Concerned that the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are a little too small for your hands? Want a smartphone that borders on the comically large? Then the Galaxy Note range is for you, and the Galaxy Note 9 is likely to be the next model released. The phone isn’t official yet, but it’s coming very soon as Samsung will hold the launch event on August 9.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 9.
We know the Galaxy Note 9 will be a big phone, but will its design be much different from the Note 8? The latest rumors suggest it will essentially be a carbon copy of its predecessor.
Several official Galaxy Note 9 accessories have been revealed in a comprehensive leak, giving us a look at the basic shape and design of the phone, along with several colors. These include black, brown, violet, and blue. A folio-style case with a clear front panel will be joined by a silicone case, which apparently meets military drop test standards, and a leather case too. An unusual case with a kickstand is also pictured, along with an LED folio case.
A previous leak showed a key difference between the Note 8 and Note 9, as the fingerprint sensor had been shifted to below the camera lens array on the rear panel. This has since been shown in other leaked images, including the accessory images.
An earlier leak showed what looked like a promotional image for the phone, with the horizontal camera array, S Pen stylus holder on the base, headphone jack, USB Type-C charging port, and a speaker grille making it almost identical to the Note 8.
The S Pen stylus is what separates the Note series from other big Galaxy phones, so how will it change for the Note 9? Samsung has said it’s investigating “signature Note features” to upgrade on the Note 9, which likely includes the S Pen. German website Winfuture states that Samsung will pair at least some of the Note handsets with contrasting styli this year.
A subsequent leak from the site shows a series of leaked pictures of the S Pen, all in a variety of colors, which won’t always match the color of the phone.
Twitter source Ice Universe claims that the S Pen will function as a separate Bluetooth device, and will be able to work as a long-range camera timer/clicker, will feature music controls, and will have other Bluetooth functionality built in. Other sources have corroborated this news, though some fans have greeted it with trepidation, saying (not unreasonably) that they don’t want an S Pen they have to charge. Hopefully, Samsung will be featuring a way to charge the S Pen while docked — though you have to imagine this will impact the Note 9’s battery life.
The Galaxy Note9 SPen can be used to control long-range self-timer, control music playback, because it is a Bluetooth device, it will do something unrelated to the pen. pic.twitter.com/WPS83xUskq
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 1, 2018
The Bluetooth functionality may extend to gaming, presumably with the correct support in the app, and it may be showcased in the Fortnite game. The popular title may be a 30-day exclusive to the Note 9, according to rumors, which speculate the Bluetooth connected S Pen could be used for shooting or aiming in the game.
Software and special features
While we can’t be entirely sure, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will ship with Android 8.1 Oreo. A Samsung executive also confirmed the upcoming Note 9 will ship with the latest version of Samsung’s artificial intelligence assistant, Bixby 2.0. While Samsung is a little behind on its A.I. assistant, its Bixby 2.0 update will bring enhanced natural language processes, improved noise resistance capability, and quicker response times.
Samsung may have signed a deal with Epic Games to make its popular Fortnite game a 30-day exclusive to the Galaxy Note 9. This will be the first time the game will launch on Android, having been available on iOS for several months. It’s not clear whether the game will come pre-loaded. It’s also possible Samsung will include an amount of free in-app currency to spend, according to 9to5Google, while XDA Developers says the game will feature in the Note 9’s promotional material.
There is also a rumor from WinFutre that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be the first Samsung phone to use DeX mode without a dock or pad. DeX mode allows you to turn your computer into a makeshift PC. On the Note 9, you simply need to attach the phone to an external monitor via USB-C or HDMI cable. Finally, another rumor claims we will see user experience improvements on the Galaxy Note 9.
In March, information about the upcoming Galaxy S9 appeared courtesy of Geekbench. Benchmarks on the site claim the phone will feature the expected Qualcomm 845 chipset as well as 6GB of RAM.
When it comes to storage it looks like Samsung may be making some huge strides this year. According to the German site WinFuture the standard Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will ship with 128GB of storage. The same site also says we should expect to see a 512GB variant announced as well.
Backing that leak up, the Note 9 was listed in a leak of the devices using the Snapdragon 845 in 2018. As per tradition, other regions will probably have a Note 9 powered by a Samsung-designed Exynos chip.
Release date and pricing
Samsung sent out its invites for this year’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. While the devices being shown at the event haven’t been confirmed, we do know the event is being held on August 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, at 11 a.m. ET. Judging by the invitation, it’s very likely Samsung will debut the Galaxy Note 9.
Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has yet to be announced. However, a Polish tech site called Spiders Web may have given us a heads-up. The site states the Note 9 will sell for 4,299 zł; that comes out to about $1,162. That said, we don’t expect the Note 9 to actually cost that much since Polish pricing includes tax. We anticipate the Note 9 will sell for somewhere between $950 and $1,000.
The upcoming Galaxy Note 9 may be the Note handset released by Samsung. According to the South Korean business site The Bell, Samsung is planning to merge its Note and Plus line of handsets after the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in 2019.
Battery and charging
The Galaxy Note brand is typically framed as Samsung’s productivity phone, and we’d expect the Note 9 to have battery and charging performance to keep up with such use. FCC documentation has already suggested wireless charging will return and may be joined by a new, more powerful wireless charger. The charger may be more powerful than existing Samsung wireless chargers and would help to quickly charge the Note 9’s potentially larger battery.
According to Let’s Go Digital, the Qi compatible charger will be called the Samsung Wireless Charger Duo and feature dual charging pads. Samsung will reportedly marketing this as an accessory for the upcoming Note 9 and Galaxy Watch.
While we’re yet to see official specs from Samsung, veteran leaker Ice Universe believes Samsung will use a 4,000mAh battery to keep the Note 9 up and running.
The Samsung Note9's battery is 4000mAh, but its charging specifications have not improved. Like the S7/S8/S9, the EP-TA200 charger has a maximum power of 10W. This is the slowest charging speed in the world except for iPhone. How long does 4000mAh take? ???? pic.twitter.com/Ko3YQxepfx
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 30, 2018
As pointed out by another tweet, that amounts to 15W of power, not 10W — but Ice stood by his statement, clarifying that while the theoretical power would be 15W, Samsung’s limitations mean that 10W would be the max allowed. This means that while the Note 9 would see a significant upgrade over the Note 8’s 3,300mAh battery, the same charging speed will see the Note 9 sat on the charger for longer. This is especially worrisome when other brands have far surpassed Samsung’s charging speed.
It looks like Samsung may be planning to update its Intelligent Scan technology. A new patent shows Samsung is working on a fish-eye selfie camera for the Note 9, which, in addition to providing viewing angles of 150 degrees or more, would also improve iris-scanning capabilities.
Despite Samsung filing patents for in-display fingerprint scanning technology, leaked case images all show a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on the Note 9. Samsung is said to still be improving the technology and actually expects it to be ready for use in 2019.
That’s all we know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for now. We’ll continue to update as we learn more.
Updated on July 27: Added leaked accessory images, and news on Fortnite game exclusivity.