Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is probably one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry, with Samsung itself even leaking out its own marketing video just last week. As such, there aren’t too many surprises in today’s announcement, but there are definitely enough new things to take notice of over last year’s Galaxy Note 8. First up, the S Pen, which is seeing the first major upgrade in years. While Samsung has added sensitivity levels and made some cosmetic adjustments over the years, this year it’s adding Bluetooth Low Energy support, including remote control from far away by using the buttons on the S Pen. Samsung is launching this functionality with apps like Microsoft Powerpoint to move back and forth through slides, Instagram to take pictures, and a handful of other partners, with the SDK opening up to others in the near future.
Since it has Bluetooth support, the S Pen now has a battery for the first time ever. While active pens tend to be a pain to deal with because you typically have to stop using them for a while, change out batteries, or plug them in in a very awkward way, Samsung has engineered the S Pen to charge wirelessly while it’s in the Galaxy Note 9’s chassis. This is sheer brilliance, as it will always stay charged when it’s hanging out in the phone, with a full charge being delivered in under a minute if it somehow ends up dying on you. The best part is that it doesn’t require battery life to function as the S Pen always has, thanks to the active Wacom digitizer under the screen, rather you’ll just lose the extra Bluetooth functions if that happens.
Specs have gotten an expected boost with the two main models: 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, or 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. We’ll also see the usual split between Snapdragon 845-powered versions for the U.S, Mexico, Canada, and China, and Samsung Exynos powered versions for the rest of the world. A microSD card with support for up to 512GB of extra memory is also part of the package, so built-in storage isn’t necessarily super important. The battery has seen a significant increase in capacity as well, coming in at 4,000mAh, while last year’s phone only featured a 3,300mAh cell, and Samsung is citing all-day battery no matter how you use it. Check out our hands-on Galaxy Note 9 video below and don’t forget to subscribe to our tech channel on YouTube!