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13 min read 44 comments

What's going on with the Galaxy Note 9's mystery "button"?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be next in the Korean company's popular premium phablet range, and is expected to arrive in early August. Of course, rumors and leaks are dropping like crazy in the run up to the release. The latest? Rumors are circulating about a mysterious new button...but what does it do?

A new button on the next Samsung device? An interesting move from Samsung, given that the Bixby button, introduced on the Galaxy S8 isn't exactly well-loved. Nonetheless, it looks like Samsung is pushing ahead with its vision for special buttons on the Note 9.

According to the Korean Herald, the Galaxy Note 9’s new button will appear on the lower side of the phone. This lines up with an earlier image leaked by Android Headlines purporting to show a protective case with five cutouts for buttons instead of four.

We don't know exactly what this button will be used for but the Herald notes that Samsung recently filed a trademark for “perfect capture technology",  suggesting that the button could either be a camera shutter key or a shortcut to perform a screenshot.

The current screenshot method on Samsung phones is kind of awkward. Either you have to press power and volume-down, or drag the side of your hand across the screen. I know that the former method especially tends to lead to accidentally adjusting the volume instead.

But perhaps this potential "perfect capture" button could do more than capture simple screenshots. There are plenty of features that could do with a fast button shortcut, such as to quickly activate slow motion video, or perhaps Samsung is making a bid for the now trendy market of mobile gamers, with a button for on-screen recording to capture gaming sessions.

So is it a new button or not?

Not everyone is convinced by the Korean report. Notably both Ice Universe and Steve H, both reliable smartphone tech leakers on Twitter, have called it out the "button" as nothing more than a lanyard holder.

One thing's for sure, as soon as the new Galaxy Note 9 gets within reach of our fingertips, our digits will be all over it to find out the truth. What's the worst that could happen? Perhaps Samsung has integrated a second Bixby button, because the first one isn't easy enough to accidentally trigger.

What do you think this extra button will do? Or more importantly, what would you want it to do? Leave a comment!


Everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

To be presented in New York on August 9?

Renowned leaker Ice Universe was the one to break the news on Twitter. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 should be presented on August 2 or 9 in New York.

But which of the two days? The Korea Herald calls it for August 9, and confirms the New York location. The Note 9 would thus beat its predecessor, Note 8 (presented on August 23), by two weeks.

Delayed by design changes

In today's image-conscious world, we've all felt the pressure to slim down before a big event when we know the eyes of friends and rivals will judge our appearance. As it happens, even top smartphones are not immune to this phenomenon.

According to the latest reports, including The Bell, the Galaxy Note 9 will not follow the most hated trend of the moment. So don't worry, the design change to which they refer doesn't concern the controversial cutout, or notch, on the display.

The launch of Samsung's next S-Pen-enabled phablet was expected by the end of July but has apparently been delayed by a couple of weeks to allow the company to reduce the thickness of the glass on the display by 0.5mm.

galaxy note 8 bottom
Does thinner mean more fragile? / © AndroidPIT

The reason for this choice was Lee Jae-yong's meeting with representatives of OPPO and Vivo. The Samsung Vice Chairman apparently found the Chinese devices more manageable and therefore mandated this small change on the Note 9 to adapt to the competition. We hope that this reduction in the thickness of the glass will not affect the resistance of the device.

What will the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 look like?

With the Galaxy S9 and S9+, and Samsung put aside big design innovations in order to focus on improving the hardware specifications of its flagships. With renderings produced by the reliable @OnLeaks in collaboration with 91Mobiles, we can now take a first look at how the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 should look like. Spoiler: nothing shocking to see here.

On the front, the smartphone will have the usual Super AMOLED panel slightly curved at the sides, most likely with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels and a diagonal of 6.3". Once again, there is the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C and the ever-present S-Pen.

The only innovations visible from this render are on the back of the smartphone. The cameras would change slightly in layout, although still aligned horizontally, and the fingerprint reader will move underneath underneath them. The shape of the fingerprint reader leaves us a bit perplexed, as has already happened on the Galaxy S9, but only an in-person test can remove any doubt about the comfort and speed.

A case manufactured on the basis of the latest renderings of the Galaxy Note 9 shows the new positioning of the fingerprint reader. As with the Galaxy S9, it is now located below, which makes it easier to use

It remains to be seen whether Samsung will also offer a fingerprint reader under the screen on its device. This particular option is one of the most hotly anticipated innovations by smartphone fans, but Samsung has a very cautious approach to integrating the new technology, preferring to take its time to perfect it before rushing to market.

At last! The Note 9 may have a fingerprint reader in the display

A report from the Korea Herald on March 22 had information apparently from an industry source, informing them of three to four different options that Samsung Display is developing to implement the fingerprint sensor inside the main display. This explains the delay in the finalization of the Note 9 concept due to its efforts with this technology. According to its source, a final decision will be made towards the end of this month. 

"Samsung Display has prepared three or four solutions for Samsung Electronics to embed the fingerprint sensor inside of the main display, and both are seriously considering one of the solutions"

It does make sense that Samsung will use the technology in its new addition to the Note series, in order to make it stand out from competitors such as Huawei, which will be presenting its new smartphones at the end of the month. With no outstanding new design or feature choices in the S9, a move like this from the brand is overdue. In our interview with Mark Notton, it was revealed that the technology simply wasn't ready in time for the S9 launch, and they prefer to test it thoroughly first.

By the release of the Note 9 then, Samsung should have enough time to perfect it, but, there are still problems. The mass production of devices can be both complicated and costly, with sources saying that the "technological capabilities to mass produce those phones are still lacking". Rushing the process could certainly backfire with the possibility that users will be disappointed, or problems could arise that would damage the brands reputation (such as the Note 7 fiasco).

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 diary 0935
Samsung at least relocated the sensor, but with the Note 9, it could be in the display / © AndroidPIT 

We have previously seen some conflicting information. But regardless of this, the new information sounds promising, and there should be enough time to improve the technology ahead of its arrival at the end of August. 

Potential problems with the optical fingerprint sensor

The main feature in question so far is of course the "under-display optical fingerprint" sensor. A previously published patent from the South Korean company suggests that a scanner could take up the bottom fifth of the screen, and will vibrate to alert users in the case of unsuccessful authentication attempts.

Samsung's diagrams place the fingerprint reader under the display, but when will we be seeing it? / © Weibo

Although fingerprint sensors are fast becoming the norm on smartphones, the next generation of high-end phones might not have any visible sensor at all. Instead of having the sensor as a separate hardware piece, future flagships could feature the "under-display" or optical model, where the fingerprint reader comes built into the screen. A smartphone with an optical reader does already exist—the Vivo X20 Plus UD in China, but Samsung, with their resources and market reach, could be the first to make an international splash with the technology.

Previous speculation was based on a note sent to clients by respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, known for his understanding of the Asian electronics market. Kuo's note, originally seen and reported on by Business Insider, mentioned that Samsung may put an under-display fingerprint reader on 2018's Galaxy Note 9. Kuo says Samsung is "likely" not to implement the new technology due to technical difficulties with screen protectors and accuracy in some environments.

Nonetheless, it is clear that Samsung has its ambitions on integrating this feature. It remains to be seen whether it will be able to integrate the technology in time for the Note 9's release.

What other features will the Galaxy Note 9 bring?

Chinese leaker, Ice Universe, talks us through the features that will be offered by Note 9 with a post published on Weibo. The S-Pen is confirmed, and there were no doubts about that. However, the brand may offer some new features on the software side as well as being more sensitive and accurate during use. A previous rumor stated that the S-Pen may even have a microphone this time around, enabling phone calling.

weibo note9
Rumors about the Note 9 from China. / © Weibo, Ice Universe

In the post it talks about several other features, too. These include UX Crown, a new version of the software platform as well as Bixby 2.0, which was already announced by Samsung's CEO during MWC. Also mentioned is a fingerprint sensor under the display, a 3850mAh battery and 18w fast charge. In addition, we can expect some innovations for the camera, although we don't know exactly what just yet. The Note 9 will also come in a brand new color called Teddy Brown.

Benchmarks show the power of the Galaxy Note 9

Samsung's whale surfaced in a benchmark test, providing a tantalizing glimpse of the device that we don't expect to see until summer. Take a look at the following benchmark score, first brought to our attention by Galaxyclub.nl:

A familiar display size. / © Galaxyclub

The Note 9 also appears on Geekbench under the SM-N960U model number, the same number previously associated with the device. The results on the platform confirm that the future South Korean phablet should integrate the Snapdragon 845 in the US market. As is traditional, the model intended for other markets will opt for Samsung's own Exynos chip.

Benchmarks also show the presence of 6GB of RAM and Android 8.1 Oreo. Geekbench also shows the device scores in Single-Core (2190) and Multi-Core (8806)

Note9 geekbench
The Note 9 shows signs of life on Geekbench. / © Geekbench

While the Note 9 racks up some impressive scores, that's only to be expected from such a premium device. Numbers in themselves don't say much at the moment. Only when the Note 9 is actually completed on the software side, will it be possible to get an idea of the real performance.

Will the Note 9 come with the latest Android version?

The browser benchmark test shows the US-version of the Note 9 (SM-N960U) running Android Oreo, the same version the Galaxy S9 launched with, and that the Galaxy S8 has been updated to. But the Geekbench test has the test device running Android 8.1.

Last year, the Note 8 was launched with Android 7.1, while the Galaxy S8 was launched with Android 7.0. The Galaxy S9 just launched with Android 8.0 , so it seems logical to expect the Galaxy Note 9 to come out with Android 8.1 later this year.

Nothing spectacular to see on the software side, but in any case it is a sign that the next Galaxy Note is progressing on its long journey to shop shelves and consumer pockets. Of course the device will be broadly comparable to the Galaxy S9 Plus, including a fast processor and enhanced camera. It would be nice if Samsung can present us with more than just incremental improvements on last year's Note, but we'll have to wait and see for the time being.

18.5:9 Infinity Display

Software isn't the only thing shown by the test. In addition, we can see that the screen has the familiar aspect ratio of an Infinity display: 18.5:9. Sadly, still no indication of whether the display will have an optical fingerprint sensor, as suggested by Samsung's patents.

Superfast Exynos chip beats the Snapdragon in benchmark

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is getting ready for its launch slowly but surely. It is to be expected that the Koreans will conjure their new XL smartphone out of the hat before Berlin's IFA. The alleged Galaxy Note 9 with its Exynos 9810 has finally appeared on Geekbench's results lists. The device with the model number SM-N960N scores 2,737 points in the single-core evaluation and 9,064 points in the multi-core test for Geekbench.

Over 9,000 points in Geekbench's multi-core ranking is a real record. The current top smartphone from Samsung, the Galaxy S9+, does not quite make the leap over this hurdle with 8,923 points in our test, the OnePlus 6 also just fails with 8,970 points. What is striking, however, is that 2,737 points in the single-core ranking are not exactly impressive, with the Galaxy S9+ scoring over 1,000 points more than the Galaxy Note 9.

More memory than your laptop

More important than the benchmark results are other things anyway, not least the memory. And it could be that Samsung is outfitting the Galaxy Note 9 with this in mind. Internally, a full 512 GB could be in store for us, so a memory card would really be superfluous. 8 GB RAM currently has few tangible advantages, but is good future-proofing.

The source also uses the words "if you're lucky": what could this mean? It is likely that this version of Galaxy Note 9 will be reserved exclusively for some markets, so some geographically challenged Samsung fans who want these powerhouse specs might have to resort to importing.

Note 9: Technical specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Technical specs
Display 6.4 inches, 18:5:9
OS Android 8.1 Oreo
Chipset Snapdragon 845
RAM 6GB (8GB?)
Memory 512 GB?
Camera -
Battery 3850/4000 mAh

What do you expect from the Galaxy Note 9?


Readers' favorite comments

  • Mark
    • Admin
    2 months ago

    I do not want an in-display finger print scanner. I like it on the back where LG puts it, about a 1/3 of the way from the top. It is just more natural for me, I rarely use my phone laying it down. An in-display sensor will just make me use 2 hands to unlock my phone which is the only thing I do not like about my Note 4

  • Mark
    • Admin
    4 months ago

    I much rather have the finger print scanner on the back of the phone. Just better positioning than their current models. It is just much easier and more natural for me.


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  • well i just got through makings my last payment on my N8 so im just in time for the N9 HaHa yea right me jump back into a 1500$ contract for a cellphone nope dont think so love the speck on the n9 but no im gana have to pass pls

  • Extra button, well, that should be worth at least a $50 dollar increase in price LOL.

  • it's rumored but not certain, the note 9 can't come with in finger print in the screen, Samsung can only feature an in display finger print in the s10, if u ask why, I would say because it will be Samsung's 10 anniversary for the s10 which leave the note 9 hanging as well.

  • The Note 9 might attract a few buyers, but loads will be saving there money for the future S10 phones ,that Samsung will really want to Stand out from there others, to celebrate the 10th year producing phones,so with the fingerprint scanner under the screen,and www.phone arena .com as shown that Samsung want to build the speakers under the screen as well,so the Top and Bottom bezels can be Fully be Removed,so the S10 might be Fully Bezeless phone from Samsung,and no more worry about getting dust into the Top speakers seems a very good idea from Samsung

  • lol they just made the same mistake with the fingerprint sensor, again! it looks like samsung ppl refrain from using it before deploying.

  • Mark
    • Admin
    1 week ago Link to comment

    It is a better location being under the camera, but is it still to close to it. An extra 1/2 inch of space between them would have been better.

  • Samsung is getting the critics pulling them down by not changing the designs of there phones,but what can they really do with there infinity screens that nearly offer full view display,not much ,just cut the bezels down a little until they are full bezeless free which they might be preparing for the future S10 phones,its only the Back of there phones and software and chips they can really change,so glad Samsung as not joined the Stupid Notch idea on there phones and kept the 3.5mm headphone jack,and the stereo speakers they are offering are Superb,some Note 8 users who make the switch to the Note 9 might be happy,with the tempered glass they have with fit on the Note 9,as the S8 plus ones i bought do fit on the S9 Plus

  • Last minute changes to the design? Dont you mean last minute problems with software and other things😂

  • All hail the king of phablets!! The one that started it all.

    • No, that actually would be the Dell Streak 5, which launched about a year before the Galaxy Note1. I had one, and for me it was a great smartphone, but it was an "at&t" exclusive, and at&t never marketed it because their heads were too far up the backside of Apple to give a crap about the device. Dell never pushed it, at&t never pushed it and no one in the stores offered it. It died a sudden death for not being pushed.
      At the time, smartphones (Apple) had 3.5" screens. The screen on the Streak 5, was LARGER than the entire Apple iPhone. I remember getting laughs and "why would you want a screen THAT big" from people. Ummm because I don't like squinting at a tiny 3.5" screen?
      The streak 5, died an early death, but, I had one and still do in my drawer of "forgotten technology. ;)

  • Upgrading to Note9 is only worth it for people with the Samsung S7 and below

  • in my opinion it still wont be a good upgrade from galaxy s8. Now Galaxy s10 will be another story. Samsung is saving the best features for that model.

  • I've been interested in upgrading to a new phone recently, and I have heard great things about the Samsung Galaxy line. The general consensus is that they are some of the best out on the market. For those who have bought this phone, would you recommend it?

  • Dan 2 months ago Link to comment

    1. put fingerprint scanner on back like Pixal phone. 2. Have a user replaceable battery. 3. have a bigger battery. 4. don't make the case out of glass. 5. keep headphone jack. 6. keep stylus. 7. water resistant. 8. have separate softkey and indicator for gps like on older phones (s8+ turns off gps when power cycled, sucks). 9. quit trying to be so thin, 0.3 inches would be fine if good battery life.

  • Samsung might be bringing out the Note 9 early because of weak S9 sales,the headlines i really want to see and read,they should not have gone on the same path as there main competitor Apple,using the S8 body with updates in Chips and Camera on the S9 Plus,but there big mistake Over Pricing there S9 models,but what if Samsung do the same with the Note 9,use the Note 8 body and use the same chips and cameras on the Note 9 and Over Price the Note 9,loads of Galaxy phone users might get feed up the attitude Samsung is showing to please them,and switch to more affordable phones instead,Huawei will be really pleased that the S9 models are struggling and soon over take Samsung

  • I don't care, carrier financing works well for me. Samsung continues to have everything I will ever need in a phone. Headphone jack & no stupid notch. At least their bucking the trend. I will take a long look at the note9!

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