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Intelligent camera

The Note9 gets the same camera setup as the Samsung Galaxy S9 launched earlier this year. You can read more about it here, and it has the same excellent low-light performance and dual 12 megapixels wide F1.5 and telephoto F2.4 lenses. Both have Optical Image Stabilisation and are capable of 2 x optical and 10 x digital zoom. So, expect excellent photo capabilities.

The Dual OIS rear cameras are the same as the excellent units in the Galaxy S9. The fingerprint sensor is in a better position too.

What is different than the S9 is the ‘intelligent’ camera features. First, there’s a Scene Optimiser mode. This analyses your  ‘scene’ and applies the appropriate adjustments to get the best shot. For example, we pointed the camera at a flower, and it adjusted to a macro mode. We shot a grassy outdoor scene, and it brightened up the greens. We also tested it on a bagel, and it identified our scene as ‘food’ and adjusted the settings. There are 20 individual scenes that it can recognise.

The scene optimiser can fine-tune your photos depending on what you want to shoot. It can even detect food.

The new Flaw Detection mode is an excellent way of avoiding common photo mistakes. It can detect smudged lanes, shooting into the sun, image blurring and when someone blinks. When this happens, for example, after you take the photo a message pops up on the screen saying that someone was blinking and you may want to take another shot.

It’s all about the games

Given its impressive processing power and large screen, it’s no surprise that the Note9 would make a great gaming phone. And with the massive interest in games like Epic Game’s Fortnite and Player Unknown Battle Grounds, Samsung has genuinely embraced the fun side of the Note9.

Samsung has arranged an exclusive deal with Fortnight Beta on Android, so the ONLY place you can play it is on Samsung Galaxy devices, starting with the S7 and including the Note9. There’s also a special Samsung ‘Galaxy’ skin. For those who love to play the Fortnite, and about 45 million do, this is a big reason to pick up this phone.

The incredibly popular Fortnight game comes to Android – exclusively on the Note9.

Also, gaming is one of the most challenging things to do on a phone because of the graphics demands and excess heat it creates. To remedy this, the Note9 comes equipped with a ‘Water Carbon Cooling System’. This consists of a carbon fibre heat spreader and a water-filled heat pipe to move heat quickly out of the device. It sounds good in theory and will be interesting to trial, as it can be frustrating when an hour of gaming heats up your phone and kills your battery.

As mentioned above, there’s the on-device AI based performance adjuster, so when a target temperature is reached, the system reduces different components to cool things off, while still delivering a decent gaming experience.

PC in a phone

Previous Note models could transform into a desktop computer with the help of the Samsung DeX docking station. Now, you can plug the Note9 directly into a computer monitor or TV to run apps in a full desktop view. While you don’t get the cooling fan found in the DeX docking station, the Note9 doesn’t need it. There are a couple of special adaptors that you can use including one with extra USB ports for a keyboard and mouse and an ethernet socket. Otherwise, you can connect both via Bluetooth instead.

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When and how much?

There’s an amazing deal when pre-ordering the Note9 before 23 August. You’ll get the 512GB model for the price of the 128GB model! This is a $300 savings! After 24 August 24 it costs $1,499 for the 128GB and $1799 for the 512GB model.

We’ll be putting the Samsung Galaxy Note9 through its paces over the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for our full review. Otherwise, Samsung’s new ‘ultra-premium’ model looks and feels great. It has some compelling features, including Fortnite, to draw a crowd.

Valens Quinn attended the Unpacked 2018 event in New York as a guest of Samsung Australia.