August 10, 2020
Home Science & Tech Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Review and Full Analysis

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Review and Full Analysis

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: The new Galaxy Note 9 is the highest bet of Samsung for this 2018. It comes with a larger screen, better camera, a bigger battery and improvements in the S-Pen. These improvements are based on a continuous design of the company that wants to expand the type of user of the Note family, even reaching the gaming segment with its exclusive with Fortnite.

If there is something that can not be denied when seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for the first time, it is that we have a Samsung design. Aesthetically, the front part is a Note 8 or an S9 + with a slightly larger size. The frames on the screen disappear due to the curvature of the sides and both the upper and lower frames still have a very restrained size.

Taking a look at the back we see that finally, as we saw with the Galaxy S9 family , Samsung has passed the fingerprint reader from the side of the double camera pack to the bottom of it. You could say it better late than never and it is appreciated because even after using a Note 8 for a few weeks the finger ended up resting on the rear cameras.

Going into the technical details of the design, we are facing a mobile manufactured on an AL7000 aluminum structure of aeronautical specifications. Both the front and the equivalent part of the thickness shows a symmetrical design one of the points in which more emphasis has done Samsung in his last generations.

galaxy-note-9

The truth is that the glass back as well as the one that covers the front screen (both Gorilla Glass 5 ) fit perfectly in that aluminum skeleton giving a sense of continuity and improves the aesthetics to the point of looking like we are in front of a more thin than the 8.8 millimeters it has.

SamsungSamsung Galaxy Note 9Note 8
Design161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm

201 grams

IP68

162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm

195 grams

IP68

screen6.4 “, Super AMOLED, 2,960 x 1,440 px

18.5: 9, HDR10, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

6.3 “, Super AMOLED, 2,960 x 1,440 px

18.5: 9, HDR10, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

ProcessorExynos 9810 (in Europe) / Snapdragon 845Exynos 8895 / Snapdragon 835
RAM and memory6 GB RAM and 128 GB *

8 GB RAM and 512 GB *

* 128/512 GB 
(expandable by microSD, max 512GB)

4GB

64/128/256 GB 
(expandable by microSD)

Camera

Main: 12 Mpx (f / 1.5 + f / 2.4) + 12 Mpx (f / 2.4) 2X zoom

Front: 8 megapixels f / 1.7

Main: 12 megapixels (f / 1.7) + 12 Mpx zoom 2X (f / 2.4)

Front: 8 megapixels

AndroidAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.0 Oreo
Battery4.000mAh3,300 mAh
PriceFrom 1,008 eurosFrom 849 euros

Repeat the same design decision regarding the buttons that with Note 8 having a shortcut button to Bixby and the double volume button on the left side while on the right side we only have the power button. The SIM / SD tray is located at the top of the terminal.

The mobile is dualSIM and one of the slots can be used as a microSD slot with support for up to 512 GB of memory. This point has been one of the claims of Samsung and is that if we buy the model of 512 GB of internal memory and we use that type of card, we will have a total of 1 TB of memory in the mobile in our pocket.

One of the novelties in terms of design versus the Note 8 is the integration of a stereo speaker system that we saw in the S9 and that uses the loudspeaker as a speaker during multimedia playback offering that amplitude of sound with a total power remarkable.

The main speaker is located on the bottom next to the USB-C connector that not only serves to charge the terminal but can also be used to transfer data to a computer or to connect other devices via USB-OTG with the adapter that comes in the box.

In terms of dimensions we are in front of a big smartphone, we should not fool anyone to see it, but of course this 6.4-inch diagonal screen in 18.5: 9 Infinity Display format has a lot to say about it. You can rush the frames, yes, but little else.

The most critical point of the terminal we would say is its weight, since it passes 200 grams and is placed over competing smartphones like the Huawei P20 Pro that also integrates a 4,000 mAh battery.

The Galaxy Note 9 comes very well accompanied

The Galaxy Note 9 is a smartphones top, more than 1,000 euros the “most basic” model, and this is also evident in the packaging . The box has no breakthrough design, reminiscent of the last generations but it is true that the outer part has a matte finish on which highlights the drawing of the S-Pen .

Inside the box itself we find a small box with the manuals and the PIN to remove the SIM tray, if we remove it we see the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 with its front and rear protectors in addition to the sticker of the IMEIs.

The mobile rests on a tray that hides under it the Samsung adaptive quick charger , a USB-OTG adapter, a microUSB-USB-C adapter and a compartment with a lid.

Under that cover we have the USB-C cable, the AKG headphones that we have several Galaxy families watching, a bag with several silicone covers for the same and another bag with the accessory to extract the tip of the S-Pen as well as with two tips of replacement for the same.

As we can see, it is a fairly complete content and for missing only we would have liked Samsung to offer some kind of cover for it. We are talking about a terminal with more than 1,000 euros, but it is clear that this is another market that Samsung knows how to exploit economically: the accessories for their mobile phones.

Top Screen in Dimensions and Quality

If there is something that Samsung has been doing for many years in the mobile segment, it is betting on SuperAMOLED technology . As we all know, it is a technology that offers individual pixel to pixel lighting and that allows you to have pure blacks.

Samsung also offered HDR support last year and is still doing this year with a panel that grows marginally up to 6.4 inches. It is still a panel with WQHD + resolution (2,960 x 1,440 px) and that is that we are approaching a screen size where we can start to notice pixels with normal use at resolutions lower than FullHD +.

In our brightness measurements it does not seem that during normal use the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 offers a very high level of brightness, enough to be used indoors and outdoors but behind other smartphones that we have already analyzed and offered a superior brightness like LG G7 or the Aquaris X2 Pro from bq.

However, when it detects an HDR content when the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 displays its full potential in terms of brightness activating the high intensity mode almost doubling the previous figure and becoming one of the brightest screens in the market.

This measure is obviously an option to keep energy consumption under control since for normal use of the phone we do not need that amount of additional brightness. We have an option that is within the Performance modewith which we can change the resolution of the screen and offer 10% more brightness in normal mode, but being a hidden option it will probably remain as a case of residual use in most situations .

In terms of viewing angles, the SuperAMOLED panel continues to offer great performance without defects or color changes according to viewing angles or a noticeable decrease in brightness according to areas.

It has a very linear performance and here we just want to point out that due to the nature of the panel that is curved by the sides we will notice a slight deformation in contents in those areas. It is not a defect as such but a characteristic due to the morphology of the screen.

In most cases we get the feeling of being in front of a more immersive content something that also helps the stereo speaker system. In other occasions as it can be some game or surfing the Internet we find that problem if we do not see the phone perfectly perpendicular. It is a crashing effect if you have not seen it before but in a matter of a couple of days you are completely done to it.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 mounts one of the screens that offers the best quality on the market

In short, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 mounts one of the screens that offers the best quality on the market. In fact it has reminded me of those years when smartphones had a sticker simulating having the screen on and then when the screen was turned on, it really had little to do with it.

If you want to know more technical information about the screen, we refer you to the tests that DisplayMate has done and that coincides with us with what is the best mobile screen to date. The largest on the date of its release with HDR10 support and a resolution of 6.4 inches QHD +. If you are looking for a good screen and great diagonal, it is your mobile.

Top performance 2018 but behind the competition

Samsung placed the Note family from the beginning within a professional segment and due to this it offered support of stylus (S-Pen) and a large screen. However, this year it seems to want to enter fully into the gaming world thanks to the temporary exclusivity with Fortnite and an improved cooling system for its chip.

We have analyzed the version of the Note 9 that integrates Exynos 9810 , the same chip that we already saw in the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus and we have been able to verify that the results are very even. The figures in synthetic tests are very similar and taking into account that it is Samsung’s top smartphone for this 2018 is a pity that it is not crowned in terms of performance compared to other market alternatives with Snapdragon 845 chip.

Galaxy Note 9OnePlus 6Huawei P20Galaxy S9 +iPhone X
ProcessorExynos 9810Snapdragon 845Kirin 970Exynos 9810A11 Bionic
Graphic processorMali-G72 MP18Adreno 630Mali-G72 MP12Mali-G72 MP18Apple GPU
RAM6GB6 GB4GB6 GB3 GB
Test of Geekbench 43.732 / 8.9902,423 / 9,066 points1,886 / 6,683 points2,802 / 8,381 points4.203 / 10.067 points
AnTuTu test239,723 points267,513 points205,053 points250,172 points231,627 points

 

Many users get their hands on their heads when we see exclusive analyzes of the CPU terrain with this Exynos compared to the Apple A11 Bionic or even the Snapdragon 845 . It is clear that we are not facing the smartphone that more points will get in the tests but it is true that in our battery of tests this Note 9 has managed to stay at a high temperature without reaching problematic figures that involve dramatic Thermal Throttling or that make the surface of the same get to burn making its use uncomfortable.

We have passed the Antutu test six times in a row looking for that continued stress to see signs of Throttling and to what extent it is noticeable a decrease in performance, or not.

Samsung has done a very good job with the heatsink with heatpipe  coated with carbon fiber because it distributes the heat very well on the back avoiding the unwanted hot spots and making the phone can run for long periods of time at maximum CPU performance and GPU without any appreciable problem on the part of the user.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9

As we have been able to verify, the external heating of the terminal is not as pronounced as in the Galaxy S9 + that although it yields more initially than the Note 9 when we spent some time with the mobile working at full capacity the Thermal Throttling of the SoC makes a dent in the Galaxy S9+

How is the thermal throttling of SoC Exynos 9810 in Note 9 ?

According to our tests, the lowering of performance due to the high temperature of the terminal is noticeable when we execute tasks that imply a great use of the GPU since, as we see in the following Antutu score graph, the drop in points of the CPU part is affected by that warming of the GPU.

After the second execution the CPU section of the SoC is kept in a controlled temperature range and practically traces the same results while we see how until the sixth execution the GPU integrated in the Exynos continues to drop performance and does not stabilize. This is the part that generates the most heat inside the SoC and, therefore, the main actor in the Thermal Throttling field of Note 9.

The use during the day to day, beyond synthetic tests that measure gross power, is smooth. Very soft. The transitions between menus, the use multitasking to even two applications on the screen are very thin without any lag, something expected from a top smartphone but it should be noted.

Samsung also has the option of using the mobile with Samsung DeX that leaves through HDMI an interface similar to what can be a computer and we can use the phone as a touchpad or use a second application on your screen turning the Note 9 into a true multitasking and multiscreen system. This is one of the most demanding tasks for the terminal that are completed with the possibilities of remote control through its S-Pen, a subject that we will deal with below.

S-Pen, now with a life of its own

The S-Pen has been one of the distinguishing features of the Note range not only within Samsung but within the current smartphone segment. Years ago when the screens were not capacitive many smartphones were accompanied by stylus however the arrival of iPhone to the market led to the disuse of that accessory.

Samsung was clear that there is a niche of users that continues to make use of it, that takes notes with it and that to a lesser extent also use it to retouch photographs or draw. That is why he continued to bet on S-Pen .

So far we have seen how Samsung has been extending the sensitivity of the same to the 4,096 levels of pressurethat we saw in the past Note 8 as well as the varied software that comes with it to take notes, notes on a screenshot and even the ability to capture content intelligently on screen or draw and color with Penup.

On this occasion we also have a novelty, the S-Pen is alive, that is, it has functionality beyond the screen thanks to an ephemeral autonomy of maximum 30 minutes. Why do we say ephemeral autonomy? Well, because we are really facing an S-Pen that mounts a capacitor inside it capable of charging in just 40 seconds from its place in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

With this load the pencil can hold 30 minutes using BT LE connection with Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or up to 200 presses. A capacitor can be charged much more quickly than a battery although due to its nature said energy dissipates over time, the main difference compared to that battery.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

What can you do with this S-Pen in remote mode (without closer to the screen and, therefore, running through Bluetooth LE)? The first thing is to mention that three types of pulsations are recognized: simple, double and maintained and according to which application we are going to work in one way or another. All this is customizable by the user.

  • Control of multimedia playback, both in the music player such as YouTube, we can pause, replay and even go to play the next item in the playlist
  • Browsing gallery photos
  • Slide show in PowerPoint
  • Remote control of the camera to shoot and switch between the rear camera and the front

As we see, the options are varied and it will depend on the case of each user to see if they are uses that may be useful or remain in cases of residual use in their day to day. What is clear is that having that option never hurts. During our tests it has demonstrated a trouble-free use, fast and with a maximum operating distance of about 10 meters from the terminal.

Top cameras: the same as those of the S9 Plus

If there is something that we can not blame Samsung is that the rear camera pack Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has very good performance. The only problem is that if it reaches the market 6 months after the Galaxy S9 Plus we expected some improvement or at least some change to better against it which leaves us somewhat indifferent.

But one thing does not take away the other. The system of double rear camera of 12 Mpx  in configuration 2X zoom and double opening system f / 1.5-2.4 has worked very well in the Galaxy S9 Plus and does so in this Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The arrangement of cameras in the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is different, having a horizontal orientation. On the left side we have the zoom camera and more focused on the terminal the main camera with the double opening system.

The LED flash is located to the right of both unlike the Note 8, which looked in that place the reader of fingerprints point for which was widely criticized.

This rear camera system has a good HDR performance as usual in the latest generation of Galaxy phones and also has a portrait mode (selective focus) that we can use and adjust a posteriori to our liking, being able to control even the blur level of background.
When we capture in this mode, a double capture is made using the 2x zoom camera and the wide-angle camera, so we will have two shots of the same scene.
The performance in nocturnal captures with complicated light situations have been solved quite well although in automatic mode it has to overexpose something. If you lower that extra exposure from the camera settings the result is very good for being a mobile, retaining details in the scene without a lot of noise.
We have noticed that both the configuration and operation of the camera is exactly the same as the Galaxy S9 + so we refer you to your analysis to see more samples and the detailed operation of your double opening system.
As an extra we note the possibilities of video recording of the Note 9 that include recording support 4K 60 fpsincluding the H.265 format . Here we only miss the support of HDR recording something that phones like the Xperia XZ2 already made and that would take advantage of the possibilities offered by the good screen of this Note 9.

We also have the recording mode ultraslowmotion 720p that captures a burst of 960fps in a period of 0.2 seconds and that we saw in the Galaxy S9. It is exactly the same way with possibilities to shoot that moment of slow motion by hand or choose an area that the mobile will monitor to do that slowdown automatically. We also have the option of making a single slow motion capture or go chaining slowdowns to our liking.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

As we have seen, the Galaxy Note 9 camera is excellent, it fits perfectly in both photographic and video performance in the premium premium range in which this device is located.

Samsung Experience with the extras of the S-Pen

Galaxy Note 9 boasts the same operating system as the S9 Plus with Android 8.1 on which runs the increasingly lightweight Samsung Experience personalization layer . It does not reach the market with Android 9 Pie that saw the light already in Pixel phones but Samsung is already working on this update.

We could say that there is no news in terms of software versus Note 8 since we have the same assortment of applications for the S-Pen but that option of remote control with BT LE is added. There are slight changes in some apps such as taking note with the screen off that the ink of the color of the pencil our writing unlike the Note 8 that always took blank notes.

The unit we have tested is the 128 GB model and 6 GB of RAM in blue with the S-Pen in yellow and if you take notes with the screen off you leave strokes in that color.

The operation of the mobile due to its huge amount of RAM is very good even when we jump between heavy open apps. There is the possibility to change the screen resolution to save battery, going down from WQHD to FHD + or HD +.

We also have the Game Launcher application  that gives higher priority to the games that are launched from it prioritizing performance as well as the ability to change from settings the performance mode with the ability to change the resolution to use and increase the maximum screen brightness up to 10%.

It does not bring much preinstalled bloatware apart from the traditional Samsung apps of which we highlight SmartThings which aims to be the nerve center of the entire ecosystem of Samsung connected devices at home. Apart from that we also have a folder with the Microsoft application suite including: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and LinkedIn.

It should be noted that Samsung is still investing in Bixby , its voice assistant and in fact the Note 9 still integrates a button with direct access to it that we can not customize or disable. What we can disable is the desk on the left of the whole where Bixby shows us related cards and, supposedly, our interest although we remember that Bixby does not yet have voice support in Spanish.

Samsung has its own application store, Galaxy Apps and it is from there that we have access to extra applications that are either out of Google Play or optimized in a certain way for the Galaxy. This is the case of Fortnite, the fashion game.

galaxy-note-9

From Galaxy Apps and thanks to the exclusivity of the game Fortnite for these mobiles the user of a Note 9 will have direct access to the game without having to wait for an invitation to be able to test the beta for Android. If you have a last generation Galaxy you will have the green light and you will be among the first to try it.

It is clear that the Note 9 is a smartphone focused on productivity, multitasking and perhaps with a more professional niche but Samsung has emphasized that thanks to the integrated cooling system and its stereo sound is a perfect platform to enjoy games, of what we give faith.

Samsung DeX Integrated, Replacing the PC

The Note 9 has the Samsung DeX functionality integrated , it does not need the use of the homonymous accessories that the Samsung sale has. With just connecting the phone with a USB-C to HDMI adapter we can use the phone as a multiscreen and multi-tasking system.

In this way we can have on the HDMI screen a presentation that we can pass with the S-Pen and Note 9 be used as a touchpad or continue to use it as an Android phone taking notes or with any application on your screen.

It is clear that the purchase of this accessory brought advantages such as two USB ports and even ethernet connection but in most cases it is more interesting to offer DeX from the phone itself with a simple generic USB-C to HDMI adapter.

This type of use is one of the most demanding for the terminal and in our experience it has not managed to disturb the Note 9.

Note 9 and the return to the traditional autonomy of the Note

We all know the fateful chapter that Samsung had to live with the Note 7 and the problem of their batteries. This has made the company cautious with the Note 8 and in fact the battery of them remained at 3,300 mAh compared to 3,500 mAh of note 7.

This year Samsung has put all the meat in the spit and has come up with the Note 9  to a respectable capacity of 4,000 mAh standing up to other competitors such as the P20 Pro Huawei. With this capability, Samsung promises sufficient autonomy for a day of intense use. Does Note 9 comply with that?

n our day-to-day tests the Note 9 is able to offer a range that has allowed us to reach the end of the day with more than 6 hours of screen on and more than 20% remaining autonomy. It is clear that watching HDR content as well as playing demanding games like Fortnite will have a higher consumption than simply using instant messaging or web browsing apps.

In terms of measured usage we can confirm that in the PCMark battery test with the maximum brightness the Note 9 has complied with a note offering a total of 7h24m of the screen on and still reducing it by 19%.

This test makes a varied use of the terminal between web browsing, photo and video editing and is quite indicative and minimum limit of autonomy for a basic daily use of only push messaging and social networks or watching videos on YouTube / Netflix. Of course, in the latter case if the content is HDR something would reduce that figure.

We could say that it is a good autonomy within this sector of high range and it is that extra that we missed in the S9 Plus and that made us in some cases have to go through an outlet before the end of the day.

Note 9 is compatible with fast charging, wireless charging and wireless fast charging so there is no problem when refilling your battery. In fact, with the serial charger we can reach 50% in a matter of 52 minutes and a full charge that exceeds by just 2 hours.

Note 9, the Swiss Army knife of connectivity

If we stop to think about the different connectivity options of current smartphones, we must bear in mind that for mobile phones of the highest range there is no possible forgiveness. They have to be compatible with the latest Wi-Fi standards to offer NFC support and state-of-the-art mobile data connectivity.

The Note 9 not only meets but we could say that practically overboard in this section because although it is of the few that has not eliminated the minijack, also has mobile connectivity LTE Cat.18 with the possibility of downloading at a maximum rate 1.2Gbps .

Wi-Fi connectivity can be made to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks and the coverage and speeds are very good thanks to its 4xMiMo configuration. Beyond that we have NFC connectivity with support for mobile payments either from Samsung Pay or Google Pay as well as Bluetooth 5.0 or GPS support, Glonass, Galileo and BDS.

To all this we must add OTG support through USB-C that allows you to connect peripherals as well as adapters for video output, for example. And of course, that dualSIM tray that can sacrifice a card to hold a microSD of up to 512 GB that is added to the internal memory of the terminal and that, if we have the model of Note 9 with 512 GB would give a maximum summed capacity of 1 TB .

As we can see, the Note 9 is, without a doubt, if we add the options offered by your S-Pen with BT support, a real Swiss knife of connectivity.

Leaving the niche with weapons for it

It is clear that Samsung has been betting for years on what was a clearly differentiated phablet format with its Note models. However, in recent years this differentiation has been declining until today when the difference in screen size is only 0.2 inches. 

Note 9 has important advantages over the Galaxy S9 Plus family as they are that slightly larger screen, the traditional S-Pen now with BT connection (Samsung has studies in which 64% of Note users say they will keep buying Note in the future) , more amount of RAM and internal memory and a battery that reaches 4,000 mAh .

Samsung wanted to make a nod to users seeking a top smartphone with this sponsorship / exclusivity with Fortnite and it is clear that the Note 9 is Samsung’s most capable smartphone slightly surpassing the performance of the Galaxy S9 Plus. It is clear that it has a price to think twice your purchase.

The company has even created a program to reward users of the Galaxy family and get money for their old smartphones when purchasing this Note 9. From our point of view the jump from Galaxy Note 8 to Galaxy Note 9is remarkable in issue of performance and improvements in the camera system as well as autonomy.

The Note 9 would be something like the son between the Note 8 and the Galaxy S9+ combining the good characteristics of both and adding remote control support and better autonomy. It is, without doubt, the best in the market for this 2018, although, yes, the price of more than 1,000 euros is enough to consider a possible purchase calmly.

The Best

  • Superb screen
  • Powerful stereo audio
  • Autonomy 
  • S-Pen with remote control option

Worst

  • Weight
  • Price
  • It is not the best in performance
  • Bixby button with just that function

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