Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gives power users more of everything

Samsung's Galaxy Note phones have long held a reputation as the power user's Android device, and the company is adding to that legacy today with the Galaxy Note 9. The company's next-generation flagship handset gives demanding users access to its DeX desktop interface on external monitors over a single cable, and it teaches the S Pen new tricks like remote shutter control for the phone's cameras, presentation control, video playback control, and more using Bluetooth Low Energy. 

The camera inside the Note 9 hops on board the computational-photography-and-AI train with two bundles of smarts. A “Scene Optimizer” mode can perform object recognition to try and box your shot into one of 20 categories to apply the color, contrast, and exposure settings that Samsung's programmers feel is the best expression of a given scene. The camera can also identify flaws like a smudged lens, excessive flare, a blurry exposure, or a blinking subject to prompt the user to fix the issue and try again.

The camera hardware itself is practically identical to that of the Galaxy S9. The world-facing camera has a dual-sensor system with optical image stabilization on both snappers. One of the shooters is a wide-angle affair with a 12-MP sensor and a diaphragm that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures, while the other is a telephoto with a 12-MP resolution, 2x optical zoom (presumably versus the wide-angle snapper), and up to 10x digital zoom. Finally, the Note 9's selfie camera is an 8-MP deal with an f/1.7 lens system.

Note 9 owners will be able to view those optimized photos and jot notes on a 6.4″, 2960×1440 OLED screen. Samsung gives that screen a long life with a massive 4000-mAh battery, up from 3300 mAh on the Galaxy Note 8.

American Note 9 buyers will find a Snapdragon 845 SoC inside, running at up to 2.8 GHz on its performance cores and up to 1.7 GHz on its efficiency cores. That SoC comes paired with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of flash storage in the base Note 9, while an upgraded version offers 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage.

Both configurations have a microSD slot for up to 512 GB of extra storage. The company says the handset has a “Water Carbon Cooling” system and “AI-based performance adjusting algorithm[s]” to deliver maximum sustained performance. Buyers in other regions will get an Exynos SoC with four custom performance cores running at up to 2.7 GHz and four efficiency cores running at up to 1.7 GHz.

The Note 9 also includes a wealth of software integration and improvements. The company has partnered with Spotify to make users' playlists, music, and podcasts available across Note 9, Galaxy Watch, and Smart TV devices. According to Anandtech's live blog, Samsung's Bixby assistant is now “more conversational, personal, and useful,” and it has more powerful and context-aware queries on the Note 9. Samsung said that it's working with Spotify and Google to integrate Bixby into their products.

The American version of the Note 9 will be available in two colors: an “Ocean Blue” with a contrasting yellow S Pen and a “Lavender Purple” with a matching S Pen. Buyers in other regions will also get black and copper finishes.

The 128-GB version of the device will start at $1000 from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Xfinity stores, and it'll be available on August 24. Samsung will also make the device available from Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Straight Talk Wireless, Target and Walmart, as well as Samsung.com and the ShopSamsung app.

The 512-GB Note 9 will also be available August 24 for $1250 from “select retail locations” and online through AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular and Samsung.com. Buyers who pre-order a Note 9 from August 10 to August 23 will get a choice of AKG noise-canceling headphones or access to a special Fortnite skin and 15,000 “V-bucks” of in-game currency. Those who don't want to choose can add both the cans and the cash to their order for an extra $99. Samsung is also offering the exclusive Fortnite Galaxy skin to all Note 9 and Tab S4 owners.

Comments closed
    • End User
    • 1 year ago

    I can’t get Fortnite from the Google Play store for my Pixel 2 XL?!?!

    I thought Android was open. So Sad!

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      Just a timed exclusive, and for everyone else they’re going to sidestep the Play store and Googles 30% cut…

      [url<]https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/08/fortnite-on-android-may-drive-its-battle-bus-past-googles-30-cut/[/url<]

        • End User
        • 1 year ago

        I know. Sheesh. I’m just milking it.

          • Redocbew
          • 1 year ago

          Next time, do better bro.

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 1 year ago

            Nice job on your bro usage.

            • tipoo
            • 1 year ago

            We would have also accepted “good job, Srsly bro”

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 1 year ago

            Srsly good job, bro. +1

            • End User
            • 1 year ago

            No Fortnite for you, bro.

    • rechicero
    • 1 year ago

    I find really odd that phones like this have twice the resolution and same RAM (sometimes more!) than real computers.

    Are you going to use them or they are just marketing numbers to eat your battery faster? I mean, if you don’t use it for VR… 1440p? really? And 6GB? What can you run to use them?

    Such a waste

    PS: I’m shortsighted, so my short range vision s really good. But I can’t hardly justify more than 720p in a phone (real 720p, not the tile thing): I need to focus to distinguish a pixel

    • Star Brood
    • 1 year ago

    It’s very much an incremental, non-upgrade-worthy upgrade. I remember when phones were jumping in performance in leaps and bounces each generation or two. Now they’ve plateaued in large, and there isn’t much to be gained by upgrading.

    The portable desktop thing is interesting, but is it still running Android or is it capable of running Windows? Ideally, the future of phones should replace all but the most power-hungry CPU tasks with the help of compatible, affordable peripherals. Until I can play an actual RTS game like StarCraft or WarCraft on a phone, it’s never going to replace a computer.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 1 year ago

    I know the flagship smartphone market is the home of blindly following every single bizarre design trend without question for fear of missing out on the next, entirely arbitrary must-have-“feature”…
    But I reeeeally didn’t see “has a bizarre, non-standard aspect ratio” coming along as a headline gimmick throughout the entire marketplace.

    I mean, really… do people look at specs lists and think “Oooh, those numbers are even more awkward to reduce to a readable fraction than my last phone!”?

    • adisor19
    • 1 year ago

    Brand new phone gets released and is destroyed in benchmarks by iPhone X from last year.

    A12 is gonna wipe the floor with it lol can’t wait to see those benchmarks !

    [url<]https://www.tomsguide.com/us/galaxy-note-9-benchmarks,news-27773.html[/url<] Adi

      • Laykun
      • 1 year ago

      Performance benchmarks on phones don’t really matter at this point though. Seriously, when have you had a phone recently that can’t handle your daily tasks? I have a note 8 and it has an abundance of performance such that I don’t really worry about having choppiness or lag in any of my apps. Yeah, you can be the fastest kid on the block, but that’s like driving a super car in a 50km/h zone (30mph for you state side), it’s kind of a waste.

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      Their silicon team continues to impress me, but I start to wonder what that gets us when iOS has been dropping frames on animations since iOS7, and with iOS11 started losing out in memory residency tests for multitasking too.

      Hopefully 12 fixes all this and it doesn’t go back in future versions, but the silicon team must hate how much the software team hides their performance. The near doubled single core score is a silicon junkies curiosity but it should have been putting the UX way further ahead than it is.

        • Laykun
        • 1 year ago

        I don’t think they look at it in terms of improving performance rather than reducing resource usage to save battery. I think if they make a processor that does double the amount of work with the same amount of power they’re more likely going to clock it lower and use less watts then make the UI smoother. They’ve probably focus tested the bajesus out of it and determined that users are forgiving of a few hitches here and there.

          • tipoo
          • 1 year ago

          Ehh, they said it was a bug in the next frame prefetching and are resolving it in iOS12, I wouldn’t bet that they focus test every little thing, some are just flaws.

          [url<]https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2018/202/[/url<] I'm glad it's fixed, but point being it stuck around for 5 years, in spite of all the silicon lead they've built, so I again wonder what that gets me as a user. Edit: Actually I forgot they even addressed it semi-directly in the iOS12 keynote by talking about how the processor ramps up faster when a scroll is detected [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTdj-Kq3Tpg[/url<]

            • adisor19
            • 1 year ago

            Nobody’s perfect, not even Apple 😉

            But seriously, the A12 will definitely be ready to take its place in the 12″ MacBook. The only question is will Apple still allow an open model or will they force ARM macOS to only open apps from the Appstore ?

            They are at a point where their mobile SoC is more powerful than the intel chips in the MacBook Pro and they seem to add about 30 – 40% performance improvement every year. One does have to wonder when will they start transitioning their laptops to it ? The MacBook is perfectly ripe for this and the MacBook Air as well.

            Adi

            • tipoo
            • 1 year ago

            Agreed there, the A11X or A12 in the 12″ Macbook would already put it ahead of what it has. The poor Surface GO has to make due with an Intel part in the same wattage as the iPad that delivers under half the CPU and half the GPU performance, and Core M would be the entire cost of the device itself, as well as not quite make it to A10X anyways.

            I’m very excited by the prospect, but not being open to anything outside the app store would very much kill my hype too, Apples 30% developer cut is pretty harsh and there should be a way around it (Microsofts is only 5%).

            • adisor19
            • 1 year ago

            I think MS app store is at 5% due to the reality that MS has to deal with these days. It no longer is a windows world but rather a smartphone world and MS have long lost that battle.

            Apple is starting to feel the same burn with macOS as well. Major apps from the macOS app store have started bypassing it altogether and even Apple is realizing that and attempting to unit UIKit with AppKit and somehoe make iOS apps run natively on macOS.

            It’s hard to steer the third party dev boat to a different direction once it’s in motion and I do wonder what the future holds. I don’t think Apple will be able to close the macOS sideload hatch when they transition to ARM. They did it with iOS as they were the only game in town when it launched back in 2008, but that is not the reality for their desktop OS.

            Adi

      • albundy
      • 1 year ago

      they are both giant cookie cutter meh phablets. there’s nothing worth noting that they offer compared to prior generations. they’ve cut as many features as possible at this point. better to go with another brand at half the price.

      • Billstevens
      • 1 year ago

      Meh, I would take a phone slower than an iphone any day of the weak to not get fucked into:

      – Having no micro SD option so I have to pay $100 for an extra 64 Gb or 128 Gb of storage
      – No standard headphone jack so I can plug in a cheap head set while I charge
      – Back ass words file management capability
      – Lack of full integration with anything but overpriced apple products
      – In this case, lack of 600 Mhz band on T-Mobile which all the S9s have

    • willmore
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<] gives power users more of everything[/quote<] unless it's the current version of the OS that you wanted.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<]more powerful and context-aware queries on the Note 9[/quote<] I guess the thing that bugs me about Bixby (and I'm only observing; I don't own one of these things) is that these weasel words imply that you can't get this on previous-generation devices. Somebody's 6-month-old S9 won't benefit from this, for example, if it really is "on the Note 9". With the Google assistant or Siri, those queries are processed online so the features are available to everyone. Not so here, if that quoted line is really what Samsung said.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      Hey hey hey, Siri can NOT do that. Siri can tell you the time and the weather. That’s it. And maybe the score of a game. End of story. /s

      But seriously, Google Assistant is the only good assistant at actually giving you answers. Alexa does fine for things like playing music or setting a timer or whatever, but Google has Google Search backing it up and actually works most the time.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    100% intrigued by the hardware. -100% intrigued by the Samsung software that runs on it.

    This would be a lovely phone with stock Android, but until then Samsung is on my permanent “no buy” list.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      I’m not saying you’re wrong at all, you’re not, and I don’t think you should have to root/unlock a phone to use stock Android, but it’s definitely an advantage of Samsung phones. They’re so popular that they, at least their flagships, have really, really great 3rd party ROM support. LineageOS + TWRP will be on this phone within a month.

        • Kretschmer
        • 1 year ago

        Yeah, but if something goes wrong your phone has 0 support. And I have to worry about manually updating. Blech.

          • forums
          • 1 year ago

          Lineage supports OTA updates for the official releases afaik.

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      Also not saying you’re wrong, but what was your last experience with Samsung software on Android?

      They were /really bad/ in the GS1-GS5 days, but they’ve started to clean up a lot of the bloat and while they still have features up the wazoo, they don’t bog down the experience as much, in what I hear.

    • DancinJack
    • 1 year ago

    I love these comments every single time a phone is released here. People constantly think they’re in the majority of users and deride companies as if it’s SO OBVIOUS it’s what they should be doing. Good stuff.

    FWIW I personally see the advantages of having a removable battery (or “inseartFeatureNameHere”) for some people, but to make the same complaints over and over and over without realising what the actual situation on the ground is seems odd to me. Except for headphone jacks. I will die on this hill.

    hate me all you want

    • moose17145
    • 1 year ago

    So for a $1,000 USD phone, it still has no user replacable battery…

    Also the Camera is able to identify Excessive Flare?

    Dear god I feel bad for the poor phone that gets put in front of a JJ Abrams movie…

      • Kretschmer
      • 1 year ago

      Removable batteries are basically dead in the premium space. Everyone and their dog wants sexy unibodies.

        • Shobai
        • 1 year ago

        wants to sell*

          • Kretschmer
          • 1 year ago

          Well, consumers flock to skinny obelisks. I’m not sure what else there is to say.

    • Sunburn74
    • 1 year ago

    I just can’t justify paying $1000 for a phone.

      • Anton Kochubey
      • 1 year ago

      Then don’t buy it.

        • Sunburn74
        • 1 year ago

        I’m just pointing out that there is a trend we’re starting to see of rising prices with minimal improvements in the phone arena. How many years away are we from $2000 dollar flagship phones?

          • Laykun
          • 1 year ago

          Isn’t there also a trend of lowering the price on really good devices? I don’t see how $2000 flagship phones are relevant if all you’re looking for is a really good $500 phone, because they exist and they are better value than ever. Even $200 smart phones are incredible value, the moto g series continues to hit it out of the park.

          • tipoo
          • 1 year ago

          This is partly in response to middle budget phones getting really good. When 250-500 dollar phones are good enough for most people, they’re running upwards.

          So yeah, the flagships are getting more expensive, but you’re still getting more now than ever for your buck at the same time in the low and mid range.

      • Kretschmer
      • 1 year ago

      I just can’t justify paying >$500 for a computer. eMachines for life, baby!

    • tipoo
    • 1 year ago

    I’m going to bet the “water cooling system” is just a heat pipe, as other phone makers have been wont to upsell them as.

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      Ayup

      [url<]https://apple.insidercdn.com/gallery/27097-39790-180809-Note9-l.jpg[/url<]

        • GrimDanfango
        • 1 year ago

        Do heatpipes actually function in any measurably more effective way when squashed down into tiny flat sliver like this?
        I mean, copper is pretty heat-conductive to begin with, and I can’t imagine the tiny pool of liquid in there is doing much to spread it around any more than the metal itself already is.

          • tipoo
          • 1 year ago

          Who knows with mobile tier claims, JerryRig took apart that Microsoft ones heat pipe and just found it was empty inside…

          • cegras
          • 1 year ago

          Water pipes should not have any liquid in them. Otherwise, the boiling temperature of the liquid would be defined by SATP, i.e., if water, then the heatpipe would only work at 100 C.

            • tipoo
            • 1 year ago

            They should have conducive filaments though.

            [url<]http://www.frostytech.com/articleimages/201110/zalCNPS11xex_compositeHP3.jpg[/url<] vs [url<]https://www.xda-developers.com/files/2016/03/Image-087-810x298_c.png[/url<] In mobile so far "heat pipes" seem little more than hollow copper.

            • GrimDanfango
            • 1 year ago

            I thought heat pipes worked by containing a fluid with a very low boiling point, which would evaporate at normal operating temperatures, convect (?) to the cooler end, and condense as it distributed the heat energy to that end.

            Have I got that wrong? Anything I ever read on the matter always seemed to sum it up in roughly those terms.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 year ago

            Heatpipes are often sealed in a mild vacuum which lowers the boiling point of the liquid. If the heatpipe is going to be effective beyond just adding surface area, then as you said the liquid has to start boiling within the expected range of operating temperature. There’s also usually a coating on the inside the pipe which helps promote capillary action for circulation.

            I would guess there would just be less of a temperature delta between the interior and exterior in a tiny, squashed flat heat pipe because of the walls being so close together.

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 1 year ago

            Do you mean STP? What does the”A” represent?

      • GrimDanfango
      • 1 year ago

      Samsung – calling a spade a personal excavation device.

    • chuckula
    • 1 year ago

    I’m sure Samsung will experience an explosion.

    Of demand for these things.

      • moose17145
      • 1 year ago

      Not sure why the downvote… that one actually got me laughing.

      • uni-mitation
      • 1 year ago

      Attaboy! Get them, Son!

      Rick MoarCoars
      AMD PR Honcho

      • strangerguy
      • 1 year ago

      I’m sure Samsung will experience an explosion.

      Of firesale discounts shortly after launch.

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