Samsung pulled back the curtains on their new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone during its Unpacked event earlier today in New York, following an accidental “slip-up” from their New Zealand counterparts (that could very well have been under the guise of product marketing).
Touted as a smartphone that “will never let you down (and) powerful enough to fulfill your needs”, it seems plenty of details from the recent leak are proving to be rather accurate, with only some slight differences.
For starters, the Note 9 is revealed to have a 6.4-inch Infinity Display (18.5:9 aspect ratio, with QHD+ 2,960 x 1,440 resolution, 516 PPI), housed within a clean modern body, in contrast to the expected, slightly-off 6.3-inch AMOLED screen. In a more strategic move away from the existing design of the Note 8, it sports a fingerprint sensor located beneath the rear dual-camera setup, as per most models and its S9 build.
Colour-wise, four variants will be available for the users – Ocean Blue, Lavender Purple, Metallic Copper, and Midnight Black – which is rather close to what’s been leaked out earlier. Here’s the important bit – only the Ocean Blue model will have that bright yellow S Pen that you see plastered on their marketing material though. The other three models will have S Pens that match the phone’s colour.
Under the hood, the Note 9 boasts power that’s certainly expected of flagship phones. Operating on a Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810 chipset, and an improved 8GB of RAM for the premium model, it also houses a new 4,000mAh-battery which is said able to last through one entire day across both its models: a 128GB (6GB RAM) base build and a heftier 512GB (8GB) one. Storage can be further expanded up to 1TB, with support being available for Samsung’s new 512GB microSD card.
With the exponential growth of the mobile gaming market, it’s hardly surprising that the chaebol has hopped aboard the hype train. Taking to the stage, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney made the “surprise” announcement of Fortnite beta sessions launching on all Samsung Galaxy devices. On the Note 9, this comes especially as a plus: the device’s 1.2Gbps network speed means players are entitled to faster internet connection, resulting in a better gameplay experience.
The collaboration will also see users of the Note 9 and recently launched Galaxy Tab S4 having exclusive access to a special in-game character skin, aptly named Galaxy.
For an increased sense of immersion, Samsung’s latest family member is equipped with AKG-tuned stereo speakers, allowing for the loudest audio ever on a Note model. A water carbon cooling system is in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly and overheating is reduced – a common issue faced by mobile phone gamers.
As mobile photography continues to impress, all eyes are on the camera. The Note 9’s all new Intelligent Camera, sports dual 12MP apertures of f/1.5 and f/2.4, alongside a dual pixel image sensor and a super slow-mo mode. The integration of AI into their camera module brings along a few other noteworthy features such as scene detection, skin tone optimisation, and the notifying of users when flaws like a blue-tinged image, or closed eyes within the captured frame, are detected.
Supporting the camera is a brand-new feature that’s exclusive to the Note 9 – the new and improved S Pen, which now doubles up as a Bluetooth-connected remote, usable up to 10m. It can be used as a remote shutter for the camera, playing and pausing of videos and change between slides on Powerpoint presentations, along with the usual functions that Note users love.
The S Pen is charged by returning it into its holder and gets to full charge in just one minute. The battery lasts for an hour, and the normal S Pen functions do not require any battery to function.
With the new Note 9, Samsung DeX is now more user friendly than ever. For DeX to be enabled, all that is needed would be a USB-to-HDMI adapter to plug your Note 9 to an external monitor. This will launch a desktop experience, that can be completed with a Bluetooth connected mouse and keyboard.
Samsung also showed off what they call the Dual Canvas Experience, which they created in conjunction with the Adobe Photoshop sketch team. This is particularly useful for artists and illustrators. When DeX is enabled, the larger external monitor lets you display your full sized canvas, while your smaller device can be used to zoom in on the details.
This improved DeX experience is similarly enabled on the Galaxy Tab S4, and we expect it to also be on all devices going forward.
“It’s not easy every year, frankly speaking, (to create a better and more powerful Note).” – DJ Koh, President & CEO of Samsung.
Although we are not seeing any bamboozling updates to the Note, the Note 9 is a good refinement of the formula, with the improved S Pen functionality and overall improved performance.
The Galaxy Note 9 will be available beginning 24 August 2018, but no word on local (Singapore) availability and pricing yet.
Timothy is a freelance photographer and fellow geek. His professional work spans many genres and he shoots on film for leisure.