Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Hands On: Playing It Safe

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You won't be surprised to hear that all of the major carriers are getting in on the Galaxy Note 9 this year.

When you remove the S Pen from the Note 9, you'll notice a small button right in the middle of the pen. Order the Note 9 between August 10 and August 23, and Samsung will throw in either a pair of AKG noise-cancelling headphones - usually priced at $299 - or 15,000 Fortnite V-bucks, worth $150. It can click selfies too, and run you through PowerPoint presentations using the updated, dockless DeX feature.

"[The Note 9] will stand out in a sea of black phones out there", said Suzanne De Silva, Samsung director of product strategy and marketing, ahead of the launch. It is already evident that the Galaxy Note 9 will not be much different from its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 9. At a glance, the Note 9 is tough to tell apart from the Note 8, so are the relatively minor tweaks enough to justify an upgrade?

Other carryovers from the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ is the chipset - Exynos 9810 Octa - and the inclusion of stereo speakers (finally). At over 200g, it will be interesting to see how this impacts long-term usage, as we found weight to be a bit of a concern with the Galaxy Note 8 itself.

Not every use case of the new S Pen is going to apply to every Note 9 owner's life, but even in the limited time I spent with the phone, I began to see how I would make use of the built-in accessory if I were to switch phones.

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In the U.S., the Galaxy Note 9 with 128GB of storage will be carried by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Xfinity, and also sold through Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Straight Talk Wireless, Target, Walmart, and Samsung.com. New for the Note 9 is a intelligent camera system that uses AI to perform object recognition and detect blinks, notifying the user immediately if a shot is blurry or other issue.

Now, as previously reported, Samsung has partnered with Epic Games to launch Fortnite Mobile with a timed exclusive (rumoured to be 3-4 months), with the Note 9 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 believed to be the two devices that would get access to the game first. The camera is fast and responsive, images look great, and it feels very similar to the S9+'s shooting experience.

The Note9's camera gets an AI-powered scene optimizer. We're also running a live blog below.

If you decide to preorder the Note 9, you'll be able to take advantage of a special offer from Samsung.

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