Mar 20th, 2018

This year’s Samsung Galaxy S9 isn’t much of an improvement over last year’s model. Sure there’s a slightly upgraded processor and better fingerprint sensor placement over the Galaxy S8, but much of the phone has remained the same. The 4GB of RAM on the regular sized model is one area we would have like to have seen upgraded, but it seems the RAM boost was exclusive to the larger sized S9+ which now has 6GB of RAM (just like on the Note 8).

It’s because of this, we were never expecting much of a performance increase moving to the Galaxy S9 but held out hope that maybe newer versions of Samsung’s custom Android software (Software Experience 9) would bring — at the very least — slightly better RAM management. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this is the case.

Highlighting the Galaxy S9’s poor RAM management issues is DroidModderX who uploaded a speed test video of the Galaxy S9 to YouTube. In the video, the S9 goes head-to-head against the iPhone X. While there aren’t too many phones that can best the iPhone in these types of speed tests, the Galaxy S9 admittedly did a pretty damn good job opening apps from a cold start.

As you can see, it was only during the second round — where RAM management is put to the test — that the Galaxy S9 falls behind. After opening a few games, the phone flushed practically every application from its RAM, causing them to fully reload as if there were never even opened. 4GB of RAM should have been more than enough (especially considering the iPhone X has no trouble with 3GB) keep most of these apps opened but not when it comes to Samsung’s software.

I’ve mentioned this countless times in the past but RAM management plays a huge part in the user experience of a smartphone. Having overly aggressive RAM management kills the performance, with app reloads requiring more effort on the CPU to reload apps from scratch which results in more battery drain and the added frustration of losing your place inside of an app. As someone absolutely spoiled with 8GB of RAM on the OnePlus 5T, the Galaxy S9 isn’t looking like much of an upgrade at this point.