Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy Note 8: Clash of the titans


The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is expected to debut with aplomb at Samsung’s Unpacked event in New York on 9 August. Before then, we’ve been rather busy gathering all the news, leaks and rumours regarding the South Korean giant’s upcoming phablet.

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Thanks to an abundance of recent leaks, we finally have a pretty solid idea of what to expect from the Galaxy Note 9 when Samsung finally pulls back the curtains. As such, we can compare the upcoming Note 9 with its predecessor, last year’s Galaxy Note 9, to find out which is better, and work out what’s changed.

Should you snap up the Galaxy Note 8, or perhaps wait for the Note 9 to be unveiled? Read on to find out the crucial differences between the two phablets, and decide for yourself if you think the Note 9 is a must-buy when it first appears on store shelves.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy Note 8: Design

Okay, so size-wise, the Galaxy Note 8 wasn’t a particularly pocket-friendly phone, measuring up at 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm and weighing 196g.

Samsung has managed to keep the Note 9’s dimensions firmly under wraps ahead of release, although rumours suggest that it’ll be 2mm thinner than its predecessor. According to the rumours, this change stems from the Note 9’s slightly slimmer bezels, as hinted by leaked glass panels from the front of the phone.

In terms of general aesthetic, we’re not anticipating a huge gulf in physical appearance between the Galaxy Note 8 and Note 9. Indeed, if you look back to the design of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9, the difference is negligible, and certainly not significant enough to warrant an upgrade if looks are at the top of your smartphone-buying agenda.

However, one interesting nugget of information is that the Galaxy Note 9 may be available in a new range of colours, including, err, brown. If the idea of a mud-coloured smartphone flips your stomach upside down, and rightly so, you may also be able to buy the Note 9 in black, blue, silver and even violet.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy Note 8: Specs

When it comes to the Note 9’s display, I’m not anticipating a massive difference from the Note 8’s Super AMOLED edge-to-edge screen, complete with those lovely curved edges and bordered by super-slim bezels.

If there is a slight difference, though, it’ll be in the size of the screen – the Note 9’s 2,960 x 1,440 resolution panel is expected to measure 6.4in from corner to corner, up from the 6.3in screen on its predecessor. The Note 9’s display is also expected to support the HDR10 standard.

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As for the innards, we’re expecting both minor and predictable upgrades, but they’re upgrades nonetheless. While the Note 8 either boasted Qualcomm’s then-flagship Snapdragon 835 chipset or Samsung own Exynos 8895 equivalent (if you live outside of the US), It’s a safe best to assume the Note 9 will launch with the updated Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810. Again, we’ll probably see the Note 8’s 6GB of RAM in the Note 8, in addition to up to 512GB of internal memory.

So, everything has been rather unsurprising so far, but not, supposedly, when it comes to the Note 9’s battery. This upcoming phablet is expected to launch with a 4,000mAh battery. When you take the Note 8’s 3,330mAh battery into account, this represents a rather sizeable upgrade, and the phone’s stamina may be much improved as a result.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy Note 8: Features

Another substantial shakeup is represented by a new and improved S-Pen stylus. Following a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, it’s looking increasingly likely that this new pointing device will be equipped with Bluetooth functionality.

What does this mean? I’m not exactly sure yet, although the Note 9’s functionality will almost certainly be bolstered substantially thanks to its Bluetooth capabilities. Rumours have been circulating about users having remote control of the phone. Among other things, I’m hoping for a remote camera shutter.

Unlike previous-generation S-Pens, the Note 9’s smartphone stylus will also be available separately.

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Aside from that, a key focus for the Galaxy Note 9 lies in its dual rear cameras. Samsung has acknowledged in the past that the appeal of the Note range lies in its camera, so we can expect some major upgrades with the latest addition to the lineup.

The biggest rumour suggests that the Note 9 will offer “AI optimisations” to help improve and optimise the quality of your photos, with helpful speech bubbles highlighting issues with your photography. The latter might not go down very well if you’re taking a selfie, and your Note 9 isn’t particularly impressed with the result.

As for the camera specifics, i’m not expecting much of a change, especially if recent rumours are anything to go by. If you recall, the Galaxy Note 8 was equipped with a dual-sensor arrangement; One was a wide-angle 12-megapixel f/1.7 camera, while the other has an f/2.4 telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.

The lack of change isn’t laziness on Samsung’s part; it’s reflective of the conversation around smartphone cameras shifting – now it’s less about what you have (we’re talking megapixels, here) but, rather, it’s what you do with it. An AI-equipped camera knows no bounds.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy Note 8: Price

Even at this early stage, you’d be right in thinking the Galaxy Note 9 was shaping up to be a rather appealing smartphone. There’s one more thing to consider before you hit that preorder button, though – the Note 9’s launch price is expected to be far from inconsequential.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 retailed at a hefty £869, and can currently be picked up for roughly £600. While there hasn’t been any official information about the Note 9’s launch pricing – we’ll have to wait for the unveiling – there’s no indication that the Note 9 will be easy on the wallet.

My guess? If the Note 9 doesn’t show up in shops for roughly the same price as its predecessor, it’ll perhaps be slightly more expensive. And, if we’re really unlucky, the Note 9 could be Samsung’s first four-figured smartphone.

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