Concerned that the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are a little too small for your hands? Want a smartphone that borders on the comically large? Then the Galaxy Note range is for you, and the Galaxy Note 9 is likely to be the next model released. The phone isn’t official yet, but there has been plenty of talk about its design, specs, and features already. Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 9.
Release date and name
As sure as the Galaxy Note 8 followed the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy Note 9 will follow 2017’s flagship big-screen phone. But when will it arrive, and will the naming convention continue? In early June, Bloomberg reported the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will launch on August 9. This coincides with an earlier leak related to the Snapdragon 845 processor that pegged the Galaxy Note 9’s release as September 2018, which may refer to when sales start, which would fit in with an August announcement.
The August date draws nearer, and a phone with the model number SM-960F was been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the end of June. The Galaxy Note 8’s model number is SM-N950, which logically suggests the SM-960F is the Galaxy Note 9. FCC approval now hints at a rapidly approaching announcement date. Other versions approved for use have the model numbers SM-960F/DS, and SM-960X. Further evidence the SM-N960 is a Galaxy Note phone comes in one of the publicly available test reports, where it’s stated the phone, “uses a stylus for several functions.”
Samsung said it began work on the Galaxy Note 9 immediately after completing the Galaxy Note 8 and was “considering how to approach the development of the next Note by evaluating the latest model and looking for ways to improve upon signature features like the S Pen.” This suggests the Note 9 will be an evolution of the Note 8, rather than a reinvention.
If a name change is coming, it has not been rumored, but a leak did hint at the code name: Crown.
The Galaxy Note is Samsung’s productivity powerhouse phone, and we’d expect the Note 9 to have specs to match. Spending time on a phone quickly runs a small battery down; but the FCC documentation for the SM-960F — believed to be the Galaxy Note 9 — says wireless charging will be one of the device’s features. This news follows another recent FCC approved product from Samsung — a new, more powerful wireless charger.
The charger, with a 12v/2.1amp power output, was spotted by Galaxyclub.nl, and is more powerful than the existing Samsung wireless charger. This would help charge the Note 9’s potentially larger battery in a faster time. However, any new wireless charger probably won’t come with the phone, and will instead be sold separately.
We don’t know the official battery specs yet, but it seems Samsung will use a 4,000mAh cell to keep the Note 9 up and running, according to a tweet from phone leaker Ice Universe. The tweet states it’s “100 percent” sure this will be the Note 9’s battery size, and the same account had previously said it would either be a 3,850 or 4,000mAh battery in the phone. This will be a significant upgrade over the 3,300mAh battery inside the Galaxy Note 8.
What else will make the Note 9 special? Samsung said it’s investigating “signature Note features” to upgrade on the Note 9, including the S Pen stylus. However, that statement was made early in the phone’s development, so plans may change by the time the phone reaches store shelves.
In March, information about the upcoming Galaxy S9 appeared courtesy of Geekbench. Benchmarks on the site claim the phone will feature the expected Qualcomm 845 chipset as well as 6GB of RAM.
Qualcomm is likely to supply the processor for the Note 9 in some regions. The phone was listed in a leak of the devices using the Snapdragon 845 in 2018. While this will probably apply to phones released in the United States, other regions may have a Note 9 powered by a Samsung-designed Exynos chip.
We know the Galaxy Note 9 will be big, but will it be much different from the Note 8? The latest rumors surrounding Samsung’s biggest expected 2018 phone assert that the Note 9 will come with an additional button on the side. A leaked image of a Note 9 case shows a button cover for a fifth button, close to the bottom of the phone’s right-hand side, below the power button. The addition of the (sadly permanent) Bixby key added a fourth key in last year’s Galaxy phones, but what could this extra button be used for?
It wouldn’t be a bad bet to assume that this button has some form of camera functionality, and may be used to take photos, and potentially take quick screenshots. Positioned at the bottom-right edge, the button would be perfectly placed to trigger the camera shutter, and would be in line with the increased focus on photography Samsung took with the Galaxy S9 range. Of course, this could just be an early mock-up of a possible Note 9 redesign, but it’s an odd addition if there aren’t at least rumors that an extra key is possible.
The same leaked image shows the phone may cure one of the design issues with the Note 8, and place the fingerprint sensor under the camera lenses rather than alongside. A small change, but one that will make a big difference to its usability, just as it did on the Galaxy S9 Plus. The camera lenses will remain in a horizontal formation, with the fingerprint sensor underneath, and central on the rear panel. The image was published by phone leaker Ice Universe on Twitter, and the same source also posted a mock-up of the Note 9’s potential camera and fingerprint array on Chinese social network Weibo, showing the same design.
Note9’s protective case, we see its fingerprint sensor position. pic.twitter.com/acHwdYq64k
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) June 9, 2018
Before this, Ice Universe stated the only difference between the Note 8 and Note 9’s overall size will be 2mm, making it nearly impossible to notice unless comparing the devices side-by-side. While it’s impossible to verify these claims, Ice Universe has a good track record with Samsung leaks.
Samsung was lazy in 2018 and I concluded that Note9 will not change much. This is just a small adjustment to Note8. pic.twitter.com/uNoAW1thcT
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) May 8, 2018
Some other rumors have gone in the opposite direction. Dutch tech site Let’sGoDigital believes the Note 9 may look more like the iPhone X, and references a patent Samsung filed in March 2018 for a device that has a screen notch and no apparent fingerprint sensor. It’s looking increasingly unlikely Samsung will adopt this look for the Note 9.
Finally, there’s a small chance Samsung may be planning on an even bigger design change this year. In a surprising statement, D.J. Koh, Samsung’s president of mobile, said the 2018 Note phone may have a foldable design, provided it could overcome various technical hurdles. He didn’t elaborate further. Samsung’s foldable phone, often referred to as Project Valley or Galaxy X, has always been viewed as a separate device from the Note range. Since this statement was made, no other rumors about a foldable Note 9 have emerged, and it may have been put on hold for the 2018 phone.
While we can’t be entirely sure, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will ship with Android 8.1 Oreo. Of course, there is the chance it could be Samsung’s first flagship to feature Android P, depending on when it’s announced. While we don’t have all the software details for the upcoming Note 9, we do know it will be the first to feature the latest update of Samsung’s artificial intelligence assistant, Bixby.
According to a post in The Korea Herald, a Samsung executive confirmed the upcoming Note 9 will ship with Bixby 2.0. While Samsung is a little behind on its A.I. assistant, its Bixby 2.0 update will bring enhanced natural language processes, improved noise resistance capability, and quicker response times.
Although there is nothing look and hardware can be worth the wait.
However, Note9's UX design and interactive experience are worth the wait.
Maybe we can call it "Crown UX"
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) May 11, 2018
Another rumor from mobile leaker Ice Universe claims we will see a huge improvement in the overall UX for the Galaxy Note 9. Although he doesn’t provide explicit details, we anticipate an update to the Samsung Experience skin that ships with its phones.
Let’s Go Digital
The Galaxy Note 8 has both finger-unlock and face-unlock systems, so how will Samsung improve on this for the Note 9? First, it looks like Samsung may be planning to update its Intelligent Scan technology. A new patent, first reported by Let’s Go Digital, shows Samsung is working on a fish-eye selfie camera for the Note 9. In addition to providing viewing angles of 150 degrees or more, the lens would also improve iris-scanning capabilities for the upcoming flagship.
Reports about an in-display fingerprint sensor have been conflicting thus far. After months of rumors that the Note 9 would not feature such technology, a report from The Investor claimed Samsung is considering the addition of an in-display fingerprint sensor on this year’s Note 9 after all.
However, Samsung is said to still be improving the technology, and actually expects it to be ready for use in 2019, and KGI Securities reported the company would likely forgo the addition of an in-display fingerprint sensor in 2018. In May, Ice Universe posted a tweet stating that we will not see such technology on the upcoming flagship. Leaked case images all show a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, all despite Samsung filing patents for the technology, as picked up by Dutch site Let’s Go Digital, and as published by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
That’s all we know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for now. We’ll continue to update as we learn more.
Updated on June 26: Added FCC certification for device with Galaxy Note-style model number, and news of wireless charging.