Live, from the Barclays Center in New York, Samsung unveiled its latest smartphone, the highly anticipated Galaxy Note9, along with a brand-new smartwatch, accessories, and a surprise announcement—the Galaxy Home smart speaker.
Starting with the star of the show: The Galaxy Note9 takes several design cues from the Note8. Sporting a similarly sleek, diamond-cut body and slightly larger 6.4" Super AMOLED QHD+ display, the Note9 definitely looks a lot like its predecessor. However, beyond its general aesthetic, the Note9 does offer several notable enhancements, including a faster 2.8/1.7GHz Snapdragon 845 processor, options for greater RAM and base storage—up to 8GB and 512GB, respectively—and a massive upgrade to the battery, from 3,300 to a monstrous 4,000mAh.
The Note9's camera system also received an upgrade. The new setup now includes two 12MP rear-facing cameras—one wide-angle and one telephoto—that feature dual OIS and dual aperture modes. Samsung has also outfitted the Note9's camera with "smart features" that allow it to evaluate the scene you're shooting and optimize the settings for the best possible result. It even includes a flaw-detection feature that warns you if it picks up any problems with your shot—for instance, if someone's eyes are closed or they're out of focus.
Perhaps most exciting of all was the announcement that the Note9's stylus, the S Pen, now features Bluetooth LE connectivity, allowing it to be used as a wireless remote for everything from taking selfies, play/pausing media, and even controlling presentations. Additional enhancements were made to the S Pen, including improved pressure sensitivity and a finer pen tip for a more lifelike feel.
The Note9 wasn't the only piece of tech unveiled today. Samsung also debuted its latest wearable, the Galaxy Watch. Featuring advanced stand-alone connectivity, hi-res AMOLED display, multi-day battery, and an objectively gorgeous design, the Galaxy Watch appears to be the most sophisticated wearable Samsung has ever produced. On top of those standout features, the Watch's real draw must be its bevy of wellness applications, which include tracking for up to 40 different exercises, automatic workout detection, heart rate monitoring, stress management, sleep monitoring, and more.
For users who decide to double up with both the Note9 and Galaxy Watch (or any other combination of Qi-compatible devices), Samsung also showed off its new Wireless Charger Duo, which, as the name suggests, allows you to charge two of your Samsung devices, wirelessly, at once—no more waiting for one device to power up.
In addition to the Note9 and Galaxy Watch, Samsung also had a surprise up its sleeve, the Galaxy Home smart speaker. While we didn't get a deep look at the Galaxy Home, the preview revealed that it will feature omni-directional, 360-degree sound, 8 internal mics for far-field voice recognition, and use a technology called SoundSteer that appears to direct music toward you, based on the direction of your voice. Home will support Samsung's smart digital assistant, Bixby, and, arguably best of all, will fully support and integrate with Spotify for a complete music-streaming experience. Undoubtedly there's more to the Galaxy Home, which we should hear about it the coming months.
Although it was recently announced, the Galaxy Tab S4 only showed up in the background of today's event. However, you can read more about the Tab S4 here, if you're so inclined, and see how it ties in with today's announcements.
The Galaxy Note9, Galaxy Watch, and Galaxy Tab S4 are all available for order now in different sizes, colors, and configurations, along with different protective cases and watch bands. The Galaxy Home will be available to order soon at B&H.
Yes, Donny C., it's a phone. We understand that, believe me. But it is not just a phone, it's THE PHONE to have, right now! On the surface, we Samsung customers get just as excited as do the Apple customers. It is the marketeers who have been doing this to us - hyping a product to the point where we feel we MUST have it. It started with muscle cars, then movies (remember Jaws and Star Wars?), and now cellphones.
So, Donny C., blame me. I am 71 years old. My time is running out and I want this darn thing right now, not tomorrow. Right...now...
$1200 for a phone... Don't be stupid people. It's ... a ...freaking....phone.....