About Samsung Galaxy Note 9 — Review, Specs & more
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 you get arguably the best phablet for 2019 without the price premium that the newer Note 10 attracts. There are innovations in the S-Pen, the memory and the battery, all of which make this the market leader. But is it worth buying a cheaper model? Foned finds out with its hands-on test...
Visually, at least, it's the same...
Compared to its predecessor the Galaxy Note 8, there are no big differences at first glance. Only really noteworthy are the slightly larger display, and the new placement of the fingerprint scanner - which has become smaller, and makes unlocking by finger uncomfortable, in our opinion. The combination of iris scan and face recognition works better.
The glass housing is as usual superlative quality and of course it's still dust and water resistant. However, glass has the disadvantage that it is slightly slippery and a magnet for grease stains. Due to its design, the Note 9 can not be operated with one hand, even if you have huge hands like our tester!
More storage and more battery
Let's step under the hood. First of all the larger memory is noticeable — you can now choose between a 128GB and 512GB version. Alternatively, the memory can be expanded with a microSD card, which might actually be a cheaper option. Another small plus here is also the battery capacity, which is clocking in at 4000 mAh. According to this review, this means a realistic battery life of over 11 hours - truly incredible.
Another reviewer on reddit determined a running time of 15 hours with a continuous video playback with maximum brightness. These values are really impressive. Via Quick Charge the note 9 is full again after 134 minutes or just over an hour. For comparison: The much smaller Galaxy S9 is only 10 minutes faster to 100%...
Optionally, the Note 9 phablet can also be charged via a wireless charging station. Other technical advances, such as the even stronger processor and LTE Cat 18 support, provide only a very minor advantage. and the Galaxy Note 9 rarely gets its performance at 100%. Here, the hardware and software are not optimally matched.
Great display, camera lacks finesse
The OLED display offers a standard resolution of 1080 × 2220 pixels, which ensures a sharp picture; you can even switch to 1440 × 2960 pixels, but this high resolution brings few advantages and only uses up unnecessary battery supply. The maximum brightness is 721 cd / m² so, the display can still be read well even in direct sunlight. We really liked the high brightness and also the good colour matching. The high resolution is interesting for VR - if you useit, although the refresh rate is only 28 fps which is slightly disappointing.
Since the same dual-lens technology is used in for the main camera as well as the other one, as with the Galaxy S9 Plus, the results should be at about the same level. But we had a little surprise here - only in daylight is the picture quality good; at dusk, the quality decreases noticeably and even falls below the level of its predecessor. A real shame and we aren't sure why this is. Maybe the software is to blame, or maybe a firmware update will fix this in time (as is often the case!).
Overall, the photo quality is still stunning and the image stabiliser does a sound job. Videos can be recorded in 4K at 60 fps. A Super SloMo with 960 fps at a 720p resolution is also available at launch.
S-Pen, with a twist
An interesting innovation is the pen. The so-called S-Pen now works as a Bluetooth remote control and with it you can, for example, trigger the camera remotely or control the video playback. However, a drawback is that the app always determines which function can be operated via the stylus so an individual determination is not possible. The battery life of the S-Pen lasts for around 30 minutes only with continuous use, the pen recharges n just 40 seconds though. Of course, the pen input on the screen works even with an empty battery.
The Foned verdict
Unfortunately, Samsung still bundles Android 8.1 with the Note 9, which is dated. Although there is no lack of security, but whether the Note 9 will even receive the later versions at some point is not fully confirmed yet. However if you can overlook that, and the slightly higher than expected price point, then the Note 9 is a really impressive package that all nerds out there will want to get their hands on.
How much does the Note 9 cost monthly?
You can get a Galaxy Note 9 on pay monthly, for around £30 a month with a nominal upfront fee. The cost of the phablet to buy is not cheap (if buying outright it would cost you about £600), so this is why the contract cost is not as cheap. If you are concerned about overspending then consider the Note 8 - compare Note 8 deals here.
All Galaxy Note 9 colours:
Specifications for Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Dimensions: 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm
- Weight: 201 g
- Platform: Android
- Operating System: Android 8.1 Oreo
- Resolution: 1440 x 2960
- Memory Card:
- Processor: 2.7 Ghz
- RAM: 6 GB
- Battery Capacity: 4000
- Front Camera: 8 MP
- Back Camera: 12 MP
- Connection Type: 4G
- SIM Capacity: 2
- WIFI Hotspot: