In September, we treated two members of our Brains Trust to the new Samsung Galaxy Note9, giving them a chance to try out the device and share their thoughts with the community.
Both @Jupiter and @Smiley3 shared amazing in-depth reviews of their experiences. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out their full reviews here. We’ve also put together a short wrap up of their experiences below.
Obviously the Note 9 (6.4 inch screen) looks bigger than the S8 (5.8 inch screen). The next thing I noticed was the viewing experience....the colours are so clear, bright and vivid. The Note 9 doesn't feel much heavier than the S8 though. Without a back cover on it fingerprints and sweat marks are really noticeable. I was holding onto it for dear life incase I dropped it before putting the clear back cover that came with it on....the sweat from my hands makes it more grippier to hold onto the clear back cover. It feels comfortable in my hand....and my thumb is near the volume button not the Bixby button.
Everything that you have noted is exactly what I have observed as well. I must say that getting the little plastic protection strips off was not the easiest (do not trim your fingernails before trying to remove them). Also, the Note 9 is what I would call "solid". I find it a bit more comfortable to hold (without a case) than the recent generation of phones that have come out. I still have problems hitting the fingerprint sensor first time on this model though. Will take a bit of time to get used to the location again.
Even compared to the S9 and S9+ that are still current generation, the Note 9 is noticeably smoother in its operation. Not a huge difference, but just enough to think "nice".
I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Pro at using the camera. I've always just used the Auto mode and zoomed in. I'm glad that a warning comes on the screen if the lens is dirty and needs cleaning otherwise it would never get cleaned. There's 6 different modes that can be used.
Panorama: This is easy enough for me to use, just pan from one side to the other.
Pro: These settings are way over my head.
Live Focus: Most of the time it kept showing on the screen "Live focus not applied due to shooting conditions"- What are the conditions?? I was staying between 1 and 1 1.5 metres of the subject like it said to.
Auto: This setting I can handle. There's even a x2 symbol in a circle that when this is selected it automatically zoom's in.
Super Slow-mo: Yes...I did try this but it took a few goes to work out how to use this feature.
Hyperlapse: This was easy for me to use. Just aim at something moving, press the button...it takes a video and then keeps replaying over and over.
AR Emoji: I couldn't get the Emoji to look like me.
The software in the Note 9 has improved greatly even since the S9 plus was released.
I think the S Pen is great to use and even better that it has Bluetooth. It's so handy to use when writing a text message while being a passenger in a car.
I decided to give the S-Pen a good workout and decided to respond to some Crowdsupport queries using the S-Pen exclusively as the means of input.
I have to say that I was very impressed with the ease of input. Now, in all honesty, I spend most of my day on a computer typing away, so my typing speed far exceeds my handwriting speed. But, in saying that, the accuracy of the handwriting recognition astounded me. Even with my scrawl, which makes words look like a series of wavy lines most of the time, the Note 9 didn't make a single glitch.
I can fit about three words across the screen before I have to move down the screen to write some more, but there was more than enough space to keep on writing. Especially once I got used to writing on the screen and realized that the pen is now accurate enough to write smaller than I would normally write on an exercise book. I got the letter size down to about 5 mm and it was a breeze.
I don't think I'll be using the pen to be writing a novel soon, but for taking notes in a meeting, or sending a quick message, it works very well.
The Note 9 has a 4000mAh battery compared to the S8 that has a 3000mAh battery. After using the Note 9 for a week the estimated battery life for my usage is 1 Day 15 Hours. This is 10 Hours more than using it to do the same things on my S8 which showed 1 Day 5 Hours before starting this review. The battery loses 4% overnight, the same as the S8.
The GPS in the Note 9 is probably the most accurate that I've seen in a phone to date. Was getting an accuracy of 1m (and confirmed that against a survey unit). The Galaxy S9+ could only get to 3m accuracy (which is still excellent in itself).
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