The Galaxy Note 9 is no doubt a souped-up version of the S9+. The RAM is bigger and the battery is much more impressive, being a full 4000mAh. (That extra 500mAh sure makes a lot of difference.) But most of all, the S Pen is fun to have around. Samsung always makes it a point to shine the spotlight on the S Pen on every Note presentation. It’s the main thing that determines or should determine if you prefer a Galaxy S device or the Note.
If you spontaneously jot down notes and need to with the speed of handwriting, the Note 9 is a reliable device. Click the S Pen from the bottom and you open the off-screen menu, where you can write, and of course, doodle. If you’re running out of space to write on, you can immediately flip the page to a new, clean one to continue taking notes.
But that’s old features. What’s new with the S Pen is it’s now Bluetooth enabled and has a tiny battery powering it. It’s a Note 9 exclusive. The new S Pen has multiple features, such as long pressing the button can launch the camera app. Double click the button and you can switch between front or rear cameras. You can use the S Pen’s button to pause or play videos, and move the slider of a presentation forwards or backwards.
This might seem all there is for now. Samsung promised third-party developers to work on supporting the S Pen on their apps. That’s something to expect in the near future. Other S Pen features from the past follows through the Note 9, such as Air Command and the edge shortcuts.
The Note 9’s larger screen, of course, makes it a great device for entertaining, spending a few hours watching YouTube videos or movies. It also makes an excellent device to run mobile games on it – such as the limited Android run of Fortnite, which the Note 9 managed to handle well without a single speck of lag in it. The level of performance should be expected, coming off as a Samsung flagship device.
Previous Note devices, specifically the Notes 5, 7, and 8, were big phones that didn’t feel big while you held them. In comparison, the Note 9 is a big phone and actually feels like a big phone. So expect a slight change in size and weight if you’re a Note-user.
So far in our tests, we’ve used the Ocean Blue color of the Note 9. And if you were wondering if it’s a magnet for fingerprints. Well, I can say “Not much.” Fingerprints will still get on the phone, no matter what, but it’s certainly less obvious than any Samsung smartphone in the past.
The Note 9’s cameras go beyond impressive. They are sharp and captures every vibrant detail. It’s excellent under low light conditions as well. You can take as much pictures and record videos as you want as the Note 9 kicks off with a 128GB internal storage. The other configuration has 512GB. If you’re still not satisfied with the storage, there’s a microSD card slot. Samsung is working on launching a 512GB microSD card soon. And if you get your hands on that and use it for the Note 9, plus the internal storage, well, you do the math.
With the Note 9 comes a new version of the DeX. All you’d need a connector from the Note 9 to a monitor and your handheld device now functions as a mini-desktop. You can whip your presentation this way and control everything via S Pen.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a great device. If you want one, there’s nothing really stopping you from getting it. It’s not for everyone. If you don’t think you need the S Pen or all that extra storage, the Galaxy S9+ is a far better alternative. But for those who needs the S Pen and the DeX feature, by all means get one.