Do you remember the Note 7? I do. It was my ideal iteration of Samsung's Galaxy Note line. Thanks to the 5.7-inch display, the phone could be kept perfectly in my hand. The fingerprint sensor was at the front and easily accessible. The camera was clear and sharp. And the lifetime of the battery was more than enough to get through a whole day.
I loved the Note 7.
Also: surprises for Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Then it was recalled. Twice. A few weeks later my evaluation unit was taken care of by a Samsung representative at a Starbucks parking lot, despite my pleas to keep this as a memento. A piece of history from Samsung that will never be turned on again. You know, because of the problem with the explosion.
After the recall, the rumors ran that the Note line was ready. Eventually it was announced with a larger display (6.3 inches) and the fingerprint sensor was moved to the back of the phone, next to the camera at the back of the phone.
Also: Samsung Galaxy Note 9: a cheat sheet TechRepublic
I have looked at the Note 8 and found it fun to use, except for that fingerprint sensor. The longer I used it, the more I started to feel as if the Note 8 was just too big. It felt voluminous and I felt awkward when I tried to unlock it and use it with one hand. After a few months, the dust began to collect on my shelf.
At random, I would push it up, convinced that I was going to use it – only to draw the attention of its size again.
Also: Samsung Galaxy Note 9: everything you need to know
So when Samsung announced the Note 9, with a slightly larger display (6.4 inches), I was annoyed. The Note 8 already felt too big, and yet Samsung made it even bigger. Ugh.
After receiving and setting up my rating unit, I started using it as my main phone and I continued to do so just a little less than last month. About a week after I had used it, I realized that despite the fact that the phone was bigger than the Note 8, it did not feel like it was bigger. I felt comfortable unlocked and used with one hand.
Then it dawned on me: the fingerprint sensor.
My favorite feature of the Note 9 is not the Bluetooth range of the S Pen (though useful, I rarely use the S Pen), nor is it the camera (which is still one of the best found in a smartphone) . The same can be said about the display. I appreciate the battery performance of the phone because it is enough to withstand my average day of use.
But my favorite feature of the Note 9 is where Samsung placed the fingerprint reader. It has changed the way I look at the Note 9 on its own.
Also: iPhone X versus Galaxy Note 9 dual-camera comparison CNET
By moving the fingerprint sensor under the camera on the back of the phone, the Note 9 is much easier to hold and use than the Note 8. On the surface, moving the fingerprint sensor feels like a small adjustment. But in use it has really made a world of difference in my personal use.
Phones are not getting smaller. Samsung has just released this 6.4-inch monster and it is rumored that Apple has a 6.5-inch iPhone XS in the making. As long as devices makers keep in mind the ease of use for large-scale devices, I will fully embrace the gigantic telephone trend. Again.