The Galaxy Note line has been Samsung’s way to experiment with new ideas. It also helped introduced the idea of using a stylus with a phone that is much larger than others on the market. But now with recent models like the Note8 last year and the Note9, Samsung has been marketing the Note lineup as a bigger version of their Galaxy S lineup.
I’ve been using the Galaxy Note9 for a few weeks now and it is easily one of the best Android smartphones on the market and one of Samsung’s best phones to date.
Design & Hardware
The Galaxy Note9 shares a similar design language to the Galaxy S9 & S9+ with a metal and glass body. The screen is a 6.4-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display which is really bright and looks great from all angle.
It’s powered by the Snapdragon 845 processor with 128GB of internal storage plus a microSD card slot and 6GB of RAM. If you get the 512GB version of the Note9, then you get 8GB of RAM. The device was able to easily keep up with the most demanding tasks and games.
The battery in the Note9 is 4,000 mAh which is able to last all day. The phone is also IP68 water and dust resistant. There are also stereo speakers on the Note9 which are tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos support.
The S Pen on the Note9 now has Bluetooth Low Energy which allows you to use the S Pen as a camera remote or other functions. The bottom of the device is where you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack, S Pen and USB-C port.
The back of the Note9 is where you’ll find the dual cameras and the fingerprint sensor. Personally, the fingerprint sensor is on the smaller size, relative to the overall size of the phone.
The Galaxy Note9 costs $1,299 CAD for the 128GB model and $1,629 CAD for the 512GB model. The Note9 is available in two colours in Canada, Midnight Black and Ocean Blue.
The Note9 is running Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung Experience on top. Samsung has made a few tweaks but nothing that’s different from past Samsung devices.
You still have software features such as App Pair, Edge Screen and Air Command. The S-Pen on the Note9 works well, I was able to draw and write with and it all felt so smooth.
The Note9’s S-Pen is integrated well into the software, when you pull it out of the phone, the Air Command menu quickly pops up to give you access to all the features you can use the S-Pen for, like Screen Write, Live message, Bixby vision or even translation.
Just like the Galaxy S9, the Note9 also comes with a Bixby button and now you’ll be able to access Bixby Home as well as Bixby Voice. I didn’t find myself using Bixby all that often, especially since the Note8 also had the Google Assistant.
The Note9 has a dual camera setup, one 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and one 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Both of the cameras have optical image stabilization. In my time using the Note9’s camera, it seemed on par to the Pixel series and Galaxy S9 & S9+.
The photos taken on the Note8 look great, you can see lots of detail and colours really pop. Just like the S8, the Note8’s camera app is fairly simple with access to basic functions like flash, video mode etc. There’s also a Pro mode which allows you to change the camera’s manual exposure settings and the ability to capture in RAW.
Videos also look great on the Note9, I was particularly impressed with how well the Note9’s camera worked while taking video in low-light and in 4K. I was still able to make what was going on. The Note8 is capable of taking 4K video at up to 60fps, 1080p at 30 or 60 fps and slow-motion video at 720p at 240fps.
The Galaxy Note9 is one of Samsung’s best devices to date. It offers great performance, an amazing camera and improves upon the Note8.
- Beautiful display
- Amazing camera with great low-light performance
- BLE is a nice addition to the S Pen
- Premium design
- All-day battery life
- Big storage options (128GB and 512GB)
- Fingerprint sensor seems small in comparison to the size of the phone
- Samsung Experience skin can be frustrating