Samsung’s Galaxy Note9: Too Much Phone for Most of Us


The brand new $1,000 system is aimed toward energy customers who work, play, eat and create on their cellphone. For others, there are many cheaper choices.

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 has new options like the power to transform the cellphone into a private pc. It additionally has a daring new beginning value: $999.99.Credit scoreSamsung

Apple’s iPhone X broke the pricing barrier for smartphones with a $1,000 price ticket. Now Samsung’s new Galaxy Word system, which will likely be launched this week, is becoming a member of the $1,000 Telephone Membership.

That raises the inevitable query: Is that this new cellphone value spending that a lot cash?

After every week of testing, my conclusion is you in all probability gained’t must. The Galaxy Note9 is an opulent gadget designed for energy customers who desire a superfast cellphone with an extra-large display and extreme software program options, like the power to be transformed into a private pc if related with a show.

However in case you can stay with out these premium options, there are many good Android telephones that value a whole lot of dollars much less. Although the Galaxy Note9 is a powerful piece of know-how with an enormous 6.Four-inch display, unbelievable battery life and a very good digital camera, I might steer most Samsung followers towards the Galaxy S9, its roughly $700 sibling, which is a superbly succesful multitasking system.

Listed below are my most important takeaways in regards to the Note9’s notable options, like its progressive desktop mode, lengthy battery life and improved digital stylus.

Do you really need your cellphone to be your PC?

The Galaxy Note9’s most attention-grabbing function, not less than in idea, is software program that Samsung calls DeX. DeX transforms the smartphone into a private pc.

To set it up, you join the cellphone to a show by way of a video cable and an adapter that plugs into the cellphone’s USB port. Routinely, the cellphone will detect that an exterior display has been related and swap the software program system to 1 that resembles Home windows.

From there, you’ll be able to management the “pc” utilizing the cellphone’s contact display or a separate wi-fi keyboard or mouse. You possibly can launch apps and information and juggle home windows simply as you do on a desktop.

I used to be stunned by how good this pseudo desktop system seemed, however controlling the desktop interface with the contact display buttons on the cellphone felt awkward. I think about most individuals will need to use DeX with a standard keyboard and mouse.

And I confess that it was unclear to me how this setup would match into somebody’s life-style. Why carry a smartphone to a piece station that has a show, a keyboard and a mouse — and go away the latter equipment behind, taking solely the smartphone — versus merely carrying round a whole laptop computer? For now, this function feels pointless, if not impractical.

Suzanne De Silva, a director of product technique for Samsung, mentioned she envisioned folks utilizing DeX for quite a lot of duties that took benefit of a giant second display, like buying on-line or singing karaoke on a tv set.

“You possibly can have these lean-back experiences along with your cellphone, unleashing the ability of twin display,” she mentioned.

An enormous battery however questionable sturdiness

One engaging high quality of the Note9 is its distinctive battery life. Over my week of testing the system — together with utilizing it to shoot pictures, ship emails and texts, use social media apps and play video games — it had an extended battery life than any smartphone I’ve used. Usually, I nonetheless had not less than 30 % of battery remaining by bedtime after a day of use. The overwhelming majority of telephones I’ve examined all the time wanted to be recharged by night.

But I used to be much less impressed with this cellphone’s bodily sturdiness. Throughout a light-weight stroll in a park, the Note9 dropped out of my coat pocket onto concrete, sustaining ugly scratches on two of its aluminum corners. The cellphone wasn’t sporting a case (my unhealthy!), however this wasn’t even the glass a part of the system. Shouldn’t a $1,000 product be much less delicate?

Ms. De Silva mentioned the fabric across the cellphone is an aluminum that’s sturdy and permits the transmission of radio indicators. If prospects desire a more durable mannequin, she mentioned, Samsung sells rugged telephones known as Galaxy Energetic.

Which cellphone is best for you?

Extra information and evaluations on smartphones.

The good digital camera is compromised by physique dimension

Like Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S9, which was launched in March, the Galaxy Note9 has a dual-aperture digital camera system. Meaning the digital camera has a mechanical aperture that adjusts to totally different mild situations. So in scenes with brilliant mild, it should step right down to the narrower aperture to keep away from overexposure, and in low mild, it should robotically change to a wider aperture to attract in as a lot mild as attainable.

In my exams, pictures in brilliant mild seemed very clear and detailed. Brighter colours, like pinks and yellows, appeared extra vivid — which isn’t my desire, although some folks like extra exaggerated-looking pictures for Instagram. Typically, the photographs seemed nearly as good as those taken on the Galaxy S9+, which I rated as a superb digital camera.

A photograph taken with the Galaxy Note9. The digital camera software program makes brilliant colours like pinks and yellows look further vivid. Credit scoreBrian X. Chen / The New York Instances

But I didn’t love utilizing the Galaxy Note9 as an on a regular basis digital camera the way in which I did the Galaxy S9+ and different smaller telephones. Its longer and wider physique made it cumbersome to deal with, and the curved sides of the display made the cellphone extra slippery to carry.

So in these serendipitous moments once you need to whip out your cellphone and fireplace up the digital camera straight away, the Galaxy Note9 will sluggish you down: Its physique makes it tough to shortly pull out of a pocket and stabilize in your fingers to take a transparent shot.

The pen is the primary cause to contemplate the Word

The Galaxy Note9 features a built-in stylus known as S-Pen. The newly upgraded stylus has a button on it in order that it may be used as a distant management.Credit scoreSamsung

The signature function of the Galaxy Word has all the time been its digital pen for writing and drawing, known as S-Pen. For the Note9, the pen received a major improve: It now features a button that you could press to make use of as a distant management.

That is my favourite function within the new Word. You need to use the pen to remotely management totally different duties. By default, you’ll be able to press the pen button as soon as to take a photograph. That’s useful particularly if you’re capturing a selfie: It’s a lot simpler to carry the cellphone in entrance of you with one hand whereas utilizing the opposite hand to press the button on the pen. The S-Pen button will also be reprogrammed to alter slides for a presentation or to begin and cease an audio recording.

The S-Pen ought to be the first cause to contemplate this cellphone relatively than a distinct Samsung system, just like the Galaxy S9 or the Galaxy S9+. These telephones lack pens however value $620 to $860, are additionally very quick and have barely smaller screens and our bodies, which make them simpler to deal with.

In the event you’re on the fence about whether or not this cellphone is best for you, think about Samsung’s target market. Ms. De Silva mentioned the Galaxy Note9 was for individuals who have been “solely residing on their system” to work, play, store, create, learn and watch movies. “It’s an all-in-one,” she mentioned.

For me, that was the deal breaker. I’m consistently striving to spend less time on my phone anyway, so a cheaper one will do.


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