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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: 12 Months Later… Still Great?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is powerhouse of a smartphone and you might be wondering if it's worth its $1000 dollar price tag, well in this review we'll be reviewing all of it's features along with what makes it still one of the best smartphones 12 months after it's release.

I make a video reviewing the Note 9 that you can check out below

 

The Samsung Galaxy note 9, this phone was released back in August 2018 and I’ve been putting it through
it’s paces for the past 12 months.
So far it’s been super reliable for what I’ve been using it for. We’re going to be looking at some of it’s more notable features and if it’s still worth the high price of around $900.
Whenever I’m buying for a new smartphone there’s generally a few main qualities I keep an eye out for :
  • long battery life
  • solid build quality
  • nice display
  • great performance
  • quality camera
The Note 9 excels in all of those areas and it really ticks all the boxes for me.

Display

Now the display is hands down the best looking display I’ve ever seen on a smart phone
samsung galaxy note 9 front display
It’s 6.4inches wide and wonderfully bright.
You can easily see  the screen even in direct sunlight it’s a very vivid display with super bright accurate colours and it displays contrast in images extremely well.
This display is super impressive, ideal for consuming content, gaming and you don’t have to worry about any annoying notch invading the screen realestate.
gameplay samsung galaxy note 9
The note 9 has a 6.4 inch display and one of the downsides to this is how much bigger the phone feels in your hand.
It can be a trial sometimes using it with just one hand but generally I have found two handed use much easier.
If you’re looking to buy yourself a Note 9 you have an idea of what to expect with such a big display and I’ve definitely changed the way I’ve used the device to get used to the larger phone size.
Overall though the display is probably one of the best things about this phone.

Build Design / Quality

The infinity display is one of my favourite parts about the design of the note 9 and it makes it easily distinguishable from other smart phones out there.
samsung galaxy note 9 infinity display
This type of display really makes it more immersive when you’re watching videos and is a great way to make complete use of that 6.4” display.
The phone feels super sturdy and the hardware is made from high quality materials with tempered gorilla glass 5 to stop your keys scratching the screen in your pocket, it has a glass and metal sandwich design and is super rigid passing the bend test with ease.
Colour wise I chose midnight black but you can also pick it up in ocean blue or lavender purple if you prefer.
samsung galaxy note 9 midnight black
I went with the Samsung case that shows you the time and date through the front which is neat and can also be used as a prop to stand the phone on it’s side when your watching movies or reading a kindle.
The finger print reader is below the cameras on the rear of the phone making it easy to access and prevents you from smudging up the camera lenses like on previous models.
Overall though the build quality is some of the best I’ve seen in a smart phone to date.
On the base of the phone It has a headphone jack, a quick charge USBC port and a slot for the S pen along with quality buttons and is also IP68 water resistant.
It has stereo speakers which definitely put out a decent quality sound and with the Dolby Atmos feature turned on you can customise the sound output depending on what your listening to.
You can choose between 4 different settings Auto, Movie, Music, and Voice depending on the type of audio you’re listening to.
If you're the kind of person who likes a bit more customisation you can also play around with the equaliser to change the Base, Treble, Instrument and Vocal levels too.

Cons

The glass back gets dirty with fingerprints quickly but looks pretty impressive when it’s clean, definitely doesn’t stay that way for long though and if your not a big fan of phone cases this is something you’ll have to get used to.
samsung galaxy note 9 glass back
A minor downside when the Note 9 was first released was that the dedicated bixby button couldn’t be remapped to launch other apps.
Samsung though released a software update to make it so you can now launch any app on your device by pressing the Bixby button and still use Bixby if required by just double tapping the button.
samsung galaxy note 9 bixby button
I chose to set mine to open twitter but you can map it to open any app on your device by opening settings, advanced features, Bixby key, and selecting Use single press to choose which app you want to set it to.
Now onto performance…

Performance

The Galaxy Note 9 due to being a high end flagship phone performs well as you would expect.
This model has the 128G Hard drive with an  Exynos 9810 processor and 6GB of ram
Making it super responsive when your gaming or multitasking.
A 512G and 8G of ram model is available for an extra $250.
Due to a lot of storage being cloud based these days I personally wouldn’t need the extra storage.
I do appreciate the fact that there’s an option there even if it is at a higher price tag accomodating for power users, heavy gamers and people with a lot of media they want stored on their smartphone.
If you’re a power user and have an insane amount of media and games on your devices this is one of the few phones that offers such a high amount of storage in a smart phone.
The extra ram is a benefit too. If however you’re a regular user the 128G version is likely to be more suited for what you need it for.
As far as cooling, the phone does get a little warm if you’re using it for resource heavy gaming but it has never overheated whilst using it for those purposes.
Samsung uses a carbon cooling system with a large copper heat pipe inside the phone that keeps it at those lower temperatures which is pretty neat design that adds extra performance.

Camera

The Cameras on the note 9 produce some really nice images especially in well lit areas.

It can produces images that really show off colours, with sharp and clear results.

samsung galaxy note 9 camera picture quality

If you get up close and personal with your subject to you can get shallow depth of field and quality images as a result.
close up shot of bee on flower
The note 9 has a feature called scene optimiser which is powered by A.I. and will adjust and tweak different parts of the image by recognising its subject.
According to Samsung it can recognise up to 20 different types of scenes and will make pictures taken more vivid by adjusting the colour, contrast and brightness.
Flaw detection is also a neat feature which detects if someone has blinked in the shot.
If the image was blurry and if your lense is smudged or dirty after trying to getting it to pop up consistently though it wouldn’t always show a message if I had blinked in the shot.
It will let you know with a message pop up right away so you can retake the photo.
Samsung Galaxy note and S series have been consistent with their quality cameras and the Note 9 is no different it’s a great camera.
This brings us to the all important battery, which is a vital part of any smart phone.

Battery

The Note 9 has a 4 thousand milliamp battery which is 20% larger battery capacity than in the Note 8 definitely a large jump in size.
The Note 9 lasts all day with heavy use and you can change up the power settings to make it last even longer if you need it to.
The note series is known for having loads of extras and features that give you more  control over your phone.
For the people who enjoy that aspect I think will definitely be big fans of the Note9.

S Pen

I like the S-Pen for taking notes without having to unlock the phone and the notes taken are saved away once your done.
samsung galaxy note 9 s pen
You can also use the S Pen to take pictures which is pretty neat, and  I found it more reliable to use the S pen to take group photos rather than using bixby and setting a shot timer.

Conclusion

It’s been a great phone to use daily over the last  12 months but a thousand bucks is a lot to spend on a phone.
If you’re going to spend that much though, the note 9 is the phone to get.
Especially if your a fan of it’s high res OLED display, no notch to have to deal with along with other great features like:
still having a headphone jack, heaps of flash storage, high quality
cameras and a huge 4,000 milliamp battery.
There’s a lot of great tech built into the note 9.
If you think the note 9 is too expensive however and it’s not something you would go for the Galaxy S9 or S9+ for a few hundred dollars cheaper might be a better option.
That wraps up my review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, make sure to
leave a comment if you enjoyed this review and let me know what your favourite smartphone of the past 12 months has been.
You can check out the Samsung Note 9 for yourself here:

https://amzn.to/31kNHlu (US) (Affiliate Link)
https://amzn.to/2MOzh7T (AU) (Affiliate Link)

Blue Yeti Microphone Review

The Blue Yeti is often referred to as one of the best USB microphones made popular by people who use it especially for Youtube videos, streaming, podcasting it’s review score of 4.3/5 and over 7500 reviews on amazon makes it one of the most popular mics for it’s price point. It currently goes for $114.90 on Amazon depending on what colour you decide to go for.

If you would like to see my video review of the Blue Yeti you can check it out below

Blue Yeti Blackout Edition:

https://amzn.to/2NkywX4(Affiliate Link)

Blue Yeti Pop Filter:

https://amzn.to/2O4OQe9 (Affiliate Link)

Blue Yeti Mic Stand:

https://amzn.to/301GcU7 (Affiliate Link)

The Blue Yeti is compatible with Mac and PC right out of the box and is a plug and play device. It comes with a long usb cable making it easy to setup anywhere around your studio.

blue yeti blackout edition microphone

It has a solid all metal design and weighs around 3.5 lbs (1.5kg) and due to it’s larger size it sits well on your desk and with rubber pads under the base it sits in place very well.

This price range is great for most people and the great thing about this mic is you don’t need any extra hardware to go along side it to deliver great results. A seperate audio interface is not needed and this is a great advantage of owning a USB mic, making it much easier to operate.

 

blue yeti usb microphone

Latency free monitoring of your audio is a great feature on the Blue Yeti that is made available by a headphone jack beneath the mic. This is great for monitoring your audio levels and ensuring your recording is clean and crisp and not peaking.

Inside the Blue Yeti is a preamp which works like an analog-to-digital converter that takes the incoming signal, amplifies it, turns it into a digital signal, and sends that signal direct to your PC.

 

blue yeti microphone blackout edition

If you need to cancel out the sound of your keyboard strokes or mouse clicks for streaming or recording purposes removing the Blue Yeti up off your desk is a good idea. Luckily there is a standard thread underneath the yeti that makes it easy to attach it to a mic stand or boom pole that are very affordable. Under the mesh there is three condenser microphone capsules facing sideways away from the top of the mic making it incredibly versatile for any type of recording environment you might encounter.

blue yeti pattern knob gain knob

 

There are recording pattern selections available as well, 4 in total that make it easy to switch between them for interviews, musical recordings, solo dialogue, even team meetings, whatever the purpose the Blue Yeti has you covered.

blue yeti microphone recording patterns

 

Cardioid mode is ideal for just one person recording in front of the microphone and delivers quality crisp sound once you have your levels set right. The best part about this setting is the noise cancelling it does automatically from behind it and side on from the microphone. This setting is well suited for recording voice overs, singing, gaming commentary and video audio.

Stereo mode utilises sounds pick up from the sound of the microphone making it ideal for providing the best listener experience for instrumental or singing group style recordings.

Omnidirectional mode records sound equally from all directions around the mic. This setting works well for immersive listening and picking up all the noises from the recording and also does well for live music recordings, conference calls, group meeting recordings and podcasts with more than 2 participants.

Bidirectional mode picks up sound from the front and rear of the mic and works well in interview situations or 2 person podcasts where you are sitting across from someone.

This means you don’t require 2 seperate microphones for each person and it also cancels out the incoming sound from the sides of the mic. The Yeti does a really great job of recording high quality 16-Bit 48 kHz sound with clear, sharp audio.

 

One small detail that does catch first time users out is that the Blue Yeti is a side address mic, meaning when in Cardioid mode you should be speaking into the side of the mic and not down into the top like a traditional hand held microphone.

If you plan on being very close to the mic whilst recording and don’t wish to destroy peoples ears make sure you buy a pop filter to make the popping noises that occur naturally when you speak not become too loud. These filters are very low cost and I’ll have a link to the most popular ones above.

blue yeti pattern knob gain knob

Set the correct gain level using the knob located on the back of the mic. The higher the gain, the more sensitive the mic will become and louder you will sound and monitoring this with your headphones plugged in and looking at the levels on a free program like Audacity as mentioned in the video is the best way to set the gain level correctly.

Eliminating background noise is important and the Blue Yeti does a decent job of this, if you want to take it a step further though you can eliminate echo and other unwanted noises by including soft pillows around your recording studio and even some cheap yoga mats on the floor will do a great job of removing any unwanted noise.

 

Have you tried any USB microphones out before? How well did they work for you? Leave a comment below so we can exchange notes 🙂

 

 

 

 

Logitech C922 Webcam Review

Looking to increase the  quality of your livestreams on twitch
mixer facebook or youtube ?
The Logitech C922 could be the solution you’re looking for to increase your image quality.
Lets take a closer look at the C922.

 

I made a video reviewing the C922 that you can check out below

Logitech C922 Webcam Review

Physical Tour

The C922 comes permanently installed on a folding mount that allows you to either prop it up and an angle on a desk or put in on top of pretty much any monitor.
On the surface of the folding mount are some rubber non slip pads that are great because it will keep it in place on top of your monitor and won’t scratch anything.
Underneath the camera mount is a 1/4 inch threaded hole used for attaching to a  tripod.
This comes in handy if you need to position the camera below your monitor on your desk or to set up on any other flat surface.
With the legs on the tripod extended out it sits around 180mm or 7inches tall.
On the left and right hand sides of the web cam you’ll find stereo microphones and I’ll show you the quality of those in just a bit and the usb cable is about 6 feet long.
It comes with 2 stereo microphones that we’ll be listening to the quality of in a later test and the USB cable length is 1.5m long or just under 5 feet.
And Lastly, when you plug the camera in and start streaming you’ll notice 2 led lights appear on the face of the camera letting you know the cameras turned on and working properly.

Specs

The specs of this webcam are really nice with a few different recording options to suite different streaming purposes.
The C922 is capable of recording 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps which it’s predecessor the C920 didn’t have.
Recording at 720p 60fps is more responsive to movement but I think the picture quality definitely suffers at this lower resolution.
Keeping the settings to 1080p 30fps is best if you want the highest image quality.
If you’re using this webcam for streaming on twitch or mixer the window size is scaled down  so this loss in image quality won’t be as noticeable but
I still think you’re better off sticking with 1080p at 30fps.

Features

This is the camera recording at 1080p 30fps and the image is actually quite decent.
Overall for the low cost of this webcam it’s all you really need to get started streaming content.
Lastly a feature that’s worth mentioning is the automatic low light correction.
When active this feature adjusts shutter speed and exposure to improve the image in low light conditions.
What I experienced though is the frames rate dropped a lot when this feature was working.
Instead I would recommend making sure the room that your streaming in has good lightning and just disabling this feature.
The audio from the webcam includes in built stereo microphones, if you're serious about streaming or making videos I would recommend getting an external microphone as the audio quality will be a lot better overall.

Build Quality

The hinge for the webcam is solid and feels sturdy and the overall design is

nice and compact making it not to bulky sitting on top of your computer monitor.

 

Pros

  • 1080p 30fps video streaming and recording
  • 720p 60fps video streaming (with window scaled, image is more bearable)
  • plug and play device
  • Logitech C920 it's predecessor has been very popular amongst the streamer community and the C922 is no different.
  • easy to setup

Cons

  • 720p 60fps image quality isn't great with the video window at it's actual resolution of 720p.
  • Background removal feature doesn't work as described, need to buy a green screen if you want decent looking background removal

Conclusion

Now while there  are definitely more expensive cameras available like the brio 4k model  but if you’re after a good quality image and not trying to break the bank I would recommend the C922.

If you want to check it out for yourself you here is a link to the C922 on Amazon. C922 Logitech Webcam (Affiliate Link)