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Home / Technology / Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review: The best never felt so dry

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review: The best never felt so dry

Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung's passionate love letter to Note fans. It has crazy specifications, a giant, beautiful display, a Bluetooth-powered S-pen and a headphone jack – all important features for that type of Android user that Samsung targets with a note update.

  The Air Command menu works like before on Galaxy Note 9. </p>
<p>  But when you get past megahertz and gigabyte, Galaxy Note 9 does not bring much to the table beyond what is stated in Note 8. Supplement, that phone was one of 201<div class=
7 best phones, but much has changed in a year. In a post-iPhone X world, it's not a recycled design, a camera there, and a gimmicky S Pen, which is simply a fair price boost that pushes the phone into four-digit territory.

Even with upgraded specifications across the board, note 9 feels very much like a phone we've seen before. Note fans can love it, but very few of them will be in love with with it.

A Predictably Great Screen

The most interesting thing about Not 9's design is its color scheme. In the United States, you can only buy it in blue or purple, which more than likely will be split along gender lines. Otherwise, if you have had a Galaxy Note 8, you already know how the note 9 feels. It is higher and boxier than the Galaxy S9 + and a little heavier as well. Note 9 weighs 12 grams more than S9 + (which is heavier than S8 +), a noticeable increase, especially when trying to use it with one hand.

  Galaxy Note 9 Screen Christopher Hebert / IDG [19659004] The Galaxy Note 9 screen is simply amazing, but we already knew it would be.

But with a 6.4-inch, 1440 x 2960 AMOLED screen, it's unlikely that most people will use Not 9 without gripping it tight with two hands. It's a tenth of an inch bigger than last year's phone and it meets the maximum this form factor can handle without being uncomfortable. At about 6.4 inches (161.9 mm) high, note 9 is actually a touch shorter than last year's phone, and it's just a skosh wider 3 inches (76.4 mm, 2 mm more than last year). Nevertheless, the whole package feels significantly larger than a phone like 6.25-inch OnePlus 6, which measures only 6.1 x 3 inches (155.7 x 75.4 mm). So next year's model must trim the forehead and chin if the note plans to continue to grow.

The back of the phone is almost the same too, with a remarkable change (other than the color). The location of the fingerprint sensor has been moved again, and it is now under the camera instead of next to it. This makes it more likely to reach without slipping the lens, but it is still too high and too little for the fingers. It's almost comical now how Samsung just can not get it right.

  Galaxy Note 9 lilac Christopher Hebert / IDG

The position of the fingerprint sensor on Galaxy Note 9 is slightly improved, but it is still not ideal.

Meanwhile, note 9 has a predictably excellent display. Lots of superlatives have been written about Samsung's screen technology, and if anything, it's a victim of their own success. It is difficult to distinguish much from a difference between Note 9 and S9, and in some cases, I actually found that the S9 had richer colors and smoother gradients under close supervision. But really, there's not much to complain about here. Sure, it would be nice to get a 120Hz solution like the Razer phone, or a true edge-to-edge design, but it is not denied that note 9 has one of the best screens you can get in this size or size . 19659018] All-day performance, for the most part

Samsung has made a big deal about the specifications in note 9, but unless you come to the $ 1,250 model (which strikes storage to 512GB and RAM to 8GB) you come not to look too much difference over their peers. The $ 1000 Note 8 has 128GB of RAM and 6GB of storage, the same specifications available for less in OnePlus 6T and Galaxy S9 +, and it works as you expect, that is, it can handle virtually anything that's wasted the.

  Galaxy Note 9 Battery Christopher Hebert / IDG

Galaxy Note 9s giant battery means it will last all day (most of the time).

Galaxy Note 9 also gives a severe battery power shock, from 3.300mAh to 4000mAh, returns the note back to its pre-recall bragging rights as one of the longest phones around. Benchmarks set about 10 hours of normal use, on a par with Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which also has a 4.000mAh battery.

But while the battery life of Note 9 is significantly better than Note 8, it's not a major breakthrough over the S9 +. It's just bigger. There are no Neural-chip-powered AI requirements or new battery-saving techniques, and you still need to charge it at the end of the day. And while I was very hard to make it red in most days, heavy use still needed a cost before bedtime. A particularly long day of music flow and navigation on the screen, the battery was successful before my day was over.

It may be an extreme case, but Samsung's target audience with Note 9 is extreme users. The phone will still last longer than virtually any other phone you can buy and multitasking Note crowd will surely be able to do more for longer. Just maybe not quite all day.

A stylus with style and substance

Battery life is not the only way Not 9 will help users to become more productive. There is also an easier and cheaper way to connect to the DeX PC interface on an external display. Instead of a dock or pillow, all you need is a USB-C to HDMI cable. I tried it with a $ 15 cable from Amazon and it worked as well as last year's $ 150 accessory. I do not know how many common DeX users it is, but I suspect that a high percentage of them are Note users, so this move should encourage adoption.

  Galaxy Note 9 eject Christopher Hebert / IDG

The Galaxy Note 9 s S Pen Charges when inserted into the phone.

The phone has also received a significant upgrade of the signature feature: S Pen. As the Apple pencil, S Pen now has Bluetooth, but it's not for drawing, it's too far away.

All the traditional S Pen features are present on Note 9 screen memos, translation, live message, etc.. And it's still how to spend most of the time with it. Eject the S pen and you will notice two things differently about it: It has a button and it does not come in black or silver. Samsung has made its new S Pen in purple and yellow to complement the two new colors on the phone. And as a touch, the pen writes in its body color on the screen by default.

  Galaxy Note 9 of Screen Memo Christopher Hebert / IDG

Doodling is the same with Galaxy Note 9's new S Pen – except now it's in purple or yellow by default.

The Bluetooth part of the S pen is definitely less useful every day, but it still offers a few cool tricks – and lots of potential. Unlike other driven styluses, S Pen is loaded when inserted into the holster. It only takes about 40 seconds to go from zero to full, but it will also run very fast. In the test I only got around 420 clicks to S Pen completely ran out of juice. Sometimes I need to reboot the phone after a random and unexpected disconnection.

But mostly it works well. By clicking the S Pen button, you can start and control applications, and Samsung has built a number of features to get started. Standard action is the most logical launch of the camera and snapping an image – but an SDK should lead to a flurry of third party app integrations. Surprisingly, most Samsung apps do not even work with it yet, but hopefully it will change soon.

New Bixby, obsolete Oreo

Note 9 may be the first premium handset released at the age of Android 9 Pie, but you will probably wait a while to get it. Note 9 still runs Oreo 8.1, so you will miss a few new features, especially gesture navigation.

  Galaxy Note 9 s pen2 Christopher Hebert / IDG

Galaxy Note 9 has a new trick, but it runs an old operating system.

It can not seem a big deal now, but when the Google Pixel 3 countries come, movements will officially be the new one on Android, and Samsung has not even offered a timeline for release yet. My guess is that we do not see Pie on note 9 before the Galaxy S10 debuts in 2019, so it means that the best Android phone will run an outdated OS in the first six months of the lifetime.

One thing you want to get with note 9 is a new version of bixby. Samsung has improved Bixby's ability to tap into apps and naturally converse and contextualize, so it's more like Google Assistant and Alexa. In the test of an early version, Bixby's biggest strength is still the ability to search through the Settings app, but it's definitely improved since last year. A bummer, but: Samsung has removed the ability to disable the Bixby key in the new version.

  Galaxy Note 9 bixby IDG

Bixby has a brand new interface on Galaxy Note 9.

Which question: Do we really need a third assistant on our phones? With Alexa and Google Assistant just a press or voice command away on Note 9, Bixby must be both perfect and groundbreaking to compete. Although it was perfect and groundbreaking (as it is not), it's an uphill battle. It's a battle Samsung thinks it can win, what about the Galaxy Home speaker and all but until that day comes, Note 9 users will be happy to know that Google Assistant still lives inside the home button.

Old Camera, Better Photos [19659008] The Galaxy Note 9 camera is exactly the same as you get with the Galaxy S9 +. It's a break from tradition and a big step sideways from last year, which brought two cameras with optical image stabilization and 2X optical zoom for the first time.

  Galaxy Note 9 Camera Christopher Hebert / IDG

With scene optimizing, the Galaxy Note 9 camera will refine its auto settings based on what it sees.

It's not necessarily a bad thing. The Galaxy S9 + has one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone, giving Not 9 an improvement over Note 8, with dual aperture and super-slow footage. But for Note fans who have come to expect a camera that pushes boundaries, there is nothing here that is particularly exciting. The only exclusive feature is an AI driven scene optimizer that adjusts settings based on one of 20 preset scenes for things like food, nature and sunsets. It works well, as I have documented in the AI ​​camera, but it's hardly any revolutionary.

There is also a troubleshooting feature that uses AI to alert you if someone has blinked or blurred on an image. It only works with portraits and selfies, and it's a bit gimmicky, but it worked the most in testing. But it needed extreme blurriness and almost completely closed eyes to activate, but I suspect it's the kind of thing that can be smarter over time.

  note 9 compare outside Michael Simon / IDG

With scene optimizer, Galaxy Note 9 took both the lighting and color of these flowers while the Galaxy S9 (center) was slightly overexposed and Pixel 2 XL (right) overcompensated for brightness.

When I took Galaxy Note 9 against Galaxy S9 and Pixel 2, the note consistently incorporated more detailed, realistic colors, and sharper overall images, especially in low light. But it's not something you'll notice unless you compare pictures carefully side by side.

  Note 9 Compare Low Light Michael Simon / IDG

Even in extremely low low light, Galaxy Note 9 (left) took pictures with less sound and more accurate colors than Galaxy S9 (middle) and Pixel 2 XL (right).

Note 9 is definitely one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone, but the differences between the camera and the cameras on phones that cost hundreds less are subtle. And with the new iPhone and Pixel right around the corner, Samsung can fight to convince buyers that the Brand 9 camera is worth the phone's price tag.

Should I buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 9?

Samsung not only sells you a phone for $ 1000, it sells you a do-it-all machine. There's no way to say that note 9 is the most powerful and talented Android phone ever made. But all that power comes at a price, both literally and figuratively.

  Galaxy Note 9 s Pen Christopher Hebert / IDG

Galaxy Note 9 s S Pen comes in new fashionable colors to match the phone. [19659005] When Apple released iPhone X with a four-figure price tag, a thousand dollar Samsung phone was anything but inevitable. But the note 9 seems like Samsung put up a thousand dollar phone, instead of making a great phone that happens to cost a thousand dollars. Extra storage and RAM are fine, but Samsung forces people to pay for more, while not necessarily making the note significantly better.

The price may be good for most. Almost all power outlets that sell the note 9 offer bonuses, benefits and discounts, including quick purchase offers for Galaxy phones, which return to Note 5. Most buyers do not pay full price for Note 9, many not close to it. Which is good because otherwise they may feel unfaithful. Even though they only bought the best Android phone.

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