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

samsung galaxy note 9 feature image

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)

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