Samsung Galaxy Note 11 rumor review: what is Samsung's "Next Big Thing" going to be like?
With rumor culture being what it is, information is already trickling down. Some might end up leading nowhere, some might end up being correct, and some might need some extra speculation for us to make sense out of them. Let’s see what we have!
Design and display
Any sort of notch or selfie camera cutout is just a temporary thing — we know that. Manufacturers are hard at work trying to hide that selfie samera somewhere and have a true all-screen front with a minimal bezel all around. Some are experimenting with various mechanical modules, which flip the rear camera or pop the selfie camera from within the phone’s body; others are simply adding a secondary display on the back of their phones, so you can use that when you need to face a camera and a screen at the same time (video calls or selfies, that is).
Samsung doesn’t really appear interested in either of those when it comes to its top-tier phones. Yes, the company dabbled with a flip module on the Galaxy A80, which looks cool, but does add some bulk and take away from precious space within the phone.
Rumor has it that the Galaxy S11 will come with an Infinity-O display with a single hole up top, just like the one on the Note 10. Then what about the Note 11?
It’s very possible that Samsung might be hoping to produce a selfie camera that hides right under its AMOLED panel. When not in use — the camera is covered by glowing pixels. When it’s needed, the part of the screen that covers it turns off to “reveal” the hidden sensor.
We’ve heard faint whispers of Samsung working on that over the past few months, and we do know that the technology is available since a couple of Chinese manufacturers have already demonstrated it on working prototype phones. So, could the Galaxy Note 11 be the first Samsung flagship to do away with the notch / cutout solution?
As far as design goes, we expect something in the form of the current Galaxy Note 10. Perhaps a slight facelift will be in order, but the stark, rectangular shape has become a signature for the Notes and it seems Samsung is more than happy to keep the notepad-resembling form factor. In contrast, the Galaxy S series is the one that gets the curvy shapes and arched lines.
Another year, another chipset — of course, the 2020 Galaxy Notes will be powered by 2020 hardware. Units sold in the US will likely be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. The chip will be built on a 7 nm process just like this year’s edition, but the production itself will employ something called Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography — a technology that has been decades in the making. It will make the 7 nm production process much easier and cheaper and many speculate that this would make it possible for manufacturers to build more efficient chips.
Another report stated that Samsung is hoping to be able to go down to 3 nm soon and speculated that the Exynos chip for the international Note 11 might be the first processor built on that process. That sounds… optimistic to say the least. We would assume that Samsung will want the US and international version of their phones to be nearly identical in specs and performance. So, if the Note 11 is to have a Snapdragon 865, then its Exynos counterpart will probably also be a 7 nm chip.
In any case, if Samsung insists on making 5G phones, then it will need to find a way to integrate 5G modems into chipsets. The way things work now, the 5G modem is another component, which is added to the phone in order to enable the next gen connectivity. This is why we get specific 5G models, which are sometimes bigger than their counterparts.
Last but not least — we should expect even faster multitasking, as reports say the next generation of chips will support LPDDR5X RAM and Samsung will be outfitting its Note 11 series with 12 GB modules as a starting point. Nice.
The Galaxy S and Galaxy Note cameras have been pretty great for some years now. But Samsung has essentially been using the same sensor since the Galaxy S7 age. Improvements to the whole camera module, like aperture size and lenses, as well as extreme software post-production algorithms have helped it keep up with the times. But since we are back in the megapixel wars with hybrid zoom being used as a new weapon, it seems it’s high time for Samsung to come up with something new.
Rumors claim that we will see a radical upgrade with the Galaxy S11’s camera. The reports are vague, but go along the lines of “bigger sensor, more pixels, possible 10x optical zoom”. These are all things we’ve heard Samsung experimenting with. If any of them arrive with the S11, you can be sure they will be on the Note 11 as well — for some years now, the Note series has had the exact same camera equipment as the S series that came out just before it.
The Galaxy Note 10 looks like a new step for Samsung’s design and usage philosophy when it comes to its handsets. It’s set up as a product that is a part of a bigger ecosystem — it no longer tries to “do everything”, it is there to “do its job”. For example — the heart rate sensor was removed. Want that feature? Get a Galaxy Watch. The headphone jack was removed. Want easy connectivity? Opt for Bluetooth buds.
In order to pull this off and have its devout following forgive those decisions, Samsung needs to consistently put out ace devices. So the stakes are high for the Note 11 to be a truly impeccable upgrade, focusing on the strengths of the Note 10 to a point where the minor annoyances that it introduced become background noise. Needless to say, it will be a hotly anticipated device!
When will it come? Most probably in August of 2020 — that has been the Note's month for a few years now. How much will it cost? Well, we are kind of hoping that the smartphone price boom will ease off a bit. So, $900 for the small Note 11 and $1050 for the big Note 11+ is what we expect.