Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Key Features

  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED HDR display
  • Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810
  • 12-megapixel variable aperture main camera, 12-megapixel secondary 2x zoom camera
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128/256GB storage
  • 4000 mAh battery
  • Android 8.1
  • S-Pen
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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 first look: The phablet king returns, but is it too familiar?

If you’re looking for a phone that’s big on size, power and storage then the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might be for you. This is a beast of a device, with a 6.4-inch HDR display and an option of 512GB of storage.

The overall design hasn’t changed much from the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and takes many of the alterations that made the Samsung Galaxy S9 an iterative update. But should you be thinking about it for your next phone?

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 release date

You can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 now. It’ll begin shipping on August 24. There are a number of pre-order incentives and these will vary depending on region.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 price

In the UK, the Galaxy Note 9 pricing is as follows:

  • 128GB – £899
  • 512GB – £1099

If you’re looking to pick up the phone in the USA, these are the prices:

  • 128GB – $999
  • 512GB – $1299

As a comparison, the iPhone X costs £999/$999 for the base 64GB model and £1099/$1099 for the 256GB model. The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus costs £869/$839 (64GB).

Check out our best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 deals page for more information.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – Design

If you’ve seen the Note 8, then you’ve seen the Note 9. Samsung has kept the overall design very similar and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Even though it’s been around for a year, the curved front and sandwiched metal rim still feels distinctly modern. Many phones have adopted a similar look to this, but none feel as highly-engineered and finished to perfection.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 back

The glass is still a smudge-magnet and I’m constantly worried about dropping such a large device, but I’m inclined to forgive these shortcomings for such a well-crafted phone.

Sticking with a glass back enables wireless charging, a Galaxy staple, while the other much-loved features like an IP68 water-resistance rating, headphone jack and expandable storage also remain.

The biggest design difference is that the fingerprint sensor now sits below the camera, not next to it. This small change makes such a difference: I no longer smear the camera sensor every time I go to unlock the phone.

Samsung is rarely bold with its colour choices, but with the Note 9 though, things are a bit different. The headline-grabbing colour combo here is a bright blue finish that’s contrasted with a sharp yellow S-Pen. I love it and feel it’s a real step forward for a device that was once famed for being too businesslike.

I’m also a big fan of the fact that, for the first time, you can buy the S-Pens separately, letting you experiment with different combinations. The Note 9 will also come in the standard black, the same lavender purple as the S9 and a slick coppery gold – though sadly this doesn’t seem to be coming to the UK or US.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 fortnite

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – Specs and features

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Screen 6.4-inch, quad-HD AMOLED, HDR
Performance Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810
RAM 6GB/8GB
Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB /512GB+ microSD
Rear camera 2 x 12MP (f/1.7 – f/1.5 – f/2.4 – main), OIS, 4K video, Dual Pixel
Front camera 8MP, f/1.7
Battery 4000 mAh, fast charge, wireless charging
S-Pen Yes (with Bluetooth)

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There was time in the early generations of the Note where it would sit above the S-series when it came to specs. Now, it just matches its smaller sibling. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is powered by a Snapdragon 845 in the US and an Exynos 9810 elsewhere (the same as the S9 and S9 Plus). It packs the same 6GB/8GB RAM as the S9 Plus and a quad-HD HDR AMOLED display.

The display is marginally larger than the larger S9 variety, but only by 0.2-inches. It’s an absolutely stunning display that I doubt will be beaten this year. There’s improved AKG-tuned speakers too, so your media will both look and sound great.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in hand

The biggest spec differences come down to both phones battery and storage size. If you absolutely must store everything on your phone then the 512GB (128GB is now the base) Note 9 is for you. You can even bulk that up to 1TB with the addition of a microSD card. The battery is huge too: 4000 mAh. Whether this leads to improved endurance remains to be seen though.

During the Unpacked event that saw the Note 9’s release, Samsung also unveiled a partnership with Fortnite developer Epic games. This will see Fortnite available first on Samsung’s devices, with other Android phones coming later.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – S Pen

The S-Pen remains the Note’s biggest selling point. The Wacom-powered stylus gives the Note something none of the competition can match. It’s now Bluetooth enabled and, as I mentioned above, comes in a few different colours. The Bluetooth addition seems gimmicky: am I ever going to use this to control the camera or flip through presentations? Probably not.

In use the S Pen is as good as ever – it’s fluid, smooth and uber-responsive. I’ve never managed to keep using an S-Pen long term, but considering how many Note fans swear by them, the S-Pen remains a positive addition.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in hand drawing

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – Camera

On the back of the Note 9 is a new camera system. Well, it’s new for Note series. The 12-megapixel camera with a variable aperture (f/1.5 + f/2.4) has been plucked straight from the S9 and S9 Plus. Next to it is another 12-megapixel camera, this time with a longer focal length for 2x zooming.

The setup doesn’t seem to have changed from the Galaxy S9 Plus, which might be a disappointment to those hoping the Note 9 would rival the Pixel 2 or Huawei P20 Pro for best phone camera. I shot some quick pictures with the Note 9 during my demo and they looked very similar to the S9: colours were very vibrant, but details were slightly oversharpened. I do like having control of the aperture though, especially as f/1.5 is good for blurring the background and improving low-light shots.

4K video recording is supported and there’s a decent-looking 8-megapixel camera on the front.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 back

Inside the camera app, Samsung has taken a note from the Huawei P20 series and added in automatic scene-detection. Samsung says there are 20 scenes it can detect and it’ll alter the picture depending on your environment. There’s also a mode that’ll notice blemishes and offer to fix them.

Early verdict

I’ve always liked the Note series. It knows its not for everyone and pushes features that you just don’t see elsewhere. Having such a large battery, huge amounts of storage and that gorgeous display has me interested.

I would have liked to see more, though. The lack of real updates to the camera are a sore point. Maybe it’ll surprise me when I have longer to really test it out.

Are you excited about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? Let us know @trustedreviews

Three – Best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Pre-order Deals

Galaxy Note 9 – 4GB of data, £79 upfront, £48/month

The lower end of Three's Note 9 plans but with the added benefit of being the most affordable option. Best suited for low-data users.

Galaxy Note 9 – 30GB of data, £79 upfront, £53/month

Now we're talking – 30GB is more than enough to keep you going month to month, and only a tad more expensive than the 4GB option.

Galaxy Note 9 – 100GB of data, £79 upfront, £62/month

Casual surfers need not apply, this here's the real deal. A mammoth 100GB data plan for those who want to play Fortnite all the livelong day.

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