Samsung is hands down one of the best smartphone makers in the world. The company’s Galaxy S and Note series have long competed with Apple’s iPhones for the title of the best, most premium smartphones on the market. Additionally, Samsung is known for producing the clearest, brightest displays out there.
When Samsung releases a new Note series phone, you know it’s going to be a game changer. The Note 9 was released in Aug 2018 and it’s definitely pushed the boundaries of what you expect from phones. Note 9 has some amazing, groundbreaking features – and looks stunning to boot. Should you spend your hard-earned money on the Galaxy Note 9? We’ll help you answer that question with this in-depth review.
What’s Special about the Galaxy Note 9?
The Galaxy Note 9 is a significant step up over its predecessor. The phone packs several innovative, useful features:
- The S Pen (stylus) is back and more useful than ever. Thanks to Bluetooth support, it doubles as a remote control for your phone. Use it to take selfies, control your music, and more!
- The Galaxy Note 9 has an outstanding camera – made even better with AI support. It can recognize 20 different backgrounds and optimize your camera settings accordingly.
- The Note 9 packs an all-day 4,000 mAh battery, bigger and better than the 3,300 mAh battery found on the Note 8.
- The Note 9 has a very impressive 6.4-inch “Infinity” display
- You can use Note 9 as a touchpad for your laptop or PC.
- If you have an HDMI cable and adapter, you can connect the Note 9 to your TV.
- Note 9 features liquid cooling. The feature supposedly allows you to use demanding apps longer without performance drops.
Design: Gorgeously Premium
Samsung Note 8 was a beautiful phone. With Note 9, Samsung takes something that was already good and makes it even better. The Note 9 looks very similar to the Note 8, except for a few exceptions. Note 9 has a brushed aluminum frame, blending seamlessly with the camera at the back and the large 6.4-inch screen at the front. The frame feels super-smooth to the touch. The phone has a curved “Infinity” display at the front, which fits neatly into the metal frame.
Like usual, Note 9’s body is broken up by cooling vents, speakers, and the housing for the S Pen. The housing for the S pen is slightly bigger than the housing on the S8. Also, with Note 9, Samsung has moved the position of the fingerprint scanner from beside the camera to below it. This is a welcome move. It makes unlocking the phone much easier. Also, you won’t leave smudges on the phone’s back camera anymore. The camera itself doesn’t protrude from the phone’s back, adding to the phone’s appeal.
Samsung continues to support the 3.5mm audio jack port with Note 9, bucking industry trends. The phone weighs 201 grams and is one of the heaviest ones on the market. The heft is wonderful. The phone is a pleasure to hold and feels ultra-premium. While the phone’s display is protected by Gorilla Glass, you still need to be careful not to drop it – Samsung displays are known to break easily. Note 9 is IP68 certified, meaning it’s resistant to water and dust in small quantities.
Display: The Best Display Ever?
When you buy a Samsung phone, you know you’re going to get an excellent display. Note 9’s display is the best of what Samsung has to offer. The screen is tall (6.4 inches) and wide. It doesn’t have a notch to break up the immersion. The screen has rounded edges – a part of the “Infinity” set up – and looks ultra-premium. The screen is OLED, not LCD. Unlike LCDs, OLEDs are capable of powering individual pixels. This allows them to display blacks perfectly and use less power.
The 6.4-inch screen has a spectacular resolution of 2960 x 1440, with a massive 516 pixels per inch (PPI) count. This means that every scene rendered by the display is going to be ultra-crisp and clear. The display adjusts contrast, as well as brightness, automatically, depending on the ambient light. This means ever photo and video rendered is crystal-clear and lifelike. The color accuracy is very good, though the reds are slightly more noticeable. Most OLEDs are dull in sunlight, but not this one. The display is ultra-bright and visible in direct sunlight. This is quite possibly the best display we’ve ever encountered on a smartphone.
Camera: Amazing Camera Backed By Intelligent AI
The camera setup on Note 9 is the same as the one on the Galaxy S9, which is by no means a bad thing. The Note 9 has dual 12MP cameras at the rear and a single 8MP selfie camera at the front. The rear camera at the back has a variable aperture, from f/1.5 to f/2.4. This variable aperture is very handy. When there’s low light, the aperture will open up to f/1.5, letting in more light and making the photo brighter. When there’s lots of bright light, the aperture closes down to f/2.4, leading to more noise reduction and more true-to-life photos. The cameras have optical image stabilization support.
The selfie camera is also excellent. You can take remote selfies/photos with the help of the S Pen. Samsung’s cameras are supported by excellent AI, which can recognize 20 different scenes and optimize the camera settings accordingly. With the help of the Super Slow Motion feature, you can record 720p videos at an astounding 960 frames per second (fps). There’s also an AR Emoji feature that lets you create a virtual, cartoony avatar of your face. Overall, Note 9’s cameras are industry-leading.
Performance: Lightning-Fast and Powerful
Samsung Note 9 is a beast when it comes to performance. It packs the newest Snapdragon 845 processor, with eight cores at 1.7GHz and an Adreno 630 GPU. The base version has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the “premium” version offers 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of storage. You can also slot in a 512GB microSD card in one of the two SIM slots, for a mammoth 1TB of total storage.
Thanks to the high-end Snapdragon 845 processor, the Note 9 loads apps, games, and websites very quickly. Switching between apps is a seamless experience. There’s no lag at all, whether you’re browsing the phone’s UI, watching a video, or running two apps at once in a multi-screen window. Note 9 has no problem running the most demanding games like PUBG, Fortnite, or Asphalt 9. It has better benchmark scores than almost every other phone out there. While many Samsung phones slow down after a few months of use, that’s not the case with the Note 9.
Software: A True Samsung Experience
Samsung’s UI experience has been a hit and miss over the years. Sometimes the company gets it right, sometimes the company fails miserably. With Note 9, Samsung has gotten it right. The lag that was often present in older Note smartphones is missing in Note 9. The UI doesn’t feature gesture support, but it still manages to be intuitive, fast, and seamless. The Note 9 runs Android 8.0 out-of-the-box, but you can upgrade to 9.0 Pie now. Samsung’s custom launcher looks very different from stock Android – but in a good way.
Samsung offers a ton of customization options with Note 9. You can change resolution settings, control the CPU speed, get videos to play outside of apps, and even get two apps to open simultaneously with shortcuts. The S Pen has been improved drastically. It features Bluetooth support now, charges to full in less than a minute when slotted into the phone, and allows you to get real work done on the Note 9. There is a cool iris-scanning feature for security, as well as the regular face and fingerprint unlocking options. Samsung’s assistant Bixby is also useful.
Battery Life: Lasts All Day
Note 8 had a 3,300 mAh battery, which was adequate for daily use. Note 9 has a 4,000 mAh battery, which is a definite step up for the series. The 4,000 mAh battery has enough juice for a full day’s use. Note 9’s battery can handle moderate, everyday tasks like browsing, chatting, and video streaming well. Watching videos in HDR or playing demanding games doesn’t drain the battery quickly.
Thankfully, Note 9 supports Quick Charge 2.0. Charging the battery up from 0 to 100% doesn’t take too long. Also, Samsung offers built-in battery optimization, which keeps the battery going longer. You can also reduce the phone’s resolution, turn off the “Display Always On” option, and tweak various other settings to reduce the pull on the battery. Overall, the battery life offered by the phone is good, but not spectacular.
The Bottom Line
Note 9 is one of the best flagships money can buy. It has an amazing display, a lightning-fast processor, unbeatable storage, and a spectacular camera. You can’t go wrong buying the Samsung Note 9 – provided your wallet can take an MRP Rs. 67,900 hit!
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