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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Nearly The Best Android Smartphone

Samsung is famous for their large screen smartphones from the beginning with their Galaxy Note and S series. Now, large display is the basic parameter for people to judge phones before they buy it. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is just another example of Samsung's craft which makes it a top contender among the race of best Android smartphone.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the Korean company’s latest Galaxy Note handset which Samsung promises is giving big of everything. There are many elements in this phone which makes it great for instance 6.4-inch QHD+ super AMOLED display, 4,000mAh battery, up to 512GB of internal storage, S-Pen functionality and everything you would have expected from a flagship device. But is this phone really the best Android smartphone? Lets find out in the review. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (6GB+256GB)- Rs 67,900

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (8GB+512GB)- Rs 84,900

Design and Display

Samsung is famous for their large screen smartphones from the beginning with their Galaxy Note and S series. Now, large display is the basic parameter for people to judge phones before they buy it.

Note 9 carry that legacy forward with Samsung’s gorgeous 6.4-inches super AMOLED curved display.

In terms of design, Note 9 looks almost the same as the last year’s very gorgeous Galaxy Note 8. The horizontally aligned dual rear camera is still there but the fingerprint sensor has moved below the camera module. The location of fingerprint sensor seems for sensible now as the index finger falls automatically at the scanner, earlier which was a problem with Note 8 with its fingerprint scanner placed at the right of rear camera.

Like Samsung’s previous flagships, Note 9’s body is a combination of glass and metal. The handset looks like a block of glass now as the corners are not rounder like the Note 8. The new handset has curved glass on both front and back which makes it comfortable to hold. Another thing which makes Note 9 more attractive is the S-Pen which along with utility gives style statement to the user.

Galaxy Note 9 is large and bulky but really beautiful, in fact it looks like a block of glass. Samsung is famous for making best display panels and Note 9 is the best example of that. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a 6.4-inches QHD+ (2960x1440) Super AMOLED Infinity display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio and pixel density of 516 ppi.

In the world of notch displays, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 stands out from the crowd with its impressive Infinity display. However with the ever-changing trends of the smartphone industry, it would be interesting to see what design Samsung will use for its 2019 flagships.

The display offers perfect viewing angles, vibrant colours, it has very narrow bezels and looks like you are just holding a screen.

The screen is too bright and the content on the display is easily visible even in direct sunlight but you can also lower the brightness, as per convenience specially while using the phone before bed time.

Using this phone is a treat and its display is undoubtedly the best among its competitors.

There is also Samsung’s Always-On Display feature which tells you date, time, and notifications. As the display is bezel-less, there are no physical buttons on the front. The top bezel houses the front camera, earpiece, iris scanner, LED notification light and proximity sensor.

The primary camera module sits at the back of the phone with fingerprint sensor below it. Unlike last year’s Note 8, which had the fingerprint scanner at the right side of the camera, Samsung sensibly moved the scanner below the camera which also happens to be the accurate position where index finger automatically falls.

The horizontally aligned dual rear camera is still there but the fingerprint sensor has moved below the camera module. The location of fingerprint sensor seems for sensible now as the index finger falls automatically at the scanner, earlier which was a problem with Note 8 with its fingerprint scanner placed at the right of rear camera.

At the bottom of the device are 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and bottom firing speakers. Along with the bottom speaker is S-Pen

Volume rockers are placed on left side and the dedicated Bixby button is still present below them. On the right side is the power button. The SIM/MicroSD card tray is at the top of the handset.

The dual-SIM handset is IP68 rated water and dust resistant, so no need to worry if you accidently drop it in your tub. Note 9 is available in three colours- Midnight Black, Ocean Blue and Metallic Copper (available only in 6GB variant).

Performance and Battery

The new Note 9 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US variants) while other countries including India will get Note 9 with Exynos 9810 chipset, it runs on Android 8.1 Oreo. The handset comes in two RAM+Storage options of 6GB+128GB and 8GB+512GB, the storage can also be expanded up to 512GB using a MicroSD card.

The unit I used was the 6GB RAM variant which is powered by Exynos 9810 octa-core processor, it is the same chipset which is also equipped in Samsung Galaxy S9. There wasn’t any lag while using the phone. Multitasking, switching between apps or playing games, everything runs smoothly without lagging.

On Geekbench, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 achieved single-core score of 3,589 and multi-core score of 8,776. AnTuTu gave it a score of 2,38,575.

Just like S9, Note 9 is still stuck with a dedicated Bixby button. Even being the upgraded Bixby 2.0, we didn’t found it much useful. Also, you can’t disable the Bixby button or reassign any other task to the button. Most of the time, you’ll end up hitting the button unwantedly, opening up Bixby and getting annoyed. Bixby has a long way to go to compete with Google Assistant and Siri.

Out of all great things which Samsung is known for, providing timely software updates has never been Samsung’s forte. The Korean brand hasn’t revealed any official release date for Android Pie yet and we could have to wait longer to see that update rolling out.

Samsung’s custom Experience UI offers a plethora of customizations to its users but on the other side, we found it heavily loaded with bloatware. For some reason Samsung continues to include duplicate apps like Browser, Gallery, Email, and App store which I found useless with the presence of Google’s apps.

Talking about Note 9’s battery, it gets a huge 4,000mAh battery which also supports wireless charging. The handset’s massive battery takes around one hour to reach from zero to fifty percent and another hour from fifty to hundred. The battery delivers enough backup for you to use it a whole day after single charge. Battery backup of this phone was up to the mark with a full day's backup on moderate usage. 

There is also Battery Saver which reduces brightness by ten percent, screen resolution to FHD+, limits CPU speed, and turns off Always On Display.

Apart from the fingerprint scanner, Note 9 comes with Iris scanning and Facial Recognition for security. It comes with a feature called Intelligent Scan which uses either iris scanning or facial recognition to unlock the phone. If you are in low light conditions or your face is not aligned with the front camera, iris scanner will automatically come into play and search for your eyes. 

Samsung has improved the sound experience of their flagship device by adding stereo speakers. It uses down firing speaker and its earpiece also doubles as a speaker when you play music or watch videos. The dual speakers are tuned by AKG which gives immersive audio experience.

Connectivity options include- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G VoLTE, 3.5mm audio-jack, USB Type-C, and NFC. What’s nice is that Galaxy Note 9 comes with AKG earphones.


Technically, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a camera similar to S9+. Note 9 sports a dual camera setup at rear which includes 12-megapixel dual camera (wide-angle + telephoto) with Super Speed Dual Pixel, Night HDR, Live Focus, OIS and Dual Aperture with two f-stops f/2.4 and f/1.5.

With dual aperture technology (only in primary rear cam), you can click good pictures in the low lighting conditions with large aperture (f/1.5) which captures more light and during the bright scenes like an outdoor sunny day the smaller aperture (f/2.4) comes into play by avoiding overexposure.

The camera app automatically switches between apertures depending on the exposure however it can be changed manually. Thanks to f/1.5 large aperture which intakes large amount of light, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 performs astonishingly in low-light conditions. Also, Optical Image Stabilisation reduces blurring of images due lower shutter speed during low-light conditions.

However this feature is gimmicky and you will find difference between pictures when you discern them side by side. However, Note 9’s HDR capabilities reduce noise and captures details clearly during scenarios with harsh lighting conditions.

The rear camera also has Scene Optimizer which enhances the photos clicked from the phone by optimizing the colour. Scene Optimizer offers 20 different modes like Food, Portraits, Flower, Sky, Mountain, and more.

The camera app comes with a lot of features including Live Focus (bokeh effect), AR emojis, Panorama, Super Slow-Mo, and Hyperlapse. With AR emoji, you can create your 3D Bitmoji like avatar after a face is scanned. There are 36 pre-created GIF formats of different expressions which you can share on social media and chatting apps.

The rear camera has a feature called Selective Focus which tries to mimic Pixel 2’s Portrait mode using software prowess. Selective Focus on Galaxy S9 is hit or miss just like the front camera’s selfie focus. 

No doubt, the photos are great but Samsung’s cameras have a tendency to smooth out details and miss on sharpness.

The Note 9 is capable of shooting slow motion videos with up to 960 frames per second which is jaw-dropping but this phone does that for 0.2 seconds that too at 720p resolution which stretches to six seconds during playback.

Also, if you are shooting slow-mo videos with default settings, you will find it hard to get the perfect shot. This feature requires good lighting conditions to work and you’ll see a lot of image noise.

For selfies, Note 9 has an 8-megapixel camera with Auto Focus. The front camera also comes with a Portrait Mode like feature called Selfie Focus which focuses on the subject and blurs the background. Portrait selfies clicked from this camera looks good but not as great as Pixel 2 or iPhone X.

Samsung has also added a feature in the Note 9’s camera which lets detects flaw in the clicked images. For instance, it detects blinks smudged lens, blurs and notifies to take another shot.


S-Pen has always been prominent in differentiating Note series with other phones and this year, Samsung has taken S-Pen functionality to a whole new level. Also, the Ocean Blue variant of Note 9 gets a yellow colour stylus which turns heads around when it is pulled out from the phone.

The S-Pen stylus now comes with Bluetooth connectivity which also works like a remote now. You can now take pictures by pressing the button on stylus, control slides during a presentation, shuffle music. As the stylus has Bluetooth, then it needs to be charged too. The S-Pen gets charged automatically when you insert it back into the phone with 30 minutes of power in just 40 seconds.


Galaxy Note 9 is a no nonsense, value for money phone. There is not even a single department where this phone will disappoint its users. Be it the display, camera, performance, looks, battery and functionality, this phone packs a power punch.

Galaxy Note 9 is an amazing phone with industry best specs. The only challenger to Note 9’s powerful battery, astonishing design, best display, great performance and good cameras is the other flagship from Samsung, Galaxy S9+. However, the Note 9 offers more storage, better battery life, slightly bigger display and the very stylish S-Pen.

Someone with a Galaxy Note 8 looking to upgrade to Note 9 should probably wait a little longer to see more from Samsung. On the other hand, people looking to upgrade to a better Android phone without a price bar should go for Samsung Galaxy Note 9 because you won’t see a better phone at this price.

Note 9 isn’t just a phone which suits business personnel or artists, it is a flawless phone for everybody with added functionality of S-Pen.

If you are looking for a premium Android handset, you should put your money into buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, its worth the price.

 Samsung Galaxy Note 9

 Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

 Samsung Galaxy Note 8

 Google Pixel 2XL

 Apple iPhone Xs Max

 OnePlus 6


Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.0 Oreo

Android 8.0 Oreo

Android 8.1 Oreo


Android 8.1 Oreo


Exynos 9810 octa-core

Exynos 9810 octa-core

Exynos 8895 octa-core

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core

Apple A12 Bionic

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core








 Internal Storage







 Expandable Storage

Yes, up to 512GB

Yes, up to 400GB

Yes, up to 256GB



Yes, up to 256GB


6.4-inches QHD+ (2960x1440) Super AMOLED Infinity

6.2-inches QHD+ (2960x1440) Super AMOLED Infinity

6.3-inches QHD+ (2960x1440) Super AMOLED Infinity

6-inches QHD+ (2880x1440) pOLED

6.5-inches Super Retina HD (2688x1242) OLED

6.2-inches FHD+ (2280x1080) optic AMOLED

 Rear Camera







 Front Camera














 IP rated water resistance

Yes, IP68 rated water and dust resistant

Yes, IP68 rated water and dust resistant

Yes, IP68 rated water and dust resistant

Yes, IP68 rated water and dust resistant

Yes, IP68 rated water and dust resistant









 3.5mm Headphone jack








201 grams

189 grams

195 grams

175 grams

208 grams

177 grams


starting from Rs 67,900

 starting from Rs 64,900

 starting from Rs 59,900

 starting from Rs 60,999

 starting from Rs 1,09,999

 starting from Rs 34,999

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