Sheldon PintoAug 06, 2018 19:03:54 IST
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 launch is a big deal this year compared to past launches. The Note series has seen its fair share of trouble in the past, especially with the Galaxy Note 7 that went up in flames, almost ruining Samsung’s reputation in the smartphone space.
The Galaxy Note 8 came to Samsung’s rescue last year, showcasing Samsung’s new Infinity Display with an almost bezel-less design. It also included a dual camera set up along with the mandatory S Pen. While nothing is known about how well it faired in terms of sales, it was a good device, that was kind of cannibalised by Samsung’s own Galaxy S8+ model, which offered more internal storage and a similar amount of RAM save for the dual cameras. The Galaxy S9+ made things even difficult for the Note 8, with its dual aperture camera, super slow-motion video and more.
So why is the Note 9 so important to Samsung?
Samsung really wants its upcoming phablet to stand out. So much so that it even wrapped up the launch of its premium tablet the Galaxy Tab S4 a week before the launch of the Note 9. No other distractions are expected at the Unpacked event save for a new Gear smartwatch.
And it is a big deal as recent reports shed light on how the Galaxy S9 did not fair well in the market in terms of sales, leading a not so exciting quarter in terms of earnings. Indeed, this was expected to happen. While Apple’s marketing and software additions keeps swaying buyers, Samsung showing up with an identical looking Galaxy S9 model, clearly did not find too many buyers (or upgraders), save for those who were interested in the dual aperture camera. So yes, the Note 9 should hopefully be Samsung’s saviour when it comes to sales this year.
Then again, as per recent leaks, Samsung seems to be on the same path with the Note 9, a smartphone that again from the leaks and rumours looks the same as the Note 8. So let’s take a deep dive into all the leaks and rumours and see if its makes any sense to even consider staying up late to catch the launch of the Note 9 live in New York.
Design and Display
From the various leaks it’s clear that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will look similar to its successor, the Note 8. If Samsung follows the same formula like it did with the Galaxy S9 this year, you can expect the Note 9 to arrive in matte-colours as compared to the chrome and shiny options we saw last year.
As for the design, Samsung sales reps will have a hard time explaining which handset is which, at Samsung’s retail stores, as both devices will look the same on the front with the almost bezel-less look.
While it may have turned heads last year, 2018 is indeed the year of bezel-less devices, so with smartphones like the Vivo Nex S and the Oppo Find X, the Note 9's design may appear dated if it indeed looks like what the renders have shown us.
The QHD+ sAMOLED display has grown by a teensy bit (from 6.3-inches to 6.4-inches) with the overall expected dimensions of the device being slight shorter (at 161.9 x 76.3 x 8.8 mm) hinting at smaller bezels.
What’s expected to look slightly different is the back, where the placement of the fingerprint reader, now finally makes some sense like it did on the Galaxy S9 and S9+ earlier this year.
According to most leaks, the fingerprint reader has been separated from the camera setup and now sits just below it, which should make it less confusing and easier to reach out to than on the Note 8.
The Note 9 will be an upgrade in terms of the SoC and is expected to feature an Exynos 9810 SoC as found on this year’s Galaxy S9 devices. US markets will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC and both versions are expected to be paired with 6 GB RAM.
As per a recently leaked image of the retail box, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will feature 128 GB of internal storage with an expected 512 GB option as well. A recent teaser also hinted at 1 TB of storage, which will probably come in the form of an SD card slot (hopefully not a hybrid SIM slot).
Moving to the cameras, they are a bit of a mystery. While earlier rumours hinted at drastic improvements to the cameras on the Note 9 over the Galaxy S9, the recent image of the box now shows that device will feature a 12 MP (f/1.5-f/2.4) + 12 MP (f/2.4), which is the same as the Samsung Galaxy S9+. The front-facing camera gets a familiar 8 MP unit with autofocus, but the rear camera as per rumours will allow for longer duration slow-motion recordings.
As for the battery, it’s finally expected to get a bump up in capacity. The upcoming Note 9 is expected to feature a 4,000 mAh battery as per several leaks, so you can expect it to last longer than its Galaxy S sibling. Oh yes, the 3.5 mm headphone jack also reportedly makes it to the Note 8 this time so expect a lot of ports at the bottom end of the device (check the image below).
Lastly, I also expect the device to come with an IP68 rating, similar to last year’s model.
What is expected to be a lot different this year is the S Pen. According to several leaks, the good old S Pen will come in a different colour that will stick out from finish of the device. Several leaks have revealed one single image showcasing a purple Galaxy Note 9 along with a yellow S Pen.
From what we have heard, the new S Pen will come with its own battery and will allow for music playback controls as well. Add to this the ability to use the S Pen as a shutter button for the camera and it automatically appeals to smartphone camera enthusiasts who frequently use their smartphones for shooting using a tripod.
Another mystery feature is the ability to unlock the Note 9 using the S Pen. It’s a mystery because it isn’t clear how Samsung has gone about it. Either the S Pen features a fingerprint reader or the device would simply unlock using Google’s smart unlock feature.
According to a Dutch website, the Note 9 will see Samsung step up into the ultra-premium smartphone segment.
The phablet will be available in three storage variants starting from a 128 GB base model to a 256 GB mid configuration and a 512 GB top of the line configuration that will reportedly be priced at €1,250 which is approximately Rs 1,00,000!
Thankfully, the base model with 128 GB internal storage starts from €1,050 which converts to around Rs 84,000. While this sounds like a hefty price tag, Samsung could be placing the Note 9 alongside Apple’s premium iPhone X, that starts from Rs 95,390 (MRP) and goes all the way up to Rs 1,08,930 (MRP) for the 256 GB model.
So yes! This year’s Note 9 will be an ultra-premium device.
From what I can tell, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 should do well, provided Samsung has fixed and figured out how to use that dual aperture system accurately which was a bit problematic on the Galaxy Note 9. The S Pen finally seems practical to users apart from artists, but then again, it’s not a big leap unless you love scribbling on your smartphone using a stylus. In short, not much has changed over the earlier Note 8 in terms of design and the Galaxy S9+ in terms of features.
But let’s wait for the official launch and hope that Samsung has included some worthy software add-ons, such as the DeX support, that add value to the user experience, else the Note 9 will see the same sales as the Galaxy S9, which does not paint a pretty picture for Samsung.
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