This morning Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 9–its latest flagship smartphone right from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York–and yes, we were there.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
With this new release, Samsung has doubled down on everything that the Note series represents: productivity and performance. It has the best specs you’ll find in any flagship Android phone, the screen is bigger (6.4-inches), the S Pen has more tricks than ever before (including using Bluetooth LE to do cool things like take pictures, control presentations, and more), and the battery is huge. Samsung went on and on about all day battery life but did not provide any specifics in terms of the amount of hours you should actually expect. One other cool thing is that Samsung’s DeX software is now built right into the phone — no dock required — so you can plug it into any external display (e.g. using HDMI) for a desktop-like experience.
The Note 9 will be sold in two configurations: there’s a 128GB / 6GB RAM model for $999 and a top-tier 512GB / 8GB RAM version for $1,250 (you will be able to throw a 512GB microSD card into the 512GB Note 9, and you’ll have a phone with 1TB of storage). Preorders begin on August 10th, and the phone will be available on August 24th at all major carriers or direct (and unlocked) from Samsung.
By looks alone, the Note 9 is nearly identical to its predecessor, save for the rear fingerprint sensor that has been moved to a more sensible spot below the camera. All of Samsung’s other hardware signatures like water resistance, fast wireless charging, expandable microSD storage, and the headphone jack are still here.
The Note 9 ships with Android 8.1 Oreo and the same user experience as Samsung’s last several phones. Samsung Pay is still present, and having the ability to mimic a credit card’s magnetic stripe at stores where NFC payments don’t always work is a nice fallback.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
The new Galaxy Watch is interesting but I think I’d pass on one. It has the rounded watch face that a lot of people seem to like and in addition to buttons on the side, it has a dial on that you can turn to select different settings. I only spent a little time with it but I wasn’t too impressed right out of the gate. It’s also a lot bigger than the Apple Watch, it almost feels clunky. That being said, Samsung claims it has multi-day battery life so there’s that.
Samsung Galaxy Home
The Galaxy Home is a Bixby powered smart speaker that appears to have taken bits of inspiration from the HomePod, Google Home, and Amazon Echo. The only thing about the Galaxy Home that stands out is those weird little legs it has. Bixby hasn’t been very impressive to date it’ll be interesting to see how this smart speaker works once it’s on the market.
No release date was provided for the Galaxy Home but I expect to see it before the holiday season.