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Samsung reveals Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones to challenge the iPhone X

AR Emoji and better cameras that mimic the human eye are among the new features.

Samsung has unveiled its new flagship smartphones to take on the iPhone X, complete with high-specification cameras and face-scanning technology to create personalised emoji.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ feature redesigned rear cameras that house a dual aperture, meaning the sensor can mimic the human eye’s ability to expand and contract to let in more or less light.

The two devices are Samsung’s first major announcements since the iPhone X in November – the Korean firm’s biggest rival in the smartphone market.

(Martyn Landi/PA)

As part of the announcement, Samsung demonstrated its own take on Apple’s Animoji – AR Emoji -which turns selfies into personalised emoji which can be shared in messages.

The larger S9+ also features dual rear cameras, and Samsung confirmed a price of £869. The Galaxy S9 is priced at £739 and both devices will go on sale in the UK on March 16.

Samsung’s announcement comes ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) the mobile phone trade show which opens on Monday in Barcelona.

The head of the firm’s mobile business, DJ Koh, said the company’s focus on cameras was due to consumers now using images and video rather than text to communicate.

“The way we use our smartphones has changed as communication and self-expression has evolved,” he said.

“With the Galaxy S9 and S9+, we have reimagined the smartphone camera. Not only does the Galaxy S9 and S9+ enable consumers to shoot the best photos and videos anywhere, it’s a smartphone that’s designed to help them connect to others and express themselves in a way that’s unique and personal to them.”

Unlike most smartphones, which have a fixed aperture, Samsung says its dual aperture can automatically switch between two settings based on light conditions, and is able to take better photos in low light as a result.

(Martyn Landi/PA)

The new AR Emoji feature scans a user’s selfie and maps 100 features to create an animated emoji of their face which can then be shared in messages.

It follows the launch of Apple’s Animoji feature on the iPhone X, which enabled users to animate a small collection of common emoji using their own facial expressions.

The Galaxy S9 has a 5.8-inch quad HD+ Super AMOLED display, while the S9+ has a larger 6.2-inch display.

Samsung’s new flagship phones also feature slow-motion video capturing support, as well as an enhanced version of artificially intelligent assistant Bixby.

The assistant, which has previously struggled to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, can now automatically identify and provide information on objects seen through the phone’s camera, as well translate languages in text in real time.

Samsung is one of several technology giants to announce new phones at MWC – earlier on Sunday Nokia revealed several new devices across different price ranges as part of its continued comeback, while Sony is expected to reveal its new Xperia flagship phone on Monday.

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