The Note 9 is all about going big with a lot of minor upgrades
OUR EARLY VERDICT
Bigger than previous Note phones in every way, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a larger screen, heftier battery and a massive 1TB of storage option. The camera is poised to be better and the Bluetooth-connected S Pen can activate customizable shortcuts remotely. But its price matches (and even tops) what you’ll pay for an iPhone X.
- Beautiful 6.4-inch Infinity Display
- Big battery and storage options
- Promising camera enhancements
- Bluetooth S Pen shortcuts
- A lot of small upgrades
- No HDR video recording
- Expensive (just to repeat)
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a little bigger, a little more colorful, and a little more powerful than all prior Note phones, but be warned: it’s also a lot more expensive.
Update: New ongoing Note 9 review impressions are here and being added every day. In today’s update, we’ve tested the camera and S Pen camera remote functionality.
It’s the biggest Android phone that will grab your attention in 2018, with a sizeable 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, a huge 4,000mAh battery for all-day performance, and up to 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.
Good news – the Note 9 doesn’t actually feel any bigger than last year’s 6.3-inch Note 8, and it inherits a bunch of this year’s 5.8-inch Galaxy S9 and 6.8-inch Galaxy S9 Plus features.
The camera is better, with a dual 12MP rear setup that has dual-aperture technology, and can record Super Slow Mo videos. AR Emoji is back with some finer avatar customizations, but rest assured, your avi will still look nothing like you, according to our early tests.
Slot in a 512GB microSD card (which Samsung will gladly sell you), and you can have the first mainstream 1TB phone in your hands.
New S Pen magic tricks
- Bluetooth stylus has custom shortcuts
- Great for remotely taking photos, works up to 30 feet away
- Charges quickly while embedded in the phone
The new S Pen is the star turn of the Note 9 show, capable of performing Bluetooth-connected magic tricks from up to 30 feet away.
Samsung is making S Pen shortcuts customizable. Here are the ideas mentioned:
- Camera: Flip the camera / take a photo
- Camera: Flip the camera / record a video
- Music Player: Play and pause music / skip to the next track
- Photo Gallery: Advance to the next photo / cycle back to a previous photo
Your first 1TB-ready smartphone
- 512GB of internal storage with 8GB of RAM
- 128GB of internal storage with 6GB of RAM
- Additional 512GB microSD card can up storage to 1TB
It’s no surprise that Samsung, among top manufacturers, is the first to produce a 1TB-ready smartphone, a capacity that rivals that of most laptops people buy today.
Samsung makes both the internal 512GB flash drive and a variety of 512GB microSD memory cards.
The 4,000mAh battery
- Much larger battery at 4,000mAh
- Galaxy S9 had 3,000mAh and S9 has 3,500mAh
- Fast Charging and Fast Wireless Charging supported
The Note 9 battery capacity has also been unshackled, breaking through the 4,000mAh ceiling.
Design, display and other specs
- Expansive 6.4-inch display and minor dimension changes
- Includes fingerprint sensor, microSD slot and headphone jack
Samsung’s Super AMOLED display doesn’t need to change to look great. It’s consistently the best smartphone screen in the world until the next Samsung phone launches, every year.
The Note 9 offers a lot to like – and a price hike to utterly dislike. The S Pen has new remote-controlled tricks, the maximum storage size is unbeatable, and the battery life and AI-enhanced camera are both promising.