Now more than ever, Samsung's Galaxy S+ phones are becoming eerily similar to the Note series. The Note used to be Samsung's way of touting all of the latest and greatest tech it had to offer, and while this is still the case, the same can be said for this year's Galaxy S9+.

Samsung needs more than just the S Pen to make the Note 9 stand out from its own phones and the rest of the competition, and luckily, all signs are pointing to something exciting for this year's release. Here's what we know so far!

July 17, 2018 — A new render and in-hand photos show the Note 9 once again

We already have a pretty good idea as to what the Galaxy Note 9 will look like, but thanks to a new render and a couple hands-on photos, the picture's now clearer than ever before.

Starting first with the render, Evan Blass took to Twitter today with the above photo. It shows the Note 9 in a blue paint job with a blue and yellow S Pen to accompany it, and the combo looks downright fantastic.

https://twitter.com/MMDDJ_/status/1019254127170183169

As for the hands-on photos, these line up perfectly with the render and showcase both the front and back of the phone.

What's your take on these?

July 16, 2018 — Galaxy Note 9 spotted out in the wild with Samsung's CEO

Not too long after DJ Koh spilled some beans about the Note 9's S Pen features, he's back in the news once more as he was recently spotted using the phone during the media event mentioned below.

Koh can be seen using the Note 9 in the above photo, and while most of the device is hidden, we can confirm that it is, in fact, the Note 9 due to the placement of the rear camera and fingerprint sensor.

July 16, 2018 — DJ Koh hints at gaming features for the S Pen

Alongside the Note 9 this year, we're expecting Samsung to make some big upgrades to its S Pen companion. Previous rumors have already hinted at the Note 9's S Pen coming equipped with Bluetooth for the very first time, and now thanks to Ice Universe on Twitter, we have a bit more to go on.

Samsung's DJ Koh recently attended an event in Wuhan, China, and during it, "he said that Note9 SPen will have many new features, including special features related to the game."

It's unclear what all of these features will consist of, but that mention of "the game" suggests we'll possibly see some sort of gaming focus this time around.

July 11, 2018 — Official render confirms the front of the Note 9's design

There's been no shortage of Note 9 renders over the last few weeks, and the latest comes by way of AndroidHeadlines.

The image shown above was obtained by the site and is said to be "an official render of the Galaxy Note 9."

As we've seen from past images, the Note 9 is going to look a lot like the Note 8. There's a large Infinity Display taking up the majority of the front, with the top area being home to the front-facing camera, iris scanning system, ambient light sensor, etc. Also similar is the power/lock button on the right with the left side being home to a volume rocker and dedicated Bixby button.

June 29, 2018 — Note 9 hands-on hints at 2-day battery life, up to 8GB RAM, and more

Eldar Murtazin has built a name for himself as one of the top dogs in the mobile industry, and after going hands-on with a Note 9 prototype recently, he shared some highlights about what we can expect from the phone.

Murtazin notes that the Note 9 is quite a bit heavier than the Note 8, and while the exact battery capacity isn't mentioned, he says that he was able to get around 23 to 25 hours of video playback at max brightness before needing to charge up and aroudn 1-2 days of regular use.

RAM and storage will start out at 6GB and 128GB, respectively, but Samsung will also offer 8GB + 256GB and 8GB + 512GB variants. The display is also said to be more visible in direct sunlight and comes with an upgraded Always On Display (though this could be pushed back to the Galaxy S10 if it's not ready in time).

As for the S Pen, Murtazin reports that it'll support Bluetooth connectivity, new work modes, and will be able to remotely unlock the Note 9.

June 27, 2018 — Official launch event set for August 9

Samsung put an end to at least part of the speculation surrounding the Note 9 when it announced an Unpacked event in New York City for August 9, using a teaser image that shows a tight-in shot of an S Pen's button. The August 9 date was previously rumored, as was the location of NYC.

That's a couple weeks earlier than the Note 8 event last year, but a week later than the Note 7 event the year prior. This is right in the time frame where Samsung likes to get its stylus-toting phones out into the world.

June 13, 2018 — A large 4,000 mAh battery might be present

There are a lot of aspects that make the Note series unique, and one of those has long been huge batteries. The Note 7 had the largest to-date in 2016 at 3,500 mAh, but after those started exploding and catching fire, Samsung decided to play it safe in 2017 by kicking things down to 3,300 mAh in the Note 8.

This year, however, Samsung might start going back in the right direction. According to Ice Universe on Twitter who's been fairly accurate about Samsung rumors in the past, they're "100% sure" that the Note 9 will come with a 4,000 mAh battery.

June 6, 2018 — This is what the Galaxy Note 9 might look like

We've been talking about the Galaxy Note 9 for months at this point, but up until now, we haven't had a definitive idea as to what the phone will look like. Thankfully, 91Mobiles partnered with @OnLeaks to scratch that itch for us.

As you can see in the video above, the Note 9 will look very similar to last year's Note 8. The front will be home to a large, notch-free Infinity Display while the back houses two rear cameras and a fingerprint sensor. The way the cameras and fingerprint sensor are positioned is slightly different compared to the Galaxy S9, but even so, there's no mistaking this for a modern Samsung phone.

The bottom frame also shows a slot for the S Pen, USB-C port for charging the Note 9, a speaker grill, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

June 1, 2018 — The Galaxy Note 9 will be announced on August 9 with an upgraded camera

Per a report from Bloomberg, Samsung will host an Unpacked event in New York on August 9 where it'll officially unveil the Galaxy Note 9.

There's still a lot that's unknown about the phone, but it's reported that the Note 9 will have a very similar design compared to the Note 8, a much-improved camera, and Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 processor in select markets.

Following the event, Samsung hopes to officially release the phone by the end of the month.

March 29, 2018: Samsung may launch the new Note as early as July

Samsung's Galaxy Note series usually makes its debut in August, but according to a report from The Investor, the Note 9 could launch much sooner.

Samsung typically starts producing its OLED panels for Note devices in June, but it's said that the company will be moving ahead of schedule this year and start production as soon as April. As such, we could see the Galaxy Note 9 released as early as July.

The reason for this change? Although not confirmed, it's reported that this is a result of unimpressive sales of the Galaxy S9 and Apple's own OLED production requirements for two of the iPhones it's expected to release this September.

March 23, 2018: A new report suggests that the Note 9 will have an in-display fingerprint sensor

As bezels continue to shrink, the mobile industry is being forced to come up with new ways to implement biometric security systems. This means moving fingerprint sensors to the back of phones, and in some cases, replacing them entirely with face-unlock setups.

According to a report from The Korea Herald, Samsung will use the Galaxy Note 9 as its first phone to ship with an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Per a source that spoke with The Herald

Samsung Display has prepared three or four solutions for Samsung Electronics to embed the fingerprint sensor inside of the main display, and both are seriously considering one of the solutions.

In addition to this, the anonymous source also noted that –

The delay in deciding on the final concept for the Note 9 is due to the work in adopting the in-display fingerprint sensor. A final decision on adoption of the technology will be made by this month.

Previous reports from earlier this month have indicated that Samsung would skip out on an in-display sensor for the Note 9, so it's hard to say for sure what'll come of this considering the back-and-forth we've heard. The Galaxy Note 9 would be a perfect showcase for this new technology, but if the sensors don't meet Samsung's criteria quite yet, we may not see this tech arrive on a Samsung phone until the S10.

February 27, 2018: Bixby 2.0 could make an appearance on the phone

During MWC 2018, Samsung's chief of mobile, DJ Koh, spilled some beans regarding Bixby 2.0.

Bixby 2.0 is expected to be a big improvement compared to its current iteration, offering things like a more natural-sounding voice and availability on more devices. Speaking to ZDNet, Koh said –

At this speed, I think we will be able to unveil Bixby 2.0 when we launch the Galaxy Note 9.

What will the Galaxy Note 9 look like?

Quick answer — a lot like the Note 8.

We've seen one collection of renders for the Note 9 so far (pictured above), and save for the fingerprint sensor being moved below the rear camera sensor, the phone's shaping up to be nearly identical to last year's model.

As such, we can expect a large Infinity Display with slim bezels, an all-glass back, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Samsung's event teaser suggests that we'll get at least one bright yellow color option, but I'm still crossing my fingers the Galaxy S9's Burgundy Red gets a wide release on the Note 9 🤞.

What specs can we look forward to?

Samsung's Galaxy Note phones are always home to some of the best specs around, and the Note 9 shouldn't be any different.

Based on the current rumor mill and what we've seen from other 2018 flagships, here's what we think we'll see this year.

Spec Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Specs
Operating system Android Oreo
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
or Exynos 9810
Screen 6.3-inch Quad HD (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED panel
18.5:9 aspect ratio
RAM 6GB / 8GB
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Expandability microSD up to 2TB
Battery 4,000 mAh
Connectivity USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Security Fingerprint sensor
Iris scanning
Face unlock
NFC Yes

When will the Galaxy Note 9 be released?

Galaxy Note 9 event image

The Galaxy Note 9 will be announced on August 9, 2018, at an Unpacked event in New York City.

We can expect retail availability to come in a 1-2 week time frame after the announcement, if any previous launches are any indication.

How much will the Galaxy Note 9 cost?

Pricing for the Note series has steadily been going up each year, as has the majority of the smartphone industry.

The Galaxy Note 8 costs $950 unlocked, and I'd expect the Note 9 to cost either the same or slightly more. Apple proved with the iPhone X that people aren't afraid to shell out $1000+ for a new smartphone, and I don't consider it to be out of the question for Samsung to follow suit with the Note 9 – especially if it adopts newer technologies like an in-display fingerprint sensor.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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Updated: June 29, 2018: Updated the spec sheet to coincide with latest rumors.