Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Everything you need to know

Midnight black and cloud silver Samsung Galaxy Note 9s are on the way

Samsung’s next phone is here. The Galaxy Note 9 packs a bigger screen than ever before, along with the usual upgrades in power, style, and camera technology.

From the latest DeX news to all of the S Pen’s new features, here’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. You can check out our Galaxy Note 9 review for our impressions of the phone, and our in-depth buying guide tells you where you can nab one.


New “cloud silver” and “midnight black” Galaxy Note 9s are coming

Samsung has taken the wraps off of a new cloud silver Galaxy Note 9, bringing another color option to those who might be thinking about buying the Galaxy Note 9 but don’t love any of the colors already available. We actually got our hands on the device, and loved the new color — and images can be found below. The new device are now available from Best Buy and Samsung directly. On top of that, there is also a new midnight black color, which will be available starting on October 12 for the 128GB model or October 26 for the 512GB model.

Samsung offers more details on water carbon cooling system

The water carbon cooling system in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is perhaps one of its most unique features, but not much was known about the feature — until now. Samsung has published a blog post offering a little more information about the water carbon cooling and how it works.

Samsung notes that the cooling system, in particular, is built to prevent thermal throttling — which can result in sluggish performance. The system was actually built on the Samsung Galaxy S7’s water-cooling system, but Samsung has added a few features — like a layer of copper to transfer more heat — to make the system a little more efficient. Check out the graphic above for more information about the Galaxy Note 9’s water carbon cooling system.

The Galaxy Note 9 scores highest-ever rating in DisplayMate’s screen tests

Galaxy Note 9 selfie
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We already knew the AMOLED display on the Note 9 was impressive thanks to our review, but it’s proven to be even more impressive than we thought. The Galaxy Note 9 has scored the highest-ever grade in DisplayMate’s screen tests, beating the previous record set by the Galaxy S9. Of particular note in the Note 9’s 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, was the extremely high picture quality, and a level of color accuracy which is “visually indistinguishable from perfect.”

The brightness and contrast were also worthy of note, increasing by 27 percent and 32 percent when compared to the Galaxy Note 8‘s display. The Galaxy Note 9 is only the second smartphone to score “very good” to “excellent” ratings on all of DisplayMate’s tests — the first being the Galaxy S9.

Design and display

Like with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus before it, Samsung has taken a more relaxed approach to physical upgrades this year. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some design differences between the Note 8 and this year’s Note 9.

The Note 9’s bezels have been slightly slimmed down, but the two phones are almost the same size — the Note 9 is a little wider and thicker, but not as tall as the Note 8. The skimpier bezels allow for a larger screen, raising it from 6.3 inches on the Note 8 to a 6.4-inch display.

It’s a Super AMOLED panel running a 2960 x 1440 resolution, in an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. Like all AMOLED screens, it shows off incredibly deep blacks and bright, vivid colors. The Galaxy S9 was awarded the highest score ever in DisplayMate’s testing, and as we expected, the Galaxy Note 9 has managed to exceed that, scoring a new highest score on DisplayMate’s tests.

The Note 9 is made of glass laid over a metal frame, with Samsung’s signature curves that blend effortlessly into the curved Infinity Display that dominates the phone’s front. It’s just as fragile as ever, which means you’ll probably want a good case. Water resistance makes a return, with an IP68-rating that should see the Note 9 survive accidental drops into the pool.

The much-maligned position of the Note 8’s fingerprint scanner has been moved to a more sensible position below the dual-camera lens on the back, and the similarly criticized Bixby key still sits on the left-hand side of the phone, below the volume rocker. The power key is on the right, while the USB Type-C port and headphone jack take up their usual places on the bottom of the phone, next to a bottom firing speaker. This speaker works in tandem with the earpiece at the top, providing stereo sound. The sound system has also been tuned by AKG — Samsung’s usual audio partner — and it also comes with Dolby Atmos support.

Specs and battery

Galaxy Note 9 blue back
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While the Note 9 may not have received much of a facelift, its insides have some fairly serious changes.

The biggest improvement is the addition of the Snapdragon 845 processor that we’ve seen powering almost all of the flagship smartphones in 2018 — including the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

At the same time, you’re going to see slightly improved performance on the Note 9 over other phones using this processor because of Samsung’s new water carbon cooling system. According to Samsung, it should be three times better at heat dissipation than the Note 8 — meaning the processor can deliver stronger performance for a longer period of time. This is handy when playing games, or running any kind of intensive programs.

There are two models of the Note 9 up for sale this year. The first model apes the Note 8, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage, but it’s the second model that will really catch your eye. It comes equipped with 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of onboard storage.

If 512 or 128GB isn’t enough for you, Samsung said it’s releasing its 512GB MicroSD card later this year which will support the Note 9, meaning you can potentially walk around with a terabyte of data in your pocket.

Powering all these high-end specs is a massive 4,000mAh battery that should be able to keep the Note 9 going for longer. Samsung’s Adaptive fast-charging is back, and so is wireless charging. Samsung’s new Wireless Charging Duo pad will also let you charge your Note 9 and any other wireless charging capable device at the same time.

Smart camera

Galaxy Note 9 camera app
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The core of the camera tech in the Note 9 remains the same as the Galaxy S9 Plus, with two 12-megapixel lenses on the back, and an 8-megapixel lens on the front. Embedded in the primary lens is the same variable aperture technology from the S9 and S9 Plus. Essentially, the camera can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures based on lighting — the f/1.5 aperture will help provide better low-light photos.

The second lens adds the same 2x optical zoom, and you’ll naturally be able to take bokeh-style photographs with Samsung’s Live Focus mode.

Want more? Samsung is embracing the artificial intelligence (A.I.) revolution as the camera app now comes baked with A.I. assistance. With scene detection, the camera can identify up to 20 different scenes, and the A.I. will tune the exposure, color, and contrast to deliver a better photo. Samsung fed the A.I. hundreds of photos until it understood what a sunset or a mountain was, for example, and now it will know what changes to make for your photo to look exemplary. You can turn this off if the results are not to your liking.

There’s also Flaw Detection, which pops up if the camera detects the lens has a smudge, if there’s poor backlight in the photo, or if someone blinked.

S Pen and DeX

Galaxy Note 9 yellow s pen slot
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The signature of the Note range has always been the S Pen, and Samsung has really thrown hard into that little stylus this year. Taking memos on the Note 9’s sleeping screen is back, and it’s got a new twist this year. The color of the writing on the screen is determined by the color of your S Pen — yellow for the Ocean Blue Note 9’s yellow S Pen, and purple for the Lavender Purple model’s purple stylus.

But that’s not all. It now comes with Bluetooth Low Energy packed in, enabling new functionality up to 30 feet away from the phone through the button on the shaft. You can control a powerpoint presentation with just the S Pen, or open the camera, switch to the selfie lens, and snap a picture — all without needing to touch the Note 9.

You can choose your preferences in the Settings menu, and Samsung said a software development kit will be available so developers can create their own controls.

This does mean that the S Pen now needs charging, but thankfully the skilled engineers at Samsung have managed to equip the stylus with a supercapacitor, so putting the S Pen into your Note 9 for just 40 seconds provides 30 minutes of charge. You probably don’t need to worry much about the battery.

The other big innovation is in Samsung’s DeX mode. Previously you needed to purchase the DeX Station or DeX Pad to use the Android desktop mode when connected to an external monitor. With the Note 9, all you need is a USB Type-C to HDMI cable to trigger the DeX desktop mode. The Note 9 can be used as a trackpad or a keyboard when text entry is required.

Exclusive ‘Fortnite’ beta

favorite features on the samsung galaxy note 9 fortnite

One of the world’s most popular video games is coming to Android — but it’s Samsung who has snagged it first. The beta of Fortnite: Battle Royale‘s Android version will be available exclusively on Samsung’s smartphones (Galaxy S7 and newer) for 30 days from August 9, and a pre-order bundle of the Note 9 will come with $150 of V-Bucks for your Fortnite account. Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4 users will also be able to get their hands on a special Galaxy-themed skin for their character too.

Bixby improvements

what to expect at samsung galaxy unpacked august 2018 bixby

Like the rest of the phone, Samsung’s homegrown A.I. assistant has seen some polish. Samsung was eager to show off at Galaxy Unpacked 2018 how much the assistant had grown by showcasing Bixby’s improved conversational skills, more personal service, and the ways it is more useful than ever before.

On the Galaxy Note 9, Bixby will be able to hold more conversational commands with the user. Should you inquire about concert tickets on a specific date, Bixby will be able to handle being asked “what about another date,” without needing to be reminded about the context of the command. Bixby will also remember more personal details about the user, and may — for example — remember which sort of cuisine you prefer, and will favor restaurants with that style if you ask about nearby food.

Bixby also doesn’t need to use separate apps to check information or confirm details. If you ask about restaurants nearby, Bixby can reserve a table for you without needing to dip into another app to do it. It also pulls information directly from Uber about ride times and prices — you don’t even need the Uber app installed.

Bixby also includes PDF scanning as well, thanks to integration with Adobe Scan. To get scanning, activate Bixby Vision and point it at a document. Bixby will automatically recognize it as a document, and send you to the Adobe Scan app. You’ll need to download the Adobe Scan app first, but once that’s downloaded, that’s all you’ll need to get scanning with Bixby.

Release date and price

You will be able to pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on August 10, with official retail sales starting on August 24. It’s available in four colors: Metallic copper, midnight black, lavender purple (with a purple S Pen), and the ocean blue that comes with the fetching yellow S Pen.

Pricing will start at $1,000 for the 128GB model, while the 512GB version will retail for an eye-watering $1,250. Samsung has confirmed that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Xfinity will be supporting the Note 9 on their networks, and you’ll be able to buy the Note 9 outright at a selection of retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon, and Samsung itself.

Samsung is offering various pre-order bonuses as well. Customers can pick between 15,000 V-Bucks for Fortnite (worth $150), or a pair of AKG noise-canceling headphones (worth $299). Alternatively, if you’re really rolling in the cash, you can get both bonuses for $100 extra.

Updated on October 5, 2018: The cloud silver color for Galaxy Note 9 is now available.

Product Review

Samsung's Galaxy S10 phones are its most refined yet. Be prepared to pay up

Samsung has unveiled its lineup for its most popular smartphones, and it includes the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. The two flagship phones boast hole-punch cameras, fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, and beefier batteries.
Product Review

If price is top of mind, Samsung’s Galaxy S10e is the flagship phone to buy

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are joined with a new entry into the Galaxy S family -- the Galaxy S10e. It costs a little more than the original price of the Galaxy S9, but it’s meant to be the more affordable phone compared to the…

Samsung beefs up just about everything in its Galaxy S10 smartphone range

Samsung has unveiled its 2019 flagship smartphone lineup, and there aren't just two phones as usual -- there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.

LG starts MWC 2019 early with the new Q60, K50, and K40 phones

LG has announced three new smartphones ahead of Mobile World Congress 2019: The Q60, the K50, and the K40. All are midrange devices, but with some striking features, including multi-lens cameras.

Here Technologies’ cellular map can tell when you’ll lose coverage on the road

Here Technologies' wants to make it a little easier for companies to know where cellular coverage is available on the roads. The company has announced a new coverage map that offers data about road coverage.

Samsung’s Galaxy S10e unapologetically rips a page out of iPhone XR’s playbook

Samsung's Galaxy S10e -- a new entry in the Galaxy S-series -- has a few things in common with Apple's lower-cost iPhone XR. From the price tag to the color, we take a look atthe similarities.

Here's how you can watch the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event today

Samsung's skipping Mobile World Congress 2019 to launch its next big smartphone a week earlier in San Francisco. We're fully expecting the Galaxy S10 to show up, but what else will be there? Here's what to expect.

The 2-year-old Nokia 6 is now being updated to Android Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

What we like and don’t like about the Galaxy S10

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 takes the elegant design to new heights, boasts incredible screen and camera tech, and offers speedier connectivity, but we don’t like the price and a few other things. Here’s what we like and don’t like about…

Samsung goes big with the next-gen Galaxy S10 5G smartphone

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Home Theater

Samsung Galaxy Buds first look: Ear candy or ear worm?

Samsung’s answer to the oddball design of Apple's AirPods is the new Galaxy Buds, which are cheaper, better looking, and bring some neat features. Can Galaxy Buds snuff out the AirPods?

Folding smartphones hinge on the success of the Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: Which should you buy?

With four stunning Galaxy S10 phones to choose from, Samsung is bombarding us with choice, but which one should you buy? We compare the S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G in various categories to find out exactly how they differ.