Samsung Galaxy Note 9 'a beast'

The Samsung Galaxy Note has always gone by the mantra 'bigger is better', and this year's version which was unveiled this morning at a glitzy event at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York, is no exception.

Put simply, the Galaxy Note 9 is a beast of a phone. The device, albeit similar in appearance to its predecessors, has bigger battery, masses of storage, a more powerful processor and increased display.

Newshub has had some super quick hands-on time with the Note 9 while in New York and our initial impressions are that it ticks all the right boxes for business users. However, it has just enough appeal for other users too, such as gamers. Check out our first-look video above.

Battery boost

One of the Galaxy Note 9's biggest selling points has to be the huge 4,000mAh battery. It's the largest Samsung has ever put into a mass market phone.

'You can power through your entire day with just the phone in your pocket," says Drew Blackard, Samsung's senior director of smartphone marketing. We're looking forward to testing that out.

Super snappy processor

Another key feature is the 10nm processor with support for the fastest network speeds available in the market (up to 1.2 gigabits per second, network dependent).

"Our loyal New Zealand Note fans have told us that performance and great battery life are the features most important to them when choosing a new smartphone," says Sally Vernon, public relations manager for Samsung New Zealand, who has been in New York for the launch.

"This is Samsung's most powerful device yet, and it's perfect for Kiwis who want a smartphone that can handle almost anything thrown at it."     

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Photo credit: Newshub.

Stacks of storage

There's a 512GB version of the Note 9. Purchase a 512 GB microSD card and you've got yourself a whopping 1TB worth of storage. That'll help break the cycle of having to delete content to make room for new content.

Souped-up S Pen

Apparently, 64 percent of Note users are S Pen loyalists so it's not surprising that the Samsung stylus has been given a revamp.

The new low-energy Bluetooth S Pen charges in just 40 seconds for 30 minutes of use time. Writing, drawing and navigating apps with it is to be expected, but users will find it particularly useful as a presentation remote control. It works even when the user is up to 10 metres away from the phone.

The S pen also doubles as a shutter button for snapping photos and selfies.

PC-like experience

With DeX built into the Note 9, users can work on presentations, edit photos, and watch shows all powered by their phone. The only thing that's needed is an HDMI adaptor to plug it in to any external display.

Clever camera

Every camera worth its salt nowadays has artificial intelligence features, and the Note 9 is no exception. Not too much to be ridiculous but enough to be useful. For example, on the Note 9, the scene optimiser function recognises up to 20 scenes.

Flaw detection is another helpful feature allowing you to tell if the person you've taken a photo of is perhaps blinking, if the image is blurry, the backlight is poor or if there's a smudge on the lens.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Photo credit: Reuters

Fortnite fans

Samsung's water carbon cooling system and AI-based performance adjuster for stable powerful phone performance is a big bonus for gaming. It was confirmed today that Fortnite will be available on Galaxy devices straight away, with the game not arriving on other android devices until late next month. Note 9 users will also get access to a special skin, Galaxy.

Colours and cost

New Zealand gets the Midnight Black, Ocean Blue with a yellow S Pen and the Metallic Copper with a copper S Pen to choose from. The Lavender version won't be available here.

The Note 9 goes on sale in NZ on August 24, priced at $1,699 for the entry-level 128GB model and $1,999 for the 512GB version. Pre-orders will be available from today.

Samsung will be keeping a close eyes on sales of the Note 9. Its earnings this year have been hurt by a slowdown in demand for its Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus while low-end competitors have been piling on the pressure. Then there are high-end phones due out shortly from its two main competitors, Apple and Huawei.

Will it be the last Note as some suspect? Let's hope not.

Samsung partnership with Spotify

Spotify's chief executive Daniel Ek took to the stage to tell us that Spotify will deliver a personalised music experience on Samsung devices. This is a huge move from the two companies against Apple.

Galaxy Home

Samsung also teased Galaxy Home smart speaker, its own to revival the likes of Amazon Echo or HomePod. It'll be powered by Bixby, the company's artificial intelligence. More will be revealed at the company's developer conference.

Galaxy Watch

There's a new watch that can last for several days on one charge. It can track exercise, sleep and do all the usual calendar management and emails, bringing together Samsung's Gear Watch and Galaxy brands.

Emma Brannam covers tech stories for Newshub. She attended the launch event at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York as a guest of Samsung.