Apple's iPhone X broke its price barrier for smartphones at a cost of $ 1000. Now, Samsung's new Galaxy Note device, which will be released this week, joins the $ 1000 Phone Club.
It raises the inevitable question: Is this new phone worth spending so much money?
After a week of testing, my conclusion you probably do not have to. Galaxy Note9 is a luxurious gadget designed for power users who want a super fast phone with an extra large display and excessive software features, such as the ability to convert to a personal computer if it is connected to a monitor.
But if you can live without the first-class features, there are many good Android phones that cost hundreds of dollars less. Although the Galaxy Note9 is an impressive piece of technology with a large 6.4-inch display, amazing battery life and an excellent camera, I would control most Samsung fans against the Galaxy S9, it's about $ 700 siblings, which is a perfect multitasking -unit.
Here are my main tasks about Not9's remarkable features, such as its innovative desktop mode, long battery life, and enhanced digital pen.
Do you really want your phone to be your PC?
Galaxy Note9's most interesting feature, at least in concept, is software that Samsung calls DeX. DeX turns the smartphone into a personal computer.
To set up, connect the phone to a monitor via a video cable and an adapter that plugs into the phone's USB port. The phone automatically detects that an external display is connected and switched to a system similar to Windows.
From there you can control the "computer" using the touchscreen of your phone or your own wireless keyboard or mouse. You can launch programs and files and juggle with Windows in the same way as on the desktop.
I was surprised at how good this pseudo system looked, but it was difficult to control the desktop with the touch screen buttons on the phone. I guess most people will use DeX with a normal keyboard and mouse.
And I confess that it was unclear to me how this layout would fit into a person's lifestyle. Why carry a smartphone to a workstation that has a screen, keyboard and mouse ̵
Suzanne De Silva, Director of Product Strategy for Samsung, said that she assumed that people use DeX for a number of tasks that utilized a large second screen like shopping online or singing karaoke on a TV.
"You can get these lean-back experiences with your phone, free up the power of dual screen," she said.
A large battery but doubtful shelf life
An attractive quality of Note9 is the unique battery life. During the week of testing the device – including using it to shoot images, send emails and texts, use social media apps and play games – it had a longer battery life than any smartphone I've used. Often, I still had at least 30 percent of the battery left at bedtime after one day of use. The vast majority of phones I have tested always needed to be charged in the evening.
But I was less impressed with the physical shelf life of the phone. During a light walk in a park, Note9 dropped out of the coat on concrete, and maintained ugly scratches on two of its aluminum corners. The phone was not wearing a case (my bad!), But this was not even the glass part of the unit. Should not a $ 1000 product be less delicate?
The Silva said that the material around the phone is an aluminum that is durable and enables the transmission of radio signals. If customers want a tougher model, she said, Samsung sells robust phones called Galaxy Active.
The big camera is compromised by body size
Like Samsung's flagship Galaxy S9, released in March, the Galaxy Note9 has a double-sized camera system. This means that the camera has a mechanical aperture that adapts to different lighting conditions. So in bright light scenes, the narrow aperture will decrease to avoid overexposure, and in low light it will automatically switch to a wider aperture to draw as much light as possible.
In my tests, images in bright light were so very clear and detailed. Brighter colors, like pinks and yellow, seemed more alive – something that is not my preference, although some people like more exaggerated images for Instagram. Generally, the pictures looked as good as those taken on the Galaxy S9 +, which I considered as an excellent camera.
Still, I did not love using Galaxy Note9 as an everyday camera like I did Galaxy S9 + and other smaller phones. The longer and wider body made it impossible to handle and the curved sides of the screen made the phone more comfortable to hold.
So in the serendipitous moments when you want to whip out the phone and burn up the camera right away, the Galaxy Note9 will lower you: The body makes it hard to quickly pull out of your pocket and stabilize in your hands to make a clear shot .
The pen is the main reason for reviewing the note
The signature feature of Galaxy Note has always been its digital pen for writing and drawing, called S-Pen. For Note9, the pen has a significant upgrade: It now contains a button that you can tap to use as a remote control.
This is my favorite feature in the new note. You can use the pen to control different tasks remotely. By default, you can press the stylus once to take a picture. It's useful especially when shooting a selfie: It's much easier to hold the phone in front of you with one hand while using the other hand to press the button on the pen. The S-Pen button can also be reprogrammed to switch slides to a presentation or to start and stop a sound recording.
The S Pen should be the main reason to rate this phone instead of another Samsung device, like the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 +. These phones lack pens but cost $ 620 to $ 860, are also very fast and have a little less screens and bodies, which makes them easier to handle.
If you're on the phone if this phone is right for you, consider Samsung's target audience. De Silva said that Galaxy Note9 was for people who "lived exclusively on the device" to work, play, shop, make, read and watch videos. "It's an all-in-one," she said.
To me, it was the deal switch. I'm working all the time to spend less time on my phone, anyway, so a cheaper one will do.