Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

Best value Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review
9.2 Total Score

$1,249.99

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  • Big, beautiful display
  • Great battery life
  • Improved S-Pen functionality
  • Large storage options

Samsung has the habit of refining the drawings at least once before going to something entirely new. This was the case for the Galaxy S4 and S5, Galaxy S6 and S7, S8 and S9, and now the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy Note 9. Most of these revisions were sensitive updates. Samsung has the habit to listen carefully to the consumer and to adjust things a bit so that these updates remain useful.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of the most sensible revisions I’ve seen so far and offers a lot of value for the consumer who wants everything. This is our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review – Table Of Contents.

Design

Aesthetically, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is very similar to note 8. An untrained eye has probably not noticed much difference, but small changes ensure that Note 9 works and feel much better every day than note 8.

The sides of the Note 9 are much flatter than those of the Note 8, which facilitates its maintenance without a cover. I have never been a big fan of the rounded corners of the Galaxy series, so it’s a welcome change for me. A slight chamfer in which the metal and the round glass come together guides the flatter edges and give the phone a much more aggressive feeling. I felt much more comfortable to present this device without a cover than in note 8, although it had two rather large bumps in the metal after the camera fell while I was taking pictures (it was pressed on the table and buzzed). Regardless of durability, be careful when using the phone without protection.

The device has slightly smaller edges than those of Note 8, increasing the display from 6.3 inches to 6.4 inches. This means that some applications need to be modified to fill the entire viewing area, but in fact, you only add about the 0.1-inch real estate. At the back of the phone, you can see three different changes: a smaller sight of the camera, a secondary lens with double aperture and a fingerprint reader that moves under the camera’s sights.

The fingerprint reader sees and feels much better this year. The positioning of the fingerprint reader in Note 8 forced users to accidentally put their finger on the camera lens because it was just to the right of the sight. By moving it under the camera screen and turning it 90 degrees, users can unlock their phone much more easily, and my index finger immediately lands where it belongs when I hold the phone in my hand. However, I would have liked the sensor to be slightly larger – it took many false negatives because it only read part of your finger.

On the right side of the device you will find the on/off button, but in my opinion, it is a bit too high. I would have liked that this button was more centered on the side of the device because I had to move my hand to press it. This placement should not be a problem if the fingerprint sensor is on, but it can be frustrating to lock the device when you have finished using it.

On the left side of the phone are the volume knob and just below it is a special Bixby button. I would really like to see this button apply to the Google Assistant, but anyway, its placement is more of a hindrance. I accidentally press it several times to take a screenshot, but I do not think I know where else they would have been. This is essentially the same as the Google Assistant button, the LG G7 (review), and if it is placed lower, it can affect your other fingers.

The bottom part of the device contains a headphone socket, a speaker grille, and an S-Pen, which again proves that “we did not have room for a headphone jack” is an unjustified claim from other manufacturers. The lower frame of the Galaxy Note 9 is always smaller than most other flagship products on the market, and the S-Pen is almost three-quarters of the height of the device. If Samsung takes up so much space with “useless accessories”, other manufacturers can return to the past.

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Display

Frankly, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the best screen of all Android phones. It is not just my opinion, there are figures and images to support these things.

Recently, the DisplayMate screen calibration company performed a number of tests on the Galaxy Note 9, making it the best view of all mobile devices in history. DisplayMate not only broke records in terms of brightness and contrast but also described the color profile of Note 9 as “visually indistinguishable from perfect”.

This milestone is not really surprising. Samsung has been the market leader in the AMOLED market for years and receives a record score from DisplayMate every year. Still, it’s nice to see that the company first uses the best materials in its phones, instead of just selling them to Apple.

This screen is apparently so good that YouTube has called it a ‘YouTube signature device’, a new certification of the streaming giant, awarded to devices such as the Galaxy S9 and the LG G7. Strangely enough, it was also given to the Pixel 2 XL. It seems that the technical capabilities of the devices are more important than the actual quality of the screen because the Pixel 2 XL has a terrible display.

The Galaxy Note 9 offers four different display color modes: Basic, AMOLED Photo, AMOLED Cinema, and Adaptive Display. Adaptive switches between modes, depending on the application you are using and is probably the best solution for most users. You can also use different resolutions on this unit. By default, the phone works in 1080p, but you can change it in 1440p and even in 720p if you really want to save the battery.

This 6.4-inch screen has an aspect ratio of 18: 5: 9 and a pixel density of 516ppi – it is large, clear and sharp. If I looked better, I would literally not be able to see a pixel, and I would leave the point “invisible perfection” that I mentioned.

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Software

This skin has been a pest for me since I use Samsung smartphones, but I have to say that Samsung Experience 9.5 is better than ever. Almost all skin producers on the market are on their way to a more subtle, stock-like user experience and Samsung Experience is not excluded from this list.

Samsung has developed its own application for almost all Google applications, which makes sense since the ultimate goal is to make Tizen a real competitor for Android. Fortunately, most of these applications are all stored in the Samsung folder of the app drawer. You do not have to communicate with them if you do not want to.

Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes with the pre-installed Facebook application and you can not really remove it, but only disable it. I have always considered these things to be unacceptable, especially because the goal of Android is to keep your experience completely under control. The Facebook application has not been installed on my phone for years and it is frustrating to see that it takes up a lot of storage space even if I do not use it.

Samsung Experience 9.5 still has the same “Apps Edge” and “People Edge” features as the Galaxy S6 Edge, which was first introduced. It is also easy to swipe in Samsung Pay. In addition to these basic experience changes, a large part of the new software experience relies almost entirely on Bixby 2.o, which – the spoilers – has not met the task.

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Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has been upgraded internally in almost every department, but the two big updates that everyone seems to have are storage capacity and battery capacity. The Galaxy Note 9 base station is offered in a 128 GB version, but the next step for this phone is 512 GB. This phone also supports the microSD extension, which allows you to get a Galaxy Note 9 with up to 1 TB of storage. Most users can not even use the 128 GB of storage that is offered in the basic model, but the Galaxy Note series is always designed for hardcore audiences.

If you want to store your entire media library on this phone, it is probably possible, provided you do not have more than one terabyte of movies, music, and other files. The new stereo speakers of the device are also worth mentioning. They are tuned by AKG and sound very clean, even at maximum volume. These are certainly not the loudest speakers we have seen on the phone, but they sound pretty good for general listening and multimedia consumption.

The Galaxy Note 9 also includes optional SoC and RAM upgrades. Equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the United States and an Exynos 9810 in the international version, this thing stands out, as do most other flagship products on the market. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 basic model offers 6GB of RAM, while the improved 512GB storage option gives you an extra 2GB.

It would obviously not be a top product from Samsung without water resistance and high-quality wireless charging. The phone has IP68 as resistant to water and dust, so you can use it in the rain or even in the shower. Samsung’s high-speed wireless charging technology continues to overload your battery faster than most other wireless charging options. These are the little things that make the flagship products worthy of the term ‘flagship’, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has … all the little things.

Read: Top 10 Best Wireless Headphone

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S-Pen

Of course, we can not view a Galaxy Note device without talking about the S-Pen. This retractable stylus has been the most obvious differentiator between the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S series since its inception and Samsung is committed to increasing the value and ease of use of the stylus year after year. The biggest addition to the S-Pen this year comes in the form of low-power Bluetooth functions. The pen now works as an external shutter for the camera of the phone, a remote control for apps such as Spotify and Google Play Music, and even as a remote control for slides in Powerpoint presentations.

This feature is very subtle and relatively niche market, but they are small, incremental updates like those that buy the note. Developers can also define their own stylus actions and apps such as Snapchat already have S-Pen functionality at the launch. I did not intend to use the external shutter as often, but it’s nice to be able to take a group photo without trying awkwardly on the volume down button or press the virtual shutter button on the screen.

With the S-Pen you can also write memos and lock messages on the screen on your phone. The color of the ink is exclusive of the pen you use. Strangely, Samsung has decided to include a yellow S-Pen with the blue color of this phone, which is purely a marketing gesture. The inclusion of minor changes to unimportant items such as color is a great way to sell more devices, especially if these colors are not uniform.

You can also buy S-pens separately, in case you want to mix and match the color tones. A friend of mine likes the combination of black and yellow. He wants a black camera and a yellow pen S-Pen to complete his style. The new Bluetooth S-Pen is also available in Midnight Black, Purple Lavender, and Metallic Copper.

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Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 offers one of the smoothest Android experiences you will find today, but it does not reach the level of tactile latency that the Pixel 2 delighted when it was launched. Most of this speed is almost certainly due to its impressive specifications, although I think that the Samsung Experience might be slightly less inflated.

We place the Galaxy Note 9 in the reference tests of Geekbench 4, AnTuTu and 3DMark. Geekbench 4 awarded the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 a single -core score of 2,311. In comparison, the OnePlus 6 scored 2,454 points, compared with 2,144 for the Galaxy S9. Note 9 achieved a multi-core score of 7,642, while OnePlus scored 6 8,967 and Galaxy S9 8,116.

AnTuTu scored 9 as 272,168, compared with 262,614 for OnePlus 6 and 266,559 for S9. Finally, Note 9 scored 4,294 in 3D Mark, while OnePlus 6 and Galaxy S9 scored 4,680 and 4,672, respectively.

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Battery Life

The other big change to this device comes in the form of a well-upgraded 4,000 mAh battery. This is a fairly significant upgrade, especially given that note 8 had a smaller battery size after the burst of the note 7 fiasco. This battery took me all a day, then just under seven hours of the screen. If you wonder how I could use my screen for seven hours in one day, I would not blame you. My only defense is that it is my daily task.

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Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 uses the same set of dual 12MP sensors from the Galaxy S9 Plus, including the secondary lens with two aperture openings that debuted in this device. For this reason, the images are almost identical to those of the Galaxy S9 Plus, although Samsung has added a number of software tips to make the Galaxy Note 9 the best.

The most important change in the camera software is the addition of a new scene recognition mode on the Galaxy Note 9. This mode allows you to determine whether you take pictures of plants, food, pets, etc. and adjust the colors of the camera automatically. scene accordingly. make a more pleasant picture. Although object recognition worked pretty well in my tests, I was not very happy with the changes that the software decided to make. The new image was only a hint more saturated when taking pictures of food, but otherwise, you will notice no difference.

The other software tip used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a new function for “error detection”. The phone will display a small pop-up message if someone thinks someone is blinking on your photo, I can only activate the alert a few times while trying to get screenshots.

Both functions are optimized by classification-based machine learning. Therefore, if Samsung stores all of this information, you can expect it to improve over time. Although I would like to build more advanced functions for computer photography in Samsung’s devices in the future, I am happy that the company is finally moving to AI-based imaging.

In terms of image quality, these cameras exceeded my expectations. The 12 MP lenses from Samsung ensure that images stay sharp without much contrast, and colors are relatively accurate unless you use scene sensing modes to accentuate certain tones. The 8-megapixel front camera is a bit flexible in most cases, but it worked very well in low light. I really want to emphasize how incredible the video quality is on the Galaxy Note 9.

The two rear lenses are optically stabilized, combined with the electronic image stabilization to produce sharp and stable series. You can even record 4k videos at 60 frames per second – an option that is only available in a number of high-end cameras. Please note that shooting with this format will disable the software stabilization.

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Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Display
  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED
  • 2,960 x 1,440 resolution (Quad HD+)
  • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845/Samsung Exynos 9810 (Global)
  • Octa-core
GPUAdreno 630
RAM6/8 GB
Storage
  • 128/512 GB
  • Micro-SD expansion up to 512 GB
CamerasRear

  • Main camera: Dual camera with dual OIS, Wide-angle: SuperSpeed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensor with OIS, f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures
  • Secondary camera: 12MP AF sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 2x zoom

Front: 8MP AF sensor, f/1.7 aperture

Audio
  • Stereo speakers tuned by AKG, surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology
  • 3.5mm audio jack
Battery
  • 4,000mAh Non-removable
  • Fast wired charging compatible with QC 2.0
  • Fast wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMA
IP ratingIP68 dust/waterproof (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
SoftwareAndroid 8.0 Oreo, planned upgrade to Android 9.0 (P)
Dimensions and weight
  • 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
  • 201 grams
ColorsLavender purple, Ocean blue, Midnight black, Metallic copper

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review – Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is actually a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus … More. It has almost exactly the same internal components with some bumps in the top model, and the famous S-Pen helps to complete the separation between the S and Note series. You’ll find a few extra software features, a slightly better screen and body, and a screen of more than a tenth of an inch. Beyond that, consider this as the big brother of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

If you are an experienced user who wants a lot of storage space, the best screen on the market and the S-Pen, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might interest you.

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9.2 Total Score
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

If you are an experienced user who wants a lot of storage space, the best screen on the market and the S-Pen, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is just for you.

PROS
  • Big, beautiful display
  • Great battery life
  • Improved S-Pen functionality
  • Large storage options
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Bixby button can't be disabled
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