Tech Junkie Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

While Apple is finally getting into the “big phone” market, Samsung has been doing it for years.  Their newest large format phone is the Galaxy Note 9.  I took it for a test.

Hardware

First and foremost, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is big.  It has a crisp, clear, bright 6.4" screen with wrap around edges.  These curved edges have become a Samsung signature and make the phone feel like it just melts off on the side.  I love this design.  It also allows Samsung to make the phone as compact as possible with that large of a screen.  The smaller the bezel, the smaller the overall phone.  With that said, it still feels pretty large and isn't as pocketable as standard sized phones.

Samsung packs a lot into their phones and the Note 9 is no exception.  You'll find a 12 Megapixel dual camera setup on the back.  You'll also find a fingerprint scanner just under the cameras.  Next to the flash is a sensor that can read your heart rate if you hold your finger on it.  What you won't see is the magnetic transmitter that allows you to use Samsung pay at any business that lets you scan a credit card, even if they don't accept "Apple Pay" or "Google Pay."  It literally replicates the magnetic field of a physical card.  You also won't see the wireless charging ability that is underneath the back cover of the phone.  Set the Note 9 on a wireless charging pad and it'll juice up.

On the front of the phone you'll find that giant 6.4" screen along with a 8 Megapixel camera.  There's also an iris scanner that can unlock your phone along with face detection.  While iris scanning takes a few moments in my testing, face detection was nearly instantaneous.  It's pretty impressive and almost a better way to unlock your phone than the fingerprint scanner.

Software

When it comes to the software it's pretty much what we've come to expect from Samsung.  It's Android with a mild amount of Samsung tweaks.

Camera With A Brain 

The Camera app specifically got some improvements.  It can automatically warn you if the picture you just took was blurry or if someone blinked.  A great feature so you know when to re-snap a picture before it's too late.  It can also automatically detect what you're taking a picture of and adjust the settings accordingly.  For example, I pointed the camera at some flowers and the phone immediately when into flower mode.  Pretty impressive although I didn't notice a huge difference in the outcome.

Better Stylus

Samsung calls their stylus the S-Pen.  This time around it does more than just write on the screen.  It has over 4,000 levels of sensitivity, apply more pressure and you get a thicker line.  It's like an actual pen in that way.  It also has a button on the side that can be used to remotely snap a picture, advance a slideshow or pause your video.   Finally someone upgraded the stylus from a simple plastic stick to something more useful!  The S-Pen charges up automatically when it's inside the phone.  If you keep it in the phone, you'll never need to think about keeping it charged up.

Questions You'll Need To Ask Yourself

Will I actually use a stylus?  Do I want to carry around a phone THIS big?  Personally, I would answer "no" to both of these questions.  I like the stylus but doubt I'd use it and the giant screen is great but the phone isn't as pocketable as I would like.

With that said, I know A LOT of  people want a stylus and don't mind the size.  If that's the case, this could be the perfect phone.  It's easily the best phone Samsung has made yet.  It's got a crazy-fast processor, an awesome screen and amazing cameras.  The stylus is better than ever before and I dare you to find a hardware feature that Samsung didn't pack into this phone.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a large Android phone, this is the best.  Period.  End of story.  There are other large format Android phones but none have as many features packed in as the Note 9.  You will pay for it but I would argue you get what you pay for.  Apple is now competing in the large phone world with their new iPhone XS Max.  If you're an iOS fanatic there is probably little Samsung can do to convince you to switch.  Options are great and competition is always great for the market.

The Galaxy Note 9 is priced right at $999.99.  It's expensive, don't get me wrong, but still less expensive than Apple's "big phone" the new iPhone XS MAX.  You can also find some deals through specific carriers.

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