Looking for excellent power, superior screen quality and an impeccable camera? Choose the Samsung Galaxy Note9.
Samsung nailed the Note9 packaging with their fold-open design. This took away my usual worry of dropping my brand new handset. The Note9 handset was in a sleek black box with a clear case. There was also a USB connector, charger, anti-tangle headphones, and extra headphone buds.
The best accessory to complement the Note9 is the revolutionary new S Pen, stored in its own slot in the handset. The S Pen can snap photos, change PowerPoint slides, and control videos. It acts as a Bluetooth remote control for your phone.
The design of the Note9 screams top of the line. Optus offers the handset in Ocean Blue and Midnight Black, in either 128GB or a massive 512GB. The Note9 also has the ability of adding up to 400GB of extra storage. The phone I was lucky enough to review was the Ocean Blue 128GB handset. The deep blue colour worked well with Samsung’s Infinity Display 6.4-inch screen. This gives the user a near bezel-less, edge-to-edge glass screen with a sleek finish.
I found the handset a bit long at first. But after using the phone, found the size of the screen was perfect. It allowed for plenty of space for more apps and gaming on the handset. It was also good for viewing photos in a large format, while maintaining a clean and organised layout.
The “Ok Google” function came in handy when I needed information. It didn’t pop up at random, as I’ve found happens with the command function of a few handsets from other popular brands.
My favourite aspect of the Note9 would have to be its incredible camera. The handset features a dual 12MP camera with dual optical zoom. There are countless focus and lighting options, depending on the setting photographed.
I loved the Live Focus camera mode, which captured both wide angle and close-up versions of the same photo. The background blur feature made the object in focus stand out and produced photos such as these. (Introducing our newest furry Yes Crowder, Stella. My 6-month old Border Collie.)
The Pro camera mode provided beautiful results. Pro was able to focus on any given object and apply a relevant light mode. For example, I could select a filter tailored to flowers before taking a photo of a bouquet. This gave me excellent photo quality.
I was most impressed with the Note9’s adaptability to different levels of light. Its performance in low-level light is the best of any phone I’ve used to date. The camera captured the image exactly as I saw it, rather than focusing on the foreground or background. A skewed image in low-light is what I'd experienced until this point with other phones. The Galaxy Note9 perfects this function, something other leading manufacturers haven't yet accomplished.
The Super Slow-Mo feature on the Note9 captures videos in slow motion. I found this feature a good idea but getting the video to start recording was a bit tricky. An object in a designated on-screen square must move before the recording will start. The slow-motion square wasn’t as responsive as expected, often starting mid-movement. This meant I missed a few ideal slow-mo opportunities. I also found that the Super-Slow-Mo feature produced a grainy video. In saying that, it was interesting to see what was captured and I got some hilarious footage of Stella.
I loved the screen's size and clarity, the sleek look of the handset, and the setup of the phone and its apps. But the Galaxy Note9 camera won the show! The alternate light and situation-dependent camera functions produced incredible photos. Its low-light functionality is the best I’ve seen captured with any smartphone camera. Despite my heavy camera use, the 4000mAH battery provided countless hours of use. Also, worth noting is how quickly the phone charged when it finally needed some more juice.
I don’t have much in the way of negativity to mention when talking about the Note9. I wasn’t impressed with the granular finish and delayed response from Super Slow-Mo. The Hyperlapse video mode produced an odd result, another area where I wasn’t the biggest fan.
Samsung have outdone themselves with the Samsung Galaxy Note9. Its polished design, exemplary user experience, and superior camera make the Note9 one of the best on the market.
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