The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is coming. We know this because the new handset has now been officially confirmed – twice. It was confirmed for the first time in a trademark application in Columbia and for a second time in certification documents in China.
It seems Samsung is feeling confident about this new Note as it's given it the lofty codename of Crown.
In recent years Samsung has used the Note line to develop an even bigger, even more powerful, even more expensive, stylus-equipped phone to go alongside the Galaxy S handsets, and all the indications are that 2018 Note phone will follow the same template.
We know a lot about the Galaxy Note 9 already, so read on for information on the Note 9's release date, price, specs, hardware, fingerprint reader, cameras, battery and software.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 release date
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launch is likely to be during August 2018. There's good reason to expect August to be the release date month: the Note 8 was released on 23 August 2017 and the Note 7 on 19 August 2016.
An August release also makes sense as Apple tends to have its big iPhone event in early September, so Samsung will want to steal some of its rival's thunder by going earlier.
However, this year some signs are pointing at an earlier launch. Software testing schedules reported on 22 March 2018 suggest that the Note 9 might be released earlier than usual, perhaps in July 2018.
And on 20 May 2018, we reported that Korea Herald is also speculating on a July reveal. That's because, according to the site, Samsung is two months ahead of schedule with building the Note 9 displays.
A July reveal, with an on-sale date some time in August, would give Samsung a bigger head start on sales before the new iPhone is announced.
Whenever the Note 9 is launched, no doubt Samsung will throw its usual launch event, inviting the world's media to a major press gathering with gigantic screens and numerous company executives on hand to help unveil the new phone, with an accompanying live stream for those unable to attend.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 price
The Note 9 price is likely to be either the same price that the Note 8 launched at last year, which was £869/$929, or perhaps slightly higher given that smartphone prices have been creeping up lately.
Given that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will set you back from £739/$719.99 SIM-free, and the Galaxy S9 Plus costs £869/$839.99 and up SIM-free, the new Note 9 isn't going to be any lower than that.
We'd expect the Note 9 to circle somewhere around the £900/$900 mark – bear in mind that the 2018 Galaxy phones were launched at roughly the same prices as their 2017 predecessors, depending on your region, so the Note line may follow the same pattern.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 specs and hardware
To get a better idea about what's coming with the Galaxy Note 9, just take a look at the Galaxy S phones that Samsung just launched – the bigger handset is likely to be much the same, with a few minor improvements here and there.
In terms of raw power, we'd expect the same Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 chips to be running under the hood (depending on your region), just as they are in the S9 and the S9 Plus. The S9 Plus now matches the 6GB of RAM that came with the Note 8, and it's unlikely Samsung will go any higher this year.
Firmware leaks have revealed that two versions of the Note 9 are in the pipeline, and we'd expect those to be the model with the Exynos 9810 chip and the model with the Snapdragon 845 chip – which one you'll get will depend on where in the world you live, as with the S9 and S9 Plus.
On March 28, a Note 9 speed test surfaced. That benchmark showed that the Note 9 will be faster than the Galaxy S9 Plus, but slightly slower than the Galaxy S9.
As far as screen size goes, the Note 9 may well match the 6.3 inches of the Note 8, just a shade bigger than the S9 Plus. The bezels could shrink even further, though they were already very small on the 2017 model anyway. It's likely that if the bezels do shrink then Samsung will use the opportunity to put a bigger screen into the same sized body. That might explain why one leak says that the Note 9 will feature a 6.4" screen, which would also put a bit more distance between it and the Galaxy S9 Plus.
The Note 8 had a decent camera upgrade so the Note 9 is likely to have a more minor camera bump, probably matching the dual-sensor 12MP+12MP rear-facing camera of the S9 Plus, together with the repositioned fingerprint scanner.
And it will of course come with a stylus, the signature feature of the Note line-up, so you'll be able to do all the usual tricks – like put handwritten notes on the lock screen. As noted above, together with these slight improvements and increase in size, you can expect the price to go higher than the £869/$840 Samsung is asking for an unlocked S9 Plus.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in-screen fingerprint sensor and battery size
Most of the speculation about the Note 9 centres around what might happen with the display. There's been plenty of talk that the phone will be the first major handset to embed a fingerprint reader under the screen, which would certainly be a coup and free up some space on the back of the device too.
This is by no means confirmed though – it sounds like Samsung is working as hard as it can to get a fingerprint scanner under the screen of the Note 9, but it's going to have to pass a lot of rigorous tests first, and if it doesn't work perfectly then the company isn't going to lose too much by saving it for its 2019 Samsung Galaxy S10 handsets.
It seems as though we see a different report every week on whether Samsung is going to manage to pull off an in-screen fingerprint reader or not. The latest report we've seen from Asia suggests that yes, it will be included. But don't bank on it.
Based on a leaked patent we've seen though, Samsung wants to go even further than that, putting the front-facing camera, the iris scanner and the face recognition system under glass as well. That would mean the whole of the front of the Note 9, more or less, would be given over to the screen.
It's a tantalising prospect but we're going to have to wait and see whether Samsung's engineers can get the technology perfected in time, especially as they are also working to deliver 3D facial-scanning technology, too.
On March 29, we reported on a patent, applied for by Samsung Electronics, which shows how the in-display fingerprint reader will prompt the phone user via on-screen guides.
A second patent shows where in the screen the fingerprint sensor will be located (it's where you'd expect) as well as detailing how Samsung aims to speed up fingerprint recognition by changing the brightness of the screen when you place your finger on it.
The rest of the hardware should match the S9 phones closely, though the battery might get a boost above last year's 3,300mAh – is two-day battery life too much to hope for?
If Samsung does get the fingerprint sensor fitted on the front, that will leave more room for the battery. A bigger battery (and an in-screen fingerprint reader) were confirmed by leaker Ice universe on 22 March 2018, who claimed the Note 9 would feature a 3,850mAh battery – that's almost 20% bigger than the one in the Note 8, but still smaller than the 4,000mAh battery you'll find inside the Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei P20 Pro.
Ice universe later tweeted that the battery would be "4000mAh or 3850mAh" so perhaps Samsung will be hitting those Huawei highs.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 software
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may not be official just yet, but it's clearly going to follow the lead of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus and come with Android 8.0 Oreo on board – with the extra layer of Samsung tweaks on top, of course. That's going to be followed quickly by Android P, maybe even by the end of the year.
Oreo offers improved notification management and battery optimisations, though there aren't too many obvious bells and whistles that you're going to see in the jump up from Nougat (if that's what you're already on).
Samsung executives have hinted that Bixby 2.0 is coming down the pipe and may well launch alongside the Note 9 device in the summer – so look out for more intelligent responses to your questions, a more natural flow of conversation, and probably a handful of extra talents on top.
With the Galaxy S9 earning some rave reviews at the moment, it's perhaps no surprise that Samsung is going to stick to the winning formula for the Note 9, and there's not going to be much to choose between the S9, S9 Plus and Note 9 when the final device launches.
That's going to be especially true on the software side – though as we've said, the Note 9 will come with a stylus, so look out for extra options like lock screen handwriting support and the option to highlight and translate text with the S Pen.
We're looking forward to seeing what Samsung has prepared for us in the coming months, and of course as soon as we've got some official news or some unofficial leaks to share, we'll report them here.
One final (future-looking) rumour surrounds the naming: it sounds like the 2019 Galaxy phones could get the Galaxy X label, so if the Note follows suit we'll get the Note 9 this year and the Note X next year.
Before you go, do check out this rather lovely Note 9 concept render that we found on our travels, or check it out in the video below.