Everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Galaxy Note 9 looks a lot like the iPhone X in new patent filing

S Pen

Concerned the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are a little too small for your hands? Want a smartphone that borders on the comically large? The Galaxy Note range is for you, and the Galaxy Note 9 is likely to be the next model released. The phone isn’t official yet, but there has been plenty of talk about its design, specs, and features already. Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 9.

Design

samsung galaxy note 9 news notch full
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We know the Galaxy Note 9 will be big, but will it be much different from the Note 8? Although drastic design changes for annual updates seem to be less common, Samsung may be planning to refine the overall design of the Note 9, making it almost all screen.

First reported by Let’sGoDigital, a patent for Samsung was approved in March 2018 for a device that takes a lot of design cues from the iPhone X. The phone has the controversial top notch and no apparent fingerprint sensor. Since Samsung has yet to perfect a facial authentication system as secure as Face ID, we’re unsure if this phone will use facial biometrics to authenticate, or if it has an in-display sensor.

One difference from the iPhone X is easy to spot though: The upcoming Samsung device does appear to have a headphone jack near the bottom firing-speakers. This detail leads us to believe we may see this phone in the not-too-distant future as most manufacturers are moving away from 3mm headphone jacks.

While an iPhone X-like Note 9 may make the most sense, Samsung may be planning on an even bigger design change this year. In a surprising statement, D.J. Koh, Samsung’s president of mobile, said the 2018 Note phone may have a foldable design, provided it could overcome various technical hurdles. He didn’t elaborate further. Samsung’s foldable phone, often referred to as Project Valley or Galaxy X, has always been viewed as a separate device from the Note range.

Since this statement was made, no other rumors about a foldable Note 9 have emerged, and like the fingerprint sensor, it may have been put on hold for the 2018 phone. Another report from The Bell says the Note 9 will have a 6.3-inch OLED screen, making it the same size as the Galaxy Note 8. But the most recent rumor claims the Note 9 will have a screen that’s a little larger than its predecessor. According to a leak on Twitter, the Note 9 will reportedly feature a 6.4-inch display — news the source claims comes from Weibo, a Chinese forum known for smartphone news.

Specifications

The Galaxy Note is Samsung’s productivity powerhouse phone, and we’d expect the Note 9 to have specs to match. What will make the Note 9 special? Samsung said it’s investigating “signature Note features” to upgrade on the Note 9, including the S Pen stylus. However, that statement was made early in the phone’s development, so plans may change by the time the phone reaches store shelves.

Qualcomm is likely to supply the processor for the Note 9 in some regions. The phone was listed in a leak of the devices using the Snapdragon 845 in 2018. While this will probably apply to phones released in the United States, other regions may have a Note 9 powered by a Samsung-designed Exynos chip.

According to a tweet from well-known anonymous leaker @Universelce, the Galaxy Note 9 could include either a 3,850mAH or 4,000mAh battery. This means the new device could include a larger battery than the 3,300mAh battery on the Galaxy Note 8.

Name and release date

As sure as the Galaxy Note 8 followed the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy Note 9 will follow 2017’s flagship big-screen phone. But when will it arrive, and will the naming convention continue? Samsung said it began work on the Galaxy Note 9 immediately after completing the Galaxy Note 8, and was “considering how to approach the development of the next Note by evaluating the latest model and looking for ways to improve upon signature features like the S Pen.” This suggests the Note 9 will be an evolution of the Note 8, rather than a reinvention.

If a name change is coming, it has not been rumored, but a leak did hint at the code name: Crown. Rumors from the end of 2017 suggested Samsung may launch the Galaxy Note 9 in August, around the same time of year as the Galaxy Note 8, and production was set to begin during the first three months of 2018.

A leak related to the Snapdragon 845 processor put the Galaxy Note 9’s release down as September 2018, which may refer to when sales start, which would fit in with an August announcement. But according to the latest report by Korean news outlet The Investor, the device may be released as early as July or August. The prediction of an earlier release stems from reports that Samsung Display will start producing an OLED panel for the Note 9 in April — which is two months earlier than its usual start date in June. It could also be Samsung’s attempt to release the device prior to Apple’s new iPhones, which normally launch in September.

Fingerprint sensor and Intelligent Scan

Let's Go Digital

Let’s Go Digital

The Galaxy Note 8 has both finger-unlock and a face-unlock system, so how will Samsung improve on this for the Note 9? Well first, it looks like Samsung may be planning to improve its Intelligent Scan technology. A new patent, first reported on by Let’s Go Digital, shows Samsung is working on a fish-eye selfie camera for the Note 9. In addition to providing viewing angles of 150 degrees or more, the lens would also improve iris-scanning capabilities for the upcoming flagship.

The Note 9 may also be the first Samsung flagship to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor. After months of rumors that the Note 9 would not feature such technology, a new report from The Investor reports Samsung is considering the addition of an in-display fingerprint sensor on this year’s Note 9.

Samsung has even filed a patent for an in-display fingerprint sensor. The patent was first picked up by Dutch site Let’s Go Digital, and was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. It describes the use of a relatively small sensor — in-display fingerprint sensors typically take up a lot of space — and involves registering part of the fingerprint as soon as the finger touches the display. Then, depending on where the finger is placed, the second part of the finger is registered. In other words, the technology can recognize different parts of the finger, which may lead to a better authentication rate.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Samsung will for sure include the in-display fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy Note 9. It appears that Samsung is still trying to perfect the technology and that may be the reason KGI Securities reported the company would likely forgo the addition of an in-display fingerprint sensor in 2018. Details are still sketchy but sources say that Samsung will make a decision in the coming weeks.

Samsung has apparently been trying to implement the under-display sensor with its large Infinity Display for two years but hasn’t successfully completed the task to the satisfaction of the engineers, due to problems related to manufacturing, quantity, and accuracy. Another anonymous source in the industry said under-display sensors are difficult to commercialize at this stage, but thinks Samsung will solve the problem in 2019.

That’s all we know about the Galaxy Note 9 at the moment, but we will make updates here with more rumors, news, and hints about the big-screen Samsung phone.

Updated on April 16: Added patent information from Let’sGoDigital.