The Galaxy Note 8 proved that Samsung could rebind from the debacle that was the explosive Galaxy Note 7. For the Galaxy Note 9, you can expect a more powerful big-screen device with upgraded cameras and a whole new Bixby assistant.
The Note 9 should also be announced earlier than previous handsets in the lineup. Here’s everything we know so far.
Note 9 release date: August 9
The Galaxy Note 8 hit stores in September last year after a late August launch event. A report from The Investor suggested Samsung was eyeballing an earlier launch date, and now we have additional details courtesy of Bloomberg, which says August 9 will be the date that the new phone debuts. The Note 9 would then hit retail shelves before the end of August.
While other reports point to Samsung announcing the phone in August, not everyone’s convinced. A report out of Korea discovered by Sammobile suggests that Samsung may go with a thinner OLED screen in the Note 9 to keep up with rival devices produced by Chinese phone makers Oppo and Vivo. Such a move would push the release date back. Logic would seemingly dictate it’s a little late in the game to make such a significant change, though, so that August 9 date reported by Bloomberg seems as solid as any rumor we’ve heard so far.
Possible Galaxy Note 9 specs
There shouldn’t be too many surprises under the Galaxy Note 9 hood, according to several rumors.
Samsung is expected to deliver the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor inside the handset, according to recently leaked benchmarks on HTML5Test. This chip turned in some impressive numbers on our Galaxy S9 benchmark tests, though the overall horsepower falls short of the iPhone X’s A11 Bionic chip.
The Galaxy Note 8 came with a robust 6GB of RAM, but other phones like the OnePlus 6 are shipping with up to 8GB, so it will be interesting to see whether Samsung offers this as an option.
We would like to see an upgrade in storage. And a recent leak points to the Galaxy Note 9 getting just that; the top-end model could have up to 512GB of storage.
Like the Galaxy Note 8, you can expect to find a big screen featuring an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. There’s no telling yet, however, exactly how big that display will be, though initial rumblings from website SamMobile point to a 6.4-inch screen. That 6.4-inch screen size is backed up by a report from The Bell out of Korea.
The battery — always a point of interest when it comes to Samsung’s Note phones — will be a 4,000 mAh power pack, according to Twitter leaker IceUniverse. That’s a jump from the 3,300 mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 8. That larger battery could force Samsung to slightly tweak the design of the Note 9, according to Sammoible, with the company opting for horizontally aligned cameras in addition to other modest changes.
Bloomberg’s report on the Note 9’s release date says Samsung will focus on improving the camera in this year’s model. That sounds like the Note 9 could adopt some of the camera improvements introduced with the Galaxy S9 earlier this year, including a variable aperture for better photos in low-light settings and multi-frame noise reduction.
On the software side, you can expect Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 to be running Android Oreo, but whether it’s Android 8.0.0 or Android 8.1 isn’t yet clear. The newer Android P will likely be reserved for the upcoming Pixel 3 line, at least at first, which is expected to hit shelves this October.
A revamped Bixby
According to a report in the Korea Herald in a recent interview, Samsung’s Research AI Center chief Gray G. Lee said that the Galaxy Note 9 will come with a next-generation version of the company’s artificial intelligence features. He said that the features will be baked into Bixby 2.0, which will debut on the Galaxy Note 9.
“Samsung’s AI vision has five directions: user-centric, always learning, always there, always helpful and always safe,” Lee said in the interview, according to SlashGear.
At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh confirmed that his company will be delivering the second-generation of Bixby in the Galaxy Note 9.
Samsung unveiled Bixby 2.0 late last year and called it a “bold reinvention” of the company’s virtual personal assistant. Not much is known about all the ways Bixby 2.0 will innovate on last year’s version, but Samsung has confirmed that it will be capable of recognizing individual voices. It’ll also be capable of being integrated into apps and services, expanding its reach in mobile.
In-screen fingerprint sensor?
Although the Galaxy Note 8 offers a fingerprint sensor, it’s on the back of the phone, and moving its location (as Samsung did with the S9) won’t make it much more convenient to use. A reader built into the screen would likely make unlocking the Note 9 a lot faster. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
According to ChosunBiz and SamMobile, Samsung has decided to save the in-display sensor for the Galaxy S10, rather than launching it in the Galaxy Note 9. The company has reportedly informed its suppliers of the decision. Leaker Ice Universe compounded these rumors on Twitter, saying “it is almost certain” the Note 9 will not feature an in-display fingerprint sensor.
Meanwhile, a Samsung patent filing uncovered by 91Mobiles shows how the fingerprint sensor might work on a future Samsung phone. An area at the bottom of the screen would accept your fingerprint, with a touch icon displaying when you put your finger on it.
Samsung in the past has used its Galaxy Note line to experiment with different design concepts and colors. And although the company hasn’t revealed any details about its design for this year, there have been some reports that suggest a change could be in the works.
The most recent leak from OnLeaks suggests that the Note 8 may have a boxier design with dual horizontally aligned cameras in the back. The fingerprint sensor would sit beneath that area.
Not everyone expects the design to change that much, though. Leaker Ice Universe tweeted in late March that the new phablet’s design would be “consistent with the S9’s.” He also said it would employ the same cameras as the Galaxy S9+. Based on Ice Universe’s reporting, Samsung may be saving its serious updates for the Galaxy S10 in 2019.
Galaxy Note 9 price?
It’s too early to say how Samsung will price the Galaxy Note 9, but if history is any guide it will be in the same $930 to $960 range as the current Note 8.
The Galaxy S9 starts at $720 and the S9+ at $840, so it’s reasonable to expect that the Note 9 will command a similar $100 premium over the larger S9+.