There's no longer any doubt: Samsung will unveil its new phablet on August 9 in New York during the Unpacked event. Note 9 is getting closer, and soon all will be revealed. The device has just been spotted ahead of schedule in the hands of none other than DJ Koh!
Samsung CEO DJ Koh was just seen at a media event where he confirmed that the Note 9's S-Pen would offer "many new features". We could have guessed that little factoid, so what's the real news here? He was actually carrying the device and using the S-Pen! Someone got a shot of the scene and posted it to Weibo, later picked up by SamMobile, and we can confirm from the cutouts that it's the actually Note 9 since it matches up with leaked renders and the fingerprint sensor is placed differently than on the Note 8.
What do you think of the Note 9 so far? Let us know in the comments!
Everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Price and release date
- What will the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 look like?
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- What new features will the Galaxy Note 9 bring?
- Technical specs
The appointment with Samsung is official: August 9 at 11:00. Where? The Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event will take place in New York City, more precisely at the Barclays Center.
The fact that Samsung will actually show the Note 9 is clarified by a small teaser video that the Korean manufacturer has made available online. In the video you can see the presence of the S-Pen, the characteristic stylus of the Note line, which according to the latest rumors, should benefit from a major update.
Delayed by design changes
In today's image-conscious world, we've all felt the pressure to slim down before a big event when we know the eyes of friends and rivals will judge our appearance. As it happens, even top smartphones are not immune to this phenomenon.
According to the latest reports, including The Bell, the Galaxy Note 9 will not follow the most hated trend of the moment. So don't worry, the design change to which they refer doesn't concern the controversial cutout, or notch, on the display.
The launch of Samsung's next S-Pen-enabled phablet was expected by the end of July but has apparently been delayed by a couple of weeks to allow the company to reduce the thickness of the glass on the display by 0.5 mm.
The reason for this choice was Lee Jae-yong's meeting with representatives of OPPO and Vivo. The Samsung Vice Chairman apparently found the Chinese devices more manageable and therefore mandated this small change on the Note 9 to adapt to the competition. We hope that this reduction in the thickness of the glass will not affect the resistance of the device.
With the Galaxy S9 and S9+, and Samsung put aside big design innovations in order to focus on improving the hardware specifications of its flagships. With renderings produced by the reliable @OnLeaks in collaboration with 91Mobiles, we can now take a first look at how the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 should look like. Spoiler: nothing shocking to see here.
On the front, the smartphone will have the usual Super AMOLED panel slightly curved at the sides, most likely with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels and a diagonal of 6.3". Once again, there is the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C and the ever-present S-Pen.
The only innovations visible from this render are on the back of the smartphone. The cameras would change slightly in layout, although still aligned horizontally, and the fingerprint reader will move underneath underneath them. The shape of the fingerprint reader leaves us a bit perplexed, as has already happened on the Galaxy S9, but only an in-person test can remove any doubt about the comfort and speed.
A case manufactured on the basis of the latest renderings of the Galaxy Note 9 shows the new positioning of the fingerprint reader. As with the Galaxy S9, it is now located below, which makes it easier to use
Note9's protective case, we see its fingerprint sensor position. pic.twitter.com/acHwdYq64k— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 9, 2018
It remains to be seen whether Samsung will also offer a fingerprint reader under the screen on its device. This particular option is one of the most hotly anticipated innovations by smartphone fans, but Samsung has a very cautious approach to integrating the new technology, preferring to take its time to perfect it before rushing to market.
Will there be a new physical button?
According to the Korean Herald, the Galaxy Note 9’s new button will appear on the lower side of the phone. This lines up with an earlier image leaked by Android Headlines purporting to show a protective case with five cutouts for buttons instead of four.
We don't know exactly what this button will be used for but the Herald notes that Samsung recently filed a trademark for “perfect capture technology", suggesting that the button could either be a camera shutter key or a shortcut to perform a screenshot.
The current screenshot method on Samsung phones is kind of awkward. Either you have to press power and volume-down, or drag the side of your hand across the screen. I know that the former method especially tends to lead to accidentally adjusting the volume instead.
But perhaps this potential "perfect capture" button could do more than capture simple screenshots. There are plenty of features that could do with a fast button shortcut, such as to quickly activate slow motion video, or perhaps Samsung is making a bid for the now trendy market of mobile gamers, with a button for on-screen recording to capture gaming sessions.
So is it a new button or not?
Not everyone is convinced by the Korean report. Notably both Ice Universe and Steve H, both reliable smartphone tech leakers on Twitter, have called it out the "button" as nothing more than a lanyard holder.
Note9 There is no button in this position. There are two holes in this position on the protective case for the lanyard. Many mobile phone cases have such holes. It may be that Samsung is too lacking in change to make people think that it has A button exists, hahaha. pic.twitter.com/NPAUBcBFuu— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 15, 2018
One thing's for sure, as soon as the new Galaxy Note 9 gets within reach of our fingertips, our digits will be all over it to find out the truth. What's the worst that could happen? Perhaps Samsung has integrated a second Bixby button, because the first one isn't easy enough to accidentally trigger.
A report from the Korea Herald on March 22 had information apparently from an industry source, informing them of three to four different options that Samsung Display is developing to implement the fingerprint sensor inside the main display. This explains the delay in the finalization of the Note 9 concept due to its efforts with this technology. According to its source, a final decision will be made towards the end of this month.
"Samsung Display has prepared three or four solutions for Samsung Electronics to embed the fingerprint sensor inside of the main display, and both are seriously considering one of the solutions"
It does make sense that Samsung will use the technology in its new addition to the Note series, in order to make it stand out from competitors such as Huawei, which will be presenting its new smartphones at the end of the month. With no outstanding new design or feature choices in the S9, a move like this from the brand is overdue. In our interview with Mark Notton, it was revealed that the technology simply wasn't ready in time for the S9 launch, and they prefer to test it thoroughly first.
By the release of the Note 9 then, Samsung should have enough time to perfect it, but, there are still problems. The mass production of devices can be both complicated and costly, with sources saying that the "technological capabilities to mass produce those phones are still lacking". Rushing the process could certainly backfire with the possibility that users will be disappointed, or problems could arise that would damage the brands reputation (such as the Note 7 fiasco).
We have previously seen some conflicting information. But regardless of this, the new information sounds promising, and there should be enough time to improve the technology ahead of its arrival at the end of August.
A new button on the next Samsung device? An interesting move from Samsung, given that the Bixby button, introduced on the Galaxy S8 isn't exactly well-loved. Nonetheless, it looks like Samsung is pushing ahead with its vision for special buttons on the Note 9.
Potential problems with the optical fingerprint sensor
The main feature in question so far is of course the "under-display optical fingerprint" sensor. A previously published patent from the South Korean company suggests that a scanner could take up the bottom fifth of the screen, and will vibrate to alert users in the case of unsuccessful authentication attempts.
Although fingerprint sensors are fast becoming the norm on smartphones, the next generation of high-end phones might not have any visible sensor at all. Instead of having the sensor as a separate hardware piece, future flagships could feature the "under-display" or optical model, where the fingerprint reader comes built into the screen. A smartphone with an optical reader does already exist—the Vivo X20 Plus UD in China, but Samsung, with their resources and market reach, could be the first to make an international splash with the technology.
Previous speculation was based on a note sent to clients by respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, known for his understanding of the Asian electronics market. Kuo's note, originally seen and reported on by Business Insider, mentioned that Samsung may put an under-display fingerprint reader on 2018's Galaxy Note 9. Kuo says Samsung is "likely" not to implement the new technology due to technical difficulties with screen protectors and accuracy in some environments.
Nonetheless, it is clear that Samsung has its ambitions on integrating this feature. It remains to be seen whether it will be able to integrate the technology in time for the Note 9's release.
Chinese leaker, Ice Universe, talks us through the features that will be offered by Note 9 with a post published on Weibo. The S-Pen is confirmed, and there were no doubts about that. However, the brand may offer some new features on the software side as well as being more sensitive and accurate during use. A previous rumor stated that the S-Pen may even have a microphone this time around, enabling phone calling.
In the post it talks about several other features, too. These include UX Crown, a new version of the software platform as well as Bixby 2.0, which was already announced by Samsung's CEO during MWC. Also mentioned is a fingerprint sensor under the display, a 3850mAh battery and 18w fast charge. In addition, we can expect some innovations for the camera, although we don't know exactly what just yet. The Note 9 will also come in a brand new color called Teddy Brown.
The S-Pen will bring more surprising new features
Once again the rumors come from, you guessed it, the renowned @UniverseIce, who has now revealed almost every aspect of the next Samsung flagship. The latest tweet details exciting new features about the inimitable S-Pen: the signature stylus of the Galaxy Note line.
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 source says that the new S-Pen would be an active Bluetooth device capable of many additional tasks such as starting and stopping remote timers, controlling music playback and other non pen design related functions. This will probably be one of the most important changes that will affect the new Galaxy coming in August.
Samsung's whale surfaced in a benchmark test, providing a tantalizing glimpse of the device that we don't expect to see until summer. Take a look at the following benchmark score, first brought to our attention by Galaxyclub.nl:
The Note 9 also appears on Geekbench under the SM-N960U model number, the same number previously associated with the device. The results on the platform confirm that the future South Korean phablet should integrate the Snapdragon 845 in the US market. As is traditional, the model intended for other markets will opt for Samsung's own Exynos chip.
Benchmarks also show the presence of 6GB of RAM and Android 8.1 Oreo. Geekbench also shows the device scores in Single-Core (2190) and Multi-Core (8806)
While the Note 9 racks up some impressive scores, that's only to be expected from such a premium device. Numbers in themselves don't say much at the moment. Only when the Note 9 is actually completed on the software side, will it be possible to get an idea of the real performance.
Will the Note 9 come with the latest Android version?
The browser benchmark test shows the US-version of the Note 9 (SM-N960U) running Android 22.214.171.124 Oreo, the same version the Galaxy S9 launched with, and that the Galaxy S8 has been updated to. But the Geekbench test has the test device running Android 8.1.
Last year, the Note 8 was launched with Android 7.1, while the Galaxy S8 was launched with Android 7.0. The Galaxy S9 just launched with Android 8.0 , so it seems logical to expect the Galaxy Note 9 to come out with Android 8.1 later this year.
Nothing spectacular to see on the software side, but in any case it is a sign that the next Galaxy Note is progressing on its long journey to shop shelves and consumer pockets. Of course the device will be broadly comparable to the Galaxy S9 Plus, including a fast processor and enhanced camera. It would be nice if Samsung can present us with more than just incremental improvements on last year's Note, but we'll have to wait and see for the time being.
18.5:9 Infinity Display
Software isn't the only thing shown by the test. In addition, we can see that the screen has the familiar aspect ratio of an Infinity display: 18.5:9. Sadly, still no indication of whether the display will have an optical fingerprint sensor, as suggested by Samsung's patents.
Superfast Exynos chip beats the Snapdragon in benchmark
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is getting ready for its launch slowly but surely. It is to be expected that the Koreans will conjure their new XL smartphone out of the hat before Berlin's IFA. The alleged Galaxy Note 9 with its Exynos 9810 has finally appeared on Geekbench's results lists. The device with the model number SM-N960N scores 2,737 points in the single-core evaluation and 9,064 points in the multi-core test for Geekbench.
Over 9,000 points in Geekbench's multi-core ranking is a real record. The current top smartphone from Samsung, the Galaxy S9+, does not quite make the leap over this hurdle with 8,923 points in our test, the OnePlus 6 also just fails with 8,970 points. What is striking, however, is that 2,737 points in the single-core ranking are not exactly impressive, with the Galaxy S9+ scoring over 1,000 points more than the Galaxy Note 9.
Technical specs leaked early
The first hands-on impressions are already available in advance, because the Russian leaker Eldar Murtazin has spoken to people who have already used the Note 9. And the leaker has a lot to say.
Visually, the Note 9 can hardly be distinguished from the Note 8. Only the camera section will now be updated to the style of the Galaxy S9+. Of course it remains the case that the S Pen becomes the most important differentiating aspect of the Galaxy S series. This year, Samsung wants to focus even more on productivity.
Murtazin emphasizes that the battery will grow to 4,000 mAh; depending on use, up to two days of battery life can be achieved. Therefore, the Note 9 will be a little heavier than its predecessor. As usual, the Exynos version of Note 9 is reserved for Europe, with the American market receiving the model with a Snapdragon 845 chipset. The smallest memory configuration will have 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal memory. There are two further models with 8 GB RAM, and the internal memory then grows to 256 or 512 GB.
On the camera side, Samsung continues to rely on a dual camera - the triple camera will be held back by Samsung for a model in 2019. The Note 9 inherits the variable aperture from the Galaxy S9+. However, Samsung is said to have optimized the quality of the camera especially in dim light. There will also be new video functions, although no details are given in Murtazin's report.
Two more details of the report are also interesting: Samsung has decided to no longer offer the Note 8. For some time now, dealers have only been selling off their stock, and there is no longer any supply. Also, the fingerprint scanner remains on the back and will not be integrated into the display on the front.
Note 9: Technical specifications
|Samsung Galaxy Note 9||Technical specs|
|Display||6.4 inches, 18:5:9|
|OS||Android 8.1 Oreo|