Samsung unveils new Note 9 smartphone

Updated model has bigger battery and larger display


Samsung has unveiled its new Note 9 smartphone as the company rushes to get the handset into the market before Apple’s new phones are launched next month.

But the build-up to the Unpacked event in New York was marred by a number of leaks of the new handset, with pictures of the phone, its box with a full list of specs and an ad for the device all appearing ahead of time.

Many of the leaks were confirmed. The Note 9 keeps a similar design to its predecessor, but makes a few changes, including making the S Pen Bluetooth-enabled, bringing in a 21 per cent bigger battery that Samsung says is designed to last all day, and implementing a new battery management system that introduces water cooling to the phone and uses artificial intelligence to adjust performance when needed.

The camera has also been made more intelligent, using the same basic tech as the Galaxy S9+, and introducing features such as flaw detection, a warning when subjects blink and intelligent software to automatically choose the right preset scene for the shot.

It also has a slightly larger display, at 6.4 inches, with the company opting for a quad-HD plus Super Amoled display with 516 pixels per inch.

The handset is IP68 rated, which means it is resistant to water and dust, a staple feature of Samsung’s phones in recent years.

The phone doubles its base storage to 128GB with 6GB of RAM, but also introduces a larger 512GB version that has 8GB of RAM. When the capability to add a 512GB memory card is taken into account, it gives the Note 9 the ability to have 1TB of storage. On the inside, it will be a choice between a Exynos chipset and a Snapdragon, depending on the market.

More convenient

In an attempt to make things more convenient for users, Samsung ditched the need for a separate dock for the phone to hook it up to a monitor, using a more compact HDMI dongle instead. It’s a feature that is primarily aimed at business users, but could also be useful in a more personal setting - showing photographs, for example.

Meanwhile, the S Pen has been given an overhaul. With the addition of Bluetooth, the S Pen can be drafted in as a controller for presentations, be used to play and pause video, or even used as a remote for the device’s camera. It needs to be charged; Samsung said you get about 30 minutes of use out of the battery, but it will fully charge in 40 seconds by putting it back into the phone.

The new pen functions won’t just be for Samsung apps, with the company releasing a third-party software developers’ kit to allow others to integrate the new controls.

There are high stakes for the new Note. Samsung warned last month that its quarterly sales would show a year-on-year decline, ending its record profit run. The flagship S9 failed to drive sales figures, despite improving on some of the issues with the S8.

It was the first time the company had seen its sale drop since the disaster of the Note 7 that saw a mass recall of the phones due to batteries overheating and in some cases going on fire. But the Note has a loyal fan base according to Samsung, with the S Pen proving a major draw for the market.

European Note fans will get the blue, black and purple Notes, but a copper colour will not be available at launch, Samsung said. The blue version comes with the contrasting S Pen also shown in the leaked ad campaign. Preorders opened with the launch of the phone on August 9th, with the device going on sale towards the end of the month.

New watch

Samsung also unveiled a new smart watch, the Galaxy Watch, which promises several days of battery life, and a smart speaker to rival Apple’s Home Pod called the Galaxy Home.

Samsung boss DJ Koh unveils the Galaxy Note 9, along with a new smart watch and smart speaker at a launch event in New York.
Samsung boss DJ Koh unveils the Galaxy Note 9, along with a new smart watch and smart speaker at a launch event in New York.

The company has also partnered with Spotify to integrate the music streaming service with its smart assistant Bixby and into the new Galaxy Home, Note 9 and its range of TVs.