The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was launched about 6 months ago. Just after a week of launch, we got our hands on the device. I bought the phone and started using the device as my daily driver from September of 2018. It has been a long time and we now have the Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup here. So, we need to talk about Note 9 because you guys may have been thinking of upgrading. In our Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review after 6 months, we are covering its battery life, software update, One UI, changes, and experience.
Galaxy Note smartphones are very special and they are one of a kind. There is almost no competition for the Note series due to the one special feature which is Stylus or S Pen. So it is one of a kind and hence there is no competition in that case. However, we have to consider other factors such as the battery, software, degradation, performance, and daily usage because unlike S Pen performance they do change.
I have been using the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for a long and I have used it extensively. It is my daily driver and I do all my work on this phone and I use the camera to my full potential. Till now, Note 9 has received a new OS update which is Android 9 Pie with One UI. The apps are also updated with new features and few things have aged. Now all this change and time gives us the opportunity to review this phone in the long run. We have a Galaxy Note 9 full review after 1 month as well so this can be compared to get a better idea.
Just as a reminder, we want to list out a few things. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has Exynos 9810 SoC or Snapdragon 845 according to region. We have the Exynos model with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. There is another model with 8 GB RAM and 512 GB storage which definitely has a different performance. Ours is solely based on the 6 GB variant that we have. We are also using Samsung’s 256 GB SD card with one SIM card with very less mobile data usage. Our device stays on WiFi more and has other connections such as Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC mostly off all the time.
Android Pie, One UI, and Software Update
The thing that actually gets outdated with time is software and the quality of software updates has a real effect on the performance of the phone. Software updates also affect the features on the phone. So before everything else we need to discuss software. Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9 with Android 8 but now there is Android Pie with the latest One UI. The update came in January and we are very happy about the fast rollout.
One UI has a new design that focuses more on one-hand use. This is fantastic because the half bottom part shows important options and the top part shows the name in bold. Note 9 has a tall screen and reaching all corners is hard for people. So the company is focusing on ease of use and that is appreciable.
OneUI also brings new “Dark Mode” or “Night Mode”. We love the new dark mode of One UI which makes the whole phone use a black theme. This means the Super AMOLED pixels are turned off for black parts and the battery is saved. It is also easier on the eyes. So any users prefer the dark mode at all times. Google also pointed out that these modes save a significant amount of battery.
There have been a few changes in Note 9 with the Android 9 Pie update. The first thing is a change in icons and user interface. All the icons and interface look very different in Android Pie. Samsung wants to make the color, navigation, and design element better looking and easier to use. By far they are doing better than the older interface of TouchWiz.
In order to make navigation modern, there is new gesture navigation. There is a learning curve but we learned it within a week. It is great because the navigation bar can be hidden and we have bigger space to use or view content. Many people still like the navigation bar and Samsung provides an option to keep it as it is.
Samsung also introduced a new “Recycle Bin” feature for the gallery. Photos and videos deleted from the gallery go there and stay for 15 days if not removed manually. The files are automatically deleted after 15 days. It is a good feature because it saves users from accidental deleting.
Linux on Dex
Samsung announced Linux on Dex a year ago but now it is in Beta. The new Android Pie update with the new Dex feature brings a whole bunch of exciting things to the table for us. Linux on Dex is a very interesting feature for developers and coders. Many developers prefer a Linux environment for development. So, Samsung is now testing its new featured app for Dex called “Linux on Dex”. The app allows users to download full-fledged Linux distribution and install it to run. Dex provides a secure container to run Linux.
Users do require a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to get the full experience. We suggest getting a bigger USB Type-C to HDMI converter that has other USB connection options for the keyboard and mouse as well. A wireless keyboard and a mouse should also do the job easily. However, you can just your mobile screen as a touchpad to just use Dex. Samsung recommends 8 GB of free storage and 4 GB of RAM for Linux On Dex. So a Galaxy Note 9 can easily do the work.
Users can also just use the “Terminal” app to run Linux in command-line mode. This can be a great thing for many people who need and love Linux. If it really plays out well then it can be a good computer replacement. People can just connect their phones to monitor and then connect a mouse and keyboard to do their work. Samsung says that the programs should be Arm-64 bit compatible to run. Overall this is a very great addition to the Samsung Dex and Note 9.
Galaxy Note 9 made headlines with its 4000 mAh battery because it is huge. The battery has been a highlight after the Galaxy Note 7 incident. Samsung reduced the battery size of the Galaxy Note 8. But now the company is confident and they have brought back a bigger battery. So, we need to talk about battery life in Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review after 6 months because this review would be meaningless without it.
In a true sense, the Note 9 is a massive phone with a 6.4″ display, a power-hungry processor, and powerful cameras. To power everything, there is a huge Lithium-ion battery. At the start, we reported in our primary full review that we were getting more than 5 hours of screen on time (SoT). It was always in the range of 5-6 hours SoT. Now there is Android Pie OS and on top, there is Samsung’s new One UI. There are lots of changes and one of the main changes is Dark mode.
The Dark mode or Night mode allows users to use a black theme which changes the whole UI to black. This is where the fantastic things about the Super AMOLED screen kick into play. When there is pure black color the pixels turn off which saves power. We use dark mode all the time and this surely has a positive effect on our battery. Even after 6 months of regular use, we still get 5-6 hours of screen on time with ease. Sometimes with less resource and network use, we have also touched the 7 hours range.
This battery life may be different for people who use more SIM cards and have different numbers of apps. There are lots of variables in play. WiFi, Network, SIM Cards, NFC, Bluetooth connectivity, background applications, brightness, and many other aspects have an effect on the screen on time. However, the point is, that One UI dark mode has brought a lot of positive changes to the battery.
Performance and Power
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is still one beast of a device with its Exynos 9810 processor. Our handset has a total of 97 apps installed and there is never an issue with power. Multitasking works fantastic as always. Shifting from one app to another is also seamless. The 6 GB RAM holds up great with apps and the running apps remain in the same state even after a long time. Multi-window is a bit different in One UI. So many people may need to learn it from the ground up.
In the chapter on mobile gaming, we don’t game much but as we told in our earlier review, gaming is smooth as butter on this phone. We just played some Fortnight, GTA San Andreas, and Asphalt 9. All the games ran very smoothly without any hiccups. Gaming sessions do make the phone hot but thanks to the new water carbon cooling system, the phone works perfectly and doesn’t get hot more than it should.
Samsung’s new One UI on Android Pie has some changes in camera interface and power. This is a bit concerning to us. This time there is no Video Pro mode for the camera. In the original Android 8 Oreo, Galaxy Note 9’s camera interface had a video record button near the stills shutter button. Now, we have to change the photo to video mode. Therefore it is not instant and takes time to change between stills and video. So in total, the video recording and pro video recording have been disturbed. We enthusiasts are not happy on this matter because that is the power that has been taken away.
Except for the missing point of Pro mode, every other things are to the point. Camera results are still one of the best we can get from any Android smartphone in the market. Shutter speed, low light performance, and details are amazing as always. Since we got our Note 9, we have made many videos from this. All mobile phone review videos on our channel are recorded using Galaxy Note 9 including the new Galaxy M20 videos on our YouTube channel.
Conclusions of Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review After 6 Months
Galaxy Note 9 is a very special device and it is one of the finest smartphones from Samsung. We love it for its performance, S Pen, camera, battery, great, study, and industrial boxy build. There are lots of things to like about this phone and especially when this phone has been performing as amazing as it was when purchased. Its base model is still an absolutely powerful phone in every term.
The user base of the Galaxy Note family is different and they love it for its uniqueness. Many people especially like the S Pen and everything Note offers. We know the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are here. They do have cutting-edge technology and features. But for us and many note users, Note 10 might be the next upgrade because we are very positive it will be much better. But for people with Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S8, Galaxy S10 is surely a thing to consider.
So we would sum up our 6 months review by saying that we like all aspects of Galaxy Note 9 today as well. Performance is still amazing and top-notch. Storage, memory, camera, and battery life are simply amazing. The new One UI is also great with new features addition. For now, I am holding on to my Note 9 because it is one of the phone that is close to a perfect device. Now we just hope that they make Note 10 so amazing that it would make us upgrade to the new flagship.