- High-end build
- Excellent battery life
- Feature-rich custom software
- The S Pen stylus is now also a remote
- One of the best displays in a smartphone
- Universally great camera performance (video included)
- One of few current big-name flagships with 3.5mm jack, stereo speakers, and microSD slot (the S9s too, the Mate 10, and... that's pretty much it)
- Heavy - beyond the 200g mark
- Screen reflections are unavoidable
- You can have too many software features
- Where them Alcantara cases this year, Samsung?!
- Not particularly original design and particularly unattractive back
the wave of fall flagships and started crashing upon us and the first of the lot is the Galaxy Note 9, last year the note 8 was one of the best Android flagship she could find, and it was shockingly successful or should we say explosively successful after the note 7 disaster .
however the note 9 doesn’t seem to be that much of an upgrade from the note 8, so should you really spend your money on it or should you go get something else, so this is our Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review .
the galaxy note 9 is not Samsung’s most original looking device to date, it’s still beautiful but like the s9 series before it the device looks almost identical to the previous generation, the bezels are slightly slimmer on the newer device but if you leave in note 8 and a note 9 facing up next to each other it’s extremely hard to tell which is which .
turn them over and things once again are only slightly different there’s a heart rate sensor to the right of the cameras and the fingerprint reader has been moved up below the horizontal cameras to give the whole setup the look of a cricket face .
this fingerprint sensor is easier to find without looking but it’s still too high up for convenient use if you’ve got smaller hands, it’s also a little slower than what you’d find in a Huawei or Oneplus device .
the mix of face and iris scanning also works well but you need the phone to be a little closer to your face in order for it to work, after setting up your unlock method you can change the display options for notifications on the lock screen .
over time you can also customize the notification settings for each app, from disabling them entirely to deciding what sounds and lights you prefer, at this size this is a device for two-handed use, it’s large, slippery and still a little top-heavy.
the shiny glass that makes it look so luxurious combined with the large surface area means that it’s much more likely to break if you drop it, so you should really get a case, that said it still has that ip68 rated protection though if you do end up dropping it in chlorinated or salt water you should wash it off so the seals last longer .
however if you do crack your screen and you need to get it replaced try to do it at a Samsung service center because you risk not having the seals properly replaced if you do it anywhere else some places just glue it on and you end up losing that very very useful ip68 protection .
also repairing the screen might cost around a third of the cost of the phone, so just just don’t drop it .
on the bottom of the device there’s still a headphone jack and a USB C port, what we find here as well is the s-pen we get a subtle black pen for the black model but if you have the blue color it comes in a vibrant yellow .
what makes this phone a little more unique than any other phone or even any other previous note is a Bluetooth capable S Pen you can unlock the phone activate the app and then take a picture all from across the room .
you can also browse through photos or change slides if you’re using the PowerPoint app but for most people those are rarer use cases .
as before you can draw notes on the screen and they automatically get saved to the Samsung Notes app, for now I haven’t found a way to save them to an alternate note app like Google keep but they’re easy to export .
like on the note 8 the pen uses technology license from Wacom it has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and pretty good accuracy, there’s a tiny amount of lag but considering the fact that this is a phone screen you’re writing on it would be difficult to use in a professional setting anyway, still it’s fun to sketch on .
the Super AMOLED screen is a massive 6.4 inches and has an excellent qHD resolution with 516 PPI, I’ve also noticed that you get to experience the definition of a first-world problem with qHD screens, since the resolution is much higher many of the wallpaper is available on popular apps look fuzzy , so you waste a lot more time searching for higher resolution photos because your phone deserves better .
colors are extremely accurate in all of the color modes except in the default adaptive display mode where they’re a little bit more vivid but still don’t get too off kilter, the no.9 screen gets plenty bright with a peak brightness of 658 nits as measured in a standardized test, you should have no issues with legibility outdoors .
the divisive curved edges on the side of the screen are still there but considering how large the phone is it’s very easy to ignore them the speakers quality is excellent this year and they’re substantially louder than the one on last year’s note 8 and received a very good rating on our loudness tests .
this is the first note with stereo speakers you’ll find one on the bottom and one that doubles as the earpiece when you hold the phone in portrait mode the bottom driver covers bass and the ear piece covers treble but in landscape mode they switch to left and right channels respectively .
personally I think the landscape version sounds better so I full screen any video a watch, with headphones there’s virtually no distortion and it’s the best result we’ve seen so far this year .
for even more vibrant sound and a wider sound stage you can turn on the Dolby Atmos setting it’s been updated and now offers the choice of optimizations for movie music and voices .
there’s also an auto mode that chooses for you personally I think most things sound best with the music option ticked there’s also an adaption which will analyze your hearing and turn up the frequencies that you can’t hear well, so you don’t eat a pump up the music is high to enjoy it .
the note 9 received a very good 97 hour endurance reading and hour battery life tests this wasn’t surprising thanks to its 4,000 milliamp hour battery this is one of the biggest batteries Samsung has had in its phone to date and it’s 500 milliamp hours larger than the infamous Galaxy Note 7 .
however since that Fiasco Samsung has created a series of safety checks to make sure that none of their phones explode again, you get 37% of the battery charged in half an hour which frankly is slow in comparison to other 2018 flagships .
however for a full charge it takes an hour and 45 minutes which is closer to what you’ll see from other phones it can also quick charge wirelessly but once again it depends on which Qi charger you own .
the Galaxy Note 9 comes with either the Snapdragon 845 or the Exynos 9810 which are the same chipsets available on the s9 dual the Exynos is faster than the Snapdragon but unfortunately it’s not usually available for buyers from the US .
still both chipsets can handle heavy multitasking and heavy apps without a slowdown, the note 9 supports Android Orio 8.1 hopefully it’ll soon be updated to Android Pi but it’s a bit surprising that Samson didn’t wait for this ninth iteration of Android so they could launch it together with the phone .
since it is Android 8.1 what you find isn’t too different from the s9 devices there’s a game launcher that’s convenient for organizing games that would otherwise clutter your apt or the Galleria has some basic editing software and offers some presets .
on the left side of the phone you can still find the Bigsby button Bixby seems to have been upgraded or at least it now has new animations and some new options unfortunately there’s no way to deactivate the button and if you click it it will end up interrupting whatever you’re doing .
the note 9 has two 12 megapixel cameras on the back one is the telephoto that allows for optically stabilized 2 times the optical zoom and the other is a main snapper with a variable aperture in daylight images are rich with detail, noise-free and have much more natural colors and on previous Galaxy phones .
Auto HDR allows for a wider dynamic range though the scene optimizer occasionally makes it more contrasty, speaking of which samson scene optimizer is one of the better ones we’ve seen it’s easy to switch off but occasionally it gives photos a nice amount of pop like on these flowers .
the telephoto camera is quite good with good colors and plenty of detail though it has slightly less contrast in the main snapper, life focus aka portrait mode works well for the most part although on occasion it can get confused with loose hair .
it works better in bright light because the telephoto doesn’t work too well in dim conditions, in low-light photos look good there’s no D saturation and dynamic range is improved .
the note 9 is also better than the s9 when exposing sources of light, the trade-off is that there’s more noise and edges aren’t as well defined, the front camera is an 8 megapixel one with an F 1.7 aperture sound familiar well it’s remained unchanged since the galaxy s safe .
still photos are good and offer plenty of detail and nice colors portrait mode works well too, the front-facing camera has no front-facing flash but the light of the screen can often be enough to illuminate your face in low-light conditions .
like the s9 the note 9 supports 4k and 1080p video recording at 60 frames per second, 4k videos are detailed and free of noise the colors are great and so is a contrast and white balance, there are no focus issues or compression artifacts and once again we were impressed by the dynamic range .
4k on the telephoto camera is a little bit less sharp and his colors are less saturated, the phone has both eis and ois, so footage is nicely stabilized though it can look artificial when you do panning shots .
1080p videos also exhibit practically the same qualities, they are quite sharp with plenty of detail but other than that they have the same essentials, great dynamic range accurate colors and white balance and high contrast .
slow motion on the note 9 has been refined even further and you can now capture footage at 960 frames per second for twice as long as before, there’s both manual and automatic capture options with the latter being quite accurate, sadly for now it’s still in 720p .
the note 9 is a beast of a phone it has so many features and options that it would literally take hours to get through them all however it’s missing two things that might be deal-breakers for some of you .
it doesn’t have an IR blaster and it have an FM radio, you can’t have it all can you also there’s a little bit too much overlap between this and the Galaxy Note 8, so if you already have that phone there’s really no point in upgrading unless you’re desperate for extra battery life .
however if money is not an issue or you have an older phone this is easily the best Android phone out there right now so I can easily recommend it .
Disclaimer : We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct
Specification: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE
CDMA 800 / 1900 – USA, GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2 (dual-SIM model only)
CDMA2000 1xEV-DO – USA, HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900)
HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (5CA) Cat18 1200/200 Mbps
Available. Released 2018, August
161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm (6.37 x 3.01 x 0.35 in)
201 g (7.09 oz)
Front/back glass (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame
Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Always-on display, HDR10, IP68 dust/water proof (up to 1.5m for 30 mins), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), Stylus (Bluetooth integration)
Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
6.4 inches, 103.2 cm2 (~83.4% screen-to-body ratio)
1440 x 2960 pixels, 18.5:9 ratio (~516 ppi density)
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Android 8.1 (Oreo), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie); One UI
Exynos 9810 Octa (10 nm) – EMEA, Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (10 nm) – USA/LATAM, China
Octa-core (4×2.7 GHz Mongoose M3 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55) – EMEA, Octa-core (4×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver) – USA/LATAM, China
Adreno 630 – USA/LATAM, China, Mali-G72 MP18 – EMEA
|Memory Card Slot||
microSD, up to 512 GB (uses SIM 2 slot) – dual SIM model only
512 GB, 8 GB RAM or 128 GB, 6 GB RAM
12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.4", 1.0µm, AF, OIS, 2x optical zoom, Dual
LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama
2160p@60fps, 1080p@240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR, dual-video rec.
Single 8 MP, f/1.7, 25mm (wide), 1/3.6", 1.22µm, AF
|Selfie Camera Features||
Dual video call, Auto-HDR
|Selfie Camera Video||
Yes, with stereo speakers
32-bit/384kHz audio, Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation, Samsung DeX (desktop experience support)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX
Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Iris scanner, fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, heart rate, SpO2
Fast battery charging 18W (Quick Charge 2.0), Non-removable Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery, Qi/PMA wireless charging (market dependent)
Metallic Copper, Lavender Purple, Ocean Blue, Midnight Black, Pure White, Alpine White