REVIEW: Samsung Note 9, Designed By Craftsmen, The Best Components Ever In A Smartphone
The chances are that most people will not be in the market for the new Samsung Note 9, it’s expensive and the new model look no different than the previous model.
But for those who appreciate raw technology and owning the best devices money can buy the new Samsung Note 9 should be high on your shopping list when it comes to smartphones, just image being able to carry a full blown PC in your pocket and within seconds be able to control a PowerPoint presentation using the new upgraded pen as the device to control your slide presentation.
While the new device is all about more it’s also about performance and the fact that Samsung who make the bulk of their own components are now able to pack the latest in display processor and battery technology into a device that weighs just 201 gram up from 195g of the previous model.
What you are buying is the skills of some of the best micro technology engineers in the world, people who are obsessed with being able to deliver the next generation of a product that they designed and thought was cutting edge the last time round.
All you need to observe to see the dramatic improvements that Samsung delivers in a device such as the Note 9 is the all new S Pen.
It’s now Bluetooth-enabled, allowing the button to be used for other jobs, such as music playback, launching the camera or controlling a long-range self-timer.
Built into this tiny 3.1 gram pen is the capability to launch an app: The camera is selected by default, but from within the S Pen remote settings, you can select any app that you want to launch from the S Pen button with a quick press-and-hold action.
Take photos: Once you launch the camera, you can press the S Pen button again to capture a photo. If you press the button twice, you can seamlessly move between the phone’s front and rear cameras.
View photos: When the gallery is open, you can use single or double press on the S Pen to toggle between the image or previous image.
Record your voice: You can use the S Pen to record/pause a voice recording when the voice recorder app open.
Control your music: You can play, pause, or skip music with button presses on the S Pen. It’s unclear if this supports third-party apps.
Control YouTube: If you’re watching a YouTube video, you can use S Pen button to play, pause, or skip videos.
The Note 9 starts at $1,499 and goes up to an eye-watering $1,755 while Samsung is discounting this model out by $300 I am assured that the big ticket price will return soon. Samsung is offering twice as much storage as the iPhone X at each price point.
It’s easily the most expensive Samsung smartphone ever sold and the most expensive Android phone currently on sale in Australia.
Both JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys are offering deals on this device.
Samsung has stuck with the same premium, glass design with the curved, almost bezel-free Infinity Display dominating the front and the difference is not noticeable though the brightness of the screen is, and this is due to improved processing and better battery management which is controlled by new artificial intelligence technology.
On the back the dual camera is aligned horizontally as it is on the S9+ the biggest improvement is the fingerprint sensor that now sits under the camera mounting making it extremely easy to access.
The glass is not as curved as on the Galaxy S9, and it has squarer corners, which gives the Note 9 a larger footprint than Samsung’s other phones.
You also get larger storage capability and longer battery life from the all-new 4,000mAh battery with wired and wireless fast charging.
That’s 500mAh bigger than the battery in the S9 Plus and a full 700mAh larger than the one in last year’s Note 8.
It’s also bigger than the battery in Google’s Pixel 2 XL, LG’s V35, HTC’s U12 Plus, the iPhone 8 Plus, or basically any other phone that being offered by carriers and retailers in Australia.
While I got more battery life with this device than the Note 8 I still struggled on a day that started at 5.30am with a flight to Melbourne, mapping my way around town and a considerable amount of talk time. The upside this is the biggest and best battery in town and is one key reason to buy this device.
Under the bonnet is a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6/8GB RAM 128 or 512GB storage with microSD support.
The Note 9 supports both fast wired and fast wireless charging, though I would have liked to see Samsung improve the wired charging speeds for the Note 9, but I don’t think most people will have an issue with how fast you can recharge the battery on any Samsung smartphone.
For me a big plus with this device is the camera and the fact you can shoot an image using the S Pen. The rear camera is a dual 12-megapixel system, with a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens for zooming in closer on your subject.
The front camera has 8 megapixels of resolution and images are sharp and vibrant, for those who often shoot images in low life environments this is a device you can rely on to deliver the best images of any smartphone.
Because of the improved processing speeds and upgraded software autofocus is lightning fast, you can also set up various effects and video shooting.
Samsung says the camera can recognize 20 different types of scenes, including food, portraits, pets, landscapes, beaches, sunrises and sunsets, and more.
You also get notification if the last picture you took might be blurry or the person in it blinked, so you can take it again.
The new Note 9 is a Computer in your pocket with new Samsung DEX features now built into the device. In the past you needed a separate DEX device to dock the Note 8 before plugging it into a screen now all you need is a USB-C to HDMI adapter. When you plug in the cables you get a DEX prompt you can then use the Note 9 as a trackpad when it’s plugged in to a larger screen.
It’s almost like, a version of the Samsung Flip with users having the capability to draw and write on the larger screen with the Note 9.
I am not a fan of the pad but there is an easy solution to convert this device into a perfect computer in the pocket device. Simple Bluetooth connect a keyboard and mouse from the likes of Logitech and you suddenly get a whole head of additional capability including access to the
While the Note 9 is powered by Android 8.1 Oreo, there’s no Android 9 Pie despite it publicly being released for Google’s phones earlier this month. This is an ideal upgrade especially for people who are buying this device for access to rich content information.
While Okay Google works perfectly Samsung is still persisting with their proprietary Bixby voice activation technology.
This is a totally revamped version of Bixby, with an adjusted user interface. To get users interested Samsung has worked on richer and deeper integration with third party apps, these are the same apps you get via Google Voice or Amazon Alexa.
Several tests I have done using Bixby have failed and I suspect that this is pre-release Bixby software.
At the same time Samsung are going to struggle to get past Amazon Alexa and Google Voice especially as Voice is technology is going to be prevalent in most devices that can be controlled via an app and for Samsung not to build Alexa or Google Voice into devices is a high risk strategy that could see people deciding to not buy a washing machine or refrigerator because of the lack of Alexa or Google Voice.
The Note 9 has a button on the left side that is dedicated to launching Bixby and can’t be reprogrammed to something more useful.
With the exception of Bixby this devices delivers the best of everything it is the product of technology craftsmen. It also built from the very best components from the display to the processor to the materials wrapped around the chipsets that power this beast.
Like anything made by craftsmen you have to pay a premium price and the Samsung Note 9 is worth every cent you will spend.
This is not some cheap product hand built by robots this is the benchmark for all smartphones including Apple, who have no option but to buy parts from Samsung if they are to play in the same league as the Note 9.