The Note 9 is, at the moment, the very best device Samsung has to offer. Let’s see together what they have managed to put inside this quite large phone.
New Samsung flagship is very similar to the older Note generation, but, of course, there are some changes. The Note 9 is a very tall device which will mostly demand both hands to use. Compared to the Note 8 that had a 6.3” display, the Note 9 has an even bigger display of 6.4”, because the chin is smaller. Fingerprint scanner, just as in the S9, is now located below the camera sensor, but it is still placed too high and it is easy to miss. The back panel is made of glass, and it is protected, just as the front panel, by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, while the edges of the device are made of aluminum. There is also the new S Pen inside which is a Bluetooth module and it can now be used as a camera shutter apart from all other uses. The Note 9 comes in Metallic Copper, Lavender Purple, Ocean Blue and Midnight Black color options.
Inside the factory box there are many things – a fast charging adapter with a Type-C cable, tuned AKG headphones with spare buds, USB A and microUSB to Type-C converter, user manuals, a SIM tray tool as well as replacement S Pen tips with a replacement tool.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Note 9 has a 6.4” display built in Super AMOLED technology. The biggest screen resolution available is WQHD+, but it can be shrunk down to FHD+ or even HD+ in order to save battery power.
Available display modes are Adaptive display, AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo and Basic. AMOLED Cinema has a very accurate P3 color profile which is a step above the sRGB.
Regarding the visibility on the sunlight, we can say that the Note 9 showed all content very accurately, but still we could see better results on other devices. Always On display is also here on this device.
Hardware and OS
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes to our market equipped with the Exynos 9810 chipset, while in America it comes with the Snapdragon 845. Memory built into this device depends on the version you have, and it either comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and whopping 512GB of internal storage. Even after longer gameplay, the phone warms up only barely, and there is no thermal throttling at all. While we’re at it, it’s worth to mention that it’s amazing to play PUBG Mobile on this phone. Exynos CPU paired with the Adreno 630 is an amazing combination, and they perform amazingly together. This device scored 241226 points on the AnTuTu benchmark.
The speaker of the Note 9 is equipped with Dolby Atmos system, it is not particularly loud, LG’s Boombox system is much louder, but sound quality on the Note 9 is much better.
Bixby button is still in the same place and it cannot be reprogrammed. Bixby vision didn’t receive any updates, and as it did in the S9+, it thinks that the wood glue we have here is a bottle of vitamins.
Note 9 right out of the box comes with preinstalled Android 8.1 OS, and update to 9.0 Pie is expected soon. Samsung Experience UI version 9.5, which has plenty of customizable options, is placed on top of the stock Android.
The only thing that has changed here compared to the S9+ is the sensor size of the second sensor in the primary setup, which doesn’t mean much. On the back there are still two cameras, both have 12 megapixel resolutions, and the first one has variable aperture that goes from f/1.5 to f/2.4. The second sensor is a telephoto sensor that adds a x2 optical zoom. Still, we did get something new, software-wise that is – the scene optimizer. We’d say AI technology, but Samsung doesn’t want to call it that. This mode can recognize 20 scenes and it does its job very well.
When it comes to the quality of photos, our impressions are the same as they were in the S9 Plus. Incredible photos, amazing details and vivid colors, just as everything should be in a 2018 flagship. This is definitely one of the best cameras out there. When it comes to night time photos, at first we thought that the phone has problems with capturing well lit places in the dark, until we didn’t turn the scene recognition on. In night photo mode, photos become much better, there is still a little bit of noise but the details are well kept even under the moonlight.
Portrait mode or Live focus is also here. The phone is bit too aggressive when separating the object from the background, especially when the light is scarce. Sometimes the edges are too sharp and unrealistic, but for the most part, the results are quite good.
Videos are captured in maximum 4K resolution at 60fps, and they can be captured in H264 or H265 HEVC format, optical image stabilization is always active and electronic doesn’t work only in 4K 60fps recordings. Videos and photos have plenty of details and capture really nice colors. Super Slow Motion recording that captures videos in 960fps is also here, but it only works in 720p HD resolution. Nonetheless, these videos look stunning.
The front facing camera of this device is an 8 megapixel sensor and it is equipped with the autofocus system. Nothing over the edge, but still a magnificent camera which supports portrait mode as well.
Our version of the Note 9 supports two cards through a hybrid slot, meaning that it can store either two nanoSIM cards or one nanoSIM and one microSD card. We’ve already mentioned that there is a 512GB version of this device and the phone support microSD card expansions up to 512GB which means that for the first time in a mobile device, there is a theoretical maximum of a whopping 1TB of memory. USB Type-C port serves for charging and data transfer. Something else that’s new is that DEX communication no longer needs a station – everything is set with just a monitor and an HDMI cable.
Supported wireless connection options are:
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual band, hotspot and DLNA
- GPS with GLONASS, A-GPS, BeiDou and Galileo
- Bluetooth v5.0 with A2DP, HS, LE, HSP, AVRCP, DIP, DIP, HFP, HID, MAP, OPP, PAN, PBAP, PBA, PAB
- OTG through a Type-C 3.1 connector
Supported network frequencies are:
- 2G GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
- 3G WCDMA: 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
- 4G LTE: 700 / 800 / 850, 900, 1500, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2600 MHz
Fortunately, this time around there is an improvement regarding the battery. Only a 3300 mAh battery didn’t really pair well with the Note8, but things have changed. Note 9 has a battery capacity of 4000 mAh which is more than enough to last though a whole day with around 5 – 6 hours of screen on time.
Charging has remained the same as it was. Standard charger is equipped with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology that charges 38% of the battery in only 30 minutes, while a full charge takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes. Note 9 is made of glass, and in 2018 it means that it supports Qi wireless charging, but you don’t get one such charger in a factory box. You’ll need to buy it separately, but it won’t cost you too much since they are available for around 20 euros.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is really an amazing device with a lot of features, options and capabilities. However, the biggest hurdle here is the price – 1000 euros for a smartphone is a lot of money. If you choose to buy this device, we recommend you wait a little bit until the price drops down.
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