Samsung’s Note phones have always been aimed at the business market. They pack the gruntiest processors capable of running any app, a huge display for seeing fine details or working on spreadsheets, a giant battery that’ll last even the longest business meetings and a pen for quickly jotting down notes or sketching out plans.
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The new Note 9 has all of these, plus some extras.
The pen is the biggest change. Unlike previous versions that could only work right next to the screen, it now connects via Bluetooth. This means it can work from further away and has more functionality. The pen has a button that works as a remote control. It activates the camera shutter, can be used as a clicker for PowerPoint, or for playing, pausing, and skipping music. At first, I thought it was just a gimmick, but the more I used the pen, the more useful I found the functions. It’s incredibly useful when working in Office, or Excel. It makes doing precision tasks much easier than with fingers.
The battery life is impressive. I’m a heavy user, and need a battery that lasts from 6am to midnight at least. Samsung’s battery conservation software, combined with the Note 9’s massive 4000mAh battery, meant I could potentially use it for two days without a charge. I didn’t risk it, but I ended most days with a comfortable 50% left.
The Note 9 comes in two storage sizes: 128GB and 512GB. The latter can be expanded with a memory card to 1TB (a terabyte). That seems like a lot for a phone, and most people won’t need this much (I don’t). However, if your job requires dealing with a lot of files, especially photographs or videos, then that amount of storage would be a godsend.
The dual rear cameras are the same as in the Samsung Galaxy S9, so you can do super-slow motion video, as well as take beautiful photos. And it’s easy to see how pretty they are on the 6.4” screen.
The biggest downside of Note phones used to be the size: they were unwieldy to hold, didn’t really fit in your pocket, and just looked a bit dorky. The Note 9 is still a big phone, but now the market is full of giant phones (the Apple iPhone XS Max is 6.5”, the Huawei Nova 3i is 6.3”) and we’ve all just gotten used to them. So what was once “huge” now doesn’t seem so. What does feel huge is the price – the 512GB version retails for $2000. At that price, you’ll almost certainly want to write this off as a business expense, or look at a plan with a telco.
Price: $1999 (512GB), $1699 (128GB)
Dimensions: 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
Display: 6.4” 2960x1440 AMOLED
Processor: 2.7GHz, 1.7GHz Octa-core, 8GB RAM
Rear camera: 12.0MP + 12.0MP f1.5/f2.4 (dual aperture)
Front camera: 8.0MP f1.7