Yesterday, we headed up to Brooklyn for Samsung UNPACKED, where the company unveiled the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note9, the latest in Samsung’s premium Note series, along with a few other surprises thrown in for good measure.
First on deck was the Galaxy Note9, which expands on the popular Note8 with a bigger screen, larger battery, massive storage space, faster processor, intelligent camera, and new S Pen. It’s clear that the Note9 is gunning for the iPhone X, and it’s got the specs to back it up. Pull up a chair while we break it all down for you.
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 features the largest edge-to-edge displays ever on a Note, with a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display and stereo speakers tuned by AKG, to provide a truly immersive experience whether you’re playing games like Fortnite (which is coming to Android next week) or simply watching YouTube videos.
While the larger screen is nice, the real story here is with the insane 4,000mAh battery, which promises to deliver all-day performance so you don’t need to be constantly hunting for a free outlet to recharge your phone. Leave that charging cable behind and live worry free!
Storage concerns are also a thing of the past, with the “base” model Note9 coming with 128GB of internal storage, and the upgraded model sporting 512GB of storage. Paired with Samsung’s upcoming 512GB MicroSD card, the Note9 can hold up to 1TB, so you will never have to worry about running out of space again. Seriously, that’s more space than my laptop has..
The Galaxy Note9 is powered by a 10nm 64-bit Octa-core processor, and they have upped the ante with the addition of a Water Carbon Cooling system, along with an on-device AI-based performance adjusting algorithm to deliver powerful yet stable performance, keeping things cool no matter how processor-intensive your game or app is.
More would argue that the most important thing on a phone is the camera, so Samsung pulled out all of the stops here, with a unique combination of advanced intelligence features and premium hardware. Dual 12MP rear cameras (one wide-angle, one telephoto) capture all the action, with a Dual Aperture lens that adjusts to light just like the human eye to deliver a crystal clear shot no matter the setting.
But it’s the Note9’s new “intelligent camera capabilities” that have us excited, taking the work out of getting the perfect picture. The Scene Optimizer automatically identifies elements of a photo, classifies it into one of 20 categories, and optimizes the photo accordingly. And Flaw Detection lets you know if there’s something wrong (someone blinked, the image is blurry, a smudge on the lens, etc) so you can take another picture before the moment is lost.
Lastly, the Note’s signature S Pen has evolved. What began as a tool for writing and drawing is now putting more power and control in your hands. Now, with Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) support, the new S Pen allows you to take selfies and group pictures, present slides, pause and play music, and more with just a click. The S Pen charges in the phone in just under a minute, so it’s ready for you in a matter of moments.
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 will retail for $999.99 for the 128GB version and $1,249.99 for the 512GB version. Both phones will be available for purchase starting August 24th online and in stores, and they’re currently available for pre-order.
In addition, customers who pre-order either phone between now and August 23rd can choose between a pair of AKG noise-cancelling headphones ($299 retail) or the Fortnite Galaxy skin with 15,000 V-bucks ($150 retail) or get both for just $99.
Overall, we think Samsung really knocked it out of the park with the new Galaxy Note9. Sure, it’s easy to get a case of sticker shock when you see the price tag. But for those power users who rely on their phones on a daily basis, we think it’s a no-brainer.
Visit www.samsung.com to learn more about the Galaxy Note9. And stay tuned, as we’ll have more about the rest of the devices unveiled at Unpacked in the coming days!
Apple Plans To Slash Price Of iPhone XR In Japan To Boost Sales
It’s been less than a month since the iPhone XR was released, and unfortunately sales haven’t been as strong as Apple had hoped for.. So much so that Apple is planning to roll out subsidies to Japanese carriers, according to a report from Wall Street Journal. (This has been confirmed as of 11/26, with NTT Docomo offering a $100 savings on a 24-month contract)
Now it’s rare that you see Apple (or any smartphone maker) slashing prices within a month of a phone’s release. Add in the fact that Apple has lowered production orders for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, and it’s clear that trouble is a brewing in Cupertino. (If you’re still not convinced, just look at their stock price, which has taken quite a hit as of late)
Personally, I think Apple got a little overzealous with the pricing of their new phones, and the public has spoken.. by keeping their existing phones instead. I’m guilty of that myself, sticking with my iPhone 7, because the trade-in rate is abysmal (seriously Apple, $250?!) and I can’t justify spending an extra $500+ on a new phone when mine works just fine.
And that’s the issue that Apple and other smartphone makers currently face. For most people, it’s just not worth upgrading every year when improvements are marginal at best. The days of revolutionary features are behind us. Now it’s just a game of bigger screens & better cameras.
The big question now is whether Apple follow suit in the US. For now, I plan on sitting on the sidelines and waiting things out.
Palm Is Back With A Crazy Small 3.3-Inch Smartphone
In a world where smartphones keep getting bigger and bigger, Palm is taking a rather different approach, introducing a sleek little smartphone with an incredibly tiny 3.3-inch screen. When I first heard the news, I was excited, as I never understood the appeal of these gigantic phones that barely fit in one’s pocket.
Sadly, as I came to learn more about the new $350 Palm phone, I found out that the phone had some serious shortcomings.. Namely the fact that this isn’t a standalone phone, but rather a companion for your “regular” smartphone that you can take with you on a run or to the gym. So you still need to drop $600+ on another phone.
Confused? Join the club. Given the fact that a number of smart watches out there have already solved this problem (in a better form factor to boot), it’s a little unclear why Palm felt the need to introduce a device like this in the first place.
It’s a shame, because I think that Palm was really onto something here, bucking the “bigger is better” trend with a small phone that can do everything you need it to do (running Android 8.1 with access to all of the apps from the Google Play Store), at an accessible price.
But then they ruined everything by requiring people to add it as a second phone to their plan, and locking you into Verizon (the only carrier that the Palm works with). Like they say, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
That said, if you’re a Verizon customer that wants a smaller phone to take with them in lieu of their phablet, then you should check out The Verge’s review of the Palm. Or maybe just by a smartwatch like everyone else.
What do you guys think of the Palm smartphone?
Photo credit: Palm
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro Is One Sweet Phone.. Too Bad You Can’t Buy It
If you’re in the market for a smartphone packed with all of the bells and whistles, your choices are the iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3, Galaxy Note 9, or the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Unless you live in the United States that is, in which case you can scratch that last one off your list, as the Chinese smartphone maker isn’t welcome in the US anymore.
And that’s a shame, because Huawei makes some great phones. So much so that after nearly a decade of iPhone loyalty, I made the switch earlier this year to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and I couldn’t be any happier with my decision. The phone takes amazing pictures (which is most important to me), and it comes packed with cutting-edge features.
Now, Huawei is raising the bar with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, with an even greater focus on AI, a Leica Triple Camera, a new 7nm chipset, a larger 4200 mAh battery, wireless charging, and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. This phone features a 6.39-inch curved OLED screen with a 3120 x 1440 resolution (19.5:9 aspect ratio).
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is that Leica Triple Camera, which houses a 40 MP main camera, a 20 MP ultra wide-angle camera, and an 8 MP telephoto camera. Together, the trio of lenses supports a wide range of focal lengths (equivalent to the performance of a 16-270 mm zoom lens), enabling it to mimic the results from professional cameras, while still small enough to fit in your pocket.
In addition, the Mate 20 Pro features the Kirin 980 processor, which gives a huge improvement in both speed and power efficiency over the outgoing model (which was no slouch itself). It also allows the phone to step up it’s AI efforts. Real-time image processing can be done on video now, not just photos, while real-time object segmentation is more precise.
Besides superb performance, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro also features some big improvements on battery life. The smartphone’s large, high-density 4200 mAh battery supports SuperCharge, giving the device a 70% charge in 30 minutes. It also supports Wireless Quick Charge, along with Wireless Reverse Charge – where the phone acts as a power bank for other devices. Neat feature if you need to charge up your Bluetooth headphones or something.
Much like Face ID the iPhone XS, the Mate 20 Pro gets facial unlocking, which can be used not only to access your phone, but for specific software too. App Lock will allow you to secure individual apps, while File Cabinet will do the same thing but for files. In addition, the Mate 20 Pro gets an in-display fingerprint sensor, allowing you to press your fingertip against a certain part of the screen to unlock your phone.
All in all, the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro sounds like quite the phone, at least based on its specs. But seeing as how we can’t go to our local Best Buy or AT&T store to play with it for ourselves, it’s an expensive gamble to order one from Amazon sight unseen. And therein lies the rub.
What do you think of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro?