Cut back to 2011, Samsung launched the first edition of the Galaxy Note. Most gadget reviews wrote the device off with descriptions like unwieldy and bulky. Samsung had the last laugh. The Note series wasn’t just the beginning of the ‘phablet’ phrase but large screens are now the norm. Over the last couple of years Samsung’s other flagship – the Galaxy S devices, have also got bigger. The only difference seems to be the be the S-Pen, Samsung’s versatile stylus that has won it a loyal legion of fans. But the Note 9 is more than the S-Pen. Samsung
has always wanted us to believe that this is their ‘Can do’ device. Does the Note 9 justify this claim?
If you can’t tell the Note 9 from last year’s Note 8, you’re probably not alone. The Galaxy Note 9 looks remarkably similar to its predecessor. But look closer and you will find some subtle changes. One change that we totally approve is the placement of the rear fingerprint sensor that now moves under the dual camera. It’s easier to find and tougher to smudge with your fingers. Of course, this is not the only way to unlock your phone. There’s ‘Intelligent scan’ that combines both facial recognition and an iris reader and yet it’s not as ultra-fast as
the fingerprint sensor. The Note 9 stays in the same design zone as the Note 8, we love how this device feels in your hand. At 201 gms its certainly not a lightweight. But then there’s the 6.4-inch (just marginally larger than the 6.3-inch display on the Note 8) display (1440 x 2960 pixels / 516 PPI) that is probably the most immersive screen out there. We like the fact that there’s no ‘Notch’, something that adds to this device’s immersive appeal. The Note’s choice of colours for 2018 are terrific and include a metallic copper variant and ocean blue.
You won’t notice any major upgrade in the camera. This one’s similar to the cam we saw on the S9+ with a dual aperture (f/1.5 and f/2.4 on the rear cam). The camera truly shines in lowlight. The big difference is the AI enabled software optimisation that augments the results. The 8MP is identical to the Note 8. Overall this is a terrific cam and along with the S9+, among the best smartphone shooters across all shooting scenarios.
The Note 9 is powered by the same Exynos 9810 processor that propels the S9+. There’s a choice of 2 versions – 6GB RAM / 128GB ROM or the heavy duty 8GB RAM / 512GB ROM. There’s support for expandable storage (upto 512 GB). Add cloud storage and you are never going to run out of space for your images or movies. One of the talking points for this device is the Water Carbon Cooling system that keeps things cool under the hood. We pushed this device hard during our tests – gaming and milt-tasking, and it didn’t stutter. It’s not just play, Samsung’s improved DEX connectivity allows you to hook up with a larger screen effortlessly. It needs a HDMI cable that is not bundled in the box though.
All these heavy duty specs need a solid battery. The Note 9 comes with a formidable 4000 mAh battery that is a significant bump up from the 3300 mAh battery under the hood of the Note 8. While battery life is acceptable it isn’t quite the step up from its predecessor. The Note 9 is all you expect it to be. It’s lightning quick, a great device for media consumption (specially once you factor in the booming AKG speakers) and is kitted with a sharp camera. And then there’s the S-Pen. This one has learnt some new tricks. It’s even more responsive
and comes with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to do stuff like click pictures seamlessly. It also comes in a funky yellow (in the ocean blue variant). The Note 9 is certainly not a radical overhaul from the Note 8 or the S9+ but is probably the Android flagship to beat.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is available in 128GB and 512GB variants and costs INR 67,900 and INR 84,900, respectively. The device is currently available in three colours—Midnight Black, Ocean Blue and Metallic Copper.