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Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 9 earlier this month, revealing a phablet that shows a lot of similarities to its previous model, the Galaxy Note 8, while boasting substantial hardware upgrades.
It is the latest in a string of new mobile devices to hit the market in 2018 - adding ever-growing complexity to the compatibility requirements of digital teams.
Assuming you're already testing across the Note 8, it might be hard to tell if the new release is likely to have implications for your website or app, so we'll break down the differences between the two.
Like the Note 8, the Note 9's size places it somewhere on the spectrum between phone and tablet, but the Note 9 has a slightly larger 6.4-inch screen. The display quality is excellent on both devices, with clear colors and deep blacks.
One change that might take a little getting used to is the fingerprint sensor—it's been moved from alongside the camera sensor to below it.
The most significant change in the Note 9 is the processor upgrade. This model features a newer, faster chip. In European markets, the Note 9 will be running on an Exynos 9810 chip; in the United States, it'll be powered by a Snapdragon 845.
The Note 8 uses the previous generations of these chips, and offers a maximum of 6GB of RAM. The Note 9 comes in 6GB and 8GB versions.
While the newer chips are undeniably faster, it's not likely the average user will notice much of a difference—both phablets open and run apps speedily.
One notable hardware difference is the battery. The electrical capacity of the Note 8's battery is 3,300mAh, while the Note 9 has a 4,000mAh battery pack that should enable it to last all day even when subjected to heavy usage.
The Note 9's S Pen stylus can do a lot more than the basic version included with the Note 8. This newer S Pen is Bluetooth-enabled, which means it can be used to take photos, play music, and click through slides with the touch of a button.
The Note 9 also eliminates the need for a DeX docking station if you want to run your Galaxy environment on a desktop computer. All you need to do now is connect the Note 9 to a computer with a USB-C or HDMI cable and you're good to go.
For its camera, the Note 9 uses the same system as the Galaxy S9+, but with added artificial intelligence enhancements to improve picture quality. The Note 8 doesn't have the same flaw-detecting functionality, but the picture quality of its camera is very nearly as good.
The Bottom Line
While there's no denying the Note 9's features and capability are impressive, it's not a huge leap forward over the Note 8 in terms of design, usability and functionality.
This release is unlikely to be quite as disruptive as others we've seen in 2018, but we encourage larger digital teams to consider adding it to their device pool.
If maintaining a suite of the latest devices is not practical for your organisation (and let's face it, it rarely is!), we can help. Bugwolf lets you access a full device lab at a moments notice.
Need help testing compatibility across your website or apps? We'd love to talk.
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