Galaxy S9 price leak is bad news for bargain hunters

The Samsung Galaxy S9 will carry an unwelcome price premium over its predecessor, new rumors suggest, as the Android flagship apes the success of the iPhone X. Samsung is expected to take the wraps off the Galaxy S9 – and its larger sibling, the Galaxy S9+ – in just a few weeks time, bringing the smartphones to its latest "Unpacked" event at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

While the handsets won't make their official debut until February 25, courtesy of numerous leaks over the past few months we've already got a pretty solid idea of what to expect. Aesthetically, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are expected to stick fairly closely to the current Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, including using the same screen sizes. In keeping with Samsung's Unpacked tagline of "The Camera. Reimagined" the selling point is expected to be a new sensor system.

That'll be based on a brand new camera design that allows the Galaxy S9 to physically switch between two apertures, it's believed. As well as an f/2.4 aperture, it's suggested, there'll be an f/1.5 option too. That Galaxy S9+ is also expected to add a second camera on the back, as per the example already set by the Galaxy Note 8 in late 2017.

The only big question still lingering has been what the Galaxy S9 – and its bigger S9+ sibling – might cost. Unfortunately, according to new rumors out of the UK, the answer to that question may well disappoint many would-be buyers.

According to a cellphone industry source, speaking to Tech Radar, the Galaxy S9 is set to cost £100 more than the Galaxy S8 did at launch. In the UK, the S8 went on sale in early 2017 for £689, suggesting the Galaxy S9 will be £789. The source claims that Samsung's premium comes down to the company observing that smartphone buyers are willing to pay a premium for high-end devices like the Note 8 and iPhone X.

US pricing is still uncertain, but a $100 increase would seem likely based on this latest leak. With the unlocked S8 starting at around $725 in 2017, that would suggest the Galaxy S9 will be $825 when it goes on sale later this year. As for the Galaxy S9+, given the previous delta between the smaller and larger iterations of Samsung's phones has been $100, that implies it will cost around $925.

It's a not-inconsiderable amount of money, though Samsung wouldn't be alone in charging premium pricing. Apple's strategy with the iPhone X last year was to raise the average selling price of each of its devices, offsetting any potential dip in actual sales numbers. That certainly paid off, too: the company's recent financial results showed that while iPhone unit sales may have dropped, the amount each of those units actually sold for increased considerably.

All the same, Samsung has had to do more price adjustment post-launch with its smartphones in recent years than Apple. Though the Galaxy S8 may have started fairly high – indeed, it launched with a higher sticker price than the Galaxy S7 twelve months before it – it wasn't long before carrier promotions and Samsung's own deals brought that pricing down significantly. There's little to suggest that the Galaxy S9 and S9+ won't face the same market pressures, once again underscoring that if you want a flagship smartphone bargain, patience is the key.