Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
is the next high-profile handset that Samsung's prolific presses will churn out in early August in another bid to rule the high-end Android market for the remainder of the year. And from what we're hearing, the Note 9 is unlikely to disappoint.
Samsung has been riding the high wave since it released the Galaxy S8
, and it looks like the Note 9 will be another successful chapter in its history. To be honest, the Note 9 wouldn't be much different from the Note 8, but that is not a big issue - after all, the Note 8 was already an exceptional device, and there's very little Samsung could do to improve it's exceptional champ.
Time to delve in and explore what the phone will be all about. Of course, all the info below is based on rumors and might not correspond with the truth.
Unsurprisingly, we don't expect Samsung to redesign the Note 9 in any major way. The Infinity Display design language that got introduced alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ back in 2017 is as contemporary and fresh-looking as they go and is in no need of a redesign at this point. Samsung was among the first manufacturers to kick-start the bezel-busting trend, and it did that without resorting to notches or other unorthodox solutions.
We would bet good money that the Note 9 will be as different to the Note 8 as the the Galaxy S9/S9+ was to the Galaxy S8/S8+: almost exact carbon copies with merely an important change here and there to reflect Samsung's advancements in device design. Here's how the two might stack against one another:
Expected differences between the Note 8 and the Note 9
A slightly slimmer chin at the bottom, as well as a slightly slimmer top bezel are what we expect, but it remains to be seen if Samsung will deliver these changes. One aspect of the phone that would likely be redesigned is at the rear - the fingerprint scanner is likely getting moved just beneath the camera sensor. In retrospect, the Galaxy Note 8
had it positioned to the side, which was not very user-friendly, but seeing that Samsung revisited this with the Galaxy S9, it's fair to say that the Note 9 will also introduce such a change.
This is what the Galaxy Note 9 might look like according to us
Of course, given the high-profile role of the device, tons of leaks can be expected, even official renders. We recently got hold of a slew of such images, which seem to show the upcoming Note 9 in its hot blue paint, dubbed Deep Sea Blue. This color scheme is using deep vibrant blue for the body of the phone itself and snazzy gold for the S Pen, probably. The wallpaper is also designed in blue and gold.
The leaked real-life pictures of the device don't look as sexy, but anyway, here they are.
A 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio is rumored to be making an appearance on the Note 9. That's what the rumor mill claims and it's hard to argue with it this time since the predictions sounds so believable. A 2960x1440-pixel resolution is again extremely likely, and judging from our past experience with Samsung, the display will most certainly be another benchmark for color accuracy and overall quality.
One way Samsung can definitely surprise us when it comes to the display of the Note 9 is by throwing an in-display fingerprint scanner. We know for a fact that the technology is on the verge of going prime time and it all comes to ironing the quirks and being capable of supply meeting the demand. Devices like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Porsche Design, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition, Vivo NEX, and other exotic devices already have such fingerprint scanners, but needless to say, these devices are not mainstream.
While it's mostly everyone's expectation that in-display fingerprint scanners will become the norm one day, it's still too early to say if the Note 9 will be the one to carry such a sensor. It's more likely that next year's Galaxy S10
will be the first mainstream Samsung phone to come with such an in-display fingerprint sensor according to the rumor mill.
Doubtful that Samsung would introduce a very different camera setup from what we've seen on the Galaxy S9+
. The handset will most likely retain the dual-camera setup of its precursor and the large Galaxy smartphone, introducing some notable software improvements and algorithm refinements to make even better use of the already fantastic hardware that feels under-used.
The Galaxy S9/S9+ came up with variable aperture cameras that are able to switch between F/1.6 and F/2.4 apertures based on the shooting scenario, but the wider aperture didn't necessarily meet the hype and expectations we had, especially in low-light conditions.
If you want to talk numbers, the Note 9 will probably inherit the same 12MP + 12MP camera combo that graced the back of the S9+, while the front would likely get the very same 8MP camera, which yielded quite good results.
Samsung got a pass back with the Note 8 given that it was its first crack at the trendy dual-camera thingy, but after having the chance to perfect the technology with the Galaxy S9+, there will be no get-out-of-the-jail-for-free cards with the Note 9: fans will have expectations and Samsung better play along nicely.
Features and functionalities
It seems like the S Pen could be the Note 9's biggest upgrade. Donning Bluetooth functionality and a built-in battery, the stylus will reportedly have the following functionalities:
- Control music with the S Pen. This one we expected. We still don't know how it's going to work exactly, but our guess would be that pressing the S Pen button once would serve as play/pause, while pressing it twice in quick succession would skip to the next track.
- Use the S Pen as a remote camera shutter. This is another feature that we expected and it could come in handy if you're taking group shots and have your phone propped somewhere.
- Remotely unlock the Galaxy Note 9 with the S Pen out of the phone. This could save you a couple of taps.
- Expanded AirCommand integration. In other words, more apps will have support for unique S Pen features (or at least shortcuts) that should be accessible from the AirCommand menu and change on a per-app basis.
- Press and hold the Pen button to open any app or S Pen feature.
- Set up single and double press Pen actions.
Due to the lack of a better alternative, Samsung will certainly use the Snapdragon 845 chipset for the US-based version of the Note 9. Meanwhile, we suppose the international version of the device will carry the Exynos 9810 chipset which surprisingly has a worse battery life than the Qualcomm offering. Normally, it would be the reverse situation. Hopefully, Samsung will look into the Exynos' problems with battery life and account for the irregularities.
Rumors call for 6GB of RAM in the most basic version of the phablet, and we'd go as far as tell you right here and right now that an 8GB version will certainly make an appearance, if not right from the bat then sometime down the line.
One big rumored change that will surely tickle the fancy of power users will be the inclusion of a large 4,000mAh battery inside the Note 9. Rumor has it the upcoming S-Pen toting phablet will carry a 20% larger battery unit than before, which would bring it closer to the coveted by consumers two-day battery life. Samsung hasn't had a particularly great track record when it comes to battery life, especially considering the latest conundrum that had its Exynos-powered Galaxy S9 suffer greatly behind its Snapdragon counterpart and come up with noticeably inferior battery life. Aside from developing better chips, one other way to easily boost up the battery life is by throwing a larger battery pack at the rear, and it seems this is just what Samsung could be doing. As a reminder, the Note 8 came with a 3,300mAh battery which proved to be struggling to power the device for more than a day and somewhat hurt the power-user appeal of the handset.
Finally, we've caught wind of a 512GB Note 9 version, which would definitely please data hoarders and those gunning for the highest spec phone version out there. Logically, this one will certainly be the most expensive Note 9 variation,
Price and release date
The Galaxy Note 9 is coming August 9. Save the date.
As usual, we will keep our eyes peeled for a possible announcement date, but we are probably in for a bit of a wait.
In terms of pricing, the handset will likely cost as much as the Note 8, if not slightly more. That one launched at $929, so it would be realistic of us to expect a $900 - $949 price for the Note 9 in the US. Other markets, such as Europe, may actually see a slightly higher price.
Here's a more profound take on the possible pricing.