9 Things To Know About Samsung's Galaxy Note9

Samsung is debuting the newest version of its productivity-focused smartphone with enhancements to the digital pen, battery life and storage capacity.


The New Note

In the crowded smartphone arena, Samsung's Galaxy Note devices have long stood out with their large displays and digital stylus stored inside the phone itself. With the new Galaxy Note9, Samsung is focusing on expanding on those key differentiators with a larger display and an enhanced S Pen stylus. Plenty of other specs -- including the battery, storage and camera -- also are getting upgrades in the Note9, as well.

What follows are nine key things to know about Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy Note9.

S Pen

Samsung says that fans of the Galaxy Note series have long used the S Pen for more than just note-taking. Navigation, such as by opening apps with the stylus, has been another big use case. That gave Samsung the idea to build more functionality into the S Pen for the Note9 release, executives said in briefings with reporters this week. The new version of the S Pen connects to the Note9 over Bluetooth, and the button on the S Pen can now be used to open apps and take certain actions within apps. For instance, you can take a photo or move forward a slide in PowerPoint with a press of the button. The default setting is for the S Pen to open the camera by holding down on the button, but users can customize how the button is used, executives said. While just a few apps work with the S Pen button to start -- including the camera, voice recorder and PowerPoint -- Samsung plans to open up its SDK in September so that developers can enable more apps to work with the S Pen button. Additionally, Samsung said that the S Pen re-charges while stored inside the phone, and can fully charge up within 40 seconds.

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The screen on the Galaxy Note9 is getting a modest increase in size to provide even more note-taking space. The Note9 display measures 6.4 inches, versus the 6.3 inches of the Galaxy Note8 and separating the Note9 a bit further from the 6.2-inch Galaxy S9 Plus. The Note9 uses Samsung's familiar bright and colorful Super AMOLED display technology, and features resolution of 2,960 x 1,440, or 516 pixels per inch. The screen also offers minimal bezels and a slight curve on the left and right sides.


In recent years, Samsung has been promoting its DeX offering as a way to run a desktop Android experience off a mobile device. While DeX was previously only available by connecting a smartphone to a docking station or pad, users can now use DeX by connecting the Note9 to a display via a USB-C to HDMI dongle. The Note9 can then be used as a touchpad for navigating in the Android desktop, or users can connect a compatible keyboard and mouse. This greatly simplifies DeX by not requiring users to tote extra hardware around, Samsung executives said -- which gets the feature closer to its ultimate promise of letting users just use one device for all of their needs.


Samsung is bringing a major increase in the size of the battery with the Galaxy Note9: The device will sport a 4,000mAh battery, compared to the 3,330mAh battery in the Note8. Samsung hasn't provided a specific estimate for the battery life on the Note9, beyond saying that the device will offer "all-day" battery life. We hope, however, this will mean more than the 14 hours of usage per charge that Samsung has been promising for the Note8.

Storage & RAM

While the Galaxy Note8 had already offered a generous amount of RAM for a smartphone, at 6 GB, Samsung is offering an option for an even larger amount with the Note9 as a way to boost performance. Internal storage is also getting a big increase over the 64 GB of internal storage that was offered in the Note8. The entry-level configuration for the Galaxy Note9 is for 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, but there will also be a second configuration available, with 8 GB of RAM and a massive 512 GB of storage. With the option to add up to 512 GB of extra storage via a microSD card, the Galaxy Note9 has the potential for a stunning 1 TB of storage space.


Samsung said that the Galaxy Note9 will feature the latest version of Samsung's mobile security software, Knox 3.2, which offers data protection as well as simplified deployment and management for IT departments. In terms of authentication, the Note9 will be available with fingerprint, iris and facial recognition, as well as Intelligent Scan (a combination of iris and facial recognition that purports to offer faster authentication). The fingerprint reader on the Note9 is located on the back of the phone below the camera, as on the Galaxy S9.


Like with the Galaxy S9, Samsung is emphasizing camera enhancements with the Galaxy Note9. The dual rear camera system, of 12-megapixel cameras, integrates the standout camera feature from the S9 -- an aperture that automatically adjusts to lighting conditions. In addition, the Galaxy Note9 includes a "scene optimizer" feature that comes with 20 automatically triggered presets for taking optimized photos. A second new feature is "flaw detection," which detects if there was an eye blink, image blur, lens smudge or backlight issue and prompts the user to retake the photo.

Other Specs

While the Galaxy Note9 features a larger battery and display, as well as expanded storage, Samsung has managed to keep the weight to a similar level as with the Note8. The Note9 weighs 0.44 of a pound, on par with the Note8 at 0.43 of a pound.

For the processor, Samsung goes with the most-obvious choice for the Galaxy Note9 release in North America. That would be Qualcomm's latest top-of-the-line mobile processor, the Snapdragon 845. The eight-core processor runs at up to 2.8GHz, significantly faster than the chip found in the Galaxy Note8, the 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835.

For improved audio, the Note9 offers stereo speakers that are enhanced through special tuning by acoustics expert AKG, as well as by surround sound from Dolby Atmos. Samsung also retains the 3.5mm headphone jack with the Galaxy Note9.

Price & Availability

Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy Note9 start on Friday, Aug. 10, and the Note9 will begin shipping on Aug. 24. The starting price for the 128 GB model of the Galaxy Note9 is $999.99, and the model is available from carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as unlocked from Samsung. The starting price for the 512 GB model is $1,249.99, and is available unlocked from Samsung and from carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. The Galaxy Note8 had been priced unlocked at $930.