Once standing apart from the Galaxy S series not only for its stylus but also its battery power, this all changed for the Galaxy Note series when the Note 7 started getting a bit hot under the collar (and, well, exploding). But this could be about to change, as the Note 9 is tipped to return to the realms of big-battery phones with a 4000mAh cell – a considerable jump from the Note 8’s 3300mAh battery.
(Unfortunately, we could also see a notched screen.)
For the past couple of years we’ve seen Samsung hold its Galaxy Note launch in August, ahead of IFA and, perhaps more importantly, ahead of Apple’s traditional September iPhone launch. By giving itself a clear distance from the new iPhone it gives itself a sales advantage. And in 2018 it could move the Note 9 launch date forward to as early as July.
Though this is by no means a confirmed launch date, Sammobile has noted two important things regarding the Note 9 in its discovery that Samsung has already begun testing the firmware. First, there are two versions, which means we’ll see Snapdragon and Exynos versions of the Note 9; and second, it has begun its testing two weeks earlier than in 2017. This was also the case for the Galaxy S9, which resulted in a launch date almost a full month earlier than the previous year.
Samsung Display is also reported to be beginning AMOLED production for the Note 9 in April, two months ahead of schedule. Rumours suggest this is a slightly larger 6.38in screen, up from 6.32in.
There are some things we can take from the Galaxy S9 launch, too. New features that appear in the S series pretty much always wind up in the next-generation Note family. So you can expect to find a ‘reimagined’ camera like that on the Galaxy S9+, slimmer screen bezels, a faster processor, microSD support up to 400GB, and AR Emoji.
So what else will be new? Forget the infamous ‘notch’ of the iPhone X, and the ‘borderless’ screens of recent flagships that actually have borders, albeit minimal. The upcoming Galaxy Note 9 could see a truly all-glass front that embeds not only an under-glass fingerprint scanner (the tech we should have seen in the Galaxy S9), but the sensors and selfie camera too.
Or at least that’s what we’d hoped. Now there’s talk that this fingerprint tech still may not be ready for the Galaxy Note 9 launch (even though it’s already in use in at least one Chinese phone). KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo says technical difficulties are to blame. Of course, there’s also talk that suggests it will be ready, and that Samsung actually has three or four methods of achieving this.
The Note 9 is said to be codenamed ‘Crown’, and if things turn out as hoped this phone really will be able to take the Android crown.
You’ll also like: Galaxy Note X rumours.
When is the Galaxy Note 9 release date?
In recent years Samsung has shunned September’s IFA tradeshow for its new Note launch in favour of an Unpacked event held a few weeks earlier in August. This has enabled it to evade the hype of other flagships launching at IFA, and get its phone out to the market before the new iPhone.
In 2017 we saw the Note 8 launch on 23 August and go on sale on 15 September. (We won’t embarrass the company by talking about the Note 7 launch.)
In 2018 we had expected to see a Note 9 announcement at the end of August and an on-sale date mid-September. However, if Sammobile is correct about the impact of Samsung’s early firmware testing on launch date, and it’s true that AMOLED production has been pulled forward, we could see a July launch.
How much will the Galaxy Note 9 cost?
People were shocked by the RRP of the Galaxy Note 8 when it was revealed it would cost £869. But on closer inspection we found it worth every penny. Moreover, it’s now available for at least £100 less if you shop around online – Samsung prices usually fall by around 20 percent within the first three months of launch.
Expect the Galaxy Note 9 to once again come in at £869.
What new features are expected in the Galaxy Note 9?
Some things are certain, such as the fact the Note 9 will see a performance upgrade – we expect the second-gen 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (and the latest Exynos chip in certain territories), along with 6GB of RAM.
It’s already been spotted on Geekbench, with a multi-core score of 8806 points. Of course, this is a phone that’s already blazing fast, of course, so we’re more interested in the features everyday consumers will really notice.
Battery life could improve, with rumours pointing to a 4000mAh battery – a jump up from the 3300mAh cell inside the Note 8.
The most exciting rumour by far is that the Note 9 will have an all-glass front, with a truly bezel-less design. It will achieve this by embedding the fingerprint scanner into (or rather under) the display, and also integrating the camera and sensors here. The Super AMOLED screen will most certainly act as a light source for the sensor.
The above image is from a recent patent awarded to Samsung, filed at WIPO. The only question is whether such a design will be ready in time for the Note 9, or if we will be looking at a future release.
A stretched out display might result in a design something like the image used at the top of this page (a render created by Ben Geskin). He suggests the Note 9 will feature a 6.4in 4K display.
If Samsung is not able to implement this new type of screen, we should be looking at very similar specifications as for the Note 8, with a 6.3in Quad-HD+ (2960×1440, 18.5:9, 521ppi) Super AMOLED panel.
The under-glass fingerprint scanner is very likely for the Note 9, however, at least according to KGI analysts. They also say Samsung will switch from Synaptics to Egis for this sensor, which costs four to five times the price.
Samsung has filed patents in March 2018 that back up the idea that there will be no visible fingerprint scanner on an upcoming phone. Sadly, they also appear to suggest there may be an iPhone X-style notched screen, though a second patent shows nothing but screen. We don’t know for certain that these patents are for the Note 9, and may instead be some of the earliest leaked rumours for the Galaxy S10.
The iris scanner is expected to get a boost in the Samsung Galaxy S9, so expect to see those same changes carried through to the Note 9. An Android Police reader has discovered an upcoming feature called Intelligent Scan – an answer to Face ID by the looks of it – that we expect to see first in the Galaxy S9 and then carried over to the Note 9.
Samsung is also tipped to use a new type of metal (called Metal 12) for its upcoming Note 9, with a magnesium and aluminium alloy that is tougher yet lighter.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2018.
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