Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Hands on Review: Best smartphone of 2018 yet?
Samsung today officially unveiled the successor of the Note series in India, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The new device is a more updated and a polished version of an already fantastic Note 8 built up with parts out of the Samsung S9+. The build quality is to the highest level similar to the Note smartphones in the past (forget the Note 7 like Samsung has completely had). The Galaxy Note 9 shares a lot with the Samsung Galaxy S9+, minus the design and little upgrades and special things you would buy the Note series for.
Having similarities with the S9+ is not a negative in any way
Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a 6.4-Inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 fullview display with corning gorilla glass 5 protection. The device is dust and water resistant, IP68 similar to the Galaxy S9+.
The device is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 SoC under the hood, which is coupled with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. You get the device in two internal storage capacities 128GB (with 6GB RAM) and 512GB (with 8GB RAM) where you also get an option for expandable storage via MicroSD card up to 512 GB. For photo purposes, at the back, you get a dual camera setup with two 12-megapixel sensors. For selfies, you get a single 8-megapixel snapper. All this runs on a 4,000mAh battery.
The placement of the fingerprint scanner has been changed to just below the camera lenses, with an updated S Pen which has approximately about 4,000 sensitive points on the tip of the S Pen.
The body and display on the Note 9
The display on the Note 9 has to be one of the best, if not the best display you can get on any smartphone today. The Quad HD+ AMOLED display is the right amount of bright and vivid as you would expect it to be. There was no noticeable flaw we could find in the display in the little time we had with the devices. The colors are awe-inspiring and the display feels just amazing to touch and glide your fingers on. If you are not a fan of the Notch design, you are probably using a Samsung smartphone so this must be an upgrade you might be looking for.
The smartphone has a glass front and back with a metal frame in the middle, and the device feels like a solid brick when you hold it which gives you a very satisfying feeling. The buttons are pretty solid and feel firm while clicking. The back of the device is unbelievably prone to fingerprints on the back, I would advise you to get a cover if fingerprints on your device make you mad like me.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes the camera from the Galaxy S9+ which is one of the best camera setups you can find on a smartphone right now, and Note 9 is nothing different. At the back there is a setup of two sensors, primary lens is a 12-megapixel SuperSpeed Dual Pixel lens with an aperture of f/1.5 or f/2.4. The secondary lens is a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.4.
The camera takes sharp images in good lighting conditions and also performs very well under low lighting conditions, similar to the Galaxy S9+. The color reproduction is brilliant, the device doesn’t really go overboard with fake colors and overexposed images. The detail of articles is well balanced and autofocus does a good job in focusing very nearby images.
At the front, there is a single shooter 8-megapixel sensor which might sound like a small lens since many companies have been giving ridiculous lenses at the front but the sensor is very high performing, the lens is a wide angle lens with an aperture of f/2.4 which can capture good amount of picture yet does not create a fish-eye kind of effect which is mostly the issue with Wide-angle lenses.
The quality of selfies is great, color reproduction is spot on. Bokeh and depth effect through the front camera is solely through software and it does a pretty good job. Beautification mode doesn’t go overboard with shape changing and just makes a subtle change so you get your best selfies still looking like you.
Software and S Pen
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is running Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Samsung Experience 9.5 over it. There are hardly any changes to the UI and the experience, Samsung has kept it simple and familiar like always, which most Samsung users are fond off, so why change what’s not broken, eh?
The S Pen is finally something I can get behind it’s definitely more than any stylus you can possibly buy on the market. Samsung has drastically improved the S Pen with the Note 9. The S Pen features a high capacity, low voltage battery which offers 30 minutes of connectivity and charges inside the phone. The charging is rapid as the S Pen can charge from 0 to 100 in 40 seconds. Samsung has worked really well to implement more uses of the S Pen not just writing on the screen. You can use it as a pointer while doing presentations, you can click pictures by using the S Pen button as a shutter. Every click of the S Pen is also configurable by the user.
If you can get over the massive price tag on the new Note offering, and you are looking for a major upgrade of your current smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is definitely a device you should be considering. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a master of all trades unless you are nitpicking it’s really hard to put a hand on anything negative on the Note 9, yet it’s not all perfect the device could have further improved in some areas.
The only major negative I could find is the price tag. With the 6GB variant available at INR 67,900 and the 8GB variant available at INR 84,900. If you already have a Note 8 or Galaxy S9 or S9+ or any comparable smartphones, Note 9 is not worth an upgrade. Also, you would be better off buying the 6GB RAM/128GB ROM version over the 8GB RAM/512GB ROM version, as the storage on the Note 9 is expandable and who really needs 8GB of RAM on their smartphone.