This week Samsung unveiled the latest phone in their Note-series lineup, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10. So what better time to get a new phone, right? Although, as you might be able to tell by the title I’m not actually going to recommend you get the Note 10, instead I recommend going for the previous installment, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Specs & Features
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is an incredibly powerful phone that comes packed with all the features you could wish for. If you’ve ever read or seen a phone review then you’re certainly familiar with these five words: Build, Display, Camera, Performance, and Battery. Those are the five areas in which we usually judge a phone. So let’s see how the Note 9 does in those areas. SPOILER ALERT! It does pretty damn well.
Let’s start off with what I think is the most important area: the build quality. After the infamous Note 7 incident Samsung wouldn’t dare take any shortcuts on this. Because of that, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is incredibly well built. I’ve had my Note 9 since release and let me tell you this: I’ve not gone easy on it. I’ve dropped it several times, probably like once a week. I’ve dropped it on the floor, on the street, down a mountain, into the ocean, etc. and I’ve but one visible mark. Granted, I do use a case but it’s not one of those ultra-protective ones. How come I drop it so much? It’s because I’m somewhat careless with it. How can I be careless with such an expensive piece of hardware you ask? Because of the build quality. Just by picking it up I can feel how this thing is built to last. No other phone has given me the same feeling. It’s not only incredibly sturdy but it’s, in my opinion, the best looking phone out there. Which says a lot now that phone companies start to focus more on aesthetics than performance.
Speaking of aesthetics, let’s talk about the gorgeous 6.4” QHD+ Super AMOLED display. I would honestly say that the Note 9 has the best screen on the market. The colors look great, the infinity edge display makes everything you do feel more immersive and you’ll be able to clearly see the screen in any lighting condition. Yes, there are larger screens of the same quality (i.e the Note 10) but that’s not necessarily a good thing. The 6.4” screen on the Note 9 has all the screen space you need, and then some. If you need more space to do whatever it is you’re doing you’re looking for the wrong device entirely; you should get a laptop or tablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes equipped with three cameras. On the back of the device, you’ll find two front facing cameras. One wide-angle dual aperture 12MP lens and one telephoto 2x optical zoom 12MP lens on the back. On the front of the device, you’ll find an 8MP lens for all your selfie needs. They’re all great. In the camera app, you’ll find features like wide angle selfie, depth of field (for both the selfie camera and the wide angle lens), slow motion video, an AI-based scene optimizer and much more.
Performance wise you’ll never run into an issue. The phone uses an octa-core processor, has 6GB of RAM (8GB if you opt for the 512 GB version) and 128GB or 512GB of storage. Unless you completely fill up the phone and run 1000 apps at the same time your device will run as smooth as butter.
The phone comes with a 4000mAh battery which will most likely last you all day. I’ve had my Note 9 since it was released and it has only died on me once. Quite recently actually. I was on a road trip and the summer heat over here was unbearable, so on our way back up I set the car’s AC to the coolest possible degree. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had my phone mounted on the airflow vent. It goes without saying that blasting cool air onto a phone for hours will make the battery life suffer. So the only time the phone died on me it wasn’t even because of the battery being bad, it was because I was dumb. For normal use, it lasts from when I wake up until I go to sleep. I actually forgot to charge it one night but it lasted me throughout the school day anyway. If you’re a heavy user you’ll still get through your day no problem but you probably won’t be able to go two, as I did.
Now, let’s talk about the main gimmick of the Note lineup: the S Pen. It’s a gimmick, yes, but a useful gimmick. Taking notes by hand is much less restrictive than taking notes on a keyboard, especially on a phone keyboard. You can easily draw diagrams and flowcharts. You practically have limitless possibilities to personalize your notes. If you’re an artist you’ll also be able to doodle on your device. But the most useful feature for me has been Screen of memo. If you quickly need to write something down and your phone is in your pocket? Just quickly pull it out, get the S Pen, and write on the screen. The note will then automatically be saved to your notes app. All without even unlocking your phone.
Finally, let’s quickly cover some quality of life features. IP68 water resistance makes the Note 9 fully submersible in fresh water up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. There’s enough space for an extra microSD card for expandable storage or a second SIM card. Both wired and wireless charging is available. It has a physical fingerprint sensor on the back as well as a heart rate monitor. The built-in stereo speakers are tuned by AKG and offer “surround sound” with Dolby Atmos technology. The phone comes bundled with a pair of wired AKG earbuds.
Why get an older phone?
Well, the obvious answer is the price. Whenever a new generation of phones gets released the previous generation drops in price. As of writing this review the Note 9 is being sold for $734, that’s a $265.99 (27%) price reduction and it’s $365,99 cheaper than the Note 10. Wanna go even cheaper? You can buy a used Note 9 that’s been refurbished (so, practically new) through the Amazon Renewed program for as low as $550, I’ve seen even lower!
But there’s also the fact that it’s still a great phone. Most of the things companies use to sell you on their latest product is just minor upgrades and gimmicks. Sure the Note 10 has a bigger battery, but is that really necessary when the Note 9 battery will last you all day? Yeah, the Note 10 has a bigger screen but do you really need that? The 6.4” on the Note 9 is plenty enough. The slightly smaller screen actually makes the phone more useable as well unless you have gigantic hands.
Perhaps most importantly though, the Note 10 doesn’t have a headphone jack. To me, that’s a deal-breaker and I don’t even use wired headphones.
If you’re thinking about buying a new phone and you’re looking for the fastest, most powerful, feature-packed yet price worthy option then the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is for you! You’ll get all the features you could ever ask for in a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing package. To top it all off the phone will last you all day.
Don’t trust my recommendation? Perhaps you’ll trust the 658 customers who’ve left a review on Amazon, 66% of which have given it five stars.
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