Galaxy Note 9 release date, specs and price: Hands-on review surfaces weeks before launch

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Note 9 in-screen fingerprint sensor
The biggest Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumor relates to its fingerprint scanner, with multiple leaks indicating that it could be built directly into the phone's screen.
We've seen (and tested) in-screen fingerprint sensors in phones out of China - including the Vivo Nex and Porsche Design Mate RS - and Samsung is said to be testing multiple in-screen solutions, a move which could allow room for a larger battery in the Note 9.
That tallies with a source who's said the Note 9 will have both an in-screen scanner and a big 3,850mAh battery.
However, a slightly earlier rumor points to the in-screen fingerprint sensor skipping the Note 9, just like it did on the S9 and S9 Plus, Note 8 and S8 and S8 Plus before. There's more reason to believe it'll show up on the Galaxy X (or the Galaxy S10 next year).
Both Samsung and Apple have been rumored to be working on this but failed to achieve it in time for their most recent handsets, pushing Samsung to move the scanner to a sub-optimal position on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, while Apple ditched it altogether from the iPhone X.
There's hopeful news on the subject in the form of a Samsung patent, showing a handset with a scanner built into the screen. Supposedly it would digitally show where users need to place their finger, and could potentially provide vibrations as feedback. 
Huawei and Vivo have demonstrated this tech in a phone this year, but Samsung is said to be using an ultrasonic-based in-screen fingerprint sensor for the Note 9, whereas the Huawei and Vivo use light-based optical under-glass fingerprint sensors.
This could be the form the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will take. Credit: WIPO
But we've seen many sources in the supply chain claim Samsung has settled on placing the scanner on the back, just like its current flagship phones, so right now we'd say an in-screen scanner is looking unlikely.
Other Note 9 leaks and rumors
Known leaker Eldar Murtazin has recently written on Mobile-Review, providing a wealth of information on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, revealing, among other things, that the phone will apparently have a 4,000mAh battery.
That's in line with more than one recent rumor which agreed that the phone would have a 4,000mAh capacity, a new high for a Samsung flagship device. The same rumor has the screen at 6.4 inches, so we're unsure if the source just likes big numbers or if this is true.
Though one source has said the Note 9 could have a 3,850mAh battery, which would be a lot bigger than the 3,300mAh one in the Note 8, but only slightly larger than the 3,500mAh one in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, so it's believable.
Moving back to Murtazin's claims, the Note 9 will also apparently have a Super AMOLED screen which can get slightly brighter than the Note 8's, and the phone will supposedly come in three versions - one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, one with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and one with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
All models will retain a microSD card slot apparently and most of the world will get an Exynos chipset, while the US and South Korea will get a Snapdragon one.
Murtazin went on to say that the camera has a variable aperture like on the S9 range and that optical stabilization appeared to be improved.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has also seemingly been benchmarked with predictably high scores, revealing in the process that it has a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM and runs Android 8.1 - the same specs in other words as the US version of the Galaxy S9 Plus. It's since been benchmarked again with even better results.
There's also been talk elsewhere that Samsung could push the top configuration up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
However, there are rumors that Samsung is working on an Exynos 9820 chipset. That could bring about faster speeds or, more likely in our minds, HDR video recording. 
This feature is already supported by the Snapdragon 845, but noticeably absent from all S9 devices across the board, likely because the Exynos 9810 doesn't support it. With new Android phones, like the Sony Xperia XZ2, having HDR video recording, Samsung needs to play catchup.
Another report claims the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may even have 512GB of storage in some markets, something that we've heard more than once. Korean pamphlets have suggested it'll come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB variants, but it's thought the largest will only be available to those in China and South Korea.
We've also heard claims that the S Pen could be getting some big upgrades, the main one apparently being the addition of Bluetooth, with one source saying this could allow you to unlock the Note 9 with the Pen, while another claims it will allow you to pause and skip tracks with the S Pen and use it as a long-range self-timer.
In more unlikely news, there's a chance that Samsung will go even further than an in-screen scanner with the Note 9, as it's patented a smartphone concept that has not just the fingerprint scanner but also the front-facing camera and sensors embedded in the display, for a truly bezel-free design. 
This might be too ambitious for a 2018 launch though.
This could be an idea used by the Galaxy Note 9. Credit: WIPO/LetsGoDigital
That said, an even more ambitious goal for the Galaxy Note 9 could be for it to have a bendable display. This is something Samsung’s been working on for even longer, and there's suggestion that the tech could land in a phone late this year.
However, it might still arrive too late for it to be used in the Note 9, and Samsung might not want to debut such an experimental tech on a major flagship.
And moving from the outside back in, The Korea Herald reports that Samsung might equip the Galaxy Note 9 with an NPU (neural processing unit). That's essentially an AI chip like Apple and Huawei have begun using in their flagships.
It's unclear what Samsung would use the chip for, but it could potentially speed up certain functions of the phone.

Source: techradar