Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is Big, Expensive and Completely Worth it [Review]

Samsung’s newest flagships have been seeing an increase in prices with their recent flagship, the S9, and S9+, both going above the Rs. 100,000 mark at launch.

The Note 9 is, unsurprisingly, no different as it has a price of tag of Rs. 130,000 in Pakistan at launch. We’ve already done the unboxing of the newest Note series flagship and today we’ll be looking at it in detail to see what it offers.

Review [In Urdu]

Design and Display

The design on the Note 9 is nothing new, especially if you’re coming from a Note 8. There’s still the same square-ish design. But that does not mean that it’s bad. You still get the same glass and metal build which gives the Note 9 a very premium feel in the hand. There’s Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and the back to protect against shattering when you drop your Rs. 100,000+ smartphone.

On the back, you do see some differences over the Note 8. The cameras look different in size, the one on the right is actually larger than the one on the right. The fingerprint scanner has also been placed beneath the camera module making it much easier to access than the one on the Note 8 where it was difficult to reach. But the new positioning on the Note 9 makes it much easier.

On the bottom of the device, you will find the USB Type C Port, loudspeaker, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the S-Pen.

Move on to the front and you might not notice this at first sight but the screen is actually larger than the Note 8. This time around you have a large 6.4-inch screen but it has the same resolution as last year’s model which means the pixel density sees a slight decrease but nothing noticeable in real-world usage.

If there is anything that Samsung does anything best, it is their AMOLED panels and the Note 9 is no different. Featuring a Super AMOLED panel, the display shows rich black and very vibrant colors. Not only is the display good in colors but it also gets very bright and it’s easy to use in direct sunlight.

Performance

Moving on to the performance of the phone, let’s get the numbers out of the way first.

The new Galaxy Note 9 uses Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 octa-core processor along with 6GB of RAM. The Note 8 was the first phone in Samsung’s line up to make use of 6GB of RAM and the Note 9 is Samsung’s first phone to come with an 8GB RAM variant.

Unfortunately, our review unit was available in the 6GB+128GB configuration.

The performance of Note 9 is incredible, to say the least. Applications open almost instantly and there’s no lag whatsoever. Heavy and resource intensive apps also work without a stutter. Gaming on the Note 9 was also a smooth experience as it handled titles like Asphalt 9 and PUBG without breaking a sweat. There were no dropped frames or anything of the sort.

Multitasking was also not an issue for Note 9 thanks to its 6GB RAM. You can easily open multiple applications in the background and easily move between them as well without having them to reload or close every time.

S-Pen and Samsung Dex

The S-Pen sees a major upgrade on the Note 9, and now supports app shortcuts thanks to a button on the stylus itself. You can snap photos, pause or play YouTube videos and use it to launch apps as well. It’s connected to the phone using Bluetooth LE and charges up within seconds once inside the phone. It is also waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about dropping it in a puddle.

Samsung also made the Dex simpler. There is no dock this time, instead all you need is a single HDMI dongle to connect your phone with a monitor or a TV. It works the same way as last year’s Dex, allowing you to use your Note 9 with a mouse and keyboard. It also doubles up as a trackpad if you don’t have a mouse or keyboard.

Camera

The cameras are more or less the same on the Note 9 as it was on the S9+ but they come with improved software enhancements and processing. The newer camera brings variable aperture which debuted with the S9+ and is a marked improvement over the Note 8.

The variable aperture allows you to move between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the conditions. You can either manually select either aperture through the Pro mode or let the camera automatically choose it for you in Auto mode. The f/1.5 aperture does help in low light conditions but in daylight conditions the wider the aperture (lower f-number) is, the less sharp the image might be. So to deal with that, Samsung allows you to switch to f/2.4 for sharper images when you don’t necessarily need the f/1.5.

The picture quality itself is as you would expect from a flagship smartphone. Photos are packed with lots of detail and sharpness. The colors were vibrant but in usual Samsung fashion, were also over saturated. Not to the point where the images are unusable but you definitely notice it when you compare it with other smartphones.

Camera Samples

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Camera Samples | ProPakistani.pk

Battery

The Note 9 has the highest battery capacity ever in the Note lineup which is a nice achievement given how Samsung shied away from using larger batteries after the Note 7 fiasco. The Note 9 has a 4,000mAh battery which is a nice upgrade over the 3,300mAh battery of the Note 8.

The battery was enough to last me through the day and this was while I was running benchmarks on the phone, playing games, taking photos and just generally using the phone. I got around 4h 30min-5 hours of screen on time over a total usage of 14 hours. That’s not the best battery performance out there but definitely not the worst.

An average user may be able to squeeze out a couple of days of use out of the Note 9 too. It also comes with fast charging so you’ll be up and running in no time. Despite having a larger battery Note 9 charges up in around the same time as an S9.

Verdict

The Note 9 is, no doubt, an excellent device and features the best tech out there, the highest specifications and one of the best cameras in the industry. Some people are of the opinion that Note 8 users shouldn’t upgrade to the Note 9 since it is only an incremental upgrade. However, I would disagree here.

Note 9 may only be an incremental upgrade but it is better than the Note 8 in every aspect. Be it the camera, the display, S-Pen, battery or any other thing that you can think of.

About the price, even though it is on a much higher side, I think it is somehow justified given how the Note 9 nails everything. You get no notch, a headphone jack. Things that are truly useful to the consumer and for that I believe, the extra cash is worth it.


  • abobobilly

    It’s definitely the best phone available in the market.
    However, i opted to wait for Galaxy S10 from Samsung, only because i want to upgrade to a ‘radical’ change, not an incremental one.

    • Ahtysham Afzal

      Exactly, Note 9 is best but its almost same as Note 8. S10 is going to be a game changer and a tough competitor to iPhones coz S10 will have a different UI as well. Kinda same as iOS.

  • The big chunk if that money belongs to tax

  • Muhammad Kamran

    Wait! @Author Justify me how it worth if I compare it with Note8 in term of Cost vs improvement. There are very limited improvement which are
    1. Camera-> Only variable aperture but would you like to pay for it if you are not using this feature (more than 60 users are not using)
    2. SPen -> Yes definitely it is only point with new low power bluetooth tech
    3. Memory and CPU -> Why should I pay for extra speed, while Note 8 can run almost every app
    4. Battery -> Agree.

    Now considering all these point can you compare Cost 128GB 2600 AED vs 3300AED

  • Waqar

    Battery seems to be the only major upgrade in Note 9 compared to Note 8….unless you spend extra for the 512Gb version in order to get the 8Gb RAM.

  • Naru-hudo

    sound is chewy