloated software leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

1524371382-DSC06767.jpg

Editor, SailBits.com


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Richard Cassano
(@rcassano)
Active Member
Joined:1 month  ago
Posts: 3
22/04/2018 9:07 am  

Steve,

The test pictures are really helpful. Besides the brightness comparison, the photo shows how an edge to edge display would allow for a better view of nautical charts. My favorite “next phone” choice has been the Pixel 2, but your photo shows the shortcoming of the smaller screen vs phone size. I sure hope Google makes the Pixel 3 with an edge to edge screen like what I see here in the Samsung S9 and iPhone X. It's rare to be able to see all of these top models in a photo next to each other. I have to say the screen on the S9 and iPhone X is impressive for what is needed aboard a boat.

I can never figure why a cell phone manufacturer would make a model meant to be used mostly outdoors in bright sunlight and not make the screen fully “Sunlight readable” with a battery that can drive this capability. Why has the market created this competition to constantly achieve a thinner phone with thinner battery? Who's asking for this? Give me a phone as thick as the iPhone 5 with all of today's advancements and put in a massive battery with full sunlight readable screen and I think we have something most useful for almost everyone especially sailors.


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Ben Stein
(@ben-stein)
Member Admin
Joined:3 months  ago
Posts: 26
22/04/2018 11:07 am  
Posted by: Steve Mitchell

Final one from left to right:

Samsung S9
iPhone X
Google Pixel 2
OnePlus 3T
Essential Phone

 

1524371382-DSC06767.jpg

That lineup is pretty stark, especially for the Essential phone.  I was certainly aware there are widespread differences between the various displays but I didn't expect anything to show up that poorly relative to the competition.  

@rcassano, you're getting into the compromises of any modern electronics.  Sufficient battery life, sunlight readable display, high-speed processor, acceptable form-factor all at a reasonable cost is probably one or two wants too many with current technology.  It gets steadily better and if you compare the brightness of current phones to what was produced even a few years ago the progress is evident (313 cd/m for the S4 versus 544 for the S9 per DisplayMate).  We've seen some pretty nice trends in phones for boaters, I know that I for one am very happy that water resistance has become pretty much standard.  Hopefully the trend will continue and phones will become even more useful.  

Contributing Editor, Panbo.com


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Steve Mitchell
(@stevemitchell)
Member Moderator
Joined:2 months  ago
Posts: 37
22/04/2018 1:12 pm  
Posted by: Richard Cassano

Steve,

The test pictures are really helpful. Besides the brightness comparison, the photo shows how an edge to edge display would allow for a better view of nautical charts. My favorite “next phone” choice has been the Pixel 2, but your photo shows the shortcoming of the smaller screen vs phone size. I sure hope Google makes the Pixel 3 with an edge to edge screen like what I see here in the Samsung S9 and iPhone X. It's rare to be able to see all of these top models in a photo next to each other. I have to say the screen on the S9 and iPhone X is impressive for what is needed aboard a boat.

 

Keep in mind this is the Pixel 2, not the Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2 XL has a much bigger screen and nearly edge to edge as well. Many people who have normal human sized hands (not me!) love the Pixel 2 XL and it is a contender for the rest of these phones. It is still dimmer than the S9 and iPhoneX but it is the canonical Google phone, which means a lot to many people (including me!)

Editor, SailBits.com


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