Samsung Electronics has officially unveiled the Galaxy Note 9. And thanks to the numerous leaks online, most of the phablet’s specs and features have been revealed ahead of the Unpacked event. So by now there is sufficient information to establish just how different or similar the Note 9 is compared to last year’s Note 8.

Display

The display of the Galaxy Note 9 is something very familiar to Note 8 users. The new smartphone still comes with an OLED screen that Samsung calls Infinity Display. Earlier leaks claimed that the display of the Note 9 will be slightly bigger than that of the Note 8, and they turned out to be true during the unveiling.

Last year’s flagship phablet came with a 6.3-inch display with 83 percent screen-to-body ratio, 1440 x 2960 screen resolution and 521 ppi pixel density. On the other hand, the Note 9 has a 6.4-inch display with 83 percent screen-to-body ratio, 1440 x 2960 screen resolution and 516 ppi pixel density. Both displays have Corning Gorilla Glass 5 as a protective layer. They are also HDR10 compliant and feature Always-on technology. 

Design

Design-wise, the Note 9 does not offer something very different from the Note 8. Notable tech leaker Evan Blass has previously shared images of the Galaxy Note 9 on Twitter and the renders and photos revealed that the Note 9 will certainly have the same hardware appearance as the Note 8. 

Up front, the Note 9 still has top and bottom bezels, but the bottom bezel is slimmer than the one on the Note 8. The top bezel still houses the front speaker, selfie camera, iris scanner and different sensors. The new phone’s display has curved sides, and it also has side buttons for power or lock/unlock, sound volume and Bixby. 

At the back, Samsung’s Note 9 still has a dual-lens camera setup with LED flash. Unlike the Note 8 where the fingerprint scanner is located beside the camera module, the Note 9’s fingerprint reader is situtated below the camera module. Many hoped for the Note 9 to come with an in-display fingerprint reader, but Samsung is said to be saving the new feature for its upcoming 10th anniversary flagship phone, the Galaxy S10, which is scheduled for an early 2019 launch, as per CNET

Performance

The Galaxy Note 8 was a solid premium handset. It debuted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, which is 2017’s top-of-the-line SoC. The phablet also came with the Adreno 540 and 6GB of RAM. Onboard storage options for the Note 8 were 64, 128 and 256 GB. 

Since Note 9 is going to be the main attraction from Samsung’s high-end series for the rest of the year, the phone is housing the Snapdragon 845 chipset, which is the latest and most advanced smartphone processor from Qualcomm for this year. The powerful chip is coupled with two RAM and onboard storage configurations: 6 GB RAM + 128 GB memory and 8 GB RAM + 512 GB memory.

Camera

The Note 9 doesn’t have a major upgrade when it comes to camera technology. As what Pocket-lint predicted earlier, the Note 9 still comes with 12-megapixel lenses and optical image stabilization (OIS). The Galaxy Note 8 also has two 12-megapixel lenses for its back camera module, and each came with OIS and other features. The only difference between the two is that the Note 9’s primary rear lenses has a variable aperture that switches between f/1.5 and f/2.4, while the one on the Note 8 has a fixed f/1.7 aperture. Their secondary lenses have the same f/2.4 aperture. 

As for the front-facing cameras, the Note 8 debuted with an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. The 2017 phablet’s front camera has an f/1.7 aperture and features dual video call capability and Auto-HDR. It is also capable of recording 1440p videos at 30fps. The Note 9’s front-facing camera has the same lens and features.

Miscellaneous

Another area that sets the Note 9 apart from its predecessor is battery size. The Note 8 is equipped with a non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery, which is just so-so. Twitter leaker Ice Universe took to the social networking site in June to claim that he is “100 percent sure” that the Note 9 will have a larger 4,000 mAh battery. The leaker got it right because Samsung announced the Note 9 with a non-removable Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery.

Samsung also saw to it that the Galaxy Note 9 will still have something new to offer despite being just a minor update to the Note 8. FCC documents published last month revealed that the S Pen stylus that will come with the Note 9 is going to have Bluetooth connectivity and a bunch of new features, such as music playback control. Indeed, the new S Pen has Bluetooth integration.

Finally, the Galaxy Note 8 arrived with four color options: Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Gray and Deep Blue Sea. The South Korean tech giant also released a Taiwan-exclusive Star Pink color variant. Meanwhile, the Note 9 was announced as having four color options: Metallic Copper, Lavender Purple, Ocean Blue and Midnight Black.