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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: The Power User’s Dream Phone

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

So we have the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and it costs P55,990 for the  base model 6GB RAM/128GB. We admit it is hard to reach especially with the economic situation of the Philippines right now as prices of basic commodities have risen this year. Selling out PHP 55k for a phone is hard to swallow especially with the Pocophone F1 only costs PHP 17K with the same specs and battery.

But there are still things you should look at that would make you buy the Galaxy Note 9. It is time to lay down the pros and cons. Sit back and relax. Read on techies!

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Specs:

  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Infinity display (2960 x 1440 pixels), 18.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Exynos 9810, 1.79GHz 64-bit Octa-core processor
  • Mali-G72 MP18
  • Android 8.1 Oreo w/ Samsung Experience 9.5
  • 128GB/512GB ROM expandable via microSD card up to 1TB
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 12MP (f/1.5 – 2.4) + 12MP (f/2.4) telephoto lens back cameras w/ Dual Pixel, Dual OIS, and dual tone LED flash
  • 8MP (f/1.7) front camera w/ AF and screen flash
  • 4G/LTE, Dual Hybrid SIM
  • WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Iris scanner, Fingerprint scanner (rear mounted)
  • pressure, accelerometer, barometer, gyro, geomagnetic, hall, HR, proximity, light
  • AKG stereo speakers, UHQ 32-bit/DSD audio support
  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • Intelligent S Pen
  • OTG support
  • USB Type-C
  • 4,000mAh w/ Adaptive fast charging and fast wireless charging
  • Price – Php 55,990 6GB RAM/128GB ROM
  • Status: Available at Samsung Experience Stores and via Globe/Smart Postpaid Plans

HARDWARE AND DESIGN

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

If you own a Galaxy Note 8, this new model will be all familiar. The only differences we see here is the fingerprint scanner is moved to a much convenient placement which is below the dual cameras plus the device is bigger and heavier. That is because of the bigger display and beefier battery. Obviously it is quite impossible for one-hand use.

The overall build is absolutely solid. Of course you will be paying 55K so it should be rock solid. It has IP68 certification for water and dust resistance but the glass front and back means it accumulates smudges and fingerprints. Make sure you buy a soft jelly case for this. The hard plastic case included will break if the phone accidentally falls down from a table.

DISPLAY

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

There are reasons why Samsung continues to lead over its rivals. One reason is the screen tech. The Galaxy Note 9 has a  large 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. It is super bright, super vibrant, super colorful. Samsung’s screen tech remains unmatched . It has great sunlight visibility too. If you are looking for a great screen for multimedia use, look no further and get this phone now.

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE

Let’s talk software first. Based on track record, Samsung is not the best when it comes to software updates. When the Galaxy Note 8 was launched August last year, it runs Android 7 Nougat and Google has just announced Android Oreo that time.  Our Galaxy Note 8 got Android 8.0 Oreo late February 2018. Rivals Huawei, OnePlus and Sony updates their phones  faster.

Benchmarks:

Again this year, the Note 9 was launched days after Android 9.0 Pie was announced. We hope Samsung make the device be updated to the newest Android version within this year. On the flip side, we got August 2018 security patches and other software improvements a few days ago. Yet to that.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

As for the performance, the Exynos 9810 performs like a beast. You can throw anything at it like extreme multitasking  and gaming and the phone remains buttery smooth and cool as well. There is a liquid cooling system underneath this hardware so gaming will be a breezy and cool affair. It does get a bit warm for long hours of gaming. Watching videos and movies remains cool.

We use the Galaxy Note 9 as our small computer. We actually write our review on this device. Doing our work was easier thanks to the S Pen. The S Pen can do more than what the S Pen of last year’s model can do. Our new favorite feature is using the S Pen as a shutter button for the camera. It is really a cool feature.

CONNECTIVITY

What Samsung has improved on are their WiFi and LTE radios. Compared with last year’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8, the Galaxy Note 9 has far better WiFi and LTE radios. Data speeds using both radios are more stable. Call quality is better too and same thing with the people we  are talking to at the other end of the line.

CAMERA

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review

When it comes to camera tech, we believe Samsung remains the best in this area. These cameras are exactly the same hardware present on the Samsung Galaxy S9+ with its variable aperture feature that adjusts the aperture of the main rear sensor from f/1.5 to f/2.4 depending on the lighting situation of your subject.

We think it is still better than Huawei’s P20 Pro cameras but the Chinese tech company is throwing more money on its R&D for better user and camera experience. We believe Samsung should make a move on improving its already great camera tech in order to remain ahead.

Please do check out some our camera samples.

BATTERY

After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung became conservative on it the battery of the Note 8 by putting a 3,300 mAh battery considering its big screen and powerful internals. With the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung granted every power user’s wish, a large 4,000 mAh battery. Samsung claims “all-day battery” and we proved it right.

We are known power users because we do everything on a phone rather on a laptop. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 did not just met our expectations, it exceeded them. We managed to get more than 6 hours of screen on time and more than 12 hours of power and getting 24% left in the tank. That’s impressive because we use our phones mainly for multimedia use.

VERDICT

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is now the closest thing to perfection – great build, excellent display, still the best cameras and all-day battery. But the price is hard to chew in reality for most Filipinos. On the other hand, if you really have the money and if you are looking for a real flagship-grade device, go for it and for sure you will never regret.

Just a reminder, the Pocophone F1 is now here in the Philippines for only 17K and there’s the Huawei P20 Pro if you want a great design, equally capable cameras and a large battery for only 40K. The Huawei Mate 20 and the next generation Apple’s iPhones are just around the corner. So better think twice before getting one.

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