Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: undisputed king of the ring


  • The Galaxy Note 9 prize starts at Rs 67,900.

  • It comes with Bluetooth LE-enabled S Pen.

  • The Note 9 is equipped with a 4000 mAh battery.

It is more than seven years since Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note. It was a daring step when consumers were looking for compact smartphones and the Galaxy Note was considered a phablet. Over the years, smartphones with a large screen became mainstream, with a 5.5-inch screen that became standard for most phones. During all these years the Note-series continued to evolve, and the latest Galaxy Note 9 has a lot to do with it, especially after the boring sale of the Galaxy S9 series.

Because the smartphone's landscape is constantly changing, the costs of premium smartphones have risen. We saw a marginal price increase from the Galaxy S7 to Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9. But in the case of the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung has managed to keep the prices of the previous year for the Galaxy Note 8. The basic version with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage costs Rs 67,900. The top variant with 8GB RAM and 512GB onboard storage costs Rs 84,900, making it the most expensive smartphone with Samsung flagship so far.

As is the case with every successor, upgrades are always expected. Yes, you get newer hardware, such as the improved camera's, more storage space, the latest chipset, larger battery, and yes, the S Pen is now Bluetooth enabled. But do all these improvements translate to a worthy upgrade of the Galaxy Note 8? Also does the Galaxy Note 9 stand out among its competitors? Let's find out.

View: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Look

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 specifications

show 6.4-inch Super AMOLED QHD +, 1440 × 2960 pixels, 516ppi, 18.5: 9 aspect ratio
processor Samsung Exynos 9810 octa-core
storage area 128 GB / 512 GB (expandable microSD to 512 GB)
Camera at the rear 12-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens and a double aperture of f / 1.5 – f2.4
12-megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens, f / 2.4 aperture
Front camera 8-megapixel autofocus, aperture f / 1.7
OS Android 8.1 Oreo
connectivity 4G VoLTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
Safety Fingerprints, Iris scanner, Unlock face
Battery 4,000mAh

Design – familiar, but refined

Aesthetically, the Galaxy Note 9 looks exactly the same as the Galaxy Note 8, albeit with a few refinements. We have seen a number of interesting smartphones this year, with sliding camera mechanisms from, among others, Oppo and Vivo, and a foldable phone from ZTE to name just a few. We have also seen a number of smartphones with different types of notches. Samsung, on the other hand, has gone with a simple approach.

Although it has continued with the same design, Samsung has improved the aesthetic appeal, whether it's color choices, the metal frame between front and back glass with curves on both sides, the diamond-cut bevelled edges and the displaced fingerprint scanner for easy access. You get a glass back, which is slippery and attracts a lot of fingerprints, but it does not make sense to tickle, because it is the problem we face with every phone that has front and rear windows.

The hybrid SIM card slot is placed on top, while the 3.5 mm audio jack is on the bottom, along with the USB Type-C port. The power button is on the right, while the left side has a volume button. And yes, Samsung has also kept the special Bixby button and it is sad that you can not reformat it for anything else.

The front is dominated by a large Super AMOLED screen with an aspect ratio of 18.5: 9, rounded corners and curved edges. The screen is a treat to watch, and the colors really stand out, giving you a lifelike viewing experience. It also includes support for HDR10 video format to let you enjoy vivid content. Samsung has also improved the brightness of the screen and the readability in direct sunlight was no problem at all.

S Pen – Remote control in your hand

The S Pen is one of the reasons why users buy the Galaxy Note devices. In fact, it is one of the key differentiating factors of the Galaxy Note series compared to other smartphones. LG tried the stylus approach with the Stylo series, but they were the phones from the middle segment. There is no smartphone brand that even comes close to the experience that the Galaxy Note series offers, and this year Samsung has given a major upgrade to the stylus.

The S Pen now comes with Bluetooth LE connectivity, allowing you to use it as a remote control for media control, change slides of a PowerPoint presentation and much more. You can even use the S Pen as an external shutter for the camera, allowing you to click photos from a distance of up to 20-30 feet.

The new S Pen has the same size and shape as the older one, and it is commendable how Samsung has managed to pack a small battery in it. When the S Pen is fully charged, it can be used in Bluetooth mode for up to 30 minutes before it has to be recharged. And thanks to the supercapacitor, charging is really fast. It takes only 40 seconds to charge the S Pen and then it can be used for another 30 minutes. And once the battery is empty, you can continue to use it as a stylus, only that the Bluetooth remote control functions do not work.

Camera & # 39; s – Dual aperture mode with AI optimizations

Everyone is doing it, and this time Samsung has also added AI chops to the camera app with the screen optimization feature. It recognizes 20 scene types – food, pets, text, green, flowers and more and optimizes the camera settings to take better photos.

Samsung has also added blink and fade detection features. For example, if someone blinks in the photo with his eyes, you will see a small message that recommends clicking the photo again. Even if the image is blurred, due to the shaky hand movements while clicking on the shutter, you get a prompt to click again.

The performance is simply top and the smartphone undoubtedly has one of the best cameras on the market today. I have already written about the photo quality in my camera review, and below are some camera samples that I have taken on the Galaxy Note 9.

DeX – Turn your smartphone into a computer

I've already talked about the improved DeX feature on the Galaxy Note 9. Unlike previous smartphones where you needed a DeX station with a price of Rs 8.500, the Galaxy Note 9 works to improve the overall experience. All you need is a USB Type-C to HDMI cable, that's all. You can get one for as low as Rs 500, or a brand name that goes up to Rs 5.000, or more, the choice is yours.

The moment you connect the smartphone to a TV or monitor via the type-C-to-HDMI cable, the deX desktop mode is started. It supports most of the smartphone apps you would need, from browsers to social networking apps to Office Suite, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. To enter text, a keyboard is displayed on the screen on the smartphone or you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard to make it easier for you. The same also applies to the mouse. Alternatively, you can also use your screen as a touchpad by enabling it in the drop-down menu.

The best part is, you can multitask. Imagine you have opened a Chrome browser and Microsoft Word or Google Docs in DeX mode, you can lift and dial your Galaxy Note 9, text messages and, click on photos and more, without the DeX- disrupt mode, does it sound cool?

Now I know you have to wonder if it can really replace your desktop or laptop. The answer is no. But this is clearly the best implementation I've seen so far. I used the DeX mode to write the story overview of the Galaxy Note 9 camera without any problems. I was able to comfortably load six tabs in the Chrome browser, access WordPress, book a train ticket on IRCTC and some informal surfing on travel sites looking for air fares and hotel stays. And no, the phone does not get warm and the battery drain in DeX mode is about five percent in 20 minutes, which is not bad.

Performance – The beast in your pocket

The Galaxy Note 8 was a great achievement, the same applies to the Galaxy S9 series. The Galaxy Note 9 also comes with the same hardware as the Galaxy S9, and in terms of performance it is a beast. I have had absolutely no problems during the last 10 days that I have used the Galaxy Note 9. I have been addicted to it Asphalt 9 Legends, PUBGand a bit in it Fortnite, play them continuously for more than 45 minutes per session.

The Galaxy Note 9 offers great graphics, there is no stuttering and thanks to the water-carbon cooling, even after intense sessions, the phone barely gets warm. I love games on the Galaxy Note 9 because there are several things that support this: the fantastic big screen, the smooth performance and a powerful battery that provides enough juice for longer sessions.

Battery life – lasts all day, and a little more

Most smartphones have this one big concern regarding the battery life. With the Galaxy Note 7 Samsung tried to take a larger battery, but it was plagued by problems that led to the recall of the phone, followed by the unfortunate fall of the otherwise great phone. Now, with the abandonment of the nightmare, the Galaxy Note 9 comes with a huge battery of 4000 mAh, which is 700 mAh larger than the Galaxy Note 8 and 500 mAh larger than the Galaxy S9 +.

Samsung promises a whole day battery, and yes, even with intensive use, the smartphone delivers a full day of fruit juice. If you are an average user, the battery may last longer. The maximum turn-on time that I got on the Galaxy Note 9 was six hours, which is not bad. But it continues to fluctuate daily, based on your use. But on average I got no less than five hours.

The Galaxy Note 9 supports fast charging and wireless fast charging. You get the usual adaptive fast charger that provides a 2 amp current and charging from empty to full usually takes about 100-110 minutes, which is not bad given the battery capacity. I do not have the chance to try out Samsung's wireless fast charger, so I can not really tell you how fast that is. But generally, wired charging is usually faster.

Security and extras – A complete package

For biometric verification, the Galaxy Note 9 comes with iris scanner, which is fast and works perfectly well in all light conditions. You have the fingerprint scanner at the back, which is easy to set and which also unlocks the device very quickly. And like all other smartphones, you also have the intelligent unlocking of the face, which combines facial and iris techniques, but as in the case of the Galaxy S9, it is very slow and inaccurate. I prefer iris and fingerprint scans because it works without problems.

The Galaxy Note 9 also comes with IP68 certification for water and dust resistance. The S Pen is also waterproof and can also be used under water. For giro payments you have Samsung Pay with MST technology, just as you have seen on the other leading Samsung phones.

Samsung has also included AR Emojis, as we have seen in the Galaxy S9, it's decent, but the implementation could have been better. And for an enhanced listening experience, the Galaxy Note 9 also comes with Dolby Atmos and stereo speakers that are not only noisy, but also provide a good experience when playing games, watching movies or listening to music.

Software – Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung UI

This is an area where Samsung always stays behind. It takes centuries to roll out important software updates. The Galaxy S9 series supports Project Treble, but it is still on Android 8.0 Oreo, while the Android 9 Pie has recently been released. And another sad thing is that Samsung has not revealed anything when you can expect the new software update.

That said, the Experience UI on top of Android 8.1 Oreo is well refined. You have bloatware apps, but most can be removed. One of the interesting things about the interface is the multi-window mode, where you can change the size of the screens for supported apps in addition to the standard Android implementation, and have a multitasking-like desktop experience, as shown in the screenshot below.

Bixby 2.0 – I'm a bit disappointed

I really liked the Bixby voice implementation on the Galaxy Note 8. It may not be as smart as Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, but there is one thing that works better: it can control most aspects of your smartphone. Like, click on a selfie in the aspect ratio 1: 1, open the gallery and delete the last photo, or open the gallery and place the last photo on Facebook or Twitter with a caption. It can send events photos to your contacts on WhatsApp, change almost all settings on your smartphone such as brightness, volume level, clear recent apps, download apps from Play Store, and more.

With the Galaxy Note 9 I expected a better Bixby, at least the demo on the stage at the global launch, even in New York, was impressive. However, I was disappointed because Bixby did not work as expected in the assessment department. One clarification: Samsung had the preview version pre-loaded and not the latest version, so there are undoubtedly bugs present. But I had expected the basics to work. I had to say "Hi Bixby" about 6-7 times that the voice had to wake up, a frustrating experience. I hope that the final version after the smartphone goes on sale some improvements to bring.

Verdict: Do you have to buy the Galaxy Note 9?

So, everyone's question is: is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 worth buying? Well, it is a fantastic smartphone, even though there are few things that can see improvements. It has great camera's, a lively display, a good battery life, beautiful design and color options (at least the Ocean Blue version).

The S Pen, who is the heart and soul of the Note-series, seems brilliant here and you will find it very useful. The DeX platform is the hidden gem, and then you have water and dust resistance, Samsung Pay, Iris scanner – everything makes the Galaxy Note 9 a complete package. In total, the Galaxy Note 9 is the phone to buy if you're looking for the best Android smartphone out there.

If S Pen does not excite you, then there is the Galaxy S9 +, which is "kind" of the Galaxy Note 9, minus the S Pen. And if you do not mind buying a phone that is a generation older, the Galaxy Note 8 on Rs 55.900 is not a bad option. And, of course, if your budget is between Rs 35,000 and Rs 50,000, the OnePlus 6T, Huawei Nova 3 or the Vivo NEX options you can search for.

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