Like clockwork, Samsung releases its Galaxy Note 9 to push the envelope of the whole Galaxy Series 9 for the remainder of 2018. The Galaxy Note continues to be the company’s technologically leading smartphone with an emphasis on things that require more power and battery: productivity, creativity, multimedia and even games/VR.

Months of build-up led to the August 9 launch

The rumors were true, and if you have followed Ubergizmo over the past few weeks, there should be little surprises left, but plenty of confirmations which are good news. In October 2017, Samsung had confirmed that it wanted to improve this year’s S-Pen and most reports already dismissed the in-screen fingerprint sensor. In March, the battery size was rumored to be higher, but it is only in April that we got the correct number of 4000 mAh.

In Late May, performance numbers were spotted on the Exynos version of the handset (in select countries outside the USA) and in the same week, we learned about the 512GB storage / 8GB RAM version and the exact August 9 launch date. In the first week of June, accurate renderings of the new Note 9 design. Earlier this month, the official intro video made its way to the public and finally we learned that Fortnite would be an exclusive Samsung Galaxy game, although we didn’t know that it would only be for a few days.

What’s new?

The Galaxy Note 9 may leverage a lot of the work done on the Galaxy S9 and S9+, but it brings its flavor and innovations. Here are the essential things that we think you should take away if you read nothing else. The Galaxy Note 9 is a superset of the Galaxy S9+, with these key additions:

  • 6.4” WQHD display makes the Note 9 a leading “large-display” phone
  • 4000 mAh battery reconnects the Note Series with a tradition of pushing for higher capacity
  • Up to 512GB storage and a microSD slot could make the Note 9 the first Terabyte smartphone as memory card increase in size this year
  • The Note 9 camera introduces Samsung’s new flagship AI Camera
  • The S-Pen gets remote control capabilities with Bluetooth LE
  • Note 9 no longer needs a dock for a desktop experience powered by Samsung Dex

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be available in two colors Ocean Blue and Lavender Purple, in carrier and unlocked versions. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Xfinity will carry the 128GB Galaxy Note 9 in stores and online starting from August 24, 2018 for $999.99. The device will also be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Straight Talk Wireless, Target, Walmart, and Samsung.com.
The 512GB Galaxy Note 9 will be available at select retail locations and online at AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular and Samsung.com starting August 24, 2018 for $1,249.99.

According to Samsung, pre-orders will begin at 12:01 a.m. EDT on August 10, 2018.

Industrial design

Perhaps, we can start with what’s most visible. The design of the Galaxy Note 9 is derived from its Note 8 predecessor. The camera and fingerprint sensor have moved to a more convenient

position since last time, but the overall look and feel is close enough and very distinguishable. Samsung introduced ultra-slim bezels to smartphones and does not need a “notch” to reach very high Display to Body ratios. You can decide for yourself, but we think that this new Galaxy Note smartphone is a beautiful 6.4-inch smartphone, no notch required.

"A BEAUTIFUL 6.4-INCH SMARTPHONE, NO NOTCH REQUIRED"

With a width of 76.4mm (3.01 inches) and a thickness of 8.8mm (0.35 inches), the smartphone feels a bit wide in hand. We use U.S M-size gloves for male hand-size reference, so this will vary from person to person.

The device weighs 201 grams (7.09 oz), and we would consider that weight to be pretty heavy. This industrial design features excellent performance in relation to its size. From another angle, the amount of battery capacity the buyer gets is excellent for a device of this size. The screen display-to-body ratio of 84.0% is also excellent in absolute terms.

The Galaxy Note 9 smartphone has an IP68 IP rating, which means that it is protected to some degree from dust and/or water. Here’s what the IP68 rating means: “Dust-tight, no dust can penetrate. Up to 3-meter immersion waterproofing”. In some cases, waterproofing means that “some” water can penetrate, but without harming the device

Since the design is made of glass in the front and back, the handset has a high premium feel. However be careful because glass is prone to shattering upon impact with a hard surface. Samsung has reduced the amount of glass on the edges, which makes the phone slightly more durable than the Galaxy S8 series, but you might want to consider getting a case.

Display

Display size matters particularly when using a Pen, that’s why the display size keeps growing as Samsung can increase the surface area, without impacting the rest of the chassis too much. There are flavors of Pen-enabled mid-range phones that solely focus on diagonal size, but the Note’s mix of display and pen quality make it the definitive leader in its category.

"DISPLAY: THE DEFINITIVE LEADER IN ITS CATEGORY"

The Galaxy Note 9 features a Super AMOLED display. OLED is a completely different display technology (than LCD) that has been widely seen in phones mainly thanks to Samsung. The basic difference between OLED and LCD displays is how light is emitted.

With LCD, there is a small number of white light emitters (1-2 for handsets, 2-100 for TVs) and black pixels are created by “blocking” the white light with a filter. Unfortunately, using a filter leads to “light bleeding” and “black color” that is in fact, dark-gray.

With OLED, every pixel emits its own light. This also means that creating a black pixel means leaving it OFF. As a result, black color is black, and other colors are more straightforward to control without using complex filters and color control technologies such as Quantum Dots and Nano Dots. You can read our complete LCD vs. OLED article which goes deeper into the details.

The resolution of 2960×1440 would be considered to be very high in absolute terms. In the $800+ segment, it is no uncommon to see OLED at WQHD resolutions with pixel density above 500. However, many competitors still use LCD or densities around 400 PPI (P20 Pro, OnePlus 6).

The Note 9 has only ~3% more screen surface than last year’s Note 8, and but features 20.5% more than the iPhone X. It’s too early to know what kind of color-coverage this display is getting, but historically, the Note series had the very best displays Samsung could produce.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, Galaxy Note 9, Samsung, Samsung Reviews and Smartphone Reviews.

Display
6.4"
2960x1440
Super AMOLED
514 PPI
Price
~$999 - Amazon
Camera
12 MP
F1.5 Aperture F-Stop
OIS
Weight
201 g
Battery
4000 mAh
Non-Removable
Wireless Charging
Launched in
2018-08-09
System
6GB RAM
Snapdragon 845 + MicroSDXC
Storage (GB)
64, 128, 512
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