Samsung Galaxy Note9: Initial Review

by Samrat Amatya
Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

Samsung after a huge success with their Galaxy Note8 is back with the Galaxy Note9. Launched a few weeks back here in Nepal, the phone has people excited! Priced at Rs 1,09,900, the phone brings the best of what Samsung has to offer. It builds on the foundation of the Note8 and improves on it. Packed with some heavy duty specs and features, is the Samsung Galaxy Note9 worth the price? Is it the best flagship smartphone among all the competition out there? Well, before we answer these questions, let’s take our first peak and see what the phone is all about.

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 arrived at our office about a week ago and I have been using it ever since. The phone itself comes in some premium packaging with a black lid and box. Since we have the mid-night black version of the Note9, there is a black S-pen at the cover denoting just that. The color of this s-pen depends on the different color option you choose from.

Popping off the lid, you are greeted with a box which has all the contents in it. Taking off the cover, you get another box with contents like the sim-ejector tool, the user manual, and a transparent TPU case. Putting that to the side, the next item in the box is the phone itself in all its glory. Shifting our attention to the other items inside the box, we have the usual charger, USB Type-C cable, and a pair of AKG earphones. Besides these, you get a USB Type-B to USB Type-C converter, a USB Type-A to USB Type-C converter and some extra S-Pen tips.

Going back to the phone, on initial impressions, the phone looks and feels amazing! The metal chassis with the glass back gives the phone a premium touch. Although I personally love the Blue color, the Black variant that I received is just as good. Coming from the Note8 I immediately noticed the added heft. This, however, is a positive trade-off for the 4000mAh non-user removable battery the phone packs. More on that later!

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

Something the Samsung Galaxy Note9 excels at, compared to Note8, is its ergonomics. The phone has a curvy glass back and a chamfered edge which helps in proper wielding of the device. Although it does make the phone a bit slippery, the in-hand feeling is worth the trade-off. I also appreciate the slight heft and the narrow bezels of the phone.

Besides, the build I immediately fell in love with the 6.4-inch Quad HD (1440 x 2960) AMOLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio the phone flaunts. The infinity display makes a return with a narrower bezel than the one found on the Note8. I, however, noticed that the top bezel and the bottom bezel are not symmetrical making OCD fanatics a bit crazy. That said, the display itself is very good, the best in fact. Watching some Youtube videos and firing up a quick game was a pleasant experience on this phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

Under the hood, the Galaxy Note9 goes all out with an octa-core Exynos 9810 Octa processor along with the Mali-G72 MP18 GPU. Backing up all that silicon is 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. These beastly combinations made up for quite a pleasant experience. The phone was easily able to handle everything I threw at it! Everything from scrolling through Instagram to playing graphics intense games was a smooth experience on the phone. Speaking of which, gameplay on this device was a surreal experience due to the presence of the 18.5:9 near bezel-less display. The contents felt very immersive!

Moving on, at the software end the Samsung Galaxy Note9 runs Samsung Experience based on Android 8.1 Oreo. This iteration of Samsung’s UI is smooth, intuitive, and useful. All the usuals like the Always On Display, Game Launcher, and even Bixby is here. The product defining S-Pen is also here in its new Bluetooth avatar. Now not only can you use the pen to draw but also as a remote shutter. The S-Pen is more useful than ever! I have been constantly using it as a camera shutter button to take those group shots.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

The Note9 comes with a rear fingerprint scanner which is now finally in the right position. Although I wouldn’t mind it being a bit more down! That said, the biometric option works well and is a huge improvement over the Note8. The phone also comes with other biometric options like the Face Unlock and the Iris Scanner. It also packs an Intelligent scan which uses either the Face Unlock or the Iris Scanner to unlock the phone ASAP. Most people prefer this method but I like to use either the face unlock or the digit sensor.

In the camera department, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 packs a rear dual-camera set up made by two 12MP lenses with a variable aperture. And gosh-oh-gee are they good! I had my socks blown the first time I took the phone out for a spin. The image quality is amazing with great details, vibrancy, and depth. The low light performance of the camera also has improved compared to the Note8. Although, the camera does still struggle with properly exposing night time shots. Samsung needs to work on improving this!

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

The phone also comes with an 8MP selfie shooter with an aperture of f/1.7. The shooter is much or less the same one I have seen on the Note8. It takes some amazing selfies in good lighting condition but struggles a bit in the vice. Something new with the front-camera is the new AR emoji. You can create an emoji version of yourself and play around with various videos and stickers. Although not that interesting, it is a fun little feature to use.

And finally, powering the device all up is a large 4000mAh non-user removable battery. The battery life of the phone was good during my time of use. I got somewhere around 5-6 hours of on-screen time with the phone. This without a doubt will be enough to get users through a day of usage on a single charge. And if the battery does run out, the included Fast Charger will aid in swiftly charging the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

That said, something you need to know is how poor the battery life was in the first few cycles. If you buy a brand new Note9 and experience bad battery life know that it will get better in a few days (charge cycles). I don’t know why this is but it’s something consistent with the Exynos version of the Note9. Maybe a preventive measure to stop battery overload or to safeguard the cell.

Early Verdict: Samsung Galaxy Note9

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 is an amazing flagship smartphone that has a lot to offer. It builds on everything the Note8 has to offer and improves on it. The Note 9 has a better camera, larger battery, loud dual-speakers, and an improved S-Pen. This definitely is the best that Samsung has to offer.

But is the phone the best flagship smartphone among all the other competitors? Is the price well worth it? Well, it is still too soon to answer those questions. I will put the phone through its paces in the days to come and finally answer these questions for you guys in our full review. So stay tuned for that! One thing, though, I can say without hesitation is that the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is one of the better phones under Rs 1,10,000 here in Nepal.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review in Nepal

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