Note-worthy upgrades in store for the stylus-packing smartphone?
After the Galaxy Note 7's… erm, explosive debut, Samsung thankfully saved the brand with last year's drama-free Galaxy Note 8. Phew. So what's next, then?
Believe it or not, it's probably the Galaxy Note 9. Rumours are already surrounding Samsung's expected next super-phone, but will the company be able to justify the continued need for a stylus-driven handset in 2018? Especially given the swelling price point of late...
We'll have to wait and see on that front, but until then, here's everything we've heard so far about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
WHEN WILL THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9 BE OUT?
The Galaxy Note 7 was announced and released in August 2016, while the Galaxy Note 8 (shown in all photos here) was announced in August 2017 and released the following month.
Given that, along with the need to beat Apple's expected iPhone XI announcement in September, we certainly expect that Samsung will show off the Note 9 in August and release within a few weeks of the debut. Earlier is possible, but we haven't heard any strong rumours to suggest that.
WHAT WILL THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9 LOOK LIKE?
History suggests that the Galaxy Note 9 will look a lot like the Galaxy S9. The S9 is identical to the Galaxy S8, which the Note 8 took its cues from. So will the Note 9 be just like the Note 8?
That's probably a safe bet. The Note 8 looked a lot like the S8+, just slightly larger and with a flatter screen for stylus scribbles and interactions, and we don't expect that Samsung will make any dramatic shifts with the Note 9.
WHAT ABOUT THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9'S SCREEN?
The Galaxy Note 8 boasted an impeccable 6.3in Super AMOLED display running at 2960x1440, and the Galaxy Note 9 will probably do much the same.
One rumour suggests that Samsung will nudge it up to 6.4in, which could help set it apart further from the Galaxy S9+... although 0.2in is hardly an obvious difference. In any case, it should be about the same as last year's display, albeit a little brighter – just like the Galaxy S9's screen is compared to the Galaxy S8.
HOW MUCH POWER WILL THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9 PACK?
Plenty, we assume! The Galaxy Note 9 is likely to use the same Exynos 9810 chip as the Galaxy S9, and right now it's the Android leader.
Apple's A11 Bionic chip scores higher on benchmark tests, but in everyday usage, the Exynos 9810 feels a fast as anything out there. In some territories, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chip should sub in, like the Galaxy S9, and it's almost as powerful as the Exynos.
The Note 8 had 6GB RAM, as does this year's Galaxy S9+, and that's what we'd expect to see in the Note 9 as well. We suppose Samsung could bump up to 8GB, like the top-specced OnePlus 6 model will have, but that honestly seems like overkill.
A supposed benchmark test result for the Note 9 leaked, showing a Snapdragon 845 with 6GB RAM onboard, and the scores were just a bit under the Galaxy S9+. BGR suggests that further optimisations should put it about equal.
The Note 9 might get a nice battery bump, though: a rumour suggests a 4,000mAh battery pack, which is the same as Huawei's P20 Pro. That's a bump up from the 3,300mAh pack in the Note 8, which was about enough for a full day of action for most users.
Of course, the battery was the problem in the Galaxy Note 7, so we understand if Samsung wants to be careful about capacity. But as a productivity-minded handset, extended battery life should be a top priority.
WHAT KIND OF CAMERAS WILL THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9 HAVE?
With the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung embraced the dual-camera trend – and then they continued that with this year's Galaxy S9+.
Huawei's P20 Pro recently took the smartphone camera throne with a triple-camera main setup, but we haven't heard anything to suggest that Samsung is going in that direction.
Quite likely, the Galaxy Note 9's camera setup will be much like the S9+ one: two 12-megapixel back cameras, one at f/1.5 with adjustable aperture that can switch to f/2.4 for more detail when there's plenty of light. The other would have a fixed f/2.4 aperture.
The S9+ has one of the better camera setups out there today, but it's not the best – the P20 Pro and Google Pixel 2 beat it, and the Apple iPhone X is at least comparable. We'll see whether the Note 9 makes any further improvements.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9?
We've heard some rumours about Samsung implementing an in-screen fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy Note 9. Essentially, you'd be able to place your finger on the display instead of a dedicated sensor on the back.
However, a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities suggests that the tech isn't ready yet. Likewise, T3 claims that Samsung is likely to save that introduction for next year's Galaxy S10 instead.
Assuming Samsung sticks with a normal fingerprint sensor, then we expect that it'll be placed below the back cameras this time around, as on the Galaxy S9+. Korean publication The Bell reports that Samsung is sticking with a standard sensor on the back, as well.
As usual, Samsung will probably work in some clever and hopefully useful new S Pen stylus tricks with the Galaxy Note 9.
And it'll surely work with both the Gear VR virtual reality headset shell and the updated DeX Pad, which lets you plug in an external monitor and use the phone like a proper desktop PC.
Lastly, noted leaker Evan Blass suggests that the Note 9's internal codename is "Crown" - so Samsung must think pretty highly of it.