Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Galaxy Note 9 preview
With the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ now official and available for purchase in numerous markets, all sights are set on the Galaxy Note 9, the next Samsung flagship that's all but confirmed to be in the works. The Note 9 is expected to be the first Samsung phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, but while that particular feature may or may not arrive with the ninth-generation Note flagship (technically the eight, as the Note 6 never came to market), we can take an educated guess about the rest of its features.
The Galaxy Note 9 is likely to carry the same design language as we have seen on the Galaxy Note 8, but with improvements from the Galaxy S9 and S9+ thrown in. That would mean a slightly thicker body, smaller bezels, and stronger metal on the sides. The S Pen will, of course, have a dedicated slot on the right corner of the phone, and given the overall build of the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung will have to be very careful and ensure all the changes don't make the Note 9 too noticeably heavier or bigger in size. Needless to say, the Galaxy Note 9 will be water and dust resistant.
We can also expect to see the new Lilac Purple Galaxy S9 color made available with the Galaxy Note 9, in addition to the usual suspects such as black and blue. And, if an in-display fingerprint sensor isn't ready on time, the Note 9's fingerprint sensor will be at the back, below the camera to make it more convenient to access. Last but not the least, the Bixby button will be onboard as well, and the Note 9 should also be the first device to run Bixby 2.0.
Unlike the design, the display on the Galaxy Note 9 is likely to remain the same as its predecessor, at least in terms of size and resolution (6.3 inches, WQHD+). The display panel will no doubt be of a higher quality compared to last year's Note, just as the Galaxy S9 screen comes with numerous improvements over the S8's, with color reproduction that's said to be "visually indistinguishable from perfect." Whether the Note 9 will have a screen even better than the S9 and S9+ remains to be seen.
With dual rear cameras introduced on the Galaxy Note 8, there's no doubt we'll see two cameras on the back of the Galaxy Note 9. Basically, what you see on the Galaxy S9+ is what we expect to see on the Note 9 as well: A 12-megapixel primary camera that can switch between two apertures (f/1.5 and f/2.4) and a secondary 12MP camera that provides 2x zoom and bokeh photos. Super slow-mo videos and AR Emoji will also be a part of the package, and we're hopeful the former will record in higher resolution on the Note 9 and the latter will work better than it does right now on the Galaxy S9.
What about the front-facing camera? Well, the 8-megapixel camera that Samsung is currently using is certainly more than enough, but it's not the best there is. A dual front-facing camera like the Galaxy A8 would make things much more interesting, although, given the Note lineup's focus on business professionals, the selfie camera isn't likely to receive much attention. One can hope, though, especially since putting two front cameras on the Note 9 would make it even more special if Samsung isn't looking to change much with the rear camera compared to the Galaxy S9+.
The Note 8 is likely to run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, with the same features as seen on Oreo for the Note 8 but with a few enhancements thrown in (such as new S Pen functionality). Android P is what we'd like to see out of the box, but Samsung's usual schedule of launching its Note flagships may not make that possible, though Project Treble support may result in the Android P upgrade coming out earlier than Oreo did for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. As with other flagships, Samsung should provide the Note 8 with at least two major Android upgrades, along with monthly security updates for three years.
With the Galaxy S9 and S9+, Samsung decided to keep the same battery capacities as the Galaxy S8 and S8+, helped by the thicker overall design. Going by the same philosophy, we can expect a 3,300 mAh battery on the Galaxy Note 9. Samsung certainly can't afford to go any lower, and we can be sure a higher capacity battery would be a miracle considering the amount of hardware the company is packing in its latest phones. Fast charging and fast wireless charging are a given, and so is a USB Type-C port at the bottom for connecting the device to the charger.
What about the rest of the hardware? Well, not much should change compared to the Galaxy S9+. The specs are expected to include the Exynos 9810 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 64/128GB/256GB storage, a microSD slot, and all the latest connectivity options including gigabit Wi-Fi and LTE.
This is where things get murky. The Galaxy Note 9 will likely command at least a $50 price premium compared to the Note 8. The overall pricing should be more than the Galaxy S9+, just as the Note 8 was costlier than the S8+. As far as the release date is concerned, one would think Samsung would launch the Note 9 in a slew of countries three weeks after the official launch, similar to what the company did with the Galaxy S9. But, since the Note lineup isn't as mainstream as the Galaxy S series, the Korean giant may choose to limit the number of markets where the phone goes on sale in the first round. We'll just have to wait and see.