Sounds crazy, right? What’s this guy on? And why is he starting off his Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review like this?
How come a smartphone from Samsung who does all sorts of marketing be underrated? Unfortunately, it’s true. And I think it has to do with all the hypes created by the tech community.
Now don’t get me wrong. People are still buying it and are very much satisfied with the device. But initially, everyone was asking for something more (although reports claim sales of note 9 is not as impressive as last year’s note 8).
As this is a flagship device and costs a ton of money, people’s expectations are justified in my opinion.
This is the first time Samsung has priced their phone with a 4-digit price tag. I guess this can be one of the reasons why people tend to think little about this beast of a device. But does Samsung deliver and meet the expectations of the consumers? with a phone that costs 1000 bucks, it’s pretty hard to hit every note correctly (No pun intended).
I think they have nailed it. Regardless of the price tag, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is worth every penny. In a later section of this galaxy note 9 review, I’ll reveal my reasoning behind that.
So, without any further ado let’s get right into to meaty part.
Samsung note 9 Features: What’s There to Look into?
So what’s new in this edition of the flagship device? Did Samsung manage to outdo itself with this release? Let’s look into a few of its specifications and see how these things impact on the overall user experience. I’ll be covering the following things in my review.
- Build quality
- Security and Biometrics
- OS and timely updates
Let me give you a hint: Samsung galaxy note 9 does a great job at hitting all the important factors that you can possibly think of. Let’s take a deep dive and give you a full taste of the device.
Let’s Discuss the Specs in Brief before Diving in
Hardware and software quality can make or break a flagship mobile device. Samsung has always made the top of the line specs readily available for their smartphones. The Note 9 is no different.
Last year note 8 was already good and this year it gets even better with “Best of the Class” chip. People will have other components to boast about as well.
This year’s Samsung galaxy note features Exynos 9810 Octa-core processor or Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845. Keep in mind the Exynos version is not available for purchase in the US. The Octa core in Exynos might sound fancy to you but there are no real-life usage differences.
It has 6/8 GB of RAM with 128/5125 GB of internal storage along with an SD card slot for external storage.
Let that sink in. A whopping 512 GB storage in the palm of your hand (Well not in the palm to be precise. Wink! wink!)
It also features a huge 6.4” Super AMOLED display that is just gorgeous (More on this later).
The battery is a whopping 4000mAh along with a 12MP rear camera with 2x zoom and variable aperture. Currently, note 9 is on Android Oreo 8.1 and yet to get an update to Android pie 9.x.
We will take a look at the battery and camera of this device very much in depth. As of now let’s just take a look at the specifications at a glance.
|Processor||Snapdragon 845/ Exynos 9810|
|RAM||6 GB/8 GB|
|Storage||128 GB/512 GB|
|Display||6.4-inch Super AMOLED|
|Cameras||12MP dual rear (2x zoom), 8MP front|
|Software||Oreo 8.1 (Compatible with Android pie 9.x|
|Measurements||161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm with 201 gram of weight|
When you’re up for a super device like this, price is hardly an issue.
Here are some Android keyboard apps that go well with this killer Smartphone.
As far as the specs are concerned, the new Samsung galaxy note 9 gets an A+ from me. You simply cannot ask for anything else (Kudos to Samsung).
So, How Well is the Phone Built?
As it turns out, pretty well!
The only word that comes to my mind while describing the new Samsung note 9 is “TANK”. This phone is as solid as it gets.
Believe it or not, the build quality of this phone is the most underrated feature of them all. The metal glass sandwich and curving display are just perfect. We have aluminum all around and gorilla glass 5 both in front and back.
It has a headphone jack (APPLE. Cough! Cough!). I really love the squared-off design of the note 9 over the previous generation.
It has water cooling inside it. So, it’s a great news for mobile gamers out there. The buttons are tactile and feel great. The speakers of the note 9 are hands down better than the previous generation. It’s much louder and cleaner sounding.
The IP8 water resistance rating is the icing on the cake for the underwater selfie people.
All in all, the build quality of this device is great.
However, there’s a tiny area I’d like to see improved in the next edition. I don’t like the back of the phone. It is a super fingerprint magnet. Glass will always have more fingerprints and smudges than metal.
Well, what can you do about it? This is the industry standard now.
The build quality of new Samsung note gets an “A” from me (I don’t like smudges on my phone).
Okay, A Word or Two about the Display
One word that can describe the display perfectly is “Incredible”.
In short, it’s the best display of any smartphone and I’ve no hesitation saying that. I’m pretty sure everyone will agree with me.
Samsung has been known for making the best displays. Note 9 is no different. It’s obvious that they would put their best display in their flagship phone.
It’s a 6.4” Super AMODEL display. The colors are vibrant, sharp and color accurate. The display gets very bright and easily usable outdoors.
It’s the best mobile display for gaming and videos. Another plus for the display is that it features not notch.
Yes, I said “Feature”. Somehow the notch which is clearly a design limitation is considered as a feature by some people (I hate the notch).
Please bear in mind the display is pretty big. So, if one-handed use is your thingy then you should reconsider your decision. I’ve pretty big hands and the note 9 gives me hard time while using it in one hand.
Trust me if you are looking for a better display than the note 9’s, you will not find it.
The note 9 display gets an easy A+ from me.
How Good Are the Cameras?
Samsung has always been known for putting the best sensors on their flagship devices. Note 9 is no different.
It has a 12MP dual lens rare camera and an 8MP selfie cam. The primary lens has a variable aperture system that adjusts the aperture of the camera based on the lighting around you. It tries to find the best config for a particular photo and adjust the focal length based on that (That’s pretty cool).
The photos shot on the camera are great. You give it proper lighting and it’ll deliver every single time. Low light scenarios are a bit different. I still feel like it’s a hit or miss.
Don’t get me wrong. It is indeed one of the best cameras out there. I just don’t think it’s as good as the Pixel 2 camera. Which is a phone from last year.
Photos are colorful and vibrant; you know the classic Samsung over processing. It’s great but It’s just not as true to life as the pixel or the iPhone x.
One added feature is the AI mode. Which is called the scene optimizer. What this tries to do is find the best color adjustment based on the subject.
For instance, it’ll dial down the warmth of a photo if you are in a warm area. I don’t think it works as of now. it’s still inconstant. So, I turned it off after using it for a while. Things might get better over time.
Flaw detection is a great feature though.
The selfie cam is your typical front camera. It does shoot great selfies. But nothing out of the ordinary like the pixel 2 does.
The Galaxy Note 9’s camera gets an A from me. It’s undoubtedly among the top 3 best camera phones.
How Does the Battery of this Thing Fair?
After all the fiasco that happened with Note 7(damn! my laptop just exploded. Wink! wink!), Samsung took a safer route with the note 8 last year. Last year it was a 3300mAh.
This year however, they’ve bumped it up a notch (Again, no pun intended). This year’s new Samsung Note gets a huge 4000mAh battery. If you are a power user like me, you are in for a treat.
People are saying “OH. This is just another iterative update like the iPhone s series”. No, it’s not. That’s a huge bump in battery size. That cannot possibly be an iterative update. I have to give it to you Samsung.
Now you might ask. Hey, that’s just on paper. How good is it actually? Did the big battery make any difference in daily usage time?
Yes! It did.
Trust me it’s pretty damn good. I’m a heavy user and it can easily go past a day with a little bit of juice left in it. Previously I wouldn’t even dare to say that for a note device. This time around it’s different.
I’ve been consistently getting around 5-5.5 hours of screen on time. This is pretty darn impressive. Specially for a phone that has a 6.4” inch display (The OLED display contributes greatly here).
By no means, you’ll get 7/8 hours of screen on time like the phones with a smaller display. I believe this is as good as it can get for a phone with 6.4” screen.
The battery of the Galaxy Note 9 is humongous and it gets an A form me.
Is the Phone Secure Enough?
Next up on the Galaxy Note 9 review is security and biometrics. This thing is a champ when it comes to security. This is of course of no surprise as Galaxy note phones tend to have the best of the class biometric system.
Galaxy note 9 is one of the few phones that support both fingerprint and an iris scanner. Both of which are incredibly fast and secure.
The fingerprint reader is rare-mounted and this year they’ve fixed the positioning of it.
Last year it was a mess. Note 8 received huge criticisms from the tech community for having an awkwardly placed fingerprint reader. Thanks to Samsung, this year it easily reachable despite the phone being a phablet-sized phone.
The iris scanner is also great and secure. It works flawlessly under good lighting condition. The chances of false positive scans are close to none as everyone’s eyes are different.
Unlike facial recognition which sometimes struggles with people having similar facial attributes (like twins), it’s much more secure.
The only downfall I’d say is that it does not work properly in the dark. Nonetheless, Galaxy note 9 has great biometric support.
It gets an A+ from me.
How Do OS and Timely Updates Feature in the Grand Scheme of Things?
This is one of the main concerns for the Samsung phone users.
How do I put it? It’s just bad.
Although things are getting better gradually, it’s nowhere near Apple or Google. Also, Samsung’s UI and the skin on top of Android is heavy and in my humble opinion “horrible”.
Sure, they have great features that stock Android does not offer. But it’s still bad that you have duplicate apps i.e. bloatware everywhere in the Samsung phone ecosystem.
Some do like the colorful UI of Samsung skin. And I do respect their choice.
However, As I’m a hard-core stock Android fan, I really don’t like the Samsung skin.
The Samsung experience 10.0 based on Android P got leaked last week. After seeing all the videos online my initial impression was “Meh :/”.
As you can tell I’m not a huge fan of Samsung Experience (Previously known as TouchWiz). I gave it a B- when it comes to OS and timely updates.
All Things Considered Why is it underrated?
There are two reasons why I believe people tend to think less of the new Note 9.
The $1000 price tag and the success of Note 8.
First of all, when people like me and you want to spend $1000 on a smartphone we expect it to have everything and all.
Don’t get me wrong the Galaxy Note 9 does hit almost all the sweet spots and I love it. But still, the $1000 might strike a hint of doubt on your mind.
Secondly, The Galaxy Note 8 was a huge success for Samsung and people liked it (Including me).
It was so good some even left iPhone for it. After Note 8, the new version does seem like a small iterative update (which is not entirely correct) hence people are still using their Note 8. That’s why the sales of the new Note 9 are a bit stale as per Samsung standard.
Note 8 is still a great phone (even after more than a year) but, The Note 9 is still the best Samsung Galaxy phone in the market (No one can refute this).
My two cents
You might have found a pattern throughout the whole galaxy note 9 review. And yes! Your guess is correct. I do like the new Note 9 very much. I believe Galaxy note 9 is a great phone and it’s still going under the radar.
If you are still here, that means you want to know whether it’s worth it or not.
Here’s what I can tell.
If you have $1000 in your pocket and you still carry phones from 2/3 years back, buy it. No questions asked.
If you don’t like expensive phones or you have the note 8 or you just don’t like big smartphones, then you should not make the purchase.
So, what are your thoughts on the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9? Do you like it or hate it? Do you think it’s underrated? Is the phone too much pricy?
As always feel free to let your thoughts be known in the comment section below.
A quick side note before I depart: If you were wondering why I didn’t talk about Bixby, wireless charging and the all-new S-pen, that is because I don’t use them as much. Sure, they are great and all. But I just don’t find a use case for me.