12 Nov 2018

Part 1: Hands On Review of the New Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Let me start this blog off by saying that I am an avid iPhone fan. I have been using an Apple phone since the iPhone 5 came out and have never even been remotely tempted to switch to Android. However, in recent years the cost of a new iPhone has rocketed skywards, with a few of their models now priced north of £1,000! That’s a lot of money, so I decided to look at what Android (Samsung in particular) has to offer if I were to ever switch allegiance.

My personal phone is an iPhone X, which I have had since its release back in October 2017. It cost me close to £1,000, so I decided to use this as my budget for this experiment and was immediately drawn to Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy Note 9!

So, first impressions. Immediately as you take it out the box you realise just how big this phone is. It measures a whopping 161.9mm from top to bottom, which was a noticeable difference to my iPhone which only measures 143.6mm. I opted for the Note 9 in the Ocean Blue hue, and I must admit it looks stunning (way better than Apple’s boring space grey, silver and gold options). Not only this, but the Galaxy’s new S Pen comes in a vivid metallic yellow, which contrasts beautifully with the blue phone. We’ll get onto the pen later in this blog though.

One of the key selling points for the Note 9 is its screen, which as you probably figured out from the size of the phone, is massive. 6.4 inches of Super AMOLED screen offer a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. Compare that to the 1125 x 2436 pixel resolution on my iPhone X, and Samsung comes out the clear winner. The screen is also 0.6 inches bigger than the iPhone’s, which I really noticed on day to day tasks such as web browsing and watching videos on YouTube. This being said, on side by side comparisons with my iPhone I did find that it seemed to struggle more when used in direct sunlight. The screen appeared more reflective than that of the iPhone, so points to Apple there.

The key selling point of the Note 9 is the revised ‘S Pen’. The only other S Pen that I had ever used before this test was on the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active – and I wasn’t too impressed with it. That was a big, chunky, clunky thing that had to be stored in the tablets case, meaning that it is very easily misplaced and lost. However, the S Pen on the Note 9 is my favourite feature. It tucks neatly away into the bottom of the device and is released with a button mechanism (so it won’t fall out accidentally!) Whilst trialling this device, I wrote all my notes for this blog on the Note 9 using the S Pen. I found it brilliant and it’s something that I would love Apple to introduce to their range of phones.

The battery is another big win for Samsung compared to my iPhone X. The Note 9 is equipped with 4000 mAh battery, which is a massive 1284 mAh more than the iPhone. And yes, the Note 9 needs a bigger battery as it’s a bigger phone, but I still found the Note 9 lasting a few more hours on a single charge compared to the Apple challenger.

Make sure to read part two of this review to see if I switch to the Samsung permanently.