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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8: What’s the difference?

The Galaxy Note 9 is a subtle upgrade over the Note 8. But which Samsung phone should you consider buying? Here's a full comparison of the Note 9 vs Note 8.

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8: $930
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9: From $999.99
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a powerful but specialist phone with niche features and a stylus. It dwarfs even the big Galaxy S9 Plus and has an even larger screen than before. But how different is it to 2017’s Note 8?

Here we take a look at the quite similar phones to see what Samsung has changed for 2018 and help you decide whether to fork out for the Note 9 or get a now discounted Note 8 and save some cash.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 starts at £899. This gets you 128GB expandable storage and 6GB RAM. An eye-watering £1,099 version comes with 512GB on board.

In the UK, the Note 9 is available to pre-order now from Samsung, Carphone Warehouse, EE, and Vodafone.

The Note 9 is available to pre-order now with Samsung in the US

All pre-orders will ship by 24 August, when the Note 9 officially goes on sale.

The Note 8 originally retailed for £869/$930 but you can get it for much less now from Amazon UK and Amazon US. These prices are likely to go down even more as the Note 9 goes on sale.
The Note 9
DESIGN AND BUILD
In our Note 8 review we marvelled at the huge display and slim bezels that the Note 8 had, yet the Note 9 takes it further with even slimmer bezels and a larger screen. This isn’t immediately noticeable though, and the two phones look virtually identical from the front.

Samsung staunchly remains one of the few major Android manufacturers to not have any phones with a notch, and we commend them for it. The front and back glass of both phones is Gorilla Glass 5.

The cosmetic differences are in the S-Pen and cameras. The former sticks to the colour of the phone if you opt for the black or copper models, but a blue Note 9 comes with a bright yellow stylus.

It stands out, and a bit like new iPhone colours each season it’s a way to show the world you have the brand-new Note 9.

The rear cameras now have two distinctly different sized lenses, with the fingerprint sensor moving to below them rather than at the side of the cameras where it awkwardly sat on the Note 8.

Otherwise much is aesthetically the same – the S-Pen is stored in the phone on the bottom right as you hold it next to the down firing speaker grille, USB-C port and (hooray!) a headphone jack.

FEATURES AND SPECS
Samsung saved the differences for the internal specs. Most notable here on the Galaxy Note 9 is the 4,000mAh battery, up from the Note 8’s 3,300mAh. One of the major downsides to the Note 8 was its poor battery life, which wasn’t surprisingly given the size of the cell and the huge 6.3in AMOLED display.

The Note 9 will hopefully fare better with a larger battery powering its 6.4in AMOLED. Also inside the newer phone is an upgraded processor. Depending on your region this will be the Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 compared to the Exynos 8895 or Snapdragon 835 of the Note 8.

We found the Note 8 slowed down a touch over a year of use so hopefully the newer silicon is enough to keep the Note 9 zippy.

The Note 9 also comes in two different SKUs – either 6GB RAM and 128GB storage or a mad 8GB RAM and 512GB storage. With microSD expansion up to 512GB this means the top end Note 9 can technically hold 1TB, a first for a major smartphone.

The Note 8 has 6GB whether you get the 64GB, 128GB or 256GB version. The Note 9’s cameras best those of the Note 8 too, so while on the outside the phones look similar there are enough upgrades to keep you happy.

The S-Pen has Bluetooth for the first time with the Note 9. Using Bluetooth Low Energy, you can use it to take group shots if your phone is perched somewhere, flick through slides or play and pause music or video.

Here’s a full comparison of the specs of both phones:
Galaxy Note 9Galaxy Note 8
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 7.1.2 Nougat (upgradeable to Oreo)
Display6.4in Quad HD+ (2960x1440) 18.5:9 SuperAMOLED Infinity Display6.3in Quad HD+ (2960x1440) 18.5:9 SuperAMOLED Infinity Display 
ProcessorExynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845Exynos 8895 or Snapdragon 835
Memory6GB or 8GB6GB
Storage128GB or 512GB64GB (expandable up to 256GB via microSD)
Primary Camera12Mp + 12Mp dual-camera, dual-OIS, ISOCELL PlusDual 12Mp rear-facing cameras with OIS
Front Camera8Mp8Mp
Video Recording4K @ 60fps, Super slo-mo 720p @ 960fps, HDRUHD 4K (3840 x 2160)@30fps
WiFi11ac dual-band11ac dual-band
GPSYesYes
Bluetooth5.0 with aptX5.0 with aptX
NFCYesYes
Fingerprint scannerYesYes
Wireless chargingYes (fast-charging) Yes (Fast-charging)
ColoursOcean Blue, Lavender Purple, Metallic Copper, Midnight BlackMidnight Black, Maple Gold
PortsUSB-C, 3.5mm Headphone jackUSB-C, 3.5mm Headphone jack, S-Pen housing
WaterproofIP68IP68
Dimensions162 x 76.4 x 9mm75x163x8.6mm
Weight205g195g
Battery4000mAh3300mAh
SPECS
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Specs
  • Android Oreo 8.1
  • 6.4in 2960x1440 Super AMOLED, 516ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Samsung Exynos 9810
  • Adreno 630 or Mali-G72 MP18
  • 128GB/512GB storage
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 12Mp dual cameras, f/1.5-2.4 and OIS, f/2.4
  • 8Mp f/1.7 front facing camera
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • 4G LTE
  • Dual nano SIM option
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 4000mAh battery
  • IP68 waterproof
  • 161.2 x 76.4 x 9 mm
  • 205g

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