Samsung Galaxy Note 9: What we know so far

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We know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of time. It’s a bit like a student loan statement when you were really hoping to eat this month or an overly large tide bearing down on the extravagant castle you built below the high-water mark. Samsung will announce the Galaxy Note 9 soon and we’re expecting… more or less exactly what’s already known about the handset.

This late in the year, the rumour mill has been spinning for a while and Samsung doesn’t have many secrets left. Unless they’ve got an R&D blacksite with serious people in lab-coats and a completely isolated intranet tucked away somewhere, working on their next best thing. That would be awesome. Unlikely, but awesome. Back in the world of reality, though, here’s what we know about the upcoming Note.

What will it look like?

You won’t be surprised to learn that Samsung’s not going to be changing the recipe up for 2018 — likely not for 2019 either, unless sales of the Note 9 are abysmal for some catastrophic reason. The Infinity Display design is still fresh, attractive, and hey, you let Apple have a free pass for ages. Time to cut Samsung a break.

Which is a convoluted way of saying that Samsung’s got few surprises on the visual front. The image above, which shows a render of what the device is supposed to look like for 2018. If not for the little nicks along the bottom edge you’d be hard-pressed to tell that this one wasn’t part of the Samsung Galaxy S8 family unless you had it in hand or were holding a stylus.

All-screen front, some curving of the display panel and a large, mostly-empty rear panel is par for the course for Samsung’s Note handsets and rumour suggests that the Note 9 isn’t going to be any different. There is some change coming with the alteration of the Note’s fingerprint sensor, which has been pulled out of the horizontal row that houses the camera and placed underneath it. There’s possibly a reason for that, besides keeping your digits off the picture-maker.

What’s going to be on the inside?

The biggest changes in the Galaxy Note 9 are all going to be internal. And not all that numerous. That fingerprint sensor placement? That might explain a few things. The Note 9 has been rumoured to pack a battery between 3,850mAh and 4,000mAh — which is quite a step up from the Note 8’s 3,300mAh effort. It’s even more ambitious than the explosive Galaxy Note 7, which had battery issues from its 3,500mAh cell. Samsung may have picked the camera and sensor orientation they apparently have for the Galaxy Note 9 in order to cram in a larger battery without experiencing any heating (or other) issues with the phone.

And the larger battery might be a must, if the rest of the supposed specs list comes to fruition. The 6.3in WQHD+ panel is likely to remain unchanged from the Note 8 but it’s big, bright and beautiful — and a little tough on the battery. Coupled with the expected Exynos 9810 (or a Snapdragon 845, if you’re an American), 6GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of internal storage (according to a recent leak and perhaps limited to certain markets), you’re just asking for a flat battery. Even if the specs aren’t substantially different from Samsung’s Galaxy S9+, we reckon a little more stamina never hurt anyone.

Samsung’s Note 9 will come with dual 12MP rear cameras, with one variable aperture sensor (f/1.5 and f.2.4) and another providing the zoom effect you need for some bokeh shots — because those are so hot right now. Again, you might notice that this is what you’re going to get with the Samsung Galaxy S9+, so if you’re already well served in the camera department and aren’t bent on a stylus, the Note 9 isn’t going to be looking all that attractive this year. Selfie-cam? Likely unchanged, as we haven’t heard anything to the contrary. Yet.

When will we see it launched?

A Galaxy Note 9 launch isn’t far away, with an announcement expected to take place on 9 August this year — a public holiday in South Africa, if you’ve been paying attention. The Korea Herald claims that we’re going to see Samsung’s ninth Note revealed at a New York event on the day, which really wouldn’t be out of character for the company. That would place the reveal two weeks ahead of the Galaxy Note 8’s appearance last year, possibly to give the phone a longer running start against Apple’s iPhone which traditionally shows its face in September.

Some rumours are claiming an even earlier reveal date for Samsung’s stylus-swinging powerhouse, with 2 August being floated about (Note: Not a South African public holiday). The consensus amounts rumour-mongers at the moment seems that 9 August is the date that Samsung’s going for this year. We’re just waiting for a cryptic official invitation from Samsung confirming the date.

Are there any surprises in store?

With Samsung? Er… almost never. Samsung rides one of the leakiest ships to sail the smartphone seas and there are very few surprises in store for us if the past is anything to go by. It’s extremely unusual that anyone in Samsung is able to sneak anything past the internet snoops.

That said, we suppose there is a slight possibility that Samsung could come out with something truly shocking. An innovative evolution of their DeX docking system at a bargain price might do it, an announcement that the Note will be spinning off into a new line of tablets of its very own might also manage it (Another note: These are not real things, or even rumours, at this point).

Pretty much everything that could make us lift our eyebrows distracts from the Note 9’s role as a smartphone and, based on what Samsung’s cooking up for the upcoming reveal, that’s not going to happen. It’s very much a phone. With a stylus. And Note fans are going to love it.

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