Posted by Bryan Liu

Samsung’s flagship smartphone, Galaxy Note 8 was announced in August 2017 and became a big hit in 2017. We might see the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 slightly earlier in the year, as Samsung is already working on firmware for the phone.

SamMobile reports that firmware builds with version numbers N960FXXE0ARB7 and N960FXXU0ARC5 are both being tested. So according to its schedule, it may be launched two weeks or earlier in the year than the Note 8, potentially bringing it up to July. There isn’t any official announcement yet, but there has been plenty of talk about the phone’s design, specs, and features. Let’s take a peek of the upcoming Galaxy Note 9.

Slight Change in Design

There’s heated speculation on Note 9’s design. Samsung may have added a button as the first possible change. A leaked image of a Note 9 case shows a button cover for a fifth button, close to the bottom of the phone’s right-hand side, below the power button. Bixby key was added as a fourth key in last year’s Galaxy phones, so what will this extra button exist for? We can vent a guess. It’s a safe to assume that this button may boast some form of camera functionality, may be used to take photos, and potentially take quick screenshots.

The second slight change in design is its screen. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 came with a tall 6.32-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. The upcoming Galaxy Note 9 is said to adopt a slightly taller screen measuring 6.4-inches. The aspect ratio could be the same as the last year’s flagship model. However, rumors suggest that 4K display might be on the plate. And it is said that this time around Galaxy Note 9 might use an ‘under-display optical fingerprint sensor.’

Hardware

The Galaxy Note series is Samsung’s powerhouse product. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 carried the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (in the US) and the in-house Exynos 8895 chipset elsewhere. The Galaxy Note 9 is said to be equipped with the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (for the US users) and Samsung’s in-house Exynos 9810 for other global markets. Like the Note 8, its upcoming successor is expected to come with 6GB RAM under the hood.

Camera

Reports suggest that the Galaxy Note 9 might have similar 12MP dual camera setup and shall bring a digital zoom and bokeh effect. We also expect to see a few more improvements in the imaging segment. The Galaxy S9 series was the first in the smartphone industry to feature variable aperture. Perhaps Samsung might implement the same on its upcoming flagship device as well.

The Galaxy S9 series also has the ability to capture slow-motion videos at 960fps, a function that has long been pegged in with Sony, and offer an AR Emoji feature. The ability to capture super slow-mo videos at 960fps could make its way from the S9 to the Note 9. AR Emoji feature lets you turn yourself into animated emoji with the help of the camera. It’s not perfect, but it is a lot of fun. Whether Samsung adds these fun elements to its next Galaxy Note device remains to be seen, but there’s no reason for Samsung to leave them out.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 camera reports suggest that the Galaxy Note 9 might have similar 12MP dual camera setup and will have digital zoom and bokeh effect.

OS and Other Upgrades

The Galaxy Note 9 is expected to run Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung’s Experience skin on top. The phablet is also said to be pegged as an upgraded version of Samsung’s digital assistant, Bixby v2.0 (an AI assistant).

During the phone’s initial development Samsung said that it’s investigating “signature Note features” to upgrade on Note 9 including the S Pen stylus. As per the latest rumor around, the Note 9 will have a larger battery than its predecessor — possibly as large as 4,000mAh, up to 3,300mAh.

As for the release date, the Galaxy Note 9 is very likely to hit the market this July.