Editors’ Be aware: Up to date at 1:21 p.m. ET with new benchmarking information and information on Bixby enhancements.
The Galaxy Be aware line has established a name for being the bleeding-edge telephone in Samsung’s lineup. It was once the primary to supply a giant display screen — ahead of phablets turned into in fashion. It was once the primary with multiwindow instrument for operating two apps facet by way of facet. And it was once the primary to do a curved edge display screen.
The brand new Galaxy Be aware nine (beginning at $999) packs some firsts of its personal, together with an S Pen that doubles as a distant management. However after passing some hands-on time with Samsung’s new flagship, many of the key highlights this time round really feel extra like refinements of an ideal phablet than daring steps ahead.
Cheat Sheet: What is new with the Be aware nine?
- S Pen is a magic wand: The stylus now has Bluetooth connectivity, so you’ll be able to use it as a distant management for taking pictures, giving displays, skipping track tracks and extra.
- Massive battery: The Four,000 mAh battery is the largest ever in a Samsung handset, which is a huge step up from the Be aware eight and its Three,300 mAh energy pack.
- AI digicam: The twin digicam at the Be aware nine can routinely acknowledge greater than 20 various kinds of scenes (meals, vegetation, and many others.) and modify the settings to get the most efficient shot.
- DeX with out the dock. You handiest want an adapter and an HDMI cable to show the Be aware nine right into a mini PC fairly than a $69 accent. The telephone doubles as a touchpad.
- Water cooled. The Be aware nine makes use of a “water carbon” cooling device to stop overheating and ship sustained top efficiency.
Pricing and availability
The Galaxy Be aware nine might be to be had for pre-order Aug. 10 and pass on sale Aug. 24. It begins at quite steep $999 for the 6GB fashion with 128GB of garage. AT&T, Dash, T-Cellular, U.S. Mobile, Verizon Wi-fi and Xfinity will raise the instrument. You’ll additionally have the ability to get it thru Amazon, Absolute best Purchase, Costco, Sam’s Membership, Instantly Communicate Wi-fi, Goal and Walmart in addition to Samsung.com.
The 512GB Galaxy Be aware nine will price $1,249 and might be bought thru choose retail places and on-line by way of AT&T, T-Cellular, Verizon, U.S. Mobile and Samsung.com.
Design: New colours and moderately other frame
No black or silver right here. The boldest factor in regards to the Be aware nine’s design is that it now is available in two colourful hues. I am partial to the deeper Lavender Crimson fashion as it pops greater than the Ocean Blue model. On the other hand, the Ocean Blue comes with a yellow S Pen, which writes in yellow at the show in Display-Off memo mode, a pleasant, delicate contact.
The Be aware nine’s frame has extra of a flat really feel within the hand with chamfered edges, versus the extra rounded chassis of the Be aware eight. The brand new telephone felt lovely excellent to me right through my hands-on time, although the again smudges simply.
The Be aware nine is slightly heavier than the Be aware eight (7.1 oz. as opposed to 6.nine oz.), nevertheless it has the similar thickness at zero.34 inches. On the other hand, the handset is not any taller.
MORE: Galaxy Be aware nine Specifications – What You Get
The 6.Four-inch show is moderately larger than the Be aware eight’s 6.Three-inch display screen, however it is the similar stunning Tremendous AMOLED panel with quad-HD solution. The again properties twin lenses for the digicam and a fingerprint reader beneath, a trade from the Be aware eight that put the sensor subsequent to the cameras.
It is a bummer that Samsung wasn’t in a position to ship an in-screen fingerprint reader, just like the Vivo Nex S has, in time for this telephone. A extra cutting edge option to fingerprint readers must stay up for the Galaxy S10.
Galaxy Be aware nine Specifications
||$999 (128GB), $1,249 (512GB)|
|Show||6.Four inches Tremendous AMOLED (2960 x 1440)|
||Android eight.1 Oreo|
||As much as 512GB|
||Twin 12 MP Cameras (f/1.Five and f/2.Four)|
||eight MP (f/1.7)|
||6.Three x Three x zero.34 inches|
||Lavender Crimson, Ocean Blue|
S Pen: Now a magic wand
By way of including Bluetooth to the S Pen, the Be aware nine permits you to do stuff you could not do with earlier variations of the telephone. For instance, double-tapping the button at the pen fires up the telephone’s digicam, making it simple to carry the Be aware nine in a single hand when you body your shot. Urgent the S Pen’s button another time takes the shot.
Different methods come with the facility to web page ahead in displays together with your S Pen (if you end up outputting the Be aware nine to an exterior track) and controlling track playback from as much as 30 toes away. Those options labored neatly in my early checking out, and an S Pen settings menu permits you to customise what the button presses will do for different Samsung apps, equivalent to Voice Memo. Samsung says it is going to open up this option to third-party builders by way of an SDK.
For the reason that S Pen can do extra independently, it must be charged by way of an interior supercapacitor, which takes simply 40 seconds to juice up after placing it into the Be aware nine.
AI Digicam: No longer the primary, however seems to be spectacular
Different smartphones, such because the LG G7 ThinQ and the Huawei P20 Professional, already boast AI-assisted cameras, however it is nonetheless excellent to peer Samsung sign up for the celebration. The usage of system finding out and a reference database, this digicam can acknowledge 20 sorts of scenes routinely and alter more than a few parameters at the fly to ship probably the most share-worthy pics. This contains publicity, colour saturation and white steadiness.
The Scene Optimize function might be became on by way of default, however for those who favor extra natural-looking pictures you’ll be able to all the time toggle it off. The AI additionally extends to flaw detection, so the Be aware nine will let you know by way of an on-screen alert if any person blinked for your photograph, as an example.
After I held the Be aware nine as much as a plate of orange-and-yellow macarons, a meals icon popped up at the display screen, and the ensuing symbol made the ones colours glance richer. Infrequently the telephone appeared gradual to spot the suitable scene, equivalent to a plant, however I wasn’t the usage of a last unit right through my hands-on time.
MORE: Galaxy Be aware nine vs. Galaxy Be aware eight – What’s New?
Given the prowess of Google’s Pixel 2 at taking pictures in low mild, I am maximum excited to peer how neatly the Be aware nine’s AI improves photographs in dimmer prerequisites, as there’s a Night time mode. The Be aware nine’s digicam does have a variable aperture, although, simply because the S9 did, so you’ll be able to make a selection the only you need (f/1.Five or f/2.Four) relying at the lighting fixtures prerequisites.
Like every Android flagships in this day and age, the Galaxy Be aware nine packs a Snapdragon 845 processor, however Samsung united states of americathe ante with 6GB of RAM on the usual configuration of the telephone, which additionally provides 128GB of garage. If you need extra reminiscence and garage, you’ll be able to order a Be aware nine with 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of garage. However that is not probably the most thrilling section.Samsung says it is using carbon water cooling so the Be aware nine can ship sooner efficiency over prolonged sessions with out throttling, equivalent to if you end up taking part in video games. There is a 3x larger thermal spreader (or warmth sink) for higher cooling efficiency. We’re going to be striking the ones claims to the take a look at after we get our arms at the telephone.
In the case of how that interprets to efficiency, the early effects display an impressive telephone, although now not the quickest Android instrument round. We ran Geekbench Four, which measures a telephone’s normal efficiency, at the 6GB model of the Galaxy Be aware nine and got here up with a multicore ranking of eight,876. That is a certain growth over the Be aware eight and its Snapdragon 835 processor, which produced a 6,564 ranking, and the Be aware nine outperformed the Galaxy S9+ (eight,295) as neatly. However the Be aware nine did not fit the nine,014 ranking of the HTC U12+, which additionally has 6GB of RAM. And the OnePlus 6 fashion with 8GB of RAM stays the quickest Android instrument, with its nine,098 ranking.
As for the iPhone X, which runs on Apple’s blazing-fast A11 Bionic CPU, it stays a no-contest. The iPhone X ratings 10,357 on Geekbench Four. Its single-core results of Four,055 additionally tops the two,452 single-core ranking became in by way of the Be aware nine. Android telephones proceed to lag at the back of Apple’s choices in the case of efficiency, and the Be aware nine does not trade that.
The Be aware nine must be offering probably the most quickest LTE speeds round, because it sports activities a Cat 18 modem from Qualcomm. This is identical modem within the Galaxy S9 that ran circles across the iPhone X on downloads and uploads.
Battery: Greatest ever in Samsung telephone
It is simple to peer why Samsung performed it secure within the Be aware eight with a three,300 mAh battery, given the problems with the smokin’ Be aware 7, however the Be aware nine squeezes in a honking Four,000 mAh battery for critical staying power.
Samsung says the Be aware nine’s battery has passed through the similar eight-point protection test because the batteries in its different fresh telephones. The Be aware eight lasted a bit greater than 11 hours on our web- browsing battery take a look at. That is moderately higher than the Galaxy S9+ (10:59), however the Be aware eight was once nonetheless a long way at the back of the Pixel 2 XL (12:09). At any charge, we are to peer if the Be aware nine may transfer towards the top of the pack on our longest-lasting telephone checklist.
Bixby: A wiser assistant
After a less-than-stellar debut at the Galaxy S8, the Bixby non-public assistant has stepped forward with next Samsung releases. Samsung is hoping that the momentum continues with the Be aware nine, which ushers in some extra improvements. This model of Bixby must be higher in a position to grasp context: ask it about occasions going down right through the approaching Exertions Day weekend, and the assistant must be good sufficient to grasp that incorporates Friday, Aug. 31. Bixby too can make reservations, and it now integrates with apps equivalent to Yelp, Google Maps, Uber and others.
We’re going to wish to put the brand new model of Bixby to the take a look at to peer if Samsung has really delivered a extra helpful assistant, and we are particularly keen to peer if reaction instances had been speeded up as promised. Samsung nonetheless must justify why we must use Bixby as an alternative of the peerlessly superb Google Assistant that is additionally broadly to be had.
The Galaxy Be aware nine has very slender bezels, however it isn’t a real full-screen telephone like a few of its Chinese language competition, such because the Oppo To find X and Vivo Nex S. Nor does the Be aware nine mean you can liberate the telephone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor, which is rising in popularity. And whilst Samsung could also be operating on a greater resolution to Face ID for a long term handset, the Be aware nine makes use of the similar imperfect aggregate of iris and face scanning that the Galaxy S9 does.
In case you are on the lookout for Android Pie and the brand new gesture-based navigation device and different AI sweets it brings, you will have to wait, as this telephone runs Android Oreo eight.1 out of the field.
Priced at $999, the Galaxy Be aware nine isn’t a telephone that wows. It is merely a extra tough and flexible model of what has been the most efficient big-screen Android handset in the marketplace. And that’s not anything to make an apology for.
The larger battery and AI digicam on my own can be sufficient to lure those that have a flagship telephone that is two or extra years previous. And the water cooling must end up to hand for avid gamers who need to play Fortnite for Android with out their arms beginning to sweat in struggle. The S Pen’s remote-control methods appear to be a novelty for now, however I will be able to see other people the usage of that capacity for taking selfies and perhaps giving displays in DeX mode.
The issue for Samsung isn’t what is on this telephone however what is coming. The Galaxy S10 is across the nook for early 2019, and that instrument is rumored to have state of the art options like an in-screen fingerprint reader. Then there is Apple’s trio of latest iPhones launching only a month from now — together with a doubtlessly large 6.Five-inch iPhone X Plus — in addition to Google’s new Pixel Three telephones in October that can have Android Pie in-built.
So, until you’re keen on the speculation of the usage of an S Pen, you could need to wait till q4 to check all the newest flagships before you purchase. But when you want a big-screen telephone at this time, the Be aware nine must now not disappoint.
Credit score: Tom’s Information