Slew of Galaxy Note 9 upgrades as Samsung targets power users

Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9 "phablet" in New York, promising better battery life and quick cooling to attract gamers and revive flagging sales.

Electronics giant Samsung officially announced its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 9, yesterday - the latest salvo in the fierce battle for dominance in the premium smartphone market.

While the Note 9's design is not a significant refresh from the year-old Note 8, Samsung has boosted specifications to cement its appeal.

Battery life, storage, speed and processing power have been upgraded to exceed or match its competitors, and Samsung's mobile honcho DJ Koh said the Note 9 is designed "for a level of performance, power and intelligence today's power users want and need".

The 6.4-inch Note 9 uses a 4,000mAh battery, up 21 per cent in terms of battery capacity from the Note 8. It is said to be able to last the entire day. In addition, Samsung has doubled its internal storage from that of its predecessor with a basic 128GB model and a high-end 512GB model. Expandable via a microSD card, the Note 9 could go up to 1TB in terms of storage space.

"Samsung is purely trying to compete on the numbers games - largest battery capacity, higher storage and more pixels," said Mr Loo Wee Teck, research firm head Euromonitor International's head of consumer electronics research.

The company has also upgraded its S Pen stylus. The S Pen comes with Bluetooth support, allowing users to use the stylus to remotely control the camera for selfies, present slides and play a video. "The Galaxy Note series kick-started the phablet trend (screen size larger than 5.5 inches) and its selling point was the stylus," said Mr Loo.

In terms of cameras, an increasingly important differentiating feature among smartphones, the Note 9 inherited the rear dual-camera system - a 12-megapixel f/1.5 wide-angle and a 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto camera - of its S9+ cousin, complete with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

As is expected for flagship phones, this Android 8.1 smartphone is armed with the latest processors - the Note 9 will come fitted either with Samsung's Exynos 9810 chip or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845.

The Note 9 also includes a water carbon cooling system to prevent overheating and an artificial intelligence system that automatically delivers a stable performance.

The phone is expected to be on sale in Singapore soon though local pricing and launch date have yet to been announced.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'Slew of Galaxy Note 9 upgrades as Samsung targets power users'. Print Edition | Subscribe