The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 shows that Samsung has been listening to it’s customers and they decided to give a complete package of what we “the people” wanted. If you have been a long time note user, the Galaxy Note 9 is going to feel nothing sort of new especially if you have the Note 8 or the S9 Plus. But if you are thinking of upgrading to a phone that has a vibrant display, a big battery, a good camera, superior performance, huge storage, an S-pen and other extra features; worry not! the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the perfect phone for you.

The note 9 shows how Samsung has been perfecting the note series and learning from its successes and mistakes. To set things straight the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is not a cheap phone, if you are to compare it with budget or mid-range devices its going to be expensive  but if you are to compare it with other flagship devices (the iPhone XS or XS max) then it might be cheap.

Base Specifications

The Model that am reviewing has some of the following specs.

Display 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display
Processor Samsung Exynos 9810 (Global version) powered by a 4,000 mAH battery
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB (expandable via microSD)
Rear camera 12MP Super Speed Dual Pixel, OIS, f/1.5 or f/2.4 &12MP, OIS, f/2.4, telephoto lens
Front camera 8MP, f/1.7, auto focus

For a detailed specs sheet visit here

Design

Image source: Phonearena

If you are to compare the Note 8 and the Note 9 side by side there is barely any difference. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 measures 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm and weighs 195g while the Note 9 measures 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm and weighing 201g. Comparisons aside the note 9 has a glass and metal build which gives the phone a very premium feel in the hand. There’s Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and the back to protect against shattering when the phone is dropped. Despite the tall aspect ratio, i did not have any issues holding the phone but the phone is very slippery and a good finger print magnet. If you have a cover, i advice you to use it, even if that will cause the phone to be slightly bigger.

On the back, if am to compare it again with the note 8 you do see some differences. The cameras look different in size, the one on the right is actually larger than the one on the left. The fingerprint scanner has also been placed beneath the camera module making it much easier to access compared to the Note 8 where it was difficult to reach. The glass back supports wireless charging and the phone is IP68 water resistance.

On the bottom of the device, you will find the USB Type C Port, loudspeaker, the 3.5mm headphone jack; some thing that is now a feature instead of it being part of the device, and the S-Pen. The Galaxy Note 9 is beautifully designed and it shows Samsung’s commitment into offering a solid device that has little to no compromises.

Display

Samsung is the champion of displays; change my mind.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the best display that a phone can offer. The Note 9 comes with a 6.4-inches Super AMOLED infinity display that is a glory to look at! The phone comes with a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 pixels and a pixel density of 514 ppi. Out of the box the display is set at 1080p, but you can change it to 1440p and even 720p if you really want to save battery life. The Note 9 comes with four different color modes for the display: basic, AMOLED photo, AMOLED cinema, and adaptive display.

The screen remains curved at the sides something that Samsung opted to stick with instead of joining the other notch warriors. I can’t complain about the bezels considering you have a 6.4-inch infinity dispaly with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The beauty of the Super AMOLED panel is, the display shows rich black and very vibrant colors. Not only is the display good in colors but it also gets very bright and it’s easy to use in direct sunlight. As much as my Oneplus 3T has an AMOLED display that is aging quite well, the Note 9 totally outshines it by far.

The Note 9 supports HDR 10 meaning the display has a much broader range of colors, you’ll see darker blacks and brighter whites. You will be able to stream and view HDR content on the display. The massive display will make you forget the size of the device as your watching content from Netflix or youtube. The display is so good that YouTube crowned it a “YouTube signature device,” this is a certification that is meet if a phone supports high dynamic range, high frame rate, reliable DRM performance, 4K decoding, and uses next generation video codecs.

Performance

Before i jump into Note 9’s performance, i need to air out some thoughts. For the past 3 years smartphone performance has greatly improved. I have been using the oneplus one (2014) and the oneplus 3T (2016) and it has been a very smooth experience. We have reached a point where it doesn’t matter if a phone came in 2016 or last year because the experience you get is almost the same. I am the type of person who enjoys old flagship devices since they become cheap once a newer version is available. The Note 9 is a phone that you can use for the next 3 years without feeling you need to upgrade. Lets get back to the Note 9’s performance.

Software

The Note 9 runs on Android 8.1 on top of Samsung Experience 9.5. Am not a fan of android skins that different manufactures offer, mostly when it comes to how the settings app is organized. Stock android is by far the best android experience due to it’s simplicity and easy learning curve. The Samsung Experience is feature packed, some of the neat features that Samsung a has added include Samsung Pay, Edge panels, the ability to reduce the app in the window, the Game Launcher, the one-handed mode, the bright board notifications, the themes, S Health for fitness, S-Pen functionality and Smart Things to control the Samsung-branded domestics. Some features and apps are useful but most are just forced upon the user with no option of disabling or uninstalling.

When it comes to Android upgrades Samsung is very slow on delivering that, there is no official communication of when the note 9 will get Android 9 pie. Bixby is one of those features that Samsung has kept pushing since the S8 but it’s not working, bixby will be useful once you are able to disable it or remap it.

 

Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has been upgraded internally, the baseline Galaxy Note 9 comes in a 128GB internal storage with 6GB of RAM and the high end model comes with a staggering 512GB of internal storage with a massive 8GB RAM. The Note 9 supports a microSD expansion meaning you can get up to a whopping 1TB of storage. The storage options provided by samsung are enough even for the most hardcore users. The Note 9 uses a water carbon fiber cooling system to prevent overheating and also to deliver sustained high performance.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is either powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 ( For the U.S., Canada, and China) or the Samsung Exynos 9810 SoC for the Global version. I tested the Galaxy Note 9 through Geekbench 4 and AnTuTu benchmark after a heavy usage, the scores might vary from device to device. You can see the results below.

 

Geekbench 4 gave the Samsung Galaxy Note 1,581 for the single core and 5,589 for the multi score.

 

AnTuTu gave the Note 9 a score of 217,448.

Note: The Note 9 i reviewed runs on the Exynos 9810, results might vary with the Snapdragon 845 variant. When it comes to gaming the Exynos 9810 is able to chew through all the latest titles with ease.

Battery

One of the biggest and impressive changes on the Note 9 is the 4,000mAh battery. This is an impressive huge upgrade, if you compare it to the 3,300 mAh of the Note 8. The Note 9 supports both fast-charging and wireless charging.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 camera specs

Rear cameras:

  • Wide-angle Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF sensor
    • Sensor size: 1/2.55″
    • Pixel Size: 1.4µm
    • Sensor ratio: 4:3
    • 77-degree field of view
    • Dual Aperture: f/1.5 mode, f/2.4 mode
  • Telephoto
    • 12MP AF sensor
    • Sensor size: 1/3.4″
    • Pixel Size: 1.0µm
    • Sensor ratio: 4:3
    • 45-degree field of view
    • f/2.4 aperture
  • Dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
  • VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization)
  • Optical zoom: 2X
  • Digital zoom: 10X
  • Scene optimizer
  • Flaw detection
  • Modes: Live Focus, Auto, Pro, Panorama, Dual Capture, Super Slow-Mo, AR Emoji, Hyperlapse, HDR, Motion Photo
  • Video recording: 4K 60fps, 4K 30fps, QHD 30fps, 1080p 240fps, 1080p 60fps, 1080p 30fps, 720p 960fps, 720p 30fps

Front camera: 

  • 8MP AF sensor
    • Sensor size: 1/3.6″
    • Pixel size: 1.22µm
    • Sensor ratio: 4:3
    • 80-degree field of view
    • F/1.7 aperture
  • Modes: Selfie Focus, Selfie, Wide Selfie

The cameras are on the Note 9 are more the same as those on the S9 Plus but they come with improved software enhancements and processing. The newer camera brings variable aperture which debuted with the S9+ and is a marked improvement over the Note 8.

The picture quality itself is as you would expect from a flagship smartphone. The pictures taken are packed with lots of detail and sharpness. The colors are vibrant but most of the times they tend to be saturated, when you compare it with other smartphones.

The variable aperture allows you to move between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the conditions. You can either manually select either aperture through the Pro mode or let the camera automatically choose it for you in Auto mode. The f/1.5 aperture does help in low light conditions. The Note 9 also features Super Slow Motion, which allows you to shoot up to 960 frames per second and the camera app has AI-enhanced automatic scene recognition to help you choose the best settings for each type of shot.

For a more detailed and comprehensive Samsung Galaxy Note 9 camera review click here

Cost

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is priced around Ksh 90,000 for the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage version and Ksh 127,000 for the 8GB RAM and 512GB storage version. They are very high prices but the company has partly justified the price with the inclusion of the big storage capacity.

If you find the Note 9 expensive you can go for the S9 Plus or the Note 8 they are much cheaper compared to the Note 9.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the most complete smartphone to date. It has an excellent screen, good cameras, good battery life, feature-rich software, IP86 water and dust resistant, an audio jack, wireless charging, a desktop mode and an even more useful S Pen. I highly recommend the Note 9 if gaming, photography, music, drawing, social media is your thing. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of those smartphones that has purpose in everybody’s hand.


For More reviews visit here

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
DESIGN 95%
PERFORMANCE 95%
DISPLAY 98%
BATTERY 95%
CAMERA 90%
Summary
The most complete smartphone. Incredibal screen, great cameras, good battery life, waterproof, audio jack, wireless charging, and an even more complete S Pen.
95 %
Near Perfect

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