Since it’s the technology that we are talking about, it’s understandable why consumers would demand something cutting edge, something novel every time, but for the last few years, Samsung’s Note-philosophy has been to repackage best of innovations introduced with its S-series phones early on in the year for productivity-oriented users. Samsung gets away with this primarily because Note-series is unique in its own right and is meant for a very specific audience. (Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review हिंदी में पढ़े)
The new Galaxy Note9 is as much of an improvement over the Galaxy Note8, as the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus were over the Galaxy S8 duo (or perhaps more?). And these improvements are being passed on without any increase in price.
Samsung has been ostensibly sticking to a two-year design cycle. It must be noted that the iterative refinements it offers in the second year are done without any increase in price (in India, that is). Which is to say, the launch price of the Galaxy S9/S9+ was the same as that of Galaxy S8/S8+.
Similarly, in India, the price of Galaxy Note9 is the same as that of Galaxy Note8 at launch (Rs. 67,900). This year, however, Samsung has additionally introduced a pricier 512GB storage variant that costs Rs. 85,900
Now that we have cleared that up, let’s talk about whether the Note 9 is worth purchasing or not in our detailed Galaxy Note 9 review.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Specification
- Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Design and Build
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Display
- Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 S-Pen
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Camera Review
- Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Performance and Software
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Battery and Audio
- Review Verdict with Pros & Cons
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Specifications
|Model||Samsung Galaxy Note 9|
|Display||6.4 inches Super AMOLED capacitive display (1440 x 2960), having 18.5:9 ratio, ~514 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection|
|Processor||octa-core Exynos 9810 Octa, Adreno 630 GPU|
|Internal Storage||128/512 GB|
|Software||Android 8.1 (Oreo), SAMSUNG Experience 9.5 UI|
|Selfie Camera||8MP, AF|
|Rear Camera||12 MP + 12 MP, Variable aperture f/1.5-f/2.4, OIS, 2X Zoom|
|SIM||Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth, NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, No radio, USB Type-C 1.0 (micro USB 3.1)|
|Sensors||Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2|
|Colors||Metallic copper, Lavender purple, Ocean blue, Midnight black|
|India Price||Rs 67,900 / Rs 84,900|
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Design and Build
This is the part that remains almost the same as last year. Just as the Note 8, the Galaxy Note9 is a big phone meant for people who’d rather have more screen real estate than convenient single hand usage.
A few changes have been made though, and the most notable and obvious one is the new fingerprint sensor placement below the rear camera module (which is something you can see across the entire 2018 portfolio).
Owing to the bigger battery housed inside, the new Note9 is also a tad heavier and a hair thicker than the Note8, but the overall in-hand feel remains similar.
Over the last year, we have seen swankier big display phones. In fact, phones like OnePlus 6 package almost similar size screen in slimmer and lighter casing and that’s something which is bound to work against the Note9.
Having said that, the Note9 doesn’t feel objectionably dated either. It’s an adequate boxy and chunky phone, which is within the bounds of expected for a Note-series handset.
One gripe we have is that there is no option to disable Bixby Key this year, which means you will have to endure accidental presses while reaching for the volume down button.
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- The Galaxy Note 9 measures 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm and weighs 201 gram. Compared to the Note 8, the new Note is marginally broader and has a slightly bigger display (6.4-inch vs 6.3-inch).
- The Note 9 has Gorilla Glass 5 on front and rear. There are a few subtle design changes but the in-hand feel is similar to the last year’s Note8.
- It’s not a phone designed to prioritize one hand operation, but with the new S-Pen tricks and features like the 3D touch home button, One hand usage turned out to be lot better than what we had expected.
- The USB Type-C port( USB 3.1- based), loudspeaker, Audio jack and S Pen dock are all present at the bottom.
- The Bixby button is present on the left edge. Unfortunately, the option to disable the button has been removed.
- The handset is IP68 dust and water resistant certified.
- This year, Samsung has bundled a softer, more resilient TPU case in the box. You will also find OTG connector, extra S Pen tips, fast charging adaptor, and AKG earphones within.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Display
As you’d expect, the Galaxy Note 9 has a gorgeous AMOLED screen that works great both indoors and outdoors. The 3D touch home button is another feature that we love and value on Samsung’s high-end phones. Samsung has also added some cool wallpapers to complement the screen.
The default screen resolution is Full HD+, but we’d recommend you to switch to higher WQHD+ from display settings. The Note 9 display feels noticeably bigger than comparable dimension notch screens.
- The Note9 has a gorgeous HDR 10 compliant AMOLED screen. You can choose between different color profiles.
- The lack of notch helps in distinguishing the Note9. The screen feels noticeably broader and wider than comparable notch-alternatives.
- The 3D Touch home button and Always-On display are other features we admire.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 S-Pen Review
The S Pen is what differentiates a Samsung Note from all other phones out there. While some might argue that this is a frivolous plastic stick you’d rarely use after the novelty wears out, we’d have to disagree.
If you are someone like me who finds the smartphone screens to be a little too cramped for real work, the S Pen can almost always be of assistance, even if it’s only for the precision-guided scrolling and navigation. We have personally known executives that buy Note phone for the S Pen since it can be used to conveniently sign official documents when they are on the move.
With the Bluetooth addition, a lot more users will be using the S Pen. You can now use the S Pen to fire camera app, as a remote shutter, to swipe between images in the gallery, to play/pause content and to even power on the display for unlocking your phone.
- With Bluetooth capabilities, the S Pen is a lot more useful. The connectivity between Note 9 and S Pen is seamless, you won’t have to go through manual pairing or any other such inconvenience.
- You can set long press action for the S Pen button to launch any app of your choice.
- We have been using the S Pen as camera shutter very frequently. The Play/Pause option shows slight latency. Overall, the new features work well if you are within the Bluetooth range.
- The traditional S Pen features are all there too and will appeal to power users.
- The S Pen now has a Super Capacitor that can charge to 100 percent in less than 40 seconds.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Camera Review
All cool innovations in the Galaxy S9 Plus camera have now been passed on to the Note9. The rear camera performance is excellent, especially when it comes to capturing images in low light.
The camera can capture vivid details, retain subtle textures, and shots show a wide dynamic range. Images turn out well exposed even in tricky lighting.
Auto HDR helps too. This shot against the sun turned out splendid.
List of features includes 2X optical zoom, portrait mode, slow-motion video capture, and more. And you can also take great selfies using the front camera.
A new edition to the Note 9 is AI. The camera can detect scenes and optimize image settings accordingly. These enhancements are subtle and not as harsh as Huawei’s P20 Pro.
Camera performance on high-end Samsung phones is right up there with the best out there. But still, it’s a notch behind the Pixel 2 and Google is expected to further step up the game with Pixel 3 next month.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Performance and Software
One very important upgrade over the last years Note8 is the new Exynos 9810 chipset. We have been using the Galaxy S9+ for the last 5 months and the performance is still very consistent. More so than any other Samsung flagship that we have used in the past.
The Note9 has the same hardware-software combination, and it would be reasonable to expect similar performance durability (unless the Android P upgrade screws things up).
Samsung’s experience UI is a well-balanced and mature ROM. On high-end phones, you get extra perks like Samsung Pay, Edge launcher, and Bixby voice assistant.
We quite liked the Bixby last year for a first generation AI assistant. It’s deeply integrated with the hardware and is quite deft at fetching settings options or anything within your phone for that matter. Unfortunately, Bixby hasn’t improved appreciably in the second generation. In fact, we find ourselves using it even lesser now. Moreover, Samsung has also removed the option to disable the Bixby key.
- The Exynos 9810 is a substantial improvement over Exynos 8995 in the last years Note 8. Performance is smooth.
- The new Bixby 2.0 is a letdown.
- Call quality in our area is excellent. Galaxy Note 9 supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE.
- Iris scanner and Face Unlock still aren’t as fast or convenient as we’d want them to be. Fingerprint sensor works fine.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Battery and Audio
The Note 9 now has a 4000mAh battery. This is a much-appreciated upgrade and productivity-oriented users, which are perhaps the primary target consumers. On particular heavy usage days, with display tuned to the highest resolution, we can stretch the battery to last one heavy usage day but with bare minimum left at bedtime. On conventional days, we can comfortably manage 1-day mileage on a full charge.
Charging is, however, not nearly as fast as it should be on a high-end flagship. With the bundled charger, it takes more than two hours to top up the battery from 5 percent to 100 percent.
Just as the S9 Plus, the Note 9 now has stereo speakers tuned by AKG. The earpiece doubles as the second speaker and together the audio output is rich and loud. Audio via headphones is remarkable too.
- The 4000mAh battery can stretch to a day of moderate to heavy usage, even with display set to maximum resolution.
- Charging isn’t as fast as we’d want it to be, though. Especially when you are using your phone side-by-side.
- The audio output from stereo speakers is loud and clear. Audio via headphones is excellent too.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
If you compare the Note9 with the Note8, there are numerous improvements on board that will matter. These include enhanced full-day battery backup, much more efficient (and durable) chipset, improved cameras, and a lot more useful S Pen stylus. As we stated at the start, these upgrades are being passed without a hike in price (comparing the price of same RAM/ storage variants for Note 8 at launch last year).
However, Samsung’s Note isn’t the only worthy big-display phone around. People who don’t care for specifics like S Pen could get most of what’s good with the Note 9 in the more manageable and significantly cheaper Galaxy S9+.
The Note 9 is a great phone that makes sense for Note-series loyalists and for people who do a lot of professional work on their phones. But we are guessing, the size of this niche audience might be shrinking. The average display size for phones has increased exponentially with the use of 18:9 and 19:9 screens and quotidian consumers simply looking for a competent big-display phone today have numerous other options to fall back on.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 long-term review
While you can read our original assessment above, let’s add what we feel after using the Note 9 for another 2 months of usage.
The more we used the Galaxy Note 9, the more we loved it. That’s perhaps the hallmark of a premium phone. The camera continues to amaze us, which is evident from the fact that we keep looking for opportunities to shoot very often. The 2X Zoom certainly entails a loss in quality and is a feature that we use only while shooting images during keynotes at launch (where quality doesn’t matter as much). The super-slow motion works well in good outdoor lighting. The portrait mode can be a hit or miss case in low light but works well in proper lighting.
The performance is flawless, and the battery backup is reasonable. We even continue using the S Pen quite frequently, especially for professional purposes.
At the end of two months, the broad size has also grown on us. It’s not a phone for one-hand usage by any means, but there is just more to relish of that awesome AMOLED display. It’s surely a great buy.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Pros and Cons
- Excellent Audio
- Best display in a smartphone today
- Powerful performance
- Improved S Pen is quite useful
- Battery backup
- Camera performance
- Looks the same as Note8
- Thick and heavy
- Bixby 2.0 is a letdown