The time has come. Feast your eyes on Samsung's finest.
We all knew it was coming. The speculation and leaks were just about all spot on. But everything was finalized today when Samsung took the wraps off of the Galaxy Note 9.
The Note 9 has a slightly larger 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display at the typical 2960x1440 resolution, which is wrapped in a familiar glass-and-metal body that comes in an all new slate of colors including Ocean Blue and Lavender Purple for the U.S. market. It's marginally wider and thicker than the Note 8, but that makes room for a new 4000mAh battery — a 14% jump over the Galaxy S9+ and 21% over the Note 8. Samsung also managed to move the fingerprint sensor down to a more ergonomic position, which is welcomed.
At its core, the Galaxy Note 9 is identical to the Galaxy S9+. It has the same Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM and supporting radios for LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It has the same stereo speakers, headphone jack, microSD card slot, USB-C port, buttons and fingerprint sensor. The cameras are entirely identical in terms of hardware. It charges at the same speed, both wired and wireless. It's water and dust resistant to the same IP68 specification.
Having 512GB of internal storage is absolutely amazing.
Samsung has doubled the base storage on the Note 9, up to 128GB now, in a nod to its power user customer base. But the real stunner here is the option for 512GB of internal storage for the most extreme users. The SD card slot supports cards of that size (and larger) as well, so you'll be able to put a 512GB microSD card in and have over 1TB of local storage. When you option up for the higher storage you also get a jump to 8GB of RAM — good for bragging rights, if nothing else, for now.
The Note 9 has an all-new S Pen, which in addition to its standard features carried over from the Note 8 also has wireless capabilities using Bluetooth. The S Pen can be used to launch apps and perform further actions inside each app with single- and double-clicks of its button. The actions are configurable for Samsung's apps, and third-party developers will have access to customize their own actions later this year. Thanks to a supercapacitor inside, the S Pen works for 30 minutes and 250 clicks before recharging inside the phone in 40 seconds flat.
The camera hardware remains unchanged from the Galaxy S9+, but Samsung has improved what's there with new "intelligent" software. "Scene customizer" detects objects in the frame — within 20 different scene types — and automatically applies camera setting changes to take the best possible shot. "Flaw detection" analyzes photos automatically to see when there's blur, blinking eyes or other visual aberrations and suggests a re-shoot before you walk away.
Everything you could ask for is here — and the price is eye-watering to match.
DeX on the Note 9 has also been enhanced so that it can work without a full dock or hub — just plug in an HDMI cable using a USB-C dongle, and you can use the DeX interface on any monitor or TV using your phone as a trackpad and keyboard. The phone remains fully operational with its own apps and interface, while the secondary screen operates a desktop environment. If you want to go all the way, you can add in a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse without issue.
Here's the big eye-watering detail: the price. The Note 9 starts at $999.99 in the U.S. for the base model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The upgraded 8GB RAM and 512GB storage model will set you back a ridiculous $1249.99. Both are available from all major U.S. carriers, except for Sprint, which will only carry the base model. You'll also be able to buy the phone unlocked from a variety of retailers, including Samsung and Amazon, in addition to all of the typical retail outlets like Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Straight Talk Wireless, Target and Walmart.
Pre-orders for the Note 9 open on August 10, and full retail availability kicks off August 24. During the pre-order period Samsung is offering free AKG noise-cancelling headphones ($299 MSRP) or an exclusive Fortnite Galaxy skin with 15,000 V-bucks ($149 "value"). You can also pick up both for just $99 combined.