The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are going to hit the store shelves in a couple of weeks. Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphones on February 25 at an Unpacked event in Barcelona. Samsung traditionally carries forward many of the Galaxy S series features to the Galaxy Note line, which is refreshed in the second half of the year. The newly announced Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus hold clues about the Galaxy Note 9.
The biggest difference between the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones is the S Pen stylus, which is exclusive to the Note line. The Galaxy Note 9 will also have the S Pen and offer the stylus-supported features not available on the Galaxy S9. The Note series is not as critical to Samsung’s bottom line as the Galaxy S series, which gives the company the freedom to experiment with new features on the Note handsets.
It means even though the Galaxy Note 9 would borrow a lot of elements from the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, it may also have some innovative features that Samsung couldn’t include in the Galaxy S9. So, what do the latest phones tell us about the Note 9? First, the dual camera would be arranged vertically on the upcoming flagship similar to the S9 Plus. Last year’s Galaxy Note 8 had a horizontal dual camera setup.
Next, unless Samsung adopts the in-display fingerprint sensor, the Galaxy Note 9 would have a more-ergonomically arranged vertical fingerprint sensor. Addressing one of the biggest user complaints, the Korean company relocated the fingerprint reader to below the camera module on the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus to make it easier to unlock the device. The Galaxy Note 9 is rumored to have an optical fingerprint scanner, but Samsung has been struggling with security and yield issues for quite some time. It is difficult to say at this point whether the in-display fingerprint technology will find its way into the Galaxy Note 9.
With the Galaxy S9 launch, Samsung has sent a strong signal that it has doubled down on photography. Last year’s Note 8 had one of the world’s best mobile cameras. But the S9 and S9 Plus have “reimagined the smartphone camera,” said Samsung’s mobile business chief DJ Koh. He added that the most important function of a smartphone is not making calls, but to capture the “fleeting moments that express what you want to say in an instant.”
The Galaxy S9’s 12-megapixel rear camera has a variable aperture that changes based on lighting conditions. The f/1.5 aperture lets in 28% more light to capture better photos in low-light conditions, while the f/2.4 aperture is good for taking pictures in daylight conditions. The aperture changes automatically, though you can also change it manually in Pro mode. The camera also has a multi-frame noise reduction feature that reduces noise by more than 30%.
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus also bring AR Emoji, which is similar to Apple’s Animoji on the iPhone X. The AR Emoji will most likely find its way into the Galaxy Note 9. The Live Message feature on the Note 8 already allows users to send animated writing to their friends. The AR Emoji uses the front-camera to make a caricature of your face that you can further customize with clothing, hairstyle, and other options before sharing it with your friends.
The Galaxy Note 9 could also borrow the new super slo-mo video feature from the Galaxy S9. The super slo-mo option allows users to record videos at 960 frames per second and 720p resolution. It also has a motion-detection feature that will automatically start recording the moment it senses movement. You do not have to worry about when to start recording slo-mo footage.
We can also expect the Galaxy Note 9 to have an improved Bixby virtual assistant. When Samsung introduced Bixby last year, the AI assistant was still in its infancy. Bixby has received a major overhaul with the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. It gets a new live translation feature that can translate text from one language to another if you point the phone’s main camera at the text. The virtual assistant can also help you try out makeup via AR, and discern different types of food.
It isn’t yet clear whether the Galaxy Note 9 would have an optical fingerprint reader, but we can expect it to be more secure than its predecessors. Samsung has introduced a new feature called Intelligent Scan with Galaxy S9 that combines data from the face detection and iris scanning technologies to recognize the user. The feature will make it more difficult for people with malicious intent to fool the system and unlock your device.
The Note 9 is expected to run the same Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 processors that you’ll find inside the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. The SD845 and Exynos 9810 are the most powerful chips available to Android vendors. While Apple, Google, and a few other vendors have ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack, Samsung has retained the feature on the S9 and S9 Plus. The Note 9 is expected to keep the audio jack.