The Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung’s latest flagship phone in the Note line up. It has a gorgeous display, high end specs, and a huge battery. Not to mention the ever-evolving S Pen, and Iris scanner, two features you won’t find on other phones. However, are these features worth the $999 price tag or $33 a month for 30 months on an installment plan? I hope you’ll spend a few minutes with me as I give you my honest opinion on the matter.
If you missed our initial unboxing of the Galaxy Note 9 please click here. If you just wanted to see some pictures of what the device looks like though I will post the pictures from my unboxing in the gallery below!
Let’s get the nitty gritty specs out of the way nice and early. Now, specs aren’t always indictive of performance but given the high-end nature I think you’ll be able to get a good idea just from this list.
- Snapdragon 845
- 6gb ram
- 128 or 512gb storage + micro sd slot
- 4 inch 2960 x 1440p display
- Dual 12mp cameras (regular and telephoto)
- 8mp front camera
- Bixby Button
- USB C and 3.5mm headphone jack
- 4000mah battery
I need to get this point out of the way. The display on this device is second to none. Looking at it is spectacular, especially when you bump up the brightness and crank the resolution (which I did the moment I setup the device). I think what made the display look so great to me were the vibrant colors and amazing brightness. You won’t be disappointed watching videos, or doing some casual social media browsing on this display. My one tip would be to not be tempted to turn the brightness up. It may make the display look incredible, but it will drain your battery quickly. Samsung’s displays live up to their reputation though, so you won’t be disappointed no matter how you choose to use this device.
The Snapdragon 845 paired with 6gb of ram is a tried and true formula for great performance. Opening apps were as snappy as you’d expect. My main issue with the performance came from the UI. I found stops and stutters while moving around homescreens, especially on the Bixby screen. A device with this hardware should not be lagging, period.
I was happy with how long applications stayed in memory. The phone wasn’t closing applications prematurely or in the background which was very comforting. I found that aggressive background application management can become more annoying than it’s helped me with my battery life. If I hadn’t opened an application in a few hours it would close, however that’s normal. I was able to switch between a game and chrome, or my camera and not have to boot them up from scratch if I left them for a half hour or so. When an application did have to reboot if it was killed in the background it didn’t take much time either. It was refreshing to see a device take advantage of the ram it had well and not have me wishing I had more.
I wanted to dedicate a whole section to the S Pen because I feel, this is still the main reason to pick up a Note. The S Pen is now a Bluetooth connected device that can take selfies with the push of a button on the S Pen. Being as this was my first Note device, I tried to use the S Pen as much as possible. As I don’t take as many selfies with the main camera app I didn’t use this feature much. If I had more people, or reason to take selfies I could see this coming in handy, but that feature just wasn’t for me.
I did try to use the feature where you take notes when popping the S Pen out. My main problem with this feature is, I never needed to take quick notes. All the notes I wanted to take during a class were long and drawn out. I would have needed multiple screens to take one quick note and by the time I took the note on my phone I realized I probably should have just typed it on my computer. The S Pen just wasn’t really for me, however it was fun to use to swipe around. Other than that, it just didn’t do it for me.
The camera on the Galaxy Note 9 is legitimately impressive. I could not tell you how many times I pulled this phone out of my pocket just to see if I could try to trip up the camera and I couldn’t. The camera specs have a variable aperture (f1.5 and f2.4) 12mp camera and a 12mp telephoto lens. These may seem like fairly typical for a 2018 flagship, however the software is where this phone really shines.
One thing I really like is that it would automatically detect when the phone was in low light and enable software to increase light intake automatically. Photos were crisp and clear no matter what setting you were in. Given this device is for business people or power users you would think this is one place Samsung might have felt they could slack. They obviously did not though, and I think if you’re still looking for a phone with an incredible camera then the Note 9 is a choice you should not overlook. Below you’ll find some camera samples in good lighting and low light.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a seemingly huge 4000mah battery. Seemingly, because lately the size of the battery does not always dictate how long the battery life is. The software and screen resolution can really effect just how long your device’s battery lasts as well as how you use it. I changed the screen’s resolution to the full 1440p resolution and did not hold back on the screen brightness.
I use my phone fairly often for media consumption as well as playing Pokemon Go. Although battery life was good, it wasn’t anything spectacular. The Samsung Note 9 must have not been thrilled with how I was using it, however your results may vary. I will leave some samples of my battery life in the gallery below. I really want to hear what your battery life has been like if you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by phones like the Oneplus 6T or maybe I was doing something wrong. Let me know!
As some of you must be wondering now, do I recommend the Samsung Galaxy Note 9?
My answer is that it depends on a few things. My first determination for getting the device is what you will be using it for. If you’re an avid user of the S Pen or you need the highest quality display on the market then I think this device is perfect for you. If you need a headphone jack on your phone at all, or just want to stick it to the man, then definitely get this phone. Next, you don’t mind not having the most recent versions of Android super quickly and you really like having a massive phone that you should put a case or skin on then get this phone. Lastly, if you can get this device on at least a 20% discount or on a monthly installment plan then this device shouldn’t destroy your wallet.
I don’t recommend paying the full $1000 or $1250 for the 512gb model if you’re looking at this device. In my opinion, we as consumers need to really stick it to the man with these $1000 phones and buying these phones at discounted rates does send a message to manufacturers that we should not be paying this much for a phone. These days I’m positive you can find this phone at a good price and getting this phone for $800 or less is a steal. This is a high quality, high end phone that really shows just how well Samsung knows its audience. Let me know if you get this phone and what you think of it in the comments below!
Onetechstop would like to thank AT&T for providing us with a Galaxy Note 9 to review. We were not paid to review this device and all opinions are ours and ours alone. If you’d like to pick up the Galaxy Note 9 click here