Meet Samsung's Galaxy Note 9: S Pen advancements, big storage at 512GB for $1,249.99

With the Galaxy Note 9 you can walk around with more than a terabyte in your pocket--for a price.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer and  Larry Dignan, Contributor

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Samsung launched its Galaxy Note 9 at its Unpacked event in Brooklyn, didn't scrimp on the specifications--especially storage--and set a new smartphone price ceiling for now.

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And now the debate begins: Will you spend $1,249.99 for a 512GB phone that can expand to 1TB via microSD? The iPhone X with 256GB goes for $1,149. The Note 8 launched in the $950 range in 2017.

In an event that was largely leaked ahead of time, Samsung unveiled its latest flagship device, which represents the high in high/low strategy that aims to create premium devices while fending off low-priced Android competitors.

The short version:

  • The Note 9 has an all-day battery at 4,000mAh. That's Samsung's largest battery in its product portfolio.
  • Samsung doubled storage to 128GB at the base level and available at 512GB. And there's a microSD card slot to total more than 1TB of storage to the device.
  • There's a 33 percent bump in CPU performance and 23 percent gain in GPU performance relative to the Note 8.
  • The fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone has moved down away from the camera lens.
  • DeX can connect your phone to a monitor and keyboard via an USB-C to HDMI adapter.
  • An intelligent camera that includes Flaw Detection. The camera also has a neural network on the Note 9 to recognize context and settings and adjust for scenes.
  • The front-facing camera is 8MP and the dual rear cameras are 12MP each. Samsung opted to improve the software and machine learning behind camera in the Note 9. The cameras in the Note 9 are an improvement on the Note 8, but are largely the same as the Galaxy S9 Plus setup.
  • A wireless charging dock that uses one outlet and can charge two devices (presumably a Samsung phone and smartwatch).
  • The S Pen gets Bluetooth low energy (BLE) so it can function as a remote control within 10 meters.
  • The S Pen charges when you put it into your smartphone and the battery charges fully in less than 40 seconds.
  • BLE enables the S Pen to control the camera by default and other applications based on your preference.

Preorders for the Galaxy Note 9 start Aug. 10 with availability Aug. 24. The 128GB Galaxy Note 9 will go for $999.99 at Amazon, Best Buy, Samsung, Target, Walmart and other retailers. The 512GB Galaxy Note9 will be available at AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular and Samsung for $1,249.99.

Is the Note 9 worth it?

Samsung's Note series is the lone survivor of the stylus era, and the company brings some serious functionality with the S Pen. The Note 9 is arguably Samsung's best Note ever, and it is sure to appeal to fans of the written word.

Samsung made a few design improvements after learning some lessons and being a bit conservative with the Note 8 last year. Overall, Samsung set up the Note series as the best Samsung device available to customers. ZDNet's Jason Cipriani has kept us updated with the latest leaks and information on the Note 9, so it is great to see all those leaks, and more, become official.

Also: Samsung S Pen reflections: A differentiator in a saturated smartphone market

The Galaxy foundation remains in the Note 9. These foundational elements include infinity displays, top-of-the line processors, Gigabit LTE, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a high level of dust and water resistance, fast wireless charging, a microSD expansion card slot capable of supporting the highest capacity cards available, and Knox support.

Galaxy Note 9 Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.35 GHz quad-core
  • Display: 6.4 inch, 2960x1440-pixel resolution Super AMOLED
  • Operating system: Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Storage: 128GB/512GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
  • Cameras: 12-megapixel rear f/1.5 and f/2.4 super speed dual pixel OIS camera with dual aperture and 12-megapixel telephoto f/2.4 OIS camera; 8-megapixel f/1.7 front-facing camera
  • Water resistance: IP68 water and dust rating
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM, Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, ANT+, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BaiDou, MST, and NFC
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, and Pressure Sensor
  • Battery: 4,000mAh non-removable with Quick Charge and fast wireless charging
  • Dimensions: 161.9mm x 76.4mm x 8.8mm and 201g

It's nice to see ample RAM, vast amounts of storage with inexpensive expansion options, continued inclusion of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and just about everything but the kitchen sink included in one device.

Also: Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 unpacked: Should you upgrade?

While the S9 Plus marketing was focused on the dual aperture camera, Samsung's messaging this year for the Note 9 is focused on long battery life, virtually unlimited storage capability, and major new S Pen functionality.

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