It’s been a month since we are using the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Our journey started just within a week after the New York launch event and here we are ready with Samsung Galaxy Note 9 full review. We used the phone in a meeting with the company and then at the India launch. We finally bought it after the sale began in Nepal. In this review, we have benchmarks, camera samples, and our experiences. In a short summary of the review, Note 9 is worth every rupee you spend.
Every time we review a new flagship Samsung device we experience the best and this time is also the same. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is currently the best smartphone that the company offers in the market and also one of the best smartphones in the market. We started experiencing the device during the press meet before Note 9 pre-booking in Nepal. Then we experienced the device at the launch event in India. All these experiences gave us the idea about the beauty and power of the device.
However, the device is finally with us and we have tested the device for a full month. It is my own device that I purchased as a daily driver. So I have a lot of things to share about this new super powerful Note.
Samsung is sticking with its beautiful glass and metal sandwich design. It’s a really premium and beautiful-looking design. Unlike the more rounded corners that we see on Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 9 has a boxier and rectangular form factor that looks more industrial or professional. Note 9 also has a curved back and screen but with some small changes. The curve of the screens is less compared to older devices. This is to provide more writing area on the screen for the S Pen.
Also, the metal, rails are now chamfered which is being called the “Diamond cut”. Compared to last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 8, we see slightly smaller bezels and a very well-placed fingerprint scanner at the back. I personally like the black color model as always but this time, people are in love with the new Ocean Blue model with a yellow SPen. In terms of look and design, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a well-crafted device that looks amazing on the hand.
Powerful Internal Hardware
The Galaxy Note lineup is a flagship series and it always has better specs and features than the S series. In general, phones of the S series are meant for all general users but the Note is a very special breed. Galaxy Note is meant for even more powerful and most demanding users. So, this time new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is bearing the new Exynos 9810 chipset with an octa-core processor. The processor consists of two quad-core sets. One is 2.7 GHz and the next is 1.8 GHz. The processor of Note 9 is a significant jump over the processor of Note 8.
Just like always, Nepal is getting Exynos and still not getting the Snapdragon version. By the way, Samsung always makes their Exynos variant equally powerful as the Qualcomm version. However, in real-life performance, Snapdragon counterparts do perform better. For RAM and storage, we get 6 GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB UFS 2.1 internal storage on this device. The base model’s storage size is now 128 GB instead of 64 GB. There is also a more jacked model with 8 GB RAM and 512 GB storage. We actually wanted that but for the first quarter, Nepal is only getting a 6 GB version.
There is a very good demand for 512 GB models as well, so we may see that in the future. Samsung is also supporting micro SD card support up to 512 GB in Samsung Galaxy Note 9. We are using also Samsung’s 256 GB Evo+ card and it is absolutely fantastic. In terms of GPU, the Exynos model in Nepal has Mali G72 MP18 while there is Andreno 630 in the USA. We have done some benchmarks and they show what the device is capable of.
The battery is also part of the internal hardware and that is very important here. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now packing this device with a 4000 mAh battery. This significantly larger battery compared to the Galaxy Note 8. 4000 mAh battery is a big battery and when we consider that this is a slim phone with powerful specifications, a massive screen, and a S Pen silo then it’s definitely incredible.
We have used the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for a month and in our test, the phone definitely lives throughout the whole day with all types of usage. We are getting 6 hours of screen on time easily which is definitely a very good thing. The phone also learns the usage pattern and improves battery life after the first few days. So it is better to give the software a few days to optimize the battery.
Each year or every time a Samsung flagship phone comes, it is crowned as the phone with a big and better display. The case is the same again this time as well. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a 6.4″ curved Super AMOLED screen with 1440×2960 resolution. It is HDR 10 certified and has a peak brightness of 710 nits. The screen is super bright that even in direct sunlight, the screen looks amazingly lit. For protection, there is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back.
In the settings, there is a feature known as “Video Enhancer” which improves video playback by improving color accuracy and brightness of the screen. “Video Enhancer” is only available to a few dedicated video apps such as YouTube, MX Player, Netflix, and more. Note 9 is also kept as a top Signature device on the YouTube site for watching YouTube videos.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a 1440p screen but I generally used it in FHD+ resolution to save battery. The screen is so good that the untrained eye can not see the difference in QHD+ and FHD+ resolution. In my usage or content viewing session, watching HDR 60 FPS videos is one of the most amazing experiences on this device. Those look surprisingly beautiful and I hope to see more such content.
Improved S Pen
A Note device is popular due to its main jewel or the S Pen. The company has improved and updated the S Pen by a big time on Samsung Galaxy Note 9. It is not just an ordinary stylus this time. Now the brand new SPen has Bluetooth LE which now helps to use it like a remote as well. The pen is better than before for writing, drawing, taking with the sensitive screen, and finer tips. But this time the button of the S Pen works as a remote controller. So there is more than before.
It can be used to do many functions as taking photos from a distant place, changing pages, and much more. Business users can just connect an HDMI converter, throw out a presentation with their Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and control slides with just the S Pen. The actions can be set in the settings of the phone. For the battery of S Pen, there is no need to worry because it actually uses a small capacitor that charges extremely fast. We tested the charge time and it actually charges to full within a minute after inserting it into the silo. Just a minute of charge can give 30 minutes of wireless play.
Camera: Better than Before
The camera has always been the most interesting part of smartphones. They have now completely replaced old point and shoot digital cameras. Currently, Galaxy Note 9 DxOMark rating is ranked better than Galaxy S9+ and Pixel 2 XL. For specifications, the back side of the phone has two cameras. The first one is a 12 MP sensor with f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture and a wide-angle lens. The second one is a 12 MP f/2.4 telephoto camera for getting portrait shots. At the front, there is an 8 MP f/1.7 camera. The setup is the same as Galaxy S9+ in terms of hardware but there are more software improvements and mainly its AI.
The primary camera can record videos at 4K 60 fps and even at 720p 960 fps. For slow motions, 1080p at 120 fps is still the best from Samsung but I also like taking 4K 60 fps videos and reducing frame rate to get a slow motion effect. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can also record and save files at a smaller size with the new HEVC format. The files using HEVC format are smaller but can be hard to play in older PC.
The new features that make Note 9’s camera better are things such as AI, Scene Optimizer, and Flaw Detection. In Scene Optimizer, the camera detects the scenery or objects such as trees, humans, flowers, night, and day and then tweaks settings for a much more beautiful result. So there is more AI optimization and enhancement. There is a separate Food mode in the camera for all those food photo lovers.
Flaw detection is the most useful of all features. It can detect a dirty lens or if the photo taken was blurry or the person blinked their eyes. Then it gives a heads up and basically lets you know so that the user can take the photo again. It saves everyone from having bad photos. By the way, the camera or shutter of the Note 9 is so fast that it mostly always takes great photos. We definitely like the Pro mode and found that low light plus night shots came far better in Pro Mode. Some samples are provided below in my Flickr album.
Gaming and Additional Improvements
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 bumped its base storage to 128 GB which is a very good thing. Also, the new memory is very fast and it can be seen during app installs. The Modem is also faster and we actually tested it against our old phones. The downloads using mobile data or networks were definitely faster than other older phones. With all this powerful hardware, there is heat and the Note 9 now has new “Water Carbon Cooling” technology which helps it stay cooler. This shows its power during gaming sessions.
Gaming is another thing that Samsung is having focusing on ar this time. We tried lots of games on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 including Fortnite, GTA San Andrea, Asphalt 9, Modern Combat 5, etc, and the phone was flawless. There was no lag or freeze during gaming sessions. The only slowdowns were the slow servers of games. The phone does heat up during longer gaming sessions which are normal at such a heavy load. But it is totally in a bearable zone and under the thermal throttle limit. This time Note 9 is popular with Fortnite players for the special Galaxy Skin gift.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review Conclusion
The Galaxy Note 9 is packing almost everything that we want. It has one of the fastest processors, sufficient RAM, faster storage, big matter, gorgeous design, and amazing cameras. There is a giant 4000 mAh battery that can provide juice for a longer screen on time. S-Pen is more productive, fun, and useful than ever. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 also has all the features such as an SD card slot, IP68 rating, all types of sensors, and a headphone jack. Samsung has crammed all those features in a beautiful package and still managed to have a headphone jack. So that’s a good answer to competition.
The camera is absolutely powerful and the screen is also one of the best on the market. Looking at all these things, we find that Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is worth every rupee you pay. It is expensive but for the price point, there is no such phone that has so much power and features in such a neat package. It definitely gives the full value of money. This phone may not be for people with Note 8 and S9. But for people in slightly older phones such as Galaxy S7 and Note 5, the updates are phenomenal. Currently, our recommendation is that Galaxy Note 9 is the best smartphone to buy in Nepal.
A truly powerful smartphone with gorgeous design and top of the line hardware plus a stylus
- Long Battery Life
- Faster Processor
- Higher Storage
- Better Ergonomics
- Beautiful Build and Screen
- Hybrid Slim Slot
- Slightly Heavy
- Bixby is not as expected
Storage and RAM