The Samsung Galaxy Note series has typically been the go-to phone for power users who want the biggest screen, battery and specs available. The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 all of that and more, and arrives as the second most expensive (standard consumer) phone after the iPhone X. Phones at this price point are held to a loftier standard than other premium options, but the Note 9’s long list of high-end features and specs means that users will have plenty of reasons to choose this device over others.
The Note 9 is a perfect example of refining an already excellent design. It retains the all glass body from last year, and the gorgeous 6.4’’ curved screen, making subtle adjustments to the chamfered edges to give users a flatter surface for the S-Pen to write on. The nearly bezel-less display is a joy to watch YouTube and Netflix on, and the taller aspect ratio means that this near tablet-sized device can be held easily in one hand. The fingerprint scanner has also been repositioned and now sits below the dual-lens camera, rather than next to it. While we love our wireless headphones, we’re always happy to have a headphone jack for those times our Uber driver hands us the AUX cord. We’re happy that Samsung didn’t completely overhaul the design as the previous generation Note 8 already looked fantastic. Instead, the focus has been on making significant improvements to the internals.
The Spec Sheet
If you showed us the spec sheet for the Samsung Note 9 a few years ago, we’d probably assume it was from a high-end computer. The Note 9 arrives in two variations to choose from: 128GB of storage with 6GB of RAM, or 512GB of storage with 8GB of RAM. With those kinds of specs, the Note 9 will be more than capable of handling whatever task you throw its way. The inclusion of a massive 4,000mAh battery means you’ll be able to handle those tasks all day, while a water-carbon cooling system inside will keep the phone cool to the touch.
The physical variable aperture lens that first debuted on the S9 and S9+ earlier this year makes its way to the Note series. The dual-camera array features two 12MP sensors, one with variable aperture between f/1.7 and f/2.4, and a second 2x telephoto lens. The two lenses work in unison to take shots and then stitch together the best elements of each to create the final photo. Where the Note 9 steps it up from the S series is the new AI features that continually analyse each scene and make error adjustments accordingly before you take the final photo.
Central to the Samsung Galaxy Note Series is the S-Pen, and Samsung has given it some worthwhile improvements in the Note 9. It now has Bluetooth connectivity so it can be used wirelessly for a host of functions, such as a remote for the camera shutter. Because Bluetooth functionality requires power, the S-Pen will need to charge, however running out of power on the go will not be an issue with the S-Pen able to add an hours use with just a thirty second charge.
Debuting alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 last year was Samsung’s desktop docking system, DeX. The Note 9 takes it a step further removing the need for a separate dock entirely, instead replacing it with one simple cable. Connect your Galaxy Note 9 to a monitor through a HDMI to USB-C adapter and you’re good to go. The screen on the Note 9 then acts as a trackpad and keyboard depending on what’s displayed on the screen. This is perfect for presentations or playing content on a bigger screen on the go. If you do need to do serious work, you can also connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for the ultimate portable setup.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 | First Impressions
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 looks like a power user’s dream on paper. We can’t wait to spend some time with the phone and see how the specs translate into real-world performance. Stay tuned for our full review, but from our first impressions, we’re sure it’s going to be a treat to use.