Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Preview: Everything You Need To Know

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By Dominik Bosnjak July 22, 2018, 1:30pm
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Editor’s Note: This article will be frequently updated as more leaked information comes out. The last update was made on August 8.

With Samsung officially confirming the launch date of the Galaxy Note 9, we're entering the final stretch in the run-up to the announcement of one of the most highly anticipated smartphones of the year. While the South Korean company's high-end devices often leak months ahead of their unveils, Samsung has been highly successful at keeping the Galaxy Note 9 under wraps as few alleged depictions of the device have been shared by credible sources so far. Regardless, the Android phablet was still the subject of numerous reports in recent times, with numerous insiders already revealing a lot about what Samsung will have in store for smartphone enthusiasts later this summer.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Launch Date

As first reported by Bloomberg and later confirmed by Samsung itself, the Galaxy Note 9 will be launching on August 9. The company will unveil the smartphone at yet another "Unpacked" event in New York City, though it won't be returning to its frequently visited venue in Lincoln Center. Instead, Samsung will be hosting the happening at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a much larger location that would be able to hold ten times as many people, though it remains to be seen whether the firm opts to utilize its full capacity. The event is scheduled to start at 10 AM local time (ET) and will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook, as was the case with Samsung's other Android flagship launches held in recent years.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Design

Numerous reports that emerged over the last several months suggested Samsung won't be making any radical design changes to the Galaxy Note 9 and will deliver yet another device with a Super AMOLED panel advertised as an "Infinity Display." Its bezels may be slightly smaller compared to the Galaxy Note 8 but differentiating the two from afar is understood to be a difficult task, as is the case with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 lineups. Consumers can expect another metal-and-glass build with a display that slightly curves around the long edges of the device, a dedicated Bixby button sitting below the volume rocker on the left, and a rear-mounted fingerprint reader, albeit one that's positioned below the dual-camera setup instead of to its right. The concept render that can be seen above has been authored by PhoneArena and is understood to be a relatively accurate depiction of the upcoming Android-powered phablet.

Update [July 4th]: Several Olixar case renders prematurely published by MobileFun just added more credence to the Galaxy Note 9 design information listed above.

Update [July 10th]: AndroidHeadlines exclusively obtained an official high-resolution render showing the front of the Galaxy Note 9, with the image that can be seen below corroborating previous rumors about the flagship.

Update [July 26th]: Yet another leak from German tech outlet WinFuture effectively confirmed the main design cues of the Galaxy Note 9 outlined above, in addition to revealing a number of official protective cases Samsung is planning to sell alongside the device itself.

Galaxy Note 9 Clear View Cover

Galaxy Note 9 LED View Cover

Galaxy Note 9 Silicone Cover

Galaxy Note 9 Protected Stand Cover

Galaxy Note 9 S Pen colors

Update [August 3rd]: A prematurely published video from Samsung just served as yet another confirmation of the Galaxy Note 9's design details outlined above.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Specs

While the Galaxy Note 9 has so far been successfully avoiding an appearance in any real-life photos, many of its specs have already been sighted in benchmarks and detailed in extensive reports on numerous occasions. The handset is expected to feature a 6.4-inch display with a resolution of 2,960 by 1,440 pixels, amounting to a tall aspect ratio of 18.5:9. As is the case with the Galaxy S9 series, the international version of the Galaxy Note 9 should feature Samsung's own Exynos 9810 chip, whereas the models set to be sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China will likely sport Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 silicon. According to a couple of insiders with positive track records regarding Samsung-related leaks, four memory configurations of the Galaxy Note 9 are in the works; the two that will be sold in the West will offer 6GB of RAM and a choice between 64GB and 128GB of storage space, whereas the other two will ship with 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of flash memory. The latter duo will most likely only be available in South Korea and China, as indicated by Samsung's established product practices.

A microSD card with support of up to 2TB of expandable memory should be part of the package as well, together with NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, and 4G LTE capabilities. The Galaxy Note 9 is rumored to feature a 4,000mAh battery and be compatible with Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charging, meaning it will likely be slower to charge than virtually every other contemporary flagship on the market, bar Apple's iPhones. Dual-SIM support will only be offered with unlocked models of the device in certain markets, with the same holding true for other recently released phones from the South Korean company. The Infinity Display of the device should be protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 5, with its slim top bezel being expected to house an ambient light sensor, infrared module, and an 8-megapixel camera with auto-HDR and autofocusing capabilities.

The 12-megapixel dual-camera setup of the Galaxy Note 8 is likely to make a return with the Galaxy Note 9, though Samsung is said to have significantly improved it compared to the 2017 model. While it's still unclear what that advancement entails, the company may deliver yet another handset with a variable-aperture lens which it pioneered earlier this year, having incorporated such a glass module into the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The USB Type-C port of the Galaxy Note 9 will almost certainly support the 3.1 standard, while the phone itself will also feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, with Samsung being the last major handset manufacturer that's resisting the trend of eliminating that popular port. Much like its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 9 should be IP68-certified for resistance to dust particles and water and feature an S Pen. The latter gadget is rumored to debut major improvements, including Bluetooth support with remote control features, though it remains to be seen whether Samsung increases the number of its pressure sensitivity levels to 8,192 seeing how it hasn't moved away from 4,096 levels since the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 launched in 2016.

Update [July 5th]: Dual-SIM variants of the Galaxy Note 9 have been effectively confirmed by a number of prematurely published support pages which just went live on certain regional Samsung websites.

Update [July 16th]: Another benchmark sighting caused some confusion among industry watchers, indicating the international variant of the Galaxy Note 9 may ship with Samsung's newer and unannounced Exynos 9820 chip, though the listing in question was likely either spoofed or describes a device prototype that Samsung is using for testing its upcoming silicon.

Update [July 23rd]: A 64GB model may not be happening after all, according to one known industry insider from China.

Update [July 25]: A new spec sheet leak reiterated the vast majority of previously rumored details about the Galaxy Note 9 but reintroduced the possibility of a 64GB model being released in select markets.

Update [July 26th]: Samsung started teasing the Galaxy Note 9 with a number of promos that add more credence to the reports outlined above, hinting at a long battery life, smooth performance, and more storage than ever.

Update [July 30]: Another source is now claiming the Galaxy Note 9 will feature major heat dissipation improvements in the form of extra copper tubes, with that addition likely allowing it to maintain its peak performance for longer periods.

Update [August 3rd]: A Russian retail packaging of the Galaxy Note 9 confirmed the majority of the specs outlined above, in addition to suggesting the Android phablet's dual-camera setup will be identical to the one found on the back of the Galaxy S9 Plus released in the first quarter of the year.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Features & Software

A number of benchmarks and Samsung's previously employed product practices suggest the Galaxy Note 9 will run a custom implementation of Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. The company is likely to call that operating system Samsung Experience 9.5, with the firmware also being expected to debut with Bixby 2.0, a significantly improved version of the company's artificial intelligence assistant with faster response times and new features. Qi and PMA-based wireless charging should be supported, together with Intelligent Scan, Samsung's biometric authentication system that combines facial recognition with iris scanning. Secure Folder and other proprietary apps from the Seoul-based tech giant are likely to be pre-installed on the Galaxy Note 9, with recent rumors also pointing to a return of AR Emoji, a solution for applying augmented reality filters to faces in real time that first debuted on the Galaxy S9 lineup earlier this year. While that functionality created by San Francisco-based startup Loom.ai is said to have been improved for the Galaxy Note 9, it's still unclear how the company went about doing so. Journalists and consumers had mixed thoughts about the feature on the Galaxy S9 series, having criticized its limited capabilities compared to something like Apple's Animoji. The Galaxy Note 9 is also widely expected to be compatible with both the DeX Station and DeX Pad, Samsung's phone-to-PC solutions.

Update [August 3rd]: Epic Games' hit battle royale title Fortnite will be a Galaxy Note 9 exclusive for 30 days, several sources claimed in recent days, including one insider who spoke with AndroidHeadlines.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Colors

The Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, Coral Blue, and Orchid Gray colors that Samsung has been using for its flagships in recent years have all been rumored to be making a return with the Galaxy Note 9, though some sources previously claimed the blue model will be darker this time around. One insider close to Samsung recently alleged the company will also be introducing a "Teddy Brown" version of the device, hence delivering its first brown premium smartphone since the 2013 Galaxy S4 lineup. Samsung itself sowed some confusion regarding the Galaxy Note 9's colors several days back when it teased its upcoming Unpacked event with an image showing what appeared to be a yellow gold S Pen. While it remains to be seen whether one or more variants of the device will ship with a different-colored stylus or if Samsung is truly working on such an aggressively colored device, one digital artist already envisioned how something like that would look like.

Update [July 16th]: render that emerged on Chinese social media platform Weibo suggested the Galaxy Note 9 may also be offered in white, though the image seen below could also be a depiction of a screen protector designed for the upcoming device and is extremely unlikely to be official in nature.

Update [July 17th]: Known industry insider Evan Blass seemingly shed some light on the availability of the yellow-gold S Pen, having shared a render suggesting that variant of the stylus will only be bundled with the blue variant of the Galaxy Note 9. The image that can be seen below also gives more credence to recent rumors that Samsung is replacing the Colar Blue finish with a darker shade of blue.

Update [July 22nd]: Another leaked render showing the blue variant of the Galaxy Note 9 appeared online, with its source claiming this particular color will be advertised as Deep Sea Blue.

Update [July 23rd]: AndroidHeadlines obtained yet another exclusive render of the Galaxy Note 9 showing three color variants of the device — Midnight Black, Deep Sea Blue, and Teddy Brown — from both sides, together with their S Pen styluses. The image that can be seen below also implies Samsung will be running a number of pre-order promos that will see the IconX earbuds, Gear S3 smartwatch, and the DeX Station either discounted or bundled for free alongside some Galaxy Note 9 units in select markets.

Update [August 8]: The first known real-life image of the Deep Sea Blue model appeared online just over 24 hours before the Galaxy Note 9's official announcement.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Pricing And Availability

All of Samsung's contemporary Android flagships were released globally almost simultaneously and there's no reason to believe the Galaxy Note 9 will be any different. Based on the same product launch patterns, the Galaxy Note 9 is likely to be available for pre-orders for two or three weeks immediately following its August 9 announcement and hit the store shelves in late August. Consumers who pre-order the device may start receiving it about a week before it hits the store shelves, which is what happened with both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 lineups. No concrete pricing details have been leaked so far but given how the Galaxy S9 lineup wasn't more expensive than the Galaxy S8 one, the Galaxy Note 9 is also likely to start at roughly $950, much like its predecessor.

Update [July 6th]: While the device was always expected to launch in China, a newly emerged certificate confirms the existence of a custom variant meant to be sold in the Far Eastern country has now been effectively confirmed by a from the FCC.

Update [July 16th]: A new report claims pre-orders for the device will start in mid-August, whereas the handset will supposedly be released globally on August 24.

Update [July 24]: The 512GB variant of the Galaxy Note 9 may be making its way to the West after all as the most expensive Samsung-made device ever, priced at up to €1,300, i.e. as much as $1,500, according to a new report out of Germany.

Update [August 1st]: Galaxy Note 9 pre-registrations are already available in the United States, having gone live more than a week before the Android handset's official announcement.

Conclusion

The Galaxy Note 9 is shaping up to be yet another iterative mobile design from Samsung that will be looking to refine on the company's Infinity Display-centered aesthetic and mostly focus on performance and internal hardware in terms of improvements. The handset is unlikely to debut any major innovative features and industry firsts, at least if one doesn't account for its S Pen stylus that effectively puts the Galaxy Note series into a category of its own. Compared to recent flagship products, Samsung did a remarkably good job of keeping the Galaxy Note 9 under wraps as far as real-life leaks are concerned; about a month prior to its official announcement, no credible industry insiders have yet provided the general public with a clear look at the upcoming Android flagship.

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July 22, 2018, 1:30pm
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