When it comes to the best Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note series is one of the first smartphones that comes into our minds and this year, Samsung has unveiled their latest generation flagship smartphone and their most powerful smartphone this year – the Samsung Galaxy Note9.

Design and Hardware

As expected from a flagship smartphone from Samsung, the smartphone is solid and beautifully built. It isn’t the sexiest smartphone in the market right now but I’m pretty sure that this one has one of the best and solid feel and build ever. The smartphone is made up of glass on the front and the back which feels really premium to the hand along with its solid frame. Oh, and since we’re getting a curved display and back, the smartphone does feel comfortable to the hand despite having a large display.

The one that we got for review is the blue variant and I think this is the best color option available as the yellow S-Pen really matches the color of the smartphone and the mechanism for removing and inserting the S-Pen still feels solid just like the previous generation.

In this generation of smartphones in where different brands are already ditching the headphone jack, Samsung wants to be different as the Samsung Galaxy Note9 still features a headphone jack on the side of the USB-C and the speaker grill. Speaking of the speaker grill, the smartphone does have an excellent speaker.

The hybrid card tray is placed at the top of the smartphone and it can handle either a dual sim card or a single sim card along with a MicroSD card. At the back is where you’ll see the dual lens camera and they’ve placed the fingerprint scanner of the smartphone below the camera which is more accessible and less prone to placing your fingers on the camera of the smartphone which might add smudges to the camera.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 has the best display that you can find on a smartphone right now. There, I said it. There’s no notch on the smartphone which is just fine but it does have the same bezel on the top and bottom display of the smartphone. Is it bad? No. it actually still looks pretty fine to me and the 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display of the smartphone is just glorious to look at. The colors, viewing angles, and the contrasts of the display of the Galaxy Note9 is just majestic.

There’s a curve display on this one too just like the Galaxy Note8 but what I like about it is that the display of the smartphone doesn’t really warp that much compared to their other smartphones. Actually, the display doesn’t really annoy me when I play PUBG or Fortnite.  Everything’s just great on the display of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 except if you’re a fan of the bezel-less or notched display

Battery Life

One of the highlighted new features of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is the large 4000mAh battery which we loved. In our heavy usage of the smartphone, we were pretty happy with the smartphone as we got a whole day of usage on the smartphone without asking for a powerbank. In our PC Mark test, we got a score of 10 hours and 35 minutes which is pretty amazing.

S-Pen

Every year, Samsung continues to upgrade their S-Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Note9. It gets better every year and this year is their biggest upgrade yet as the Samsung Galaxy Note9 features a Bluetooth S-pen that can be used for different functionalities.

The new features of the S-Pen can mostly be used in presentations and selfies. You can use the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s S-Pen as a clicker for your presentation whenever you use the smartphone for casting your decks or by just using the Samsung DeX which has now been improved.

Another use of the S-Pen is when you use it for selfies. You can use the button of the smartphone as a remote for the camera. It’s really helpful especially when you use the smartphone on a tripod. The S-Pen is really cool especially for people who are always using their smartphones for presentation.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 runs on Android 8.1 and it features the best software that Samsung can offer. Of course, the smartphone comes with S-Pen exclusive features including writing on the smartphone’s display whenever you remove the S-Pen from the smartphone and I love the feeling whenever I’m writing on the display of the smartphone.

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 also features apps edge and people edge in where you can instantly access the most used apps and contact or you can just manually add them to the edge. This is a pretty nifty feature especially if you want fast access to different applications.

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 packs some features that we all loved in the previous generation including Live message which basically lets you write an animated GIF on any screenshot or just do screen write in where you can annotate a screenshot.

Another cool thing about having a Samsung smartphone is the Samsung members app in where you can get discounts and also some freebies. I always use the P100 discount code on Grab which is available every Monday and also the free coffee at CBTL every Friday. Yep, this perks from the app are really awesome. Unfortunately, some of the freebies ran out of coupons. In my case, I ran out of coupons for the free lounge at NAIA terminal 3.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 features a Samsung Exynos 9810 chipset inside paired with Mali-G72 MP18. While the chipset isn’t the most powerful when it comes to benchmark scores, the smartphone doesn’t fail to impress us when it comes to real life usage. It’s fast and it can run any games that you install on this smartphone without a problem.

However, we did encounter a problem in where we can’t use gamebench on the smartphone. But again, I’ll can assure you that the smartphone can run all games and in our benchmarks, the Galaxy Note9 isn’t the best one in numbers but the numbers are already satisfying for a mid-range smartphone. Check out the benchmark scores that we got on the smartphone:

 

In the performance department, I was just fine with its scores and my overall experience with Samsung Galaxy Note9’s performance and software was just fine.

Camera

One of the upgrades that were made on the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is its camera. There’s a dual lens rear camera at the back in which both of them packs a 12MP sensor while the front camera is an 8MP sensor.

The Samsung Galaxy Note9’s camera is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9+ except that this time, we got scene recognition on the smartphone which is why we can get better shots with its optimizations. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 still features Panorama, Pro, Live Focus, Super slo-mo, AR emoji, & Hyperlapse for the rear camera and then there’s the selfie focus which lets you have a bokeh background on the front camera.

Thanks to the dual aperture of the Samsung Galaxy Note9, I can have better photos even at really bright conditions. Most of my night shots are pretty great too because of the f/1.5 aperture. The aperture of the smartphone really brings a natural bokeh and it’s really amazing. Check out the shots that I took using the Samsung Galaxy Note9.

Overall, the camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is really amazing. The dual aperture of the smartphone is really amazing and the lowlight shots that we took using the smartphone are good.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 still doesn’t fail to amaze with its solid features, build quality, & features. While the upgrade on this one is just a small incremental from the previous generation, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is still a nice smartphone to have. The ecosystem of the smartphone is so well-built that the experience of the smartphone is really different from other Android smartphones and every feature of the smartphone is pretty great. Oh, and yeah, there’s a headphone jack on this one.

Well, with all these great features, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 starts at a more expensive price. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 starts at Php55,990 which is a little bit steep but a lot of flagship smartphones these days are sporting this price tag now.

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