Samsung Galaxy Note9 from Note8: Should you upgrade?
byMrOctopusK15-10-201811:21 AM - edited 15-10-201811:41 AM
Both the Galaxy Note9 and Note8 has so much resemblence, you probably will not be buying the Note9 just for the design if you already have a Note8, just like me. Only the rear camera and fingerprint sensor placements are the significant way to tell them apart physically. I spent some days switching to the Note9 and honestly, the improvements tempted me in the least expected way.
Let me start of this real life review with the improvements that I experience being the most significant.
Stereo firing speakers
I never said this in my lifetime; phone loudspeaker is good/important.
A phone with good loudspeaker is not something new but I never picked a phone because of its advertised premium loudspeaker or stereo loudspeaker. When I watched the launch of Note9, I was not attracted to its loudspeaker but rather the beefier battery and powerful liquid cooled processor.
Only possible with real life experience with the device, I enjoy my bedtime YouTube videos and mobile gaming with elevated pleasure. I became reluctant to use my own Note8 for such entertainment purposes because the Note9's loudspeaker is surprisingly immersive.
Perhaps one of the reason its audio is so immersive owes credit to Note9's Dolby Atmos option that can be applied to loudspeakers and wired earphones.
Yes, Samsung flagships are still the insistent ones to continue providing 3.5mm audio jack, allowing versatility for every users. If you use your phone a lot on entertainment such as videos and games, Note9 gives a significant experience upgrade over its predecessor. This upgrade itself is able to justify myself to upgrade to Note9, seriously.
Note9 has a 4000mAH battery, making the Note8's 3300mAH sounding miniscule. The Note9 can live through the day with moderate to heavy use with comfortable level of battery remaining.
My Note8 isn't very far off, but I seem to use the Note9 more aggressively especially on games and yet have similar level of juice left by end of the day.
Thanks to Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge and wireless charging, topping up battery on either phone is a breeze. If you travel often and would be taking lots of photos and videos while away from power source, go for the Note9.
The usability of the pen remains the same for me, whether it is Note8 or Note9. Both are excellent productivity tool whether you use them for cropping photos, jotting notes, annotate screenshots and even drawing.
I am going to give you a less common use-case for the improved Note9 S-pen because I'm not really a pen guy although I own the Note8. The Bluetooth enabled Note9 will help your Instagram gets a new perspective of photos. Instead of holding the device at arm's length, place the phone sturdy on a tripod (or anything else) and use the pen as shutter remote. Excellent for travel photos and "forever alone" =p
The Note8 is still a great performer in graphic intensive games. Games that runs great on Note9, still runs fine on Note8. Games that does not run smoothly like Fortnite mobile, still doesn't run very smoothly on the Note 9 unfortunately. Those game probably needs more optimization.
Thanks to the liquid cooled processor, the heat from intensive gaming is distributed fairly evenly around the device. Usually just warm to the touch, but not uncomfortable level of heat.
If you do not compare the Note8 and Note9 side-by-side you likely will not notice a difference, but of course I did compare them.
Watch a YouTube HDR on the Note9, the video is brighter and has more details. Thanks to the beefier processor, the Note9 frame rate remains stable compared to the Note8 that seems to stutter a little on some HDR scenes.
The larger f1.5 aperture allows the Note9 to get photos in the dark with higher success rate. Both are still great cameras for still or videos. The Note8 has set a very high benchmark, proving that the investment in a proper flagship gives a great long term value especially on its camera.
If you are looking for a Samsung Galaxy Note device now and still contemplating to go for the Note8, just shoot for the Note9 if your budget allows. I couldn't express how surprised I am with the improved experience although the Note9 upgrade seems subtle. The Note9 is the perfected Note8, it is how the Note8 should have been.
I have tried to condense the review to be meaningful on real life experiences. If you have any questions, feel free to write them in and I will contribute based on my experience with the Note9.