Get the best Samsung Galaxy S9 features now

Get the best Samsung Galaxy S9 features now

The Samsung Galaxy S9 will be one of the most popular devices throughout 2018. It’s a great phone with a lot of cool features, but not everyone can afford an expensive new phone every year. A lot of the best Galaxy S9 features rely on hardware, however, there are some software things you can get on your phone right now. We’ll show you how to get some of the best Galaxy S9 features on any phone.

Bixby Vision

Bixby was first introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and they aren’t backing down from it. Some Bixby features can actually be useful. Bixby Vision is a feature baked into the camera app that allows you to scan items in the real world. It can translate text, identify landmarks, show nutritional facts about food, and more. Most phones have a similar feature called “Google Lens.”


Lens can be found in the Google Photos app or Google Assistant. It does essentially the same thing as Bixby Vision, but it has Google’s powerful machine learning engine behind it. You can scan text, objects, landmarks, and just about anything. You probably already have it on your phone.

In Google Assistant

  1. Long-press the home button to launch Google Assistant (or launch this app).
  2. If Lens is available, it will be in the bottom right corner. Tap it.
  3. Point the camera at something and tap it in the viewfinder.
  4. Assistant will show results for what it found.

In Google Photos

  1. Open the Google Photos app.
  2. Select a photo from the gallery.
  3. Tap the Lens icon in the bottom bar.
  4. Results will slide up from the bottom of the screen.

Bixby Live Translation

Another feature of Bixby Vision is live text translation. This is not something you can do with Google Lens, but you may have heard of an app called Google Translate. Bixby Vision can translate text in real time, which is something Google Translate has been able to do for years. It’s super easy to use and always feels a little magical.

  1. Download and open Google Translate.
  2. Select the before and after languages for translation.
  3. Tap the Camera icon.
  4. Point the camera at the text and watch the words translate in real time.
  5. You can also snap a photo and then select the text to translate.

AR Emoji

Love them or hate them, Samsung made a big deal about AR Emoji. They are an obvious response to Apple’s Animoji. Animated emoji masks are now a “thing.” There are a few Android apps that attempt to replicate this feature, but none really nail it. You won’t be able to find a perfect Animoji or AR Emoji clone. We can get close with an app called MSQRD.

MSQRD was around before both Animoji and Ar Emoji. The app has a wide variety of masks from animals, movies, emotions, and more. Instead of creating a 3D character with your facial expressions, it puts an overlay on your real face. The mask moves and tracks to your face. You can record a video or snap a photo and share it.

DeX Pad

Samsung DeX Pad is a dock that turns the Galaxy S9 into a “computer.” You connect the DeX Pad to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. When you dock the Galaxy S9 it converts Android into a desktop UI. All of the apps and files from your phone are present in the desktop environment.

Android has had a feature like this for a while with a popular app called AirDroid. The beauty of AirDroid is it works wirelessly. You don’t need a fancy dock or a bunch of cables. AirDroid puts your Android device into a traditional desktop UI. All of your photos, files, and apps are available. You can even mirror your Android display and use your phone from the desktop. AirDroid is available for Windows, Mac, and on the web.

Edge Screen

Samsung has been doing the curved edge display for several years now. One of the software features that goes along with it is the “Edge Screen.” Users can swipe in from the edge of the display to access app shortcuts and contacts. It’s a pretty handy feature for quickly switching between frequently used apps and easy access to your favorite people.

The Play Store has a plethora of apps that mimic the Edge Screen behavior. “Drawers” puts tabs on the edge of the screen that can slide out and hold 5 apps shortcuts. “Edge Launcher” slides out when you use a gesture. It can hold app shortcuts and it has quick settings toggles. “Meteor Swipe” is also accessed with an edge gesture. You can swipe in and slide your finger to an app shortcut without lifting off the screen. Give these apps a try and you’ll have your very own Edge Screen.

The Galaxy phones are always chock full of features, but most of them aren’t that unique. That’s the beauty of Android. Software features can more or less work on all devices. It’s the hardware that sets the Galaxy S9 apart. Features like 960 fps slow-motion or dual aperture camera lenses can’t be replicated with apps. The features outlined above will get you close to the Galaxy S9 experience.

About author

Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa

Former Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Lover of all things with displays.

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