The Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung’s passionate love letter to Note fans. It has insane specs, a gigantic, gorgeous screen, a Bluetooth-powered S Pen, and a headphone jack, all critical features for the kind of Android user that Samsung is targeting with a Note update. For devotees of the phablet, the Note 9 is a dream come true.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is undoubtedly one of the most powerful, fully featured device ever made. The Note 9 isn’t physically much different from the Note 8. It’s a thin, sharp, long rectangle, as if you took a smaller phone and stretched it like taffy. The note 9 is a super phone and it has got a beautiful 6.4 inches’ screen with curved glass sides. Samsung’s new Note device is giving us 12-megapixel dual camera with new AI for optimizing your photos.
For nearly a decade now, Samsung’s been championing the S-Pen as an integral part of a smartphone in its Note package, and the S-Pen has always been good and useful to the note-taking-on-their-phones crowd. But it wasn’t until now that the S-Pen was truly fun. With the Note 9, it finds a new niche, helping you take better selfies (from farther away), remote-controlling your presentations, even adding more fun to your writing. It’s a reinvention of the stylus that has room for growth, too, if app developers decide to use the stylus in intriguing fashion, too.
The S-Pen itself has also seen some slight design tweaks; it’s larger than it used to be, and a feeling of greater solidity. The port that holds the S-Pen is a little smoother, too, making it easier to grab the pen for use. The S-Pen other functions are just as snappy as you’d expect, too; cutting out pictures, drawing, and writing are as natural as they’ve ever been. If you’ve been looking for a reason to ditch pen and paper for quick note-taking on the phone, the Note 9 and its S-Pen are especially appealing, more than they’ve ever been. This new S Pen connects to the Note 9 by Bluetooth, which gives it utility even when it isn’t touching the screen. It’s like any other Bluetooth remote, except it’s always with you. You can click its button to flip slides in a presentation, control music or snap a photo. It charges in seconds while tucked inside the phone.
The most interesting thing about the Note 9’s design is its color options. The phone will come in four colours: black, blue, grey (Silver) and purple. In the U.S., you can only buy it in blue or purple, choices that will more than likely split along gender lines. Otherwise, if you’ve held a Galaxy Note 8, you already know how the Note 9 feels. It’s taller and boxier than the Galaxy S9+and a bit heavier as well. The Note 9 weighs 12 grams more than the S9+ (which in turn is heavier than the S8+), a noticeable increase, especially when trying to use it with one hand.
The battery is another highlight, a 4,000-mAh unit that can easily last through the workday without needing a charge. That’s a vast improvement over earlier editions of the Note, and a comforting thought for anyone who’s sick of having to constantly watch their iPhone redline near the end of each day.
The Note 9’s display is Samsung at its best. It’s a large 6.4-inch display with colors that pop; watching Iron Man 3 on the Note reveals electric reds and an impressive shine to the gold on the hero. It’s easy to read through articles on the web.
The silver edition of the Note 9 will come in both 128GB and 512GB variants, though Samsung may also decide to bring the silver option to just one of those. Regardless, this new model certainly makes for a spiffy looking handset, and, as we noted upon the Note 9’s release, the device remains one of the best Android phones you can buy right now no matter what color you go with.
The back of the phone is nearly the same as well, with one notable change (other than the color). The location of the fingerprint sensor has been moved again, and it’s now below the camera rather than next to it. That makes it more likely to reach without smudging the lens, but it’s still too high and too small for my fingers. It’s almost comical now how Samsung just can’t get it right.
The camera on the Galaxy Note 9 is the exact same one you get with the Galaxy S9+. That’s a break from tradition and a huge step sideways from last year, which brought dual cameras with optical image stabilization and 2X optical zoom for the first time. The Galaxy S9+ has one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone.
Samsung isn’t just selling you a phone for $1,000; it’s selling you a do-it-all machine. It’s not a stretch to say the Note 9 is the most powerful and capable Android phone ever made. But all that power comes at a price, both literally and figuratively.
The price may be moot for most people. Pretty much every outlet selling the Note 9 is offering bonuses, perks, and discounts, including generous trade-in offers for Galaxy phones going back to the Note 5. It’s a device that, while pricey at $999, is set up to carry you for a few years; this is an investment that won’t expire in 2019 and that’s because of more than mere hardware stats (even though the Note 9 has those too), and it’s all about a creative reinvention of the stylus. Most buyers won’t pay full price for the Note 9, many nowhere near it. This is good, because otherwise they might feel cheated. Even if they did just buy the best Android phone.