Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The Galaxy Note 9 is here — but is it an upgrade from last year's Galaxy Note 8?

In several ways, yes. The Galaxy Note 9 has a bigger battery, some advanced camera features, and more starting storage. It also comes with a more advanced S Pen that can be used as a remote (which, if you buy the blue version of the Galaxy Note 9, comes in bright yellow).

READ: All the cool features of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 - available in South Africa within two weeks

The Galaxy Note 9 is also bigger, heavier, and costs at least $70 (R980) more than last year's model, putting it on par with the iPhone X as one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy. But the Galaxy Note 9 also has a very similar overall design to the Galaxy Note 8, the same camera from a hardware standpoint as last year's model, and identical features like wireless fast charging and a nearly edge-to-edge display.

SEE ALSO: Standard Bank clients can now get free coffee and burgers if they tap their Samsungs to pay at tills

So whether you're considering upgrading from the Galaxy Note 8 or trying to decide between the two phones — after all, the Galaxy Note 8 is still an excellent phone and now has a reduced price tag — here are all the ways the Galaxy Note 9 differs from the Galaxy Note 8.

The Galaxy Note 9 is more expensive than the Galaxy Note 8.

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The Galaxy Note 9 got a bit of a price bump compared with last year's model.

The new phone starts at R18,999, the same as the iPhone X. The Galaxy Note 8 started at $930 (R13,000). 


The Galaxy Note 9 has more storage space than the Galaxy Note 8.

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The Galaxy Note 8 comes with three storage options: 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB. The Galaxy Note 9 has only two storage options, but they're significantly higher: either 128 GB or 512 GB.


The expandable storage is higher on the Galaxy Note 9 too.

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The Galaxy Note 9 has room for a 512 GB microSD card, meaning you could potentially bring your phone's total storage to 1 terabyte. The Galaxy Note 8 has a microSD slot too but can hold only a 256 GB card.


The Galaxy Note 9 has a slightly larger display.

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The Galaxy Note 9 has a 6.4-inch Amoled display, compared with the Galaxy Note 8's 6.3-inch Amoled display.


The Galaxy Note 9 has a bigger battery, meaning it most likely has a longer battery life than the Galaxy Note 8.

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The Galaxy Note 9 has a monster 4,000-mAh battery, which should give it excellent battery life. The Galaxy Note 8 has a smaller 3,300-mAh battery.


The Galaxy Note 9 is heavier than the Galaxy Note 8.

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The Galaxy Note 9 weighs 201 grams, while the Galaxy Note 8 weighs 195 grams.


The Galaxy Note 9 has a slightly more advanced camera than the Galaxy Note 8.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

While the camera specs of the two phones are almost identical — 8-megapixel front camera, dual 12-megapixel rear cameras — Samsung added a few new features to the Galaxy Note 9's camera.

The Galaxy Note 9's dual-camera system is getting Samsung's new camera feature called scene optimizer, which recognizes what kind of object you're photographing and adjusts the settings automatically to take the best shot.

The camera will also have flaw detection, which will let you know if the image is blurry, if the subject blinked, if there is a smudge on the lens, or if there is backlight affecting the image quality.


The Galaxy Note 9 comes in new, different colours.

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The Galaxy Note 9 will come in ocean blue and lavender in the US, and copper and black in international markets. The Galaxy Note 8 comes in midnight black, deep sea blue, orchid gray, and maple gold.


The Galaxy Note 9 will come with a bright yellow S Pen.

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In the past, Samsung has designed the S Pen to match the colour of the device. But with the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung changed the colour of the S Pen that comes with the blue device — it's bright yellow, and when you write on the screen it will appear bright yellow as well.


The S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 9 is also more advanced.

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Beyond the colour, Samsung upgraded the S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 9. The new S Pen has Bluetooth Low Energy, which means it can work with your phone up to 9 meters away, allowing you to use the S Pen as a remote for taking photos, giving presentations, or controlling your music.


The Galaxy Note 9 comes with a newer version of Android than the Galaxy Note 8.

Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The Galaxy Note 9 will run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box — an upgrade from the Galaxy Note 8, which runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat. That said, it's a little surprising that the phone won't run the latest version of Android, Android 9 Pie, which was released Monday.


But there are a few features that haven't changed between the Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy Note 9.

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Samsung kept a few things the same as the Galaxy Note 8 when designing the Galaxy Note 9:

  • The new device has a headphone jack.
  • It has wired and wireless fast charging.
  • The new phone has a dedicated button for Bixby, Samsung's smart assistant.
  • It has Samsung's infinity display, which extends beyond the edges on the left and right. However, it still has a bezel along the top and bottom of the screen, just like the Galaxy Note 8.
  • The new device has the same screen resolution, 2960 x 1440.

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