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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Unveiled

As previously rumored, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone was unveiled in Brooklyn, New York, last week Thursday, and the device will be available in stores on 24 August 2018. Curiously though, no information is available on Galaxy Note 9 Plus, suggesting that Samsung might be doing away with the “Plus” series. 

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Compared to the release dates for the previous versions, this is coming quite early this year. For example, the Galaxy Note 8/8 Plus devices were unveiled on 23 August 2017 and became available for purchase on 15 September 2017. Samsung probably wants to beat the next iPhone to the market and perhaps make up for the lackluster performance of Samsung S9/S9 Plus launched in March of this year. Following the old ritual, Galaxy S series – probably with the name Galaxy S10 – may be launched in January 2019. (The latest version of S was launched on 25 February 2018 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and released to the public on 16 March 2018.) For perspective, Apple launched iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus on 12 September 2017 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of iPhone. The next iPhone model will probably be unveiled next month, following Apple’s release schedule.

The rumored features of Note 9 were presented in this column on 2 July 2018. Let’s now see the actual features, now that the phones have been unveiled. 

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A big phone: The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone features a 6.4 inch display, which is larger than the rumored size of 6.38 inches.  The screen resolution is 1440 x 2960 pixels.

A two-day battery life? The spontaneous combustion of Note 7, which caused public relation and financial issues for Samsung, originates from the battery. The company scaled down on the strength of the battery for Note 8. However, the Note 9 has doubled down on the battery capacity over its predecessor, to a whopping 4,000mAh, making this (battery capacity) to be the biggest ever for this line of phone. By comparison Note 8 has only 3,300mAh. This new energy density in the batteries obviously brings to memory the problem with Note 7, making one wonder whether the problem could resurface in Note 9. The company has probably learnt its lessons and will do all that needs to be done to prevent reoccurrence. For example, there is the emphasis, expressed by Samsung at the unveiling ceremony, on the company’s launching of one of the industry’s most comprehensive battery testing procedures – the so-called Eight-Point Battery Test. Thus, hopefully while the company is pushing the boundaries in battery energy density – again – we’ll not have a repeat of the Note 7 fire disaster. The rumors predicted that the battery of Note 9 may be able to last for 2 days. I doubt if there is any chance for this, though the battery should at least get you through a fairly busy full day.

Smarter S-Pen: The S-Pen in Note 9 isn’t just a stylus, but a very smart gadget in its own right. The pen can now function as a gadget for remotely controlling the phone, courtesy of the embedding of Bluetooth low energy inside the pen. By clicking the pen, you can take pictures, advance slideshows, and play/pause music. You can also use the pen to control the camera. For example, I read that in Spotify and Google Music, one click of the button activates Pause/Play. In photo mode, you can use the pen as a shutter, with the double-click action flipping the camera around for a selfie. These new S-Pen functionalities will be available for only a select number of apps at launch, though tools will be made available to developers.

Price: The Note 9 device is not cheap and you will be set back by as much as $1,000 or more, depending on the configuration. The 128GB (hard-disk memory) model (standard) runs at $999.99, while the 512GB version will cost you $1,249.99. (These are the prices in the U.S. The cost in a country like Nigeria may be higher by up to five to ten percent.) As stated above, the phone will be available in the U.S. on 24 August 2018.

Other features: The Note 9 runs on Android v8.1 (Oreo) operating system, and is powered by Octa core (2.7 GHz, Quad core, M3 Mongoose with 1.7 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A55) processor. The RAM is 6 GB. This mobile has a 12 MP rear camera. Other sensors include Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyroscope. There is also a Fingerprint sensor. The graphical performance accelerator makes game apps run faster and more smoothly, with this device having a Mali-G72 MP18 GPU (graphics processing unit). The phone is 8.8 mm slim and weighs 201 grams.

The concluding remarks made in the 2 July 2018 article in this column will still hold. That is, while Galaxy Note 9 will most likely be the best smartphone that Samsung has ever produced, its capabilities are incremental over those of Galaxy Note 8/8 Plus or Galaxy S9/S9 Plus. Thus, the temptation to get this device may not be that strong. Moreover, the launching of Samsung Galaxy S10 is probably planned for January 2019, meaning that you wouldn’t need to wait for too long, if you decide to not go for Note 9.

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