Samsung unveiled the Note 9 in New York yesterday and we caught it via livestream with Samsung South Africa at a restaurant in Johannesburg. I am not a fan of leaks and rumours prior to official unveiling so let’s get to it: The Note 9 is 6.4″ in size, compared to 6.3″ on the Note 8; and a far cry from the original 5.3″ Note that gave rise to term “phablet”, the category as we know it today.
The Note comes with 6GB of RAM, and a minimum of 128GB of storage, up from 64GB last year, and goes up to 512GB, expandable by the same amount, making it the world’s first 1TB ready phone, according to Samsung. The phone has two 12MP cameras with OIS, 8MP selfie-cam, AKG stereo speakers and earphones, and supports wireless charging. It also has a revamped S-Pen, which I’ll get to in a bit, a massive 4 000mAh battery, supports Samsung Pay, and it’s IP68 water and dust resistant. On the hardware side alone, it’s top notch.
Let’s talk about that S-Pen. It’s now Bluetooth enabled and acts as a remote for the camera, eg. you can take your own pics on holiday without asking someone; it can also be used to control YouTube (pause/play), slide show presentations, and works with certain apps for now. They will open it up to developers to bring more uses for us. An initial single tap on the S-Pen button opens up the camera, and then a double tap switches the camera mode, and when you’re ready, just press the button to take a photo.
— Nafisa Akabor (@nafisa1) August 9, 2018
Considering the phone is aimed at a business user, and multi-tasking is a big part of the phone, the S-Pen can be charged on the device in a minute, which provides a full 30 minutes usage. It’s rather nifty; I’m ALL for fast charging these days and expect my devices to be fully charged in just over two hours, but popping it in for a minute only is useful.
The enterprise features include Samsung Knox security, remotely configure devices for orgs that use the Note 9, enterprise management eg controlled software updates and what apps can be used, etc.
It will be available in 4 colours, but the Ocean Blue colour comes with a yellow S-Pen. Love the combination of colours, and it’s the same one I will be using to review. The default colour when taking notes is the same colour as the stylus! So the yellow ones we played with last night took notes in yellow, but it can be changed under settings.
Samsung also took to unveiling two new products yesterday, the Galaxy Watch and the Galaxy Home speaker. The smartwatch will come in two sizes and colours (pink and black), tracks heart rate, water resistant for swimming, and a vague battery life of several days. It also has 60 000 different watch faces. To be honest, it may not seem like a big deal to some, but looking at my limited Fitbit watch faces option, I’m all for that.
The Galaxy Home is a smart speaker and honestly expected, considering what’s already on the market, and is triggered with “Hi Bixby”. While Bixby hasn’t gotten favourable reviews since launch, it’s more about having one ecosystem for all your devices. Oh, did I mention it has Spotify integration?! Win. The speaker has 8 microphones and 8 speakers.
The Note 9 will be available globally and locally on 24 August at a price of R18 999 for the 128GB version; pre-orders are already open. Look out for my review.