Siri might soon be able to tell who’s talking to it

Smart speakers like the Apple HomePod are at the heart of any smart home, but they require you to talk to an AI assistant, and being in the home they’re likely to be used by multiple people, which can be a problem if there’s just one profile on them. However, that could be something Apple will soon solve.

The company has filed a patent with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), detailing a system of 'user profiling for voice input processing.'

The patent describes the ability for Siri to store multiple user profiles and to recognize who’s talking to it based on the user’s voice, which the patent describes as a 'voice print'.

That way it could give tailored responses relevant to that user, such as things that are in their calendar. But it could also improve privacy, as this could also stop Siri giving away privileged information (such as the content of messages) to the wrong user.

This could one day be the process Siri goes through when you talk to it. (credit: USPTO)

Getting to know you

The system would apparently also allow Siri to build up a library for each profile, based on a user’s word and app usage among other things. In this way it would more accurately be able to understand a request.

This filing appears to follow on from an earlier patent application by Apple which came to light in April 2017, and detailed that Apple was working on a new security feature that identifies the acoustic properties of a user's voice before allowing them to use assistant. 

These sorts of features seem a logical next step for Siri, especially if Apple is serious about making inroads into the smart home, but it’s worth noting that this is just a patent, one of a huge number filed by the company, many of which never get implemented.

As such we wouldn’t count on seeing multi-user support for Siri imminently and it may not happen at all, but we also wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s in the works.

Via PocketNow

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Nokia 9 announcement teased for August 21

We’ve already seen one Nokia flagship this year, in the form of the Nokia 8 Sirocco, but that used an old chipset, and the phone we really want is the Nokia 9. Well, the wait for that might almost be over, as Nokia Mobile itself has teased that a new phone is coming on Tuesday, August 21 – and it sounds a lot like a flagship.

In a Tweet, Nokia Mobile posted an image showing a silhouette of a handset along with the text ‘get ready to unveil the most awaited phone’, while text accompanying the image stated the announcement would be happening on Tuesday.

The teaser text and image don’t provide any other details, but we can’t think of any other Nokia-branded phone that’s as highly anticipated as the Nokia 9, so that seems the obvious candidate.

All quiet on the Nokia front

The only thing that makes us think it might not be the Nokia 9 is that news of the phone has been quiet lately, which is odd, since flagships are normally extensively leaked ahead of launch.

Still, there have been some rumors, so if this is the Nokia 9 then we have an idea of what to expect. Apparently it could have a 5.7-inch curved screen, a metal body, water resistance, dual-lens cameras on both the front and back, a Snapdragon 845 chipset, and a 3,800mAh battery.

If those specs are accurate then the Nokia 9 could be the phone we were hoping the Nokia 8 Sirocco would be – so put Tuesday 21 in your diary if you’re after a genuine Nokia flagship.

Via PhoneArena

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Pixel 3 XL caught on camera with a massive notch

We’ve seen various renders of the upcoming Pixel 3 XL, but now we may have seen our first photo of the phone in the flesh – and it doesn’t make the best first impression.

Shared by a reader of MobileSyrup, the photo was apparently taken on a streetcar in Toronto, and it shows a phone with an enormous notch, by which we don’t just mean a wide notch, but one which sticks out into the screen more than we’ve been used to seeing.

This doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as the notch looks similarly large in renders we've seen, but it’s a lot more noticeable in this real-world shot. A notch this size also means that if you choose to hide it (by blacking out the screen to either side) the Pixel 3 XL will effectively have a massive bezel.

There’s not much else to take from the image, but you’ll note that there’s also a bezel below the screen, housing a speaker.

This could be our first real look at the Pixel 3 XL. Credit: MobileSyrup

Looks legit

While we can’t be certain that this is the Pixel 3 XL (especially since much of it is obscured by a case) it does seem to match up with leaked renders, and you can just about make out Android Pie’s gesture navigation at the bottom of the screen, which the Pixel 3 XL is sure to feature.

However, we’d still take this with a pinch of salt, especially since – as 9to5Google notes – the battery icon doesn’t appear to be in its normal Android position.

It’s also worth noting that, of the two main rumored Pixel 3 XL screen sizes, we’re probably looking at a 6.2-inch version rather than a 6.7-inch one, given the phone’s size relative to its user’s hands. That makes sense, as 6.7 inches always sounded a bit big to be true.

We should know everything for certain soon though, as the Pixel 3 XL will probably land in early October, alongside the standard Pixel 3.

  • The Pixel 2 XL will have to compete with the iPhone 11
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Eight Motorola phones are getting Android Pie

Wondering whether your Moto handset will be getting a slice of Android Pie? We now have the answer, as Motorola has revealed which phones will be getting the update.

The company claims that the Moto Z3, Moto Z3 Play, Moto Z2 Force, Moto Z2 Play, Moto X4, Moto G6 Plus, Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play will all be getting updated to Android Pie.

No exact timescale is given, but apparently the updates will start ‘this fall’, so some of the phones on that list will presumably get Android Pie in the next few months.

Notable omissions

None of the phones lined up for an update are surprising, but what is surprising are that certain others aren’t listed, especially the Moto E5 range, which launched this year, and the Moto G5 and Moto G5S ranges, which landed in 2017.

It’s not clear whether this is the final list or whether other phones such as those ones might be updated at a later date, but Motorola never promised long-term support for these phones, so if you’re rocking one of Motorola’s lower end handsets or a G-range phone that’s not one of the latest models then at the very least it doesn’t sound like you’ll be getting Android 9 any time soon.

Which is a shame, because Android Pie comes with lots of tasty updates. Owners of phones that will be getting Pie can look forward to a refined interface, potentially longer battery life and more.

Via PocketNow

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro front panel images point to an in-screen scanner

The Huawei Mate 20 or Huawei Mate 20 Pro could be the first truly mainstream phone with an in-screen fingerprint scanner. It’s a rumor we’ve heard before and now there’s visual evidence to back it up, in the form of images supposedly showing the front panel of the phone.

Posted on Weibo (a Chinese microblogging site) and spotted by digi.tech.qq, it’s not clear whether the images show the standard Mate 20 or the Pro version.

But based on the shaky auto translation it seems to be saying that the phone will have an in-screen fingerprint scanner, which suggests this is the Mate 20 Pro model we’re looking at, as the standard Mate 20 is less likely to have this cutting-edge tech.

Other features of the phone according to this source include a curved design, visible in the images, and a large notch at the top housing a 3D-sensing camera for advanced facial recognition.

This could be the Huawei Mate 20 Pro's front panel. Credit: digi.tech.qq / Weibo

A next-gen chipset

As ever, we’d take these images with a huge pinch of salt. We could be looking at any phone here, but the claims don’t sound unbelievable, and they’re not the only Huawei Mate 20 news either, as we’ve also heard about the chipset likely to be powering it.

That specifically is the Kirin 980, which according to Globe Mobiles – citing Chinese news source CNMO – will have eight cores, with the four highest power ones being clocked at 2.8GHz (up from 2.4GHz on the Kirin 970 in the Huawei P20 range).

The chipset is said to be built on a 7nm architecture with four Cortex-A77 cores and four lower-power Cortex-A55 ones. It’s also apparently got a 24-core Mali-G72 MP24 graphics processing unit (GPU), a second-gen neural processing unit (NPU), faster image processing and an LTE modem capable of 1.6Gbps download speeds.

In short it sounds like the sort of chip we’d expect a late-2018 flagship to have. None of these features are confirmed, but we should see the Huawei Mate 20 officially in or around October or November, so we’ll know exactly how powerful it is then.

Via PocketNow

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro front panel images point to an in-screen scanner

The Huawei Mate 20 or Huawei Mate 20 Pro could be the first truly mainstream phone with an in-screen fingerprint scanner. It’s a rumor we’ve heard before and now there’s visual evidence to back it up, in the form of images supposedly showing the front panel of the phone.

Posted on Weibo (a Chinese microblogging site) and spotted by digi.tech.qq, it’s not clear whether the images show the standard Mate 20 or the Pro version.

But based on the shaky auto translation it seems to be saying that the phone will have an in-screen fingerprint scanner, which suggests this is the Mate 20 Pro model we’re looking at, as the standard Mate 20 is less likely to have this cutting-edge tech.

Other features of the phone according to this source include a curved design, visible in the images, and a large notch at the top housing a 3D-sensing camera for advanced facial recognition.

This could be the Huawei Mate 20 Pro's front panel. Credit: digi.tech.qq / Weibo

A next-gen chipset

As ever, we’d take these images with a huge pinch of salt. We could be looking at any phone here, but the claims don’t sound unbelievable, and they’re not the only Huawei Mate 20 news either, as we’ve also heard about the chipset likely to be powering it.

That specifically is the Kirin 980, which according to Globe Mobiles – citing Chinese news source CNMO – will have eight cores, with the four highest power ones being clocked at 2.8GHz (up from 2.4GHz on the Kirin 970 in the Huawei P20 range).

The chipset is said to be built on a 7nm architecture with four Cortex-A77 cores and four lower-power Cortex-A55 ones. It’s also apparently got a 24-core Mali-G72 MP24 graphics processing unit (GPU), a second-gen neural processing unit (NPU), faster image processing and an LTE modem capable of 1.6Gbps download speeds.

In short it sounds like the sort of chip we’d expect a late-2018 flagship to have. None of these features are confirmed, but we should see the Huawei Mate 20 officially in or around October or November, so we’ll know exactly how powerful it is then.

Via PocketNow

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Leaked Huawei Mate 20 Lite press renders show phone in full

A couple of weeks ago we saw some basic images of the Huawei Mate 20 Lite, but now we’ve had a much better look at the phone, as detailed renders have been leaked.

Shared by leaker Roland Quandt and WinFuture, the images show the Mate 20 Lite in both black and gold shades, and you can see that there’s a notch in the screen and a slim bezel at the bottom.

Other details include a dual-lens camera on both the front and back, a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, a single LED flash and what looks to be a glass rear with slightly rounded edges and a metal frame. You can also make out a 3.5mm headphone port.

This is the closest look we’ve had yet at the Huawei Mate 20 Lite and the images match what we’ve seen before, so there’s a good chance they’re accurate.

Lite by name, mid-range by nature

They don’t come with any specs, but we’ve heard detailed specs rumors in the past, suggesting the phone will have a 6.3-inch 1080 x 2340 display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, a 2.2GHz octa-core chipset that’s likely the Kirin 710, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 20MP and 2MP camera pairing on the back, a 24MP and 2MP pairing on the front and a 3,650mAh battery.

That would put the Huawei Mate 20 Lite comfortably in the upper mid-range, and we should see it soon, as the phone is likely to land in October or November alongside the Huawei Mate 20 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Via GSMArena

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Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy A series triple-lens camera specs leaked

It’s been whispered for a while that the Samsung Galaxy S10 might have a triple-lens camera, but now we know the possible specs of it.

According to sources in the parts industry, speaking to ETNews, two models of the Samsung Galaxy S10 will have a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 16MP super wide-angle lens and a 13MP telephoto lens, though they don’t mention the apertures or say whether one of the lenses will have a variable aperture, like it does on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and other recent Samsung flagships.

A third, more basic model of the Samsung Galaxy S10 is also thought to be in the works and this one is said to only have two rear cameras. The sources don’t say what two lenses, but we’d guess it will lack the super-wide one mentioned above.

From flagships down

It’s not just flagships from Samsung that might be getting three rear cameras though, as the sources also claim that new models in Samsung’s Galaxy A series will get three lenses. They won’t use the same lenses though, with a combination of a 32MP, 8MP and 5MP lens rumored.

Apparently Samsung might put triple-lens cameras on everything from flagships down to entry-level handsets in 2019, and it’s thought that a new Galaxy A model will be the first to sport them, rather than the Samsung Galaxy S10, with the former likely to be announced in December 2018 or January, and the latter in February.

Triple-lens cameras could be a big thing in general for smartphones next year though, not just for Samsung, as the LG V40 is also rumored to have at least that many, as is Apple’s 2019 iPhone. And of course we’re sure Huawei will stick with at least three rear cameras for some of its phones.

Via PhoneArena

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The best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 cases we’ve seen so far

With a starting price of $1,000/£899/AU$1,499, which only rises if you want more RAM and storage, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is at the very top tip of smartphone pricing, and you'll probably want to keep it safe.

The fact it's made of rather a lot of glass can be a worrying thing for many, so you’re probably going to want to put the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in a case to help keep it in one piece.

The good news is there are already loads to choose from. The bad news is they’re not all made equal, and sifting through them to find the best is hard work.

That’s why we’ve done it for you. All the cases below look to be great options and we’ve covered a range of styles and price points. 

Note, however, that while we’ve researched these cases we haven’t actually used them, we've looked to shake out some interesting cases from trusted brands.

Note: we've ranked these from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.

The Ringke Fusion Case looks to be a good option if you’re feeling a bit poor after your Note 9 purchase and don’t want to shell out too much on a case.

But while it’s cheap and might look a bit flimsy it should actually do a solid job of keeping your phone safe, as the Ringke Fusion case has cushioned corners and offers MIL-STD 810G - 516.6 Certified Military Grade Drop Protection.

It also comes with a wrist strap, and the case is transparent, so you can fully see the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 through it.

The Olixar Sentinel Case puts protection first, with a tough yet flexible design that’s built to absorb and deflect shocks and impacts. It’s also made to be easy to grip, and the case itself should stay looking pristine thanks to an anti-scratch and anti-fingerprint design.

The rugged looks could prove divisive, but the Sentinel Case does have some nice design details in the form of carbon fiber and brushed metal effects.

And you get more than just a case here, as the Olixar Sentinel also comes with a tempered glass screen protector, so you can keep the front of your phone as safe as the back.

The Spigen Tough Armor Case looks to live up to its name thanks to air-cushioned corners and dual-layer protection, keeping the back and sides of your Galaxy Note 9 safe from damage.

The screen isn’t covered here, but there is the expected lip around it to offer some protection and despite being tough – and even packing in a kickstand - the Spigen Tough Armor also manages to be slimmer than you might expect.

The design is perhaps a little plain and like most cases the build is plastic, but you can at least get the case in a handful of different colors, to match or contrast your phone.

This wallet case from Snakehive might seem expensive, but it's not too bad given it  made from leather.

As well as looking great it also offers a fair amount of protection, as unlike most cases on this list it keeps the screen covered most of the time as well as the back and sides.

And this is a dual-purpose case, because it also has slots inside for cash and cards, letting you leave your wallet at home, so you don’t have to stuff your pockets.

Want leather but not a wallet? Then your options are limited, but the Krusell Sunne Cover should suit your needs.

Available in nude, black, cognac or red, this leather case just covers the back and sides of the Galaxy Note 9, meaning it’s slimmer than most wallet cases and the screen is always at the ready – though also less protected.

It looks good and suitably high quality for a phone as expensive as the Note 9, though it doesn’t go as far with its protection claims as some cases, so you might still want to treat your phone like the highly priced piece of fragile tech that it is.

Being an official Samsung case this is unsurprisingly expensive, but it’s also a bit different to most cases out there, as the Samsung Clear View Standing Case has a transparent flap on the front, keeping the screen protected without stopping you from seeing notifications and the time.

The case can also fold out into a stand, making it handy if you plan to watch any lengthy video content on your Note 9.

And the front flap also apparently doubles as a mirror when not in use, which could be a pro or a con depending on how happy you are to be confronted with your own visage.

Another official Samsung case, and this one is even more expensive. The idea is similar to the case above, with a front flap that lets you see your notifications, but the implementation here is slightly more stylish, as rather than being transparent it’s got a fabric-like look that allows your notifications to appear like an LED dot matrix.

That look extends to the back, making it a much more interesting and less plain case than the Clear View one, and it also benefits from a credit card slot tucked away inside.

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Palm’s first phone in years has leaked and it’s tiny

The Palm brand name hasn’t been attached to a smartphone in almost a decade, but it looks like it’s going to make a comeback, as a new Palm-branded phone has leaked. 

But this is no iPhone X competitor, or really a rival to any major phone, as it’s absolutely tiny, and would be coming from TCL, the maker of the rebooted BlackBerry phones.

According to a source speaking to Android Police, the phone – which is apparently codenamed ‘Pepito’ – has just a 3.3-inch LCD screen, potentially making it a godsend for anyone who hates the trend of ever larger phone screens.

It apparently has a 720p resolution, which at that size could actually be pretty sharp, and it also supposedly has an appropriately-tiny 800mAh battery.

The rest of the specs aren’t quite so small, as the Palm Pepito is said to have 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a Snapdragon 435 chipset. That’s low-end indeed but puts it roughly between the Nokia 5 and the Moto G6, rather than at the very bottom of the smartphone heap.

You can see images of the new Palm and its tiny battery above, showing off a single-lens rear camera, a curvy shape and a metallic frame, but unlike earlier Palm phones there's no hardware keyboard.

Apparently it will come in titanium and gold shades, and run Android 8.1, but doesn’t have a headphone jack.

What the source doesn’t say is how much the Pepito will cost or when it will launch, but it sounds like it might not be widely available, as all they know on that front is that it’s coming to Verizon in the US.

We’d expect it will land at the very budget end of the market assuming all this information is true, but whether there even is much of a market for a phone that small remains to be seen.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung’s brand-new phablet flagship, but the company has already launched one phablet flagship this year in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

Not only that, but some of the core specs are identical, so just how much is different? And how does the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 stand out?

Some aspects are obvious – it has a stylus for one, which we’ll look at more below, but there are plenty of other differences too, as well as plenty of things that have stayed the same. Read on for an overview of them all.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy S9 Plus design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a glass back, a metal frame and slim bezels above and below the screen. So, for that matter, does the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. 

The latter handset is perhaps slightly curvier, but they otherwise look very similar, especially from the front.

The main difference on the back is the orientation of the camera, as while the two lenses are side by side on the Galaxy Note 9, they’re arranged vertically on the Galaxy S9 Plus.

The Galaxy Note 9 is a slightly bigger phone than the S9 Plus

The dimensions and weight of the two handsets differ of course, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 coming in at 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm and 201g and the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus being 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm and 189g. 

Which is to say, the S9 Plus is smaller in every dimension, as well as being slightly lighter. Of course it also has a smaller screen, which we’ll get to below.

Before that though it’s worth noting that both phones are IP68 certified, meaning they’re dust proof and water-resistant for up to 30 minutes at a depth of up to 1.5 meters.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy S9 Plus display

The S9 Plus has a big screen, but the Note 9's is even bigger

While these are both big phones, the Galaxy Note 9 is the largest, thanks to its 6.4-inch screen. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus on the other hand has a 6.2-inch one.

However, both phones have a curved Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2960, leading to a pixel density of 516 pixels per inch in the case of the Note 9 and 529 pixels per inch in the case of the S9 Plus.

That’s not a difference you’re likely to notice much, but the size difference might be slightly more noticeable. Make no mistake though, these are both big screens.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy S9 Plus OS and power

Both the Note 9 and Galaxy S9 Plus run Android Oreo (specifically version 8.0 in the case of the Galaxy S9 Plus and 8.1 in the case of the Galaxy Note 9). They’re also likely to be supported with software updates until roughly the same point.

The Galaxy Note 9 does have some software highlights that the Galaxy S9 Plus lacks though, as while both handsets include Samsung’s Bixby assistant (and a dedicated hardware button to launch it), the Note 9 also has an S Pen stylus.

This lets you write and sketch almost like you would with a pen on paper, as well as allowing you to use the stylus as a remote for pausing music, taking photos and the like.

A feature offered by both phones but potentially easier to use on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is DeX. That’s the name for Samsung’s desktop experience that turns your phone into more of a PC when you hook it up to a monitor, but while the S9 needs a dock to achieve this, the Note 9 just needs an HDMI adaptor.

The S Pen is one way the Note 9 stands out from the Galaxy S9 Plus

Moving from software to specs, both phones have either a Snapdragon 845 chipset (if you’re in the US) or an Exynos 9810 (if you’re not). These are the most powerful mobile chipsets from Qualcomm and Samsung respectively, so neither phone will have any shortage of power.

You can get a bit more power with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 though, as it comes with up to 8GB of RAM (though a 6GB version is also offered). The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus meanwhile only comes with 6GB.

You can also get more storage in the Note 9, with both 128GB and 512GB models offered, while the Galaxy S9 Plus comes with either 64GB or 128GB, and the availability of those sizes is region-dependent. Still, you shouldn’t run short of space with either phone, since both also have a microSD card slot.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy S9 Plus camera

From a hardware perspective these phones have much the same cameras. They both have a dual-lens 12MP camera on the back, with one lens being an f/2.4 telephoto one and the other being a wide-angle lens with an aperture that can switch from f/1.5 to f/2.4.

Both lenses also have optical image stabilization (OIS), and the two phones are capable of 2x optical zoom using their telephoto lenses. Both phones also have an 8MP f/1.7 front-facing camera.

The two phones have similar camera hardware, but slightly different software

It’s an impressive setup, and in our review of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus we found that the results were just as impressive, but the Note 9 might have a slight edge when it comes to software, as it certainly has some extra features.

For one thing, it’s got the ability to automatically recognize elements of a photo, optimizing the settings to capture it at its best.

We’ve seen this idea on a number of phones, but a more unusual feature is the ability for it to alert you to any issues with a shot you’ve just taken. Examples include blur in the image, a smudge on the lens or someone blinking in the shot. By alerting you immediately it gives you the opportunity to take the photo again.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy S9 Plus battery

At 3,500mAh the battery in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is quite big, but it’s dwarfed by the 4,000mAh one in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Whether that will lead to better life from the new phone remains to be seen, especially as it has a bigger screen to power, but the S9 Plus already offers all-day life, so if the Note 9 can at least match that then it will be solid.

It’s worth noting that both phones also support fast charging and wireless charging, so when they do run low on battery they should be easy to juice up again.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy S9 Plus price and availability

In the US you can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 from August 10 and it should be with you by August 24, but it’s not cheap, coming in at $999.99 (£899, around AU$1,350) for the 128GB version and $1,249.99 (£1,099, roughly AU$1,685) for the 512GB model. We don’t have Australian prices yet but expect it to be up there with the priciest phones around.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus isn’t cheap either, but it is cheaper. It launched at $840 (£869, AU$1,349), though can now be found for a good $100 (£100) less in some stores.

Both phones are very expensive, but the Note 9 more so

Takeaway

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is an even bigger, even more feature-packed alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, but most of the core specs are similar, so whether it’s worth the extra will likely come down to how much you care about things like its S Pen.

The battery life could be a big factor too, if that larger juice pack translates into longer life – we’ll answer that question once we’ve put the Note 9 through a full review.

But ultimately if you want Samsung’s latest and greatest phablet the Note 9 may well be it, though you could get a largely similar phone for a fair bit less if you opt for the S9 Plus instead.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8

After months of leaks, rumors and speculation the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has finally arrived, and while there weren’t many surprises left for the launch, this is still an exciting phone, with top-end tech and some innovative features.

But how does it compare to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8? Samsung’s previous phablet flagship is just a year old and still a great handset in its own right, so how much has really changed and improved here?

To help answer that question we’ve put the two phones head to head, comparing them across all the key categories, from design to screen to camera and beyond.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8 design

From a design perspective not much has changed. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has slim bezels above and below its curved screen, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Both phones also have a metal frame and a glass back, with the main visual change simply being the position of the fingerprint scanner. On the Galaxy Note 8 this is to the right of the dual-lens camera, while on the Galaxy Note 9 it’s just below the camera.

That means it’s slightly lower down on the Note 9, and in a more central position that’s likely to be easier to reach for most people.

The Note 9 looks very similar to the Note 8 other than its fingerprint scanner position

Another difference is in their dimensions and weight, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 coming in at 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm and 201g, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm and 195g.

There’s not much difference then, but the Note 9 is slightly shorter wider, thicker and heavier, but not as long.

Oh, and for one final similarity: both phones are IP68-certified, meaning they’re dustproof, and water-resistant to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8 display

You won’t find a huge difference between the screens of these two phones either – though huge is an accurate description for both.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a 6.4-inch 1440 x 2960 Super AMOLED screen, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has a 6.3-inch display of the same type and resolution.

The Note 8's screen is slightly smaller than the Note 9's

That does mean the Note 8 has a marginally higher pixel density of 521 pixels per inch to the Note 9’s 516, but it's a difference we’d challenge anyone to notice.

We’ll put the Galaxy Note 9’s screen to the test for our full review, but we expect good things, as our Galaxy Note 8 review concluded that its screen was excellent.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8 OS and power

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but while the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has now been updated to Android 8.0, it started on Android 7. That’s relevant because while the software is similar now, the Note 9 will almost certainly be supported with updates for longer.

Both phones have similar software highlights. There’s Bixby for one – Samsung’s AI assistant that comes baked in.

Then there’s the S Pen stylus, which lets you write by hand as well as do useful things like write notes on the screen even when it’s off.

However, the S Pen has been improved for the Galaxy Note 9 with the addition of Bluetooth connectivity, so you can click the S Pen to remotely play or pause music, take photos, present slides and more. And while it needs charging to use you can do so in under a minute.

Both phones have a stylus, but the Note 9's has more skills

Another feature that’s been improved for the Note 9 is DeX. This is a feature that lets you hook your phone up to a monitor for a PC-like experience. But while the Note 8 needs a docking station for this, with the Galaxy Note 9 you just need an HDMI adaptor.

As for the power, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 you’re getting a Snapdragon 845 chipset if you’re in the US and an Exynos 9810 elsewhere in the world. These are both top-end chips, and they’re the same as the ones you’ll find in the Samsung Galaxy S9.

They’re also a step up from what’s in the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, with the US version of that phone having a Snapdragon 835 and the global model an Exynos 8895, both of which were top-end when the phone launched in 2017. While not top-end any more, they’re still very much in the upper echelons.

The Galaxy Note 9 also has more storage and potentially more RAM, as there’s both a 6GB RAM model with 128GB of storage and an 8GB of RAM version with 512GB of storage. The Note 8, on the other hand, comes with just 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. Both phones also have a microSD card slot though – if you get the 512GB Note 9 and slot in a 512GB you'll be one of the first people packing a 1TB mass-market smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8 camera

Samsung has borrowed from the Galaxy S9 for the camera on the Note 9, which means it should be an upgrade on the Note 8’s snapper.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a dual-lens rear camera, with one lens being a variable-aperture wide-angle one which can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4, while the other lens is a telephoto one with a fixed f/2.4 aperture. Both lenses also sport optical image stabilization (OIS).

Their features include 2x optical zoom, intelligent scene recognition (with the camera able to optimize its settings based on what’s in the viewfinder), and a flaw detection tool, which will alert you when you take a photo that’s, for example, blurred or one in which the subject blinked, giving you a chance to take a better shot before you miss the moment.

The Galaxy Note 8's camera lacks a variable aperture

The Galaxy Note 8 also has a dual-lens camera, but there’s no variable aperture here. Instead it has a 12MP lens with an f/1.7 aperture and another 12MP lens with an f/2.4 one. Both lenses do still sport OIS though while the f/2.4 lens is also capable of 2x optical zoom.

The Note 8 lacks the Note 9’s intelligent camera features listed above, but it’s still capable of great shots. It also has an 8MP f/1.7 front-facing camera, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8 battery

Samsung has massively increased the battery size for the Galaxy Note 9, bringing it up to 4,000mAh, from just 3,300mAh in the Galaxy Note 8.

In our review we tended to find the Galaxy Note 8 offered all-day life, so we’d be surprised if you don’t get at least that much from the Note 9. We’ll be interested to see whether it can get far into a second day or not though.

Both phones support fast and wireless charging, so juicing them up won't be a problem.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8 price and availability

At the time of writing we don’t have price information for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in the Australia, but in the US and UK at least you’ll be able to pre-order the phone from August 10 and August 9 respectively, and it will hit stores on August 24 at a price of $999.99 (£899, around AU$1,350) for the 128GB model and $1,249.99 (£1,099, roughly AU$1,685) for the 512GB version.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is of course available now, and it’s a fair bit cheaper. It launched at $929 (£869, AU$1,499), but is now available for several hundred dollars/pounds less if you shop around.

Samsung's latest is an expensive phone

Takeaway

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 looks very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, but under the surface quite a few things have changed, from the battery to the camera, chipset, RAM, storage and screen.

Some changes are bigger than others, and few come as much of a surprise – especially given all the leaks ahead of launch – but on paper the Note 9 looks to be about what we’d expect.

We’ll let you know exactly how well all the features come together, and just how good the Galaxy Note 9 is, once we’ve had more time with it, but based on the specs it looks set to please Note fans, while the Galaxy Note 8 has now become a far more affordable but still fairly high-end option.

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Oreo is coming to many mid and low-end Samsung phones, but not until 2019

While Android Pie has now been announced and will be headed to various high-end and high-profile handsets before too long, those using mid-range and low-end Samsung phones will in many cases still be waiting for Android Oreo. 

But we now know that update is coming to many of them – though not until 2019.

SamMobile has spotted that Samsung’s latest update roadmap lists various devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017), Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2017), Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro and others (all shown in the image below), as getting Android Oreo in January 2019.

However, for many of these devices this seems to be a delay, as a previous roadmap had them listed for December 2018. And some will be waiting even longer, with the Galaxy J7 Max down for a February update and the Galaxy J7 (2016) not scheduled to get Oreo until March.

However, the Galaxy J7 Neo at least seems to be sticking with the old schedule and getting a December 2018 update.

This is Samsung's current Oreo roadmap. Credit: SamMobile

Making exceptions

It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy J7 (2016) is an oddity here as it has already had one major Android update and usually Samsung’s budget devices are only eligible for one. Whether this is an exception or a sign that this policy is changing is unclear.

Given that this roadmap has changed once, don’t be surprised if it changes again, so the wait might be even longer for some of these devices or they might not get the update at all. Indeed the roadmap notes that “if a review finds that certain models cannot ensure optimal usability, they may be excluded from the OS update.”

Further complicating things is the fact that the schedule can vary by region. We wouldn’t expect massive differences, but if you have a Samsung phone you can check for yourself in the Samsung Members app.

Via AndroidCommunity

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Snapdragon 670 brings more power, better cameras and smarter AI to the mid-range

Qualcomm has just announced the Snapdragon 670, its mid-range successor to the Snapdragon 660 (found in the likes of the Nokia 7 Plus and BlackBerry Key2), and it sounds like an improvement in a lot of ways.

The chipset has eight cores, two of which are performance cores clocked at up to 2.0GHz, while the other six are efficiency cores, clocked at up to 1.7GHz.

Overall it should offer up to 15% higher CPU performance and up to 25% faster graphics rendering than the Snapdragon 660. This should lead to a smoother interface, faster app launch times and better gaming experiences.

But AI performance sounds like it has been given even more of a boost, with Qualcomm claiming that it’s up to 1.8 times better.

Cameras and media

Camera performance also looks to have been improved. The Snapdragon 670 supports single-lens cameras of up to 25MP and dual-lens ones of up to 16MP, and should do a good job of noise reduction.

Phones with this chip will also be able to shoot slow motion footage in better quality while using less battery than they would with the Snapdragon 660. Plus, 4K video recording should use 30% less power, so you can shoot for longer.

Multimedia is a big focus for the Snapdragon 670 too. It supports displays with FHD+ resolution, as well as hi-fi audio and both 4K video capture and playback, complete with features like surround sound recording.

It’s not yet known which upcoming phones will use the Snapdragon 670, but we’d expect it will start turning up in upper mid-range handsets soon.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 could be cheaper than expected

Until now the main UK price rumor for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 put it at roughly £950 (around $1,225/AU$1,650) for the 128GB model and £1,150 (roughly $1,500/AU$2,000) for the 512GB version, but a new leak suggests it might not be quite so harsh on the wallet after all.

Reputable leaker Roland Quandt has tweeted that the UK price of the 128GB Galaxy Note 9 will be £899 (around $1,160/AU$1,560) and the price of the 512GB model will be £1,099 (roughly $1,420/AU$1,910).

Now, that’s not a huge difference, but it’s still nice to see that the phone might be less than we thought, and these prices are almost certainly more accurate than the earlier leak, as Quandt was responsible for that as well but listed the prices as approximate, while this time he sounds sure.

Getting ahead of the announcement

And that’s not the only Note 9 news, as marketing materials – which look like they may be used during the announcement event – have also now leaked on Winfuture.

We can’t be certain that these are genuine, especially as they don’t actually reveal anything that hasn’t already been rumored, but they look convincing enough.

The images highlight the Bluetooth-enabled S Pen, the ability to hook the phone up to a monitor for a PC-like experience with a single cable, and various camera skills, such as its ability to adapt the settings based on what you’re shooting and alert you to imperfect photos.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is being announced on August 9 and we’ll be there, bringing you all the news as it happens, but don’t be surprised if some of these images make an appearance.

Via PocketNow and SamMobile

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