After months and months of leaks, we’ve finally had a chance to lay our hands on the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung’s latest Android 8.1 Oreo smartphone. Given that nearly all of the Galaxy Note 9’s specs have been leaked ahead of today’s official reveal, you’re likely already familiar with what the smartphone has to offer. However, we’ll give you a quick rundown of what makes the smartphone special.
Starting things off, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC running the show in this beastly device. Samsung has kicked things up a notch on the storage front, doubling the base configuration from 64GB to 128GB. However, for those that crave even more internal storage, a new 512GB option is also available.
Like the Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S9+ that came before it, the Galaxy Note 9 pairs the processor with 6GB of RAM on base systems, however, opting for the 512GB model will give you a full 8GB of RAM. Given that the onboard microSD slot supports up to 512GB, you can feasibly carry around a device with 1TB of storage in your pocket.
Given all of that computing power inside the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung is billing it as an elite gaming machine. To that end, the company has equipped the phone with a water-carbon cooling system with a 3x larger heat spreader (compared to the Galaxy Note 8), which Samsung says reduces the risk of overheating by 21 percent.
Speaking of gaming, the rumors of [Android] Fortnite exclusivity were mostly true. The game will be available today as an exclusive download for all Galaxy S7 and newer smartphones. In addition, Galaxy Note 9 owners and those who purchase the newly-released Galaxy Tab S4 will get an exclusive in-game skin that they can show off.
The Galaxy Note 9 still uses Samsung’s gorgeous Infinity Display, but this time it’s been enlarged to 6.4 inches. The Super AMOLED display has a QHD+ resolution and as we saw in our hands-on time with the device, it’s still one of the best smartphone panels on the market. Complimenting the display are dual stereo speakers that are AKG tuned.
Samsung is touting “all day battery life” thanks to a massive 4,000 mAh battery that’s includes on the Galaxy Note 9. For comparison, its predecessor sported a 3,300 mAh unit. Following the Galaxy Note 7 battery explosion debacle, the Galaxy Note 9’s battery has been subjected to Samsung’s vigorous 8-Point Battery Safety Check program to ensure consistent cell quality. As you would expect from a modern smartphone, both fast charging and wireless charging are supported.
There are still dual cameras on the back of the Galaxy Note 9 (like its predecessor) and both are optically stabilized, but this time around it gains the dual-aperture system (F1.5 and F2.4 apertures) from the Galaxy S9+. The smartphone also introduces what Samsung calls “Intelligent Camera”. This is a suite of features that leverage AI including Scene Optimizer (which can scan a scene and categorize the subject into one of 20 different categories to preselect camera settings), Flaw Detection (which provides handy notes when it detects when a shot comes out blurry, if someone closed their eyes, or if there is a smudge on the lens), and Super Slo-Mo video.
One of the most talked about and rumored features of the Galaxy Note 9 was confirmed today: the inclusion of a Bluetooth-equipped S Pen. The S Pen now uses Bluetooth LE (BLE) and is capable of acting as a remote from up to 10 meters away from your Galaxy Note 9. The stylus uses a super capacitor that can be fully charged with just a 40-second jaunt inside your smartphone. The S Pen is fully activated and ready to use when you pull it out of its silo and offers 30 minutes of standby time or can operate for up to 200 clicks before it needs recharging.
The customizable button on the S Pen allows you to do a number of things like pressing it to take a photo (press once to take a photo, press twice to switch between front and rear cameras). Likewise, within the YouTube app, you can press the button once to play/pause a video clip. These actions are all customizable (depending on the app) from within Settings.
This wouldn’t be a premium Galaxy device without DeX support, and that all springs into action when you hook the Galaxy Note 9 up to a monitor with an HDMI adapter. This automatically presents the DeX desktop UI on the big screen giving your more screen real-estate and desktop-class apps allowing you to use your smartphone as a desktop-in-a-pinch when on-the-go. You can of course hook up a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and you can even use your Galaxy Note 9 as a touchpad, or for drawing with the S Pen.
Preorders for the Galaxy Note 9 open tomorrow, August 10th at all major wireless carriers and the device will be available in Ocean Blue and Lavender with color-coordinated S Pens. The previously leaked Charging Duo Pad will be available as an option to charge both your Galaxy smartphone and a Samsung smartwatch at the same time. The 128GB model will be priced at $999, while the 512GB model is priced at a hefty $1,249 — both will be available on August 24th from all major U.S. wireless carriers. Customers will be able to choose from either a free set of AKG noise-cancelling headphones or 15,000 V-Bucks for Fortnite as an added bonus.
Be sure to check out our hands-on video embedded above and stay tuned for our full review of the Galaxy Note 9 which will be coming shortly.