The Samsung Galaxy Note9 is Samsung’s latest and biggest (literally) flagship to date. It is also one of the most anticipated device in 2018 apart from the other device that comes out of Cupertino. The device eclipses even the Samsung Galaxy S9 in terms of glam and size.
The big size is thanks to the biggest ever Super AMOLED ever fitted to a Samsung smartphone device at 6.4-inch. The pixel count remains the same as the Note8 and S9’s 2,960 by 1,440 pixels. Somehow it looks better than before; images are prettier and colours are more saturated than before. It somehow looks like something that should have been on the Samsung Galaxy S9.
The bigger display though does not come with a much larger device footprint too. It has the same design cue as the Samsung Galaxy Note8 in fact, so it does not look completely different. It does not dwarf the older generation smartphone though, it has pretty much the same dimensions albeit very slightly thicker and wider. The fingerprint sensor has also been moved down at a more centralised position to ensure that your finger lands at the right spot and not the camera modules. The Metallic Copper that we picked accentuates the design cue even further we think. It is also the best looking colour in our opinions. The extra thickness is also a welcome for more grip comfort than anything else.
Speaking of camera modules, it is still arranged the same way the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and has the same resolution. The only difference in terms of hardware here is the dual-aperture hardware that was first seen in the Samsung Galaxy S9. Image wise, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 beats its predecessors though thanks to the revamped software and the dual-aperture, making it a more flexible all-rounder camera. It does take photos in pro mode as well if you want more control. The details are pretty much what you can expect from two 12-Megapixel modules though, not as sharp as a DSLR still. Colours are much better than before as well with Samsung’s AI scene detection software tailoring the colours to over 20 types of environment including food and animals.
Power is handled via the brand new Samsung Exynos 9810 that is even more powerful than the chip you find the Samsung Galaxy S9. Paired to the 6GB RAM the Note9 is a beast when it comes to multitasking. Beyond that, playing games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite is a breeze, especially with their new Liquid-Carbon cooling technology, which only means a larger heat sink anyway. But the results are uncanny as heat is now not a major problem. Aside from excellent heat management the AKG tuned speakers are great as well for all sorts of purpose like movies or even games. The tuned speakers help plenty with more immersive experience while going on Netflix.
The processor is more powerful than some entry-level laptops as well. That is important too if you want to use the Samsung Galaxy Note9 for all your computing needs in DeX mode. The chip’s performance is enough to run the Note9 in DeX mode like a champ. It does not even need a proprietary dock anymore, just use any USB Type-C to HDMI cable and it works like magic. Although, you might want the docks for charging purposes.
For all the basic needs of a smartphone the Samsung Galaxy Note9 still got you covered with all the usual bells and whistles that a modern smartphone should have. GPS connectivity looks to be better than it was before, there was no signs of GPS signals dropping if the skies are clear. The only issue of GPS signal dropping is when we were in the middle of high-rise buildings.
All-in-a-days work, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 has a 4,000 mAh battery that will last you a full day of work and more under normal usage circumstances. Even when you play a short game of Arena of Valor, your battery level is always in check and still last you a full working day at least. We have gotten more than 18 hours of battery life out of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 with minimal use with some Google Maps navigating occasionally.
The biggest, yet smallest improvement we see is in the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s S Pen. The changes done to the S Pen are minor at best. It is now a Bluetooth device, for one. It is also slightly slimmer than before with a sharper, more accurate tip. The small changes does lead to big improvements though. The S Pen can make off-screen memos in its signature colour, or a colour of your choice. It’s added accuracy also helps in making the S Pen experience as natural as possible. Making it a Bluetooth remote is a little bit of a double-edged sword though. It only has a battery life of just over 30 minutes and you can only charge it via inserting it into the smartphone. Fortunately that only takes a few seconds for a full charge. The Bluetooth S Pen is also a Bluetooth remote now to control your gallery, music, and presentation. You can even take notes in the presentation on the fly via DeX.
The worst part of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is also the part of the device that received the most significant upgrade compared to the older generation Samsung Galaxy smartphones; Bixby. To put it plainly, we are not big fans of Bixby ever since it was introduced in the Samsung Galaxy S8. The clever part about Bixby on the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is that translations are more accurate via camera than ever. Voice command has also been trained to be a lot more accurate. That does not solve the problem of the Bixby button getting in the way whenever you want to pull out the phone from our pockets though. The placement of the Bixby button is perfect, but it is also perfectly annoying as it functions.
Overall, the device is a definite upgrade, a worthy sequel to the Samsung Galaxy Note8 that was highly acclaimed. It was not a major upgrade if you already have a Samsung Galaxy Note8. The device though is a perfect solution to all the problems that was apparent on the Samsung Galaxy Note8. If you’d like to read our full review you can see it here.
Also published on Medium.