Phones are for making calls, texting, and checking social media, right?

Not if you ask anyone under 25.

Mobile devices like the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Note 9 now have a fast enough processor to play higher-end games like Fortnite, except that you don't have to make any sacrifices in terms of quality or speed. A new beta that only works on Samsung phones is set to debut this week, and it looks exactly like the desktop and console version.

Here's what makes the new phone special.

First, Samsung says the new Galaxy Note 9 is 53% faster than the previous Note 8. (It uses a new 10nm processor that's meant for speedy gaming and graphics). A new GPU (the reason games look smooth) is 23% faster than the previous model. And, there's a version of the Note 9 that has 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

For battery life, the Note 9 is designed to last all day. It uses a new internal water-cooling system to make sure the phone stays cool and the battery keeps chugging away. That's important for gamers who tend to prefer disconnecting from any power source and they need the mobility and freedom to focus on the match at hand. Fortnite is a major worldwide phenomena, mostly because of the Battle Royale mode that involves fighting to the last person standing. Some say the graphics look cartoony,  but that's part of the appeal--this is not a serious shooter for diehard fans, and anyone can play and learn the basics within minutes.

In fact, this might be the first phone ever that has a direct correlation to one particular game. There's a pre-order perk for the Note 9 to receive free in-game currency (15,000 V-Bucks that you can use to buy cosmetic upgrades). And, it's also unusual to offer a game as a beta for only one specific phone manufacturer. Other Android users can grab Fortnite in a few days.

Another unusual twist? The game is not available through the normal Google Play store. You can use the Samsung store for now if you own a Samsung phone, or for other Android models you have to go through the Fortnite game portal and use the Epic Games installer.

Is this all a trend? Making phones that appeal to a certain demographic due to the extra power, RAM allotment, and battery life? Of course, it is mostly a marketing gimmick--we all know the Note 9 will appeal to way more than just Fortnite gamers. But it's a smart strategy. It makes you realize that the phone will be the best way to play Fortnite by far (at least once the phone finally arrives on August 24); it's easy to see how the phone differentiates itself.

It has a few other interesting features worth mentioning as well. The dual-lens camera system can detect focus and color in your image, improving the results. A new S Pen stylus uses Bluetooth Low Power, so you can long-press a button to take a selfie.

The Note 9 does have an uphill climb. For starters, not everyone cares about Fortnite. The last Galaxy models have not been fantastic hits. The Note smartphone has a dark past.

Interestingly, the actual design of the Note 9 is about the same. The 6.4-inch screen is crisp and colorful (it will work amazingly well for Netflix movies and shows), but it's essentially the same as the previous model (just a hair bigger). Overall, the Galaxy Note 9 will make Fortnite gamers wonder if they really need to bring a laptop along on a road trip ever again. And it might make Apple iPhone X fans jealous of that speed and storage.

Published on: Aug 10, 2018
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