“Does the Galaxy S9 Plus have IR blaster?” was the question on the lips of many when the phone first showed up. Infra-red ports are no longer the rave they used to be years ago on mobile phones, but some manufacturers still use them. And some Samsung fans are bitter.
Back in the day, the most advanced mobile phones would have an infra-red port. It was used for data transfer, including internet sharing. Yes; those were the days before Wi-Fi became a thing. To share your phone’s internet, you used an old-school data cable or infra-red.
With the presence of Wi-Fi, the need and demand for infra-red blasters diminished. In recent years, Xiaomi has put an IR blaster in many of its phones. This time, these ports enable the phones to be used as TV controllers. Yes; mobile phones have taken over the roles of everything else; why not add TV controller to it?
It also enables the ability to control the DVD player, air conditioner, and some other household appliances. But a more accurate version of Face ID uses infra-red and, so, we are seeing an upsurge of IR ports in smartphones. So, perhaps, a new IR revolution may yet happen based on this.
I have owned or reviewed a number of phones with an infra-red blaster and enjoyed using the feature. However, I cannot say that I have missed it in all the other phones I have used that did not have it. It has never felt like an essential to me.
Does Samsung S9 Plus Have IR Blaster?
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a top dog in 2018, and it does not have the feature. Some people think that the phone would be even better if it has one. Unfortunately, it does not. Fans were disappointed that the Galaxy Note 9 does not have an IR blaster, either. Same thing goes for Galaxy S9: it does not have one as well.
And some Samsung fans are bitter about this omission. Some have based their phone buying decision on this factor and moved on to other smartphone brands. Here is an example of one of such conversations on Samsung’s own community website.
There are scores of other online platforms where fans griped about the matter. It looks like the simple question, “Does S9 Plus have IR blaster” may have impacted Samsung’s sales in some way.
The Last Samsung Phones With IR Blaster
The last Samsung models that had an IR blaster were the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Note 4. Since then, Samsung has ignored infra-red. And it does not look like the S10 range of phones will have this feature.
Your Best Options For Phones With IR Blaster
If you want a smartphone with an infra-red blaster, your best options are in the direction of Xiaomi and Huawei. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Y1 are extremely popular with young people and both have IR blaster built in. Others include Xiaomi Mi A1, and Mi A2. Huawei has a number of models with an IR blaster. These include P20 Pro, Mate 10 Pro, and Honor View 10, among others.
Gionee produced a few smartphone models with infra-red blaster. It is unfortunate that the company has declared bankruptcy. Some of their phones are still available in the market though. I have reviewed a few LG smartphones and enjoyed using their IR blaster to control the TV. But it looks like LG might be dropping the feature too.
There is a vocal enough community of smartphone enthusiasts who are put off by the S9, S9 Plus, and Note9 not having an Infra-red blaster. I am not sure that it is a large enough community to make a big dent in the fortunes of these products. But then, I have not conducted any scientific survey to arrive at that conclusion. Still, including an infra-red port cannot cost much if Xiaomi is putting it in their budget phones.
Who knows, part of why Xiaomi and Huawei devices are selling so well (besides pricing) might be that those brands are now on the heels of Samsung? What are the chances that having an IR blaster in key models could be a factor? After all, so many people around the world watch TV, play videos and play music on infra-red controlled home systems.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.