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Galaxy Note 9 price, deals and specs: Bixby update arrives to reduce accidental activations

THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9 is finally here, but it doesn’t have many surprises in store.

Thanks to the huge number of leaks building up to the smartphone’s launch, we already knew almost all there is to know: it’ll ship with a new Bluetooth-enabled S Pen; will pack a hefty 4,000mAh battery; and it’ll start shipping on 24 August.

We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about picking up the smartphone below. You can also check out our Galaxy Note 9 hands-on review

Release date
The Galaxy Note 9 started shipping in the UK on 24 August. 

At the time of writing, however, the 512GB variant – in both ‘Ocean Blue’ and ‘Midnight Black’ – will be shipped by Samsung on 13 September. 

Here in Blighty, the 6GB/128GB Galaxy Note 9 model is available for £899 SIM-free, while the higher-spec 8GB/512GB version is priced at £1,099. 

It can be picked up SIM-free from Carphone Warehouse, though, which is also offering tariffs with EE, iD, O2, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone. 

EE is flogging the Note 9, and the operators’ cheapest plan, which comes with 4GB data, comes in at £63 per month – but this can be upgraded to 100GB for, er, £88 per month. 

Over on the O2 website, the Note 9 can be picked up from £58 per month with 2GB data, a tariff that also comes with a £99 upfront cost. The network is also offering deals with 8GB, 1GB, 30GB and 50GB data. 

Sky Mobile is offering the Note 9 from £42 per month, a deal that’ll get you 2GB data and unlimited calls and texts. 4GB, 5GB and 10GB plans are also available. 

There is selling the Galaxy Note 9, and it’s offering £48, £53 and £62 tariffs that’ll bag you 4GB, 30GB and 100GB data, respectively. 

Over on the Virgin Mobile website, the Note 9 is available from £37 per month with 1GB monthly data. This can be upped to 5GB, 20GB and 30GB, for £40, £46 and £51 per month, respectively. 

Vodafone has also been quick to start taking Note 9 orders. It’s offering the handset for, er, £63 per month with a £79 upfront cost, a deal that gets you 20GB data for the price of 4GB. 

In the US, the Galaxy Note 9 can be pre-ordered at AT&T, Best Buy, SamsungSprintT-Mobile and Verizon.

Latest news
Samsung has pushed out an update to Note 9 users that should put an end to accidental Bixby activations. As spotted by Android Authority, the update lets users active Bixby with a double tap of its dedicated button. Previously, you could only activate the divisive voice assistant with a single tap of the Bixby key, which could lead to it being accidentally activated.

17/9/18: A Galaxy Note 9 spontaneously caught fire inside a New York woman’s purse earlier this month, according to a lawsuit.

New Yorker Diane Chung claims she was using the handset on 3 September when it suddenly became “extremely hot”, according to a report at the New York Post. She stopped using the phone and put it in her bag, but suddenly “heard a whistling and screeching sound, and she noticed thick smoke” pouring from her purse, she alleges.

Chung emptied her purse onto an elevator floor but claims the fire didn’t stop until a passerby picked up the handset with a cloth and placed it into a bucket of water.

In response to the incident, which is reminiscent of the company’s 2016 disaster with the fire-broke Note 7, a Samsung spokesperson said: “Samsung takes customer safety very seriously and we stand behind the quality of the millions of Galaxy devices in use in the United States.

“We have not received any reports of similar incidents involving a Galaxy Note 9 device and we are investigating the matter.”

Chung, who describes the incident as “traumatic”, wants unspecified damages and a restraining order barring the sales of any Galaxy Note 9s.

6/9/18: Samsung has seemingly backtracked on its controversial decision not to allow Galaxy Note 9 users to disable the accidental-press-prone Bixby key. In response to a miffed user complaining about the button, Samsung Germany responded that “deactivation of the Bixby button on lock screen should return until end of September,” SamMobile reports. It’s unclear why the tweet mentions the lock screen, but we’re assuming that’s a mistake and that the ability to deactivate the button will report at some point this month.

28/8/18: Teardown experts at iFixit have slapped the Galaxy Note 9 with a shonky four out of 10 repairability score, citing its hard to pull apart chassis and glued-down battery, along with its difficult to remove display, which requires “replacing the entire chassis or tediously separating the gluey cracked glass.” Even the bundled S Pen was difficult to open without breaking, iFixit noted.

It’s not all bad news, though, as iFixit notes  It claims that the components are more modular for easy removal, and the screws used are standard Phillips screws making it easy to unscrew them.

24/8/18: The Galaxy Note 9 has started shipping in the UK, but some early buyers won’t be getting their smartphone just yet. We’ve heard from multiple INQ readers who pre-ordered their device via Argos that they’ve been warned of shipment delays, with the retailer blaming “customs issues”. 

Others have been complaining about the hold-up on Twitter, with one disgruntled buyer saying: “Did anybody hear that Samsung won’t be shipping the note 9 to the UK on 24 Aug? did pre-order at Argos but now they say it’s not available for delivery and they don’t know when.”

It’s unclear how widespread the issue is, nor do we know whether it’s affecting all configurations of the Note 9. We’ve contacted both Argos and Samsung for comment but have yet to receive a response. 

20/8/18: The Galaxy Note 9 hasn’t been released yet, but that hasn’t stopped Samsung from pushing out a software update to the smartphone. The update, spotted by SamMobile, adds a toggle in the Super Slow-mo camera mode to allow users to record either 0.2-second or 0.4-second moments in manual mode in the in the 960fps or 480fps modes, respectively.

The update, which carries the build number N960FXXU1ARH5, also includes the August 2018 security patch, which plugs holes in both Android OS and Samsung’s own Experience software.

17/8/18: Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 9 are reportedly “trailing” last year’s Galaxy Note 8, Yonhap News reports. Citing sources from South Korean mobile carriers, the report notes that while pre-orders are higher than the S9, the Note 9 is struggling to match the demand seen by last year’s flagship phablet – which racked up 850,000 pre-orders.

“The number of preorders we are receiving for the Galaxy Note 9 are higher than the Galaxy S9, although they are smaller than the Galaxy Note 8,” an official told Yonhap News.

“It is hard to beat the record of the Galaxy Note 8, as there was a lot of demand following the suspended production of the Galaxy Note 7,” an official said.

13/8/18: A teardown of the Galaxy Note 9 has revealed that while the smartphone is near identical to its Note 8 predecessor, it packs a new notebook-class water carbon cooling system. This, according to Samsung, will help protect the Note 9 against overheating and allows the smartphone to run at peak for longer periods of time.

Elsewhere, Hi-Tech’s teardown reveals that Samsung has also rejigged its stylus mechanism so that the S Pen is held in place more tightly so that it’s more likely to fall out of the smartphone and get damaged. 

10/8/18: You might struggle if you’re looking to pick up a Note 9 from Samsung, as the company’s website has gone down for “maintenance”. While the firm’s online shop lets you add a Note 9 to your basket, if you try to check out, you’re currently greeted with a message that says: “Uh oh, looks like this page is currently under maintenance, sorry!”

It’s unclear if the site is struggling under demand for the Galaxy Note 9, or whether it’s taken a temporary trip to Borksville. We’ve asked Samsung for more information. 

9/8/18: Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Note 9, and it’s exactly what you were expecting it to be. 

The big-screened smartphone (6.4in, to be precise) looks near identical to its Note 8 predecessor with its edge-to-edge display and glossy IP68-certified chassis, but Samsung is touting a number of upgrades.

Firstly, the Note 9 ships with a new and improved S Pen, which comes with Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) baked-in for the first time. Users can now use the bundled stylus to pause and resume music playback, for example, or as a makeshift camera shutter button.

Samsung even boasted that it controlled its Note 9 presentation using the banana-a-like stylus, before announcing that it plans to open up the SDK to developers so functionality can be built into third-party apps. 

Bigged-up by Samsung as the “world’s most powerful smartphone”, the Note 9 also boasts an under the hood rejig. It’ll ship with Samsung’s in-house 10nm Exynos 9810 CPU (or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 in the US), paired with either 6GB or 8GB RAM depending on whether you pick up the 128GB or 512GB model. Both offer microSD slots, allowing users to expand the Note 9’s onboard storage up to 1TB. 

There’s also a 4,000mAh battery inside, the largest ever to feature inside a Note smartphone which Samsung is promising will deliver “all day” battery life. 

There’s also been an upgrade in the camera department. While, on paper, the Note 9’s dual 12MP camera sounds identical to that on last year’s model, Samsung claims that the new horizontally-aligned sensors are “more intelligent” than before, with its AI-fuelled camera app now letting you know when an image is flawed; if someone has blinked, for example. 

Elsewhere, the Note 9 features AKG-tuned stereo speakers that are the “loudest ever” on a Samsung phone, a rear-positioned fingerprint scanner, Google’s Android 8.1 Oreo OS, USB-C, a 3.5mm headphone jack, support for wireless charging and Samsung DeX, which can now be enabled using an HDMI adaptor. 

And, as expected, Samsung announced that Fornite for Android will also make its long-awaited debut on the Galaxy Note 9. 

The Galaxy Note 9 will be made available in four colours: blue (with yellow S Pen), lavender, copper and black. 

8/8/18: The Galaxy Note 9’s UK pricing has leaked just one day ahead of its official launch. Twitter tipster Roland Quandt has the scoop and claims that the 128GB variant will cost £899, while the 512GB model will set you back by £1,099. 

If legit, this means the Note 9 will be pricier than its Note 8 predecessor, which was available from £869 SIM-free. However, it’s worth noting that the base model was made available with a lesser 64GB storage. 

7/8/18: You’ll be able to buy the Galaxy Note 9 in a ‘Value Pack’, according to an image posted to Facebook. As you can see (below), the presumably-not-cheap ‘Value’ bundle contains a pair of AKG headphones, a Galaxy Note 9 case, an HDMI cable, a car charger and what looks like a 3M-branded car mount. 

6/8/18: A Reddit user, who is allegedly close with a ‘Samsung national trainer’, has spilled some new details about the Galaxy Note 9 just days ahead of its official unveiling. 

The leak reveals that the 6.4in Note 9 will feature a “very similar” footprint to the Note 8, but will feature an upgraded camera with AI tech that optimises the camera based on what you are shooting.

Samsung will sell its S Pens in different colours, the Reddit post notes, with the colour of the S Pen corresponding to the colour of the stork when taking an off-screen memo. 40 seconds of S Pen charging will reportedly give you 30 minutes of use, while double tapping the stylus’ button mechanic will flip the camera from regular to selfie mode. 

The Reddit poster notes that Note 9 pre-orders will come with either AKG wireless noise-cancelling headphones or a Fortnite gaming package, or users can get both for $99. 

3/8/18: Samsung has slipped up yet again, this time posting an official Note 9 intro video to its YouTube channel. Spotted by SamMobile, the since-deleted video was posted by Samsung New Zealand and shows off the blue Note 9 with its accompanying yellow stylus. It also confirms that a 512GB version of the Note 9 is coming that will support 512GB microSD cards, meaning users could have up to 1TB storage on the device.

2/8/18: Samsung has opened up reservations for the as-yet-unannounced Galaxy Note 9. Ahead of the smartphone’s 9 August launch, users in the US can now register their details over at Samsung’s website to guarantee that their Note 9 is delivered on 24 August. Samsung is also letting users in Blighty reserve the handset but makes no mention of its release date. 

1/8/18: The Galaxy Note 9 has cropped up in its first hands-on video (below), courtesy of Mobile Fun. The clip, which the accessory flogger obtained via its “extensive contacts in China”, sadly doesn’t show the Note 9 switched on, but does give us a good look at the handset’s chassis and confirms that it’ll feature thinner bezels than its Note 8 predecessor. 

As shown in previous leaks, the hands-on tour also shows off the handset’s dual-camera sensor and its rear-positioned fingerprint sensor.

30/7/18: The Galaxy Note 9 might not be as expensive as first feared if a leaked pre-order poster from Indonesia is the real deal. While earlier rumours had claimed the Note 9 would be Samsung’s most expensive smartphone yet with a starting price of £935, the leaked poster lists the 128GB model with a 13,500,000 IDR price-tag, which works out around £714. 

The 512GB model is listed as 17,500,000 IDR – around £926, much cheaper than earlier rumours that pegged it around the £1,100 mark. 

27/7/18: Fortnite for Android might arrive as an exclusive for the Galaxy Note 9, both 9to5Google and XDA Developers are reporting. 

Samsung will have a 30-day exclusive on the battle royal game, according to the reports, which note that Fornite might even arrive as a pre-loaded application complete with added S Pen functionality. Note 9 buyers might also be rewarded with some bonus content for pre-ordering the device, including complimentary V-Bucks, player skins, and more. 

26/7/18: Samsung has released a new teaser video (below) that appears to confirm rumours that the Note 9 will pack a souped-up battery. The clip, which is clearly a shot at rival Apple, show how frustrating it can be when your battery dies, and promises that Samsung’s incoming flagship will save the day.

If online murmurs are to be believed, the Galaxy Note 9 will feature a 4,000mAh battery, a 20 per cent improvement over the Galaxy Note 8’s 3,300mAh offering and the largest ever to feature in a Samsung smartphone. 

25/7/18: Predictably, the Galaxy Note 9 has leaked yet again. Its latest outing comes courtesy of Twitter tipster Evan Blass (below), who has outed the handset’s official black, blue and, er, brown colour versions. There’s no sighting of the mooted lilac model, so it remains unclear whether or not this version will be made available at launch.

The legit-looking leak, while not giving much new information away, appears to confirm that the blue model will ship with a contrasting yellow S-Pen, while the black and brown models will come with matching styluses.

24/7/18: Despite earlier rumours stating that the Note 9 will cost around £869, a new report from WinFuture claims the price of the flagship might exceed €1,000.

According to the report, the Galaxy Note 9’s base 128GB variant will cost €1,050 (£935)  with Samsung opting not to release its 64GB model in Europe. It will, according to the report, release its 512GB variant, however, which could fetch as much as €1,250 (£1,115).

23/7/18: A ‘Coral Blue’ variant of the Galaxy Note 9 (below) has shown up online, courtesy of MySmartPrice. The official-looking render doesn’t tell us much new, but the 24 August date on the handset’s screen adds weight to rumours that this is when the smartphone will go on sale. This blue-hued model will be joined by n Black, Gray, Brown, and Lilac colour variants, according to the report.

20/7/18: Samsung is reportedly planning to merge its Galaxy Note and S ranges, hinting that the incoming Note 9 might be the last in the lineup. 

The Bell, citing sources in the electronics industry, reports that the product line merger has been under discussion for the last year or so given the similarities between Samsung’s Plus-branded Galaxy S and Note models. The decision isn’t final yet, though, and the report notes that Samsung is “struggling” to unify the brands “because the concepts of Galaxy S Plus and Note products are overlapping.” 

18/7/18: With just weeks to go until the Note 9’s unveiling, the smartphone has finally been pictured in the flesh. 

While the images (above) – posted and since deleted by a Twitter user in China – don’t tell us much that we don’t already know, they appear to confirm that the incoming Note will be just as fragile as its Note 8 predecessor. The device in the images is covered in scratches and scuffs, and there also appears to be some chips the edges.

Seperately, Evan Blass has shared an official-looking image of the Note 9 and its accompanying yellow S Pen. 

17/7/18: The Galaxy Note 9 has been pictured in public – in the hands of, er, Samsung CEO Dj Koh. As you can see if you look at closely the image (below), snapped by @ShungNin, the device in Koh’s hands sports a horizontally-aligned camera setup with a fingerprint sensor placed underneath – likely the only cosmetic difference between the incoming flagship and last year’s Galaxy Note 8. 

We can also see Koh using Samsung’s new S Pen, which will reportedly come with Bluetooth support for the first time. 

At the same media event where Koh was pictured, he commented on Samsung’s plans to integrate in-display fingerprint technology into its upcoming phones, including the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. He also let slip that the new Bluetooth-enabled S-Pen will include some gaming-related features.

16/7/18: Polish blog Spidersweb, citing a tipster familiar with Samsung’s plans and a local Samsung representative, claims the Galaxy Note 9 will cost PLN 4,299 (around £880) when it goes on sale next month, a sign that it might not cost much more than its predecessor. The blog also adds weight to earlier rumours that the smartphone will arrive on shelves on 24 August.

13/7/18: An official-looking poster, shared via Ice Universe (below), has given us a good look at the blue Galaxy Note 9, and its accompanying, er, yellow S Pen.

Given the number of leaks the Note 9 has suffered the legit-looking poster doesn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, but does confirm the Note 9’s horizontal dual camera system and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, along with its USB-C port, headphone jack and S Pen slot. The poster also carried the tag-line ‘The super powerful Note’, suggesting that an under-the-hood upgrade is also likely.  

12/7/18: The Galaxy Note 9 will go on sale earlier than expected, according to a report at ET News. The Korean site writes that Samsung’s flagship phablet will arrive on shelves on 24 August, two weeks after its 9 August unveiling. In comparison, last year, the Galaxy Note 8 was launched on 23 August and went on sale on 15 September.

This early launch, ET News claims, comes as Samsung looks to offset the “sluggish performance” of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, which are reportedly the most unpopular S series smartphones since the Galaxy S3. Samsung is also looking to beat Apple’s next-generation iPhones to market, with the so-called iPhone 9, iPhone 11 and 11 Plus set to debut in September. 

11/7/18: Android Headlines has got its hands on what it claims to be an official render of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (below). The image, obtained via a ‘reliable source’, doesn’t tell us much about the incoming flagship, but does confirm that it will be near identical to its Note 8 predecessor, albeit for a slightly smaller chin. The render shows off the same curved infinity display, its unmoved front-facing camera and iris scanner and its identically-placed power and Bitby keys. 

6/7/18: Samsung has prematurely published its official support page for the Galaxy Note 9, weeks before it’s officially launched. Spotted by SamMobile, the official pages, which have cropped on Samsung’s websites in Denmark, France, Finland and Norway, don’t reveal any details about the device, other than its SM-N960F model number which is already known.

5/7/18: Accessory maker Olixar has started flogging cases (below) for the Galaxy Note 9, all-but-confirming that the Samsung flagship won’t have many surprises in store. That is unless you’re likely to be shocked by the handset’s “chin”, similar to that seen on the Galaxy S9 and S9+, as earlier rumours had suggested that Samsung would opt for a fully bezel-less design. 

The cases, which are now available for pre-order at MobileFun, also confirm that the Note 9 will pack dual cameras placed horizontally with a fingerprint sensor and heart rate module placed underneath. It also offers a glimpse at the handset’s curved screen, and the Note 9’s slot for Samsung’s new-and-improved S-Pen.  

4/7/18:  The Galaxy Note 9 isn’t launching for another five weeks, but that hasn’t stopped the first hands-on review from surfacing online. The fondling, which comes courtesy of Mobile-Review‘s Eldar Murtazin, who claims to have “had the opportunity to see this device, to evaluate the hardware” on a recent trip to the US. 

Murtazin doesn’t reveal much we don’t already know. He confirms the Note 9 will be almost identical to the Note 8 besides its slightly heavier design, and he also caught sight of Samsung’s new S Pen, which boasts added Bluetooth connectivity and improved accuracy.

The Galaxy Note 9’s dual cameras will be aligned horizontally, Murtizan notes, with a fingerprint scanner sat underneath – rather than embedded the AMOLED display. This screen boasts “increased brightness” compared to the Galaxy S9+, but boasts the same curved edges.

Elsewhere, the so-called review confirms that the Note 9 will pack a 4,000mAh battery – which Murtazin claims delivers 25 hours of video playback with the screen set to maximum brightness, and will be made available with a choice of 6/128GB, 8/256GB and 8/512GB RAM and storage.

2/7/18: The Galaxy Note 9’s bundled S-Pen will come with baked-in Bluetooth, enabling it to “do something unrelated to the pen”. So says Ice Universe (below), and while it’s unclear what functionality the stylus will offer, online rumours suggest the S Pen will be able to pause and resume music playback, and be able to act as a camera shutter button. 

27/6/18: Samsung has unveiled its new ISOCELL Plus camera sensor that looks set to debut on the Galaxy Note 9, SamMobile reports.

The sensor, shown off at MWC Shanghai this week, promises sharper and more accurate photos, even in poor lighting conditions. Samsung claims the upgraded tech will deliver higher colour fidelity along with up to a 15 per cent enhancement in light sensitivity. 

The technology also enables image sensors to equip 0.8-micrometer (µm) and smaller-sized pixels without any loss in performance, making it an optimal solution for developing “super-resolution” cameras with over 20MP.

“The ISOCELL Plus will not only enable the development of ultra-high-resolution sensors with incredibly small pixel dimensions but also bring performance advancements for sensors with larger pixel designs,” Samsung said. 

26/6/18: The Galaxy Note 9 just showed up at the FCC a month earlier than the Galaxy Note 8 did. 

While the listing gives little away beside the handset’s SM-N960F model number and confirmation of its bundled stylus, it adds weight to earlier rumours that the Note 9 will see an early-August launch. Previous reports claim that Samsung will show off its 2018 Note-branded flagship at an event in New York on 9 August.

25/6/18: The Galaxy Note 9 will ship with a new version of Samsung’s S Pen stylus that comes with a feature that’s “worth the wait”, Ice Universe claims.

While it’s unclear what this feature is, earlier rumours claimed this year’s S upgraded Pen will feature Bluetooth, allowing the stylus to be used both as a wireless speaker and as a microphone for making and receiving phone calls. 

20/6/18: Good news – the Galaxy Note 9, much like the newly-announced Oppo Find X, isn’t going to jump on the notch bandwagon. That’s if a leaked front panel (below), obtained by Ice Universe, is legit, as it suggests that the Samsung flagship will boast a near bezel-less design without adopting an awkward cutout.

The bezels are visibly thinner than those on the Note 8, too, despite appearing to house an additional sensor up top – perhaps for improved face recognition. 

19/6/18: A slip-up by South Korean retailer KT Plaza Shop has revealed some pre-order information about the Galaxy Note 9 ahead of its rumoured August launch.

The listing, which was screen grabbed by an eagle-eyed Twitter user before being deleted, all-but-confirms that the Note 9 will be available in 64GB, 246GB and 512GB variants, but if recent rumours are to be believed, the latter will only be made available in China and South Korea. The page also suggests that Note 9 pre-orders will ship with a free DeX dock, although it’s unclear if the same deal will be offered in Blighty. 

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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