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More and more users are in to big phones with big beautiful high-resolution displays, such as Google’s Pixel, OnePlus 6, or Apple’s iPhone X, but Samsung’s flagship Note brand (now up to version 9) has led the way in big and beautiful since the Note 1 several years ago.
It’s called the “Note,” of course, because of its built-in and well-implemented S Pen stylus, which just keeps getting better with each new iteration of the Note smartphone, or phablet. Among other things, the latest S Pen is indeed impressive, as is the Note 9 itself.
Table of ContentsPros:
Beautiful high-res Super AMOLED 6.4-inch display
S Pen matures to include Bluetooth remote control
Excellent cameras with built-in AI
Huge storage allotment
DeX mode without the optional dock (all you need is an HDMI cable and adaptor)
Big battery, long life
Impressive build quality
Terrific stereo soundCons:
Bixby still sucks
Fingerprint reader too close to the cameraVerdict:
Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note 9 may cost as much as the iPhone X, but it’s worth it in many ways, including a gorgeous display, long battery life, Note’s famous S Pen, dual-aperture smart camera on the back, and much more.Galaxy Note 9 Specifications
Battery Life (Hrs:Mins)
Lavender Purple, Ocean Blue, Cloud Silver, Midnight Black
$999 list (128GB), $1,249 list (512GB)
6.4 inches Super AMOLED (2960 x 1440)
8 MP (f/1.7)
Up to 512GB
Android 8.1 Oreo / Upgradeable to Android Pie
6GB or 8GB
Dual 12 MP Cameras (f/1.5 and f/2.4)
6.3 x 3 x 0.34 inches
128GB or 512GB
The Note 9’s physical build and appearance aren’t really new. At 6.3 by 3.0 by 0.34 inches (HWD) and weighing 7.1 ounces, aside from being ever so slightly larger and heavier than the Note 8, the latest note looks very much like its predecessor.
It also bares a strong resemblance to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. In fact, if you don’t need or want the stylus, the Galaxy S9 or S9+ are both attractive, less-expensive alternatives.
Depending on where you buy it, you also get your choice of vibrant colors, including Lavender Purple and Ocean Blue. The Ocean Blue comes with a yellow S Pen, which writes in yellow on the display in Screen-Off memo mode, and the lavender model comes with a purple pen that uses purple digital ink—an interesting, understated touch.
Shortly after last year’s release, Samsung announced the availability of new Cloud Silver and Midnight Black versions. Cloud Silver is sold solely through Best Buy and Samsung’s own website, while the Midnight Black model will be sold at all retailers and carriers, which include: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular.
On the right edge resides only the Power/Sleep/Awake button. On the right edge you’ll find the button for activating Samsung’s voice activation feature, Bixby, which is similar to the iPhone’s Siri and Windows’ Cortona, and the volume controls, as shown in the image below. We’ll take a closer look a Bixby and this button later.
The bottom edge holds the headphones jack, the mini-USB charging/data connection port, a reset pinhole, the stereo speakers grill and, of course, the S Pen compartment, as shown here…
This design demonstrates that Samsung has plenty of experience with making the stylus unobtrusive and placing it out of the way (and the S Pen recharges itself in there).
The back of the Note 9 holds its dual-aperture camera and the fingerprint reader, shown in the image below. There’s also a camera on the front, of course. The cameras are discussed in depth a little later, too.
The top edge hosts a compartment for storing a tray that holds both the SIM card and a microSD card for increasing storage by as much as 512GB, or, if you prefer, you can use the tray to insert two SIM cards, which in turn allows you to assign two phone numbers to your Note 9—say, perhaps, a work number and a personal number.
If you buy the 512GB model and then add a 512GB microSD card, your Note 9 becomes a 1TB device, which is a first in smartphone technology. Samsung offers a 512GB SD card for about $200, which is about the going rate.
However, between the 512GB Note 9 itself and the 512GB SD card, you could easily spend close to $1,500 for your phone, which is undoubtedly a lot of money.
The good news is that as I wrote this, I found the 512GB model at Amazon and elsewhere for about $200 off the MSRP of $1,250 (and the 128GB version, which also supports the 512GB microSD card, for about $150 less than its list price.
Finally, not only is the Note 9 well built, but it also meets the IP68 waterproof and dust-proof standard—with or without the S Pen embedded in its compartment.
Samsung says you can dunk it in up to five feet of water, which is much deeper than your toilet bowl. There’s also a wealth of security features, including the aforementioned fingerprint reader, facial and iris recognition, PIN, dot pattern, and others.Dazzling Display
From smartphones, to Galaxy tablets, to computer monitors, to 90-inch UHD TVs, nobody makes better screens than Samsung, and the Note 9’s 2,960 by 1,440 resolution Super AMOLED Infinity Display is the best in the business.
It’s much brighter and has about a third more contrast ratio than the Note 8, which is no slouch itself. And Samsung’s near-bezel-less curved edges are nothing short of, well, awesome.
Even so, the screen resolution is the same as on the Note 8 and Galaxy S9+. Not only is this a great size for watching movies on the go, but whether you’re looking at it from an extreme right, left, top, or bottom angles or straight on, the picture quality looks the same, with no noticeable degradation.
According to my testing, the Note 9’s screen reproduces 228% of the sRGB color gamut (range), compared to the Note 8’s 209%, the S9’s 217 percent, and the iPhone’s 135%.
Specs and benchmarks aside, though, after years of evaluating tablet, laptop, and smartphone screens, the Note 9’s is certainly the best smartphone screen I’ve seen so far—and that includes the iPhone X’s impressive 2,436 by 1,125 Retina Display. While the Galaxy S9 and S9+ displays are similar, even they are not as spectacular to look at as is the Note 9’s.S Pen: Stylus Plus
The S Pen just keeps getting better. It has been the best stylus around for jotting notes, drawing, selecting text, and more, for some time now, but with the Note 9, Samsung has added Bluetooth LE and a remappable button for controlling compatible apps remotely.
So far, aside from Google and Samsung core apps, there’s a shortage of apps that support S Pen, but Samsung offers a software development kit (SDK) to aid third-party developers in creating S Pen-compatible apps, which should help increase the number of S Pen-ready apps before too long.
I could go on for a while about what S Pen can do, but one of the more impressive features is the ability to take screen-off memos. When you remove the stylus while the display is turned off, Note 9 goes in to a note-taking interface against a black background.
This allows you to take notes without unlocking the phone and launching a specific app, thereby making note taking quick and easy. Screen-off memos are saved automatically.
As mentioned, the S Pen does require charging, which takes only about 40 seconds in its compartment. That 40 seconds should give you, according to my testing, about 40 minutes ofProfessional-Grade Cameras
Over the past few years, smartphone cameras have made great strides, to the extent that some of them shoot photos and videos on-par with lower-end professional photographer cameras.
The Note 9’s 8MP (megapixel) front-facing camera includes autofocus (a first for the Note brand), as well as countless mode options: Super Slow Motion digital video at 960 frames per second at 720p resolution, AR stickers, wide group selfies, and much more—making it one of the most feature-rich smartphone camera apps, period. Even so, it’s easy to use.
But it’s the rear camera that shows off the camera app’s prowess. The dual 12MP lenses use variable-aperture tech to switch automatically from an f/1.5 aperture for low-light conditions to an f/2.4 opening for normal lighting photography.
One of the camera app’s many tricks is a built-in artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically configures settings depending on your subject. The Note 9 recognizes 20 scenes, including beaches, backlit subjects, food, snow, and sunsets.
It then adjusts the brightness, contrast, saturation, white balance and a slew of other settings normally configured manually in the app’s Pro mode, with Scene Optimizer turned off. My experience with Scene Optimizer is that it works well most of the time, especially compared to the photos I shot with the feature shut off.
Scene Optimizer isn’t perfect, though; a couple of my photos, especially a few shots of food, came out a bit over saturated and lacking some detail, but switching to Pro mode fixed that.
One of the more impressive features is Flaw Detection, which tells you when your photo didn’t shoot as desired. Flaws like blurriness, red-eye, a smudged lens, closed eyes, are detected, and then the app warns you and offers a second chance, as shown here…
The truth is, I’m probably one of the world’s worst photographers; I have trouble shooting stills of IT hardware in perfect lighting and no background for these reviews.
I need all the help I can get, making the Note 9’s dual lenses, AI, and Flaw Detection just right for me. Now that not all my photos suck, I find myself taking a lot more pictures than before. It’s also worth noting that it takes great 4K videos, too.Bixby
I’m not going to say a lot about Bixby, Samsung’s voice-activation app, here, primarily because it has always been an inferior app to its competitors, and nobody likes it. The Oreo version that comes on the Note 9 isn’t much of an improvement. It still misinterprets a lot of words and phrases that Siri, Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa do not.
And, yes, the Bixby button—for those of us who don’t want to use Bixby—is still in an inconvenient place and you can’t remap it to another app or function. However, as I was finishing this review, Android Pie (Android 9) became available for the Note 9 and I installed it.
Samsung claims that Android 9 fixes Bixby and now it rivals its peers. Frankly, I didn’t have enough time to test it before filing this story, but I can tell you that, yes, you can now remap the Bixby button to almost any other app or function.
As for Android Pie itself, I haven’t spent much time with it. It did, however, cripple the third-party launcher I was using, as well as a couple other apps I use regularly, such as Samsung’s File Manager. It looks like I’m in for an hour or two of re-tweaking my home screen and other areas to get it back the way I want it, though.Stellar Performance
Though I did run a few benchmarks, including overall performance tests with Geekbench 4 and graphics prowess with 3DMark Slingshot Extreme, I’m not going to spend much time discussing test results in detail—except to say that the Note 9 fell slightly behind the iPhone X and OnePlus 6, slightly ahead of the Galaxy S9+, and well ahead of the Note 8 and Google Pixel 2XL.
Suffice it to say that the Note 9 isn’t quite as fast as the iPhone and the super-fast OnePlus 6. As for my experience using the phone over the past few weeks, so far, I haven’t waited for any app to open; switching between apps, no matter how many I have open, is as smooth as cutting warm butter.
I don’t play a lot of games, but during the time I played the hardware-taxing 3D game Fortnite (unavailable for Android 9 except in beta as I wrote this), I experienced no lags, the screen was beautiful, and, while the phone did heat up some, not excessively so.
All that, and I ran a recent Star Trek movie on a loop until the battery conked out for 12 hours and 36 minutes. Why such fast, smooth, long-lasting performance? Well, we’ve already talked about the Infinity Display, which explains the gorgeous graphics.
Below is a list of the Note 9’s other performance hardware and what it does. My test unit was the 128GB version with 6GB of RAM. (Assume that the 8GB RAM model runs a little better still in some scenarios.)
Snapdragon 835 Processor: While not as fast as Apple’s A11 Bionic CPU or the OnePlus 6 with 8GB of RAM, the CPU in the Note 9 is by no means a slouch. But, as I’ve said, I have no complaints about this CPU’s (and its built-in GPU) performance. Note that this is the same CPU that’s in the S9+. Note also that in the UK and several other non-U.S. locations the Note 9 comes with the Samsung Exynos 9810, which is a little faster than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.
6GB RAM: Obviously, within reason, the more memory a computing device has the better. During my tests, 6GB seemed more than adequate, at least for the way I use a smartphone. And, as mentioned, it ran Fortnite without hesitation.
Water Cooled CPU: The Note 9 is protected against overheating with a “notebook-class” water carbon cooling system. Samsung claims that this protects the phone against overheating and allows it to run at its peak over longer periods. All I can say is that it never got too hot for me, nor did I notice it slowing down to compensate for excessive heat.
4,000mAh Battery: At 700mAH bigger than the Note 8 and 500mAH bigger than the S9+, the Note 9’s 4,000 milliampere hours battery is to date the biggest in the business. Again, it lasted over 12.5 hours during my battery drain tests.Galaxy Note 9 versus Competitors
SG Note 9 SG S9 Plus iPhone X OnePlus 6 Display size, resolution 6.4-inch Super AMOLED; 2,960×1,440 pixels 6.2-inch; 2,960×1,440 pixels 5.8-inch; 2,436×1,125 pixels 6.28-inch OLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels Pixel density
Android 8.1 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9 Pie
Android 8.0 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9 Pie
Android 8.1 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9 Pie
Dual 12MP (wide), 12MP (telephoto)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)
Apple A11 Bionic
2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; S Pen with Bluetooth; Iris and facial scanning
Dual-aperture camera, water-resistant (IP68); wireless charging; iris scanning
Water resistant (IP67); wireless charging; Face ID 3D unlock
Portrait mode, dual-SIM, Dash Charging
Price MSRP (USD)
$1,000 (128GB), $1,250 (512GB)
Varies: $840-$930 (64GB)
$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB)
$529 (64GB), $579 (128GB), $629 (256GB)More than a Pretty Face
Every review of the Note 9 I’ve read rants about the $1,000 purchase price, but if you shop around, you’ll find it for much less. eBay, in fact, has some new-unopened-box offers for as low as $700.
Granted, that’s still a lot of money, but if you use your smartphone as much as I do, it’s well worth it. The screen is big enough for my aging eyes to do research, and the S Pen is perfect for highlighting passages in Microsoft OneNote or wherever. When I pair it with a keyboard, well, it’s not quite like using a PC, but more than adequate for typing away from home.
Unless you’re locked in to the iPhone X, or simply must have the fastest Android available, I can’t think of a reason not to buy this phone, unless, of course, you want to hang out with what you have now until the Galaxy Note 10 comes out later this year.
But I’m guessing that it will list for a bit more than 1K…
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The Galaxy Note 4 is a bit of a handful and is rather expensive but lovers of the Galaxy Note range will likely be enamoured with this edition. It is, on the whole, a great device with plenty of power and features. As long as you’re aware that you’re buying a huge phone and will get the most out of what it offers. Otherwise a smaller and cheaper handset is probably a better choice – the Galaxy S5 or one of its rivals.
Samsung launched the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone at IFA 2014 in Berlin, alongside a surprise Galaxy Note Edge with a curved screen. The new Galaxy Note 4 offers various improvements over its Galaxy Note 3 predecessor, including a Quad HD screen, better processor and other improved specs. Here’s our Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review. Updated on 05/11/14 with photography. See also: Best smartphones.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Price
As usual, the Galaxy Note range fetches a high price and the Galaxy Note 4 will set you back £599 which is a big chunk more than the Galaxy S5. It’s worth noting, though, that it’s cheaper than the similarly sized iPhone 6 Plus which is £619 and has half the amount of storage.
Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Galaxy Note Edge comparison review.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Design
The overall design of the Galaxy Note 4 is similar to that of the Note 3, with the same size screen, a faux leather textured back that we’re still not overly keen on, and similar dimensions and weight. See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 4
One slight difference is that the Note 4 has a metal frame, although only the shiny bevelled edge is obviously metal. There’s none of that tacky stitching found on the Note 3, though, so we’re pleased to see that go and although it provides good grip, the rear cover is yet again extremely thin plastic which feels cheap. Luckily it doesn’t feel too bad when clipped into place.
The Note 4 is 8.5mm thick (8.67 mm by our measurement), so slightly thicker than its predecessor but by no means a chunky device. However, we’d class it as a phablet with its 5.7in screen, so don’t expect to be able to fit it in your front pocket easily.
Like the iPhone 6 Plus, the phone is best used with two hands although there are features to help out which we’ll cover later in the software section. The Note 4 is tall so things feel unbalanced when reaching for the physical and touch sensitive buttons which are below the screen. The back button is particularly hard to reach one-handed.
It weighs a hefty 175g which is a few grams more than its predecessor and makes it a heavy smartphone. The size and weight means you’ve got to be happy with its phablet particulars if you’re going to splash out.
The Note 4 is available in Charcoal Black, Frost White, Blossom Pink and Bronze Gold. We got hands on with a Frost White model, which we thought was a bit on the sparkly side for our liking. If sparkly is your thing, though, Samsung has teamed up with Swarovski to offer some extremely sparkly crystal back cases for the Note 4. Unfortunately we have no details on when these will be available or how much they will cost.
Of course, it also comes with the S Pen, which is what gives this phablet the ‘Note’ in its name. This slots into the phone at the bottom next to the microUSB port and can be placed either way round. See below for more details on the S Pen.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Screen
The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is stunning. It’s the same 5.7in as the Note 3, but this time Samsung has introduced a Quad HD Super AMOLED display, following in the footsteps of LG with the LG G3. That’s a resolution of 1440 x 2560, which means a whopping 515ppi pixel density.
While using the Note 4, we found that the screen had an incredible sense of depth, and we can imagine that it’ll be difficult to go back to full-HD once you’ve used a smartphone or tablet with a Quad HD screen like this one.
Samsung says that the Note 4 has a 2.5D glass screen, which it says is inherited from the Galaxy S3. It means that the edges are slightly curved, which is designed to make swiping at the edges of the screen easier. We didn’t notice much difference, though.
Not only does the screen look ridiculously crisp, it has excellent viewing angles from any direction and has bags of brightness. We’ve use the screen at very low brightness most of the time.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Hardware
Inside the Galaxy Note 4 is a 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Processor (or a 1.9GHz Octa-Core processor in some countries). It’s a super-speedy processor, which also has 3GB RAM and Adreno 420 graphics, and we found it to be extremely smooth and snappy when launching and switching apps.
We expected impressive results from this powerful smartphone and on the most part we got them. As you can see in the table below, the Note 4 is a speedy device and the first to break the 3000 barrier in GeekBench 3. However, it couldn’t outpace the iPhone in the graphics department and disappointed a little in the SunSpider web browsing test.
Galaxy Note 4
iPhone 6 Plus
Built-in storage for the Note 4 is 32 GB and that’s the only capacity available, but Samsung has included a microSD slot to allow you to add up to 128 GB additional storage to the device.
Connectivity includes the faster 802.11ac WiFi, and Samsung has included 4G LTE (Cat 6), NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, MHL 3.0 and IR blaster. It also offers the Download Booster, first seen in the S5, which pairs 4G and WiFi to offer a theoretical maximum download speed of 400Mb/s. You couldn’t really ask for more.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: New features
Like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Note 4 has a Fingerprint Scanner beneath the home button, and a Heart Rate Monitor located on the back of the device beneath the camera. The latter may only be useful for fitness fanatics but it can do clever things like measure your blood oxygen saturation level and even stress level. The fingerprint scanner doesn’t work as well as Apple’s Touch ID, still requiring an awkward swipe.
Interestingly, the Note 4 also has a UV sensor, which Samsung says is the first to be found in a mobile device. It’s part of the S Health system, and sits on the back of the phone. You simply point it at the sun and take a reading
The Note 4 comes with multiple microphones too, which work with the built-in Voice Recorder to lets you record in two (interview mode) and eight different directions (meeting mode). You can then pick just one direction/voice to play back if you just want to listen to what one particular person had to say within a group conversation and the software will automatically skip all other audio. This seems to work pretty well but is probably more useful for us as journalists than the average Joe.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Cameras
Samsung has improved the camera in the Galaxy Note 4, and we found the results to be quite impressive. The rear-facing camera is 16 Mp, with auto focus and Smart OIS (optical image stabilisation). HDR on the Galaxy Note 4 offers a live preview, so you can see exactly what your image will look like before you capture it which is a neat trick. As you would expect, it can still record 4K video like its predecessor.
Rather than bombarding you with camera modes, this time around the Note 4 has just a few pre-installed and even fewer selected to display. If you want more you can select them from the ‘manage modes’ section or download more from the internet.
On the front is a decent 3.7Mp camera with an aperture of f1.9. Samsung has introduced a fun Wide Selfie mode with the Note 4, so you can capture more of the environment around you when taking those all-important and extremely popular selfies with the front-facing camera.
One thing we did find is that the size of the Note 4 means taking photographs is not an exceptionally easy task. It can get a bit clumsy, particularly if you are trying to take a photo with one hand. There’s no dedicated camera/shutter button which is something we’d appreciate having. Below is our test photo and video.Galaxy Note 4 test photos and video Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Software & S Pen
Multi Window (above) isn’t new but is a handy allowing you to use two apps at once in a split screen view thanks to the 5.7in display. These windows can be resized, too, to allow more space for an app that requires it, for example.
It also offers the ability to view a window as a pop-up screen that can be moved around and will let you continue working in the background. You do it with a swipe from either top corner of the screen and we’ve done it accidentally a number of times. It also doesn’t work with every app which is quite frustrating at times.
The Galaxy Note 4’s S Pen has been improved, too. Using the S Note app, the S Pen can now emulate various pen and writing types, including a fountain pen or calligraphy pen, thanks to its 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
I’ve personally found the S Pen useful simply as a replacement for my finger as an input device – it’s accurate and avoids the screen getting grubby. However, it can do a lot more than that if you can get your head around the complicated feature set which takes a while to learn.
The Air Command wheel lets you access features such as Action Memo, Screen Write, Image Clip and the new Smart Select feature by pressing the small button on the side of the S Pen. By default this appears when you remove the S Pen from its holder but if you find that annoying like we do then you can change the settings to do something else or nothing at all.
While we’re impressed with the Note 4, there are things about the TouchWiz software that we’re not keen on. Sometimes it’s the little things that get to you the most and we dislike that the massive screen is unable to tell us who a text message is from or even the first line of it when a notification is displayed on the lockscreen.
A swipe away from the main homescreen is a customised Flipboard interface which is great if you use the service but not very useful otherwise. As our readers have kindly pointed out, this can be removed in the homescreen settings.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Battery life
We all want great battery life from a smartphone and although the Note 4 has a large 3220 mAh battery (which is removable as usual), it hasn’t blown us away in this area.
Realistically, the smartphone will last a day and have a bit of charge left but certainly not enough to make it through a second meaning you’ll have to charge it every night. This is a bit of a shame considering the impressive performance we saw with the LG G3 which also has a Quad HD screen.
In its favour is the ability to fast charge 50 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes and the Ultra Power Saving mode which we’ve seen on other Samsung phones which switches things into a simplistic grey scale mode to make those last few percent stretch as far as possible avoiding you getting completely cut off.Specs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Specs
Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS
5.7in SuperAMOLED display (1440×2560), 515 ppi
2.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU
Adreno 420 GPU
32GB internal storage
16Mp rear camera laser AF with optical image stabilistaion
3.7Mp front camera
Video recording at up to 4K
Bluetooth 4.1 LE
Heart rate monitor
4G LTE (Cat 6)
11.9Wh (3220mAh) battery
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the latest in the Note series. Having been around since August 2023, the Note 9 is aging gracefully thanks to what it brings to the table at a time when all eyes are on the Galaxy S10 family.
With only a few months left between now and the launch of the Galaxy Note 10, its easy to write off the Note 9. But truth be told, you won’t regret a thing picking up this phablet today. It’s even better for those who already own one because, as we are about to see, this is one hell of a device with plenty to like about it.
Without taking any more of your time, here’s everything you need to know about Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
March 12, 2023: Verizon and U.S. unlocked users now receiving Android 9 Pie update
After weeks of waiting, Verizon Wireless users can finally download and install the stable version of Android 9 Pie on their Galaxy Note 9 units. The update is also available for users of the U.S. unlocked variant of the Note 9, tagging along the new Samsung One UI and February 2023 security patches.
March 02, 2023: T-Mobile begins rolling out Android Pie
T-Mobile has updated official Samsung Galaxy Note 9 software support page to indicate that Android 9 Pie update is rolling out right now.
The changes to the page were made yesterday, which is when we assume the rollout began. As per the changelog, the update, which weighs over 1.6GB, also fixes compass calibration, adds a new e911 call flow, BYOD, and a new security patch.
There is more to this story here.
February 22, 2023: Bixby button remapping is coming soon
Samsung will soon open the Bixby button to remapping via a software update. This will be part of the changes that Android Pie will bring to the Note 9, although not necessarily as part of the initial Pie update.
This update will let Note 9 users assign other roles to the Bixby button besides launching the digital assistant. This is something that many have been calling for and it’s finally coming soon. Maybe sometimes Samsung listens?
6.4-inch 18.5:9 QHD+ Super AMOLED display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (Exynos 9810)
6GB RAM or 8GB RAM
128GB or 512GB expandable storage up to 512GB
Dual 12MP + 12MP main camera
8MP front camera
Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung Experience 9.5
Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB-C, Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos, 3.5mm audio jack, IP68, 1.2Gbps LTE, (Cat-18), rear-mounted scanner, iris scanner, S Pen, etc.
In keeping up the Note tradition, the Galaxy Note 9 is packed to the brim with a flurry of the best of 2023 smartphone tech you can think of. The S Pen keeps its place as the most outstanding feature of the Note 9 and to match the big size of the phone, there’s an equally big battery, the latest processor, and this time you get what is simply an insane amount of memory – both RAM and ROM.
Galaxy Note 9 features
The Galaxy Note 9 represents Samsung’s best creation of 2023. The device not only tops the charts in terms of design and aesthetics, but it also packs in some punch on matters performance specs. Things start getting even more interesting when you start digging a little deeper into the features, but as always, it’s almost impossible to know and use every little feature this phone has to offer.
To make things a little easier for you, check out the posts below:
Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9 priced at $1000 for the base model. Today, the phone has been discounted several times following the launch of the Galaxy S10 family, but it hasn’t gotten any cheaper, to say the least, retailing at $800 or more depending on where you buy it.
Tips and tricks
Being a flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 9 packs tons of features that you probably never use. To help you get the most out of your $1000 investment, here are some tips and tricks you should know, if not already.
Samsung has been quite consistent with Galaxy Note 9 software updates, the latest of the major ones bringing along the stable Android 9 Pie OS with the new One UI layered on top.
Of course, there are plenty more software updates to come and we have everything documented in the link below.
In case you run into software issues on your Galaxy Note 9 for whatever reason, fixing them can be done by simply installing an older firmware file that worked fine before the upgrade. Heck, you can even grab a newer firmware with fixes and has yet to be released over the air and install it. To do this, you need the stock ROM in question alongside a tutorial on how to go about it, if you don’t know already.
Below is the link to the Note 9’s stock firmware page, where you also find guidelines of how to install the downloaded file on your device.
Check out some of the best accessories that are available for the Galaxy Note 9 below.
Best screen protectors
The Galaxy Note 9 has one of the best display screens you can get on any phone and its definitely worth keeping it safe from scratches and even cracks in case of accidental falls. To do this, you need the best screen protectors out there, which we’ve highlighted in the link below.
If you like it naked, you might not enjoy this section. But for those who feel more attached to their $1000+ investment, having it protected in a case could be the best decision ever, especially when the phone accidentally comes down hard on a concrete surface.
For the best options available, hit the links below:
Problems and solutions
Like every other smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 isn’t perfect. Users face various problems from time to time – problems that can be fixed with a small software update or by applying some of the fixes/solutions provided in the linked posts below.
While it might no longer be the most powerful Galaxy Note device, the Galaxy Note 9 is still one of the few handsets which are getting a taste of what Android 10 is like. Last year’s Samsung flagship is sure to get the jump to the latest mobile OS from Google and the South Korean company has already commenced the One UI 2 beta program for Galaxy Note 9 users in Korea.
The stable Android 10 update for the Note 9 is available as build DSLB and DTA1 in Europe and DTA4 in the US; the full software versions being N960FXXU4DSLB and N960FXXS4DTA1 in Europe, and N960USQU3DTA4 in the US.
Do not try anything given on this page if you do not completely know what you are doing. In case any damage occurs, we won’t be held responsible. make sure you match the model no. of your device with the model no. of the download file.
This guide is compatible only for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 handset. Do not try this on any other device as you might end up damaging your device and permanently brick it.
Ensure that you back up all the important data (including photos and videos, contacts, music, videos, files, etc.) on your Galaxy Note 9.
Below are the download links of the stable Android 10 update for the Galaxy Note 9, both for the US and Europe.
Galaxy Note 9 Android 10 firmware
For Europe/Asia/Australia, unlocked model SM-N960F:
Version DSLB (For Germany, but works fine for all the regions in Europe, Asia, Australia, and more; Released on Jan 2, 2023)
Version DTA1 (For Germany, but works fine for all the regions in Europe, Asia, Australia, and more; Released on Jan 19, 2023)
For carrier locked US model SM-N960U:
Version DTA5 (Comcast firmware, should work for all the carriers including T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, etc. but you may lose carrier-specific features if any; Released on Jan 27, 2023)
For unlocked US models SM-N960U1:
Not released yet
Step 1: Make sure you have enabled ‘OEM unlock‘ under the Developer options in the Settings app.
Step 3: Also, download Odin PC software (latest version, 3.13.3).
Step 5: Extract the Odin file. You should get the Odin exe file (other files could be hidden, hence not visible).
Step 6: Disconnect your Galaxy device from PC if it is connected.
Step 7: Boot your device into download mode:
Power off your device. Wait for 6-7 seconds after the screen goes off.
Connect the device to PC using the USB cable while pressing and holding Volume down + Bixby buttons together until you see the Warning screen (image).
Press Volume Up to continue to download mode.
Step 9: Connect your device now using the USB cable. Odin should recognize your device. It’s a must. When it recognizes, you will see Added!! message appearing in the Log box in the bottom left, and the first box under ID:COM will also show a no. and turn its background blue. Look at the pic below.
You cannot proceed until you get the Added!! message, which confirms that Odin has recognized your device.
If you don’t get Added!! message, you need to install/re-install drivers again and use the original cable that came with the device. Mostly, drivers are the problem (look at step 2 above).
You can try different USB ports on your PC too.
Info: When you load files, Odin checks the md5 sum of the firmware file, which takes time. So, simply wait until that’s done and the firmware file is loaded. Don’t worry if Odin gets unresponsive for a while, it’s normal. Binary size will also show up in Odin.
Go back to the Log tab now, as it will show the progress of the firmware installation when you hit the start button in the next step.
Wait till the installation is finished, after which your device will reboot automatically. You’ll get the PASS message as shown below upon successful installation from Odin.
Some errors you may run into, and with the respective solution.
If Odin gets stuck at setup connection, then you need to do this all again. Disconnect your device, close Odin, boot device into download mode again, open Odin, and then select the file and flash it again as said above.
If you get FAIL in the top left box, then also you need to flash the file again as stated just above.
Once you install the Android 10 firmware on your Note 9, it will reboot. It will take it time restarting, so be patient, and when it’s done, it will start optimizing apps, after which you will have Android 10 running on your device.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Quick Specs
Display Size: 5.7 Inch Super AMOLED, 1440 X 2560p HD resolution, 515 PPI, Gorilla Glass 3
Processor: 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 Quad Core with Adreno 420 GPU
RAM: 3 GB
Software Version: Android 4.4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI
Camera: 16 MP, Can record 4K videos, OIS +
Secondary Camera: 3.7 MP, can record 1080P Videos, f 1.9 aperture, 120 degree Wide angle lens
Internal Storage: 32GB
External Storage: 128 GB using MicroSD card
Battery: 3200 mAh
Connectivity: 4G LTE-A Cat.6 / 3G HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe , Bluetooth v4.1 LE / ANT+, GPS / GLONASS / Beidou , USB2.0, MHL 3.0 and Infrared LEDSamsung Galaxy Note 4 Hands On Video Review Design, Build and Display
The design is similar to Note 3, but there are several subtle improvements which make it look more premium. Samsung is using metal around the edges, instead of metal finish plastic. The display size remains same, but the bezels have been shaved off further. We like the design changes, build and how the Galaxy Note 4 feels in hand. The water and dust resistance is still missing.Processor and RAM
While other high end smartphones with Snapdragon 801 are powerful enough to handle everything you throw at them, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 goes a bit further with Snapdragon 805 which comes with beter Krait 450 cores (vs Krait 400), Faster GPU and more memory bandwidth.Camera and Internal Storage
The camera with OIS Smart and 16 MP Sensor is again one of the best out there. We were impressed by the initial low light testing and are eager to spend some more time with it. Its fully equipped with shutter modes and filters to keep you busy. The front 3.7 MP camera is also pretty good for selfies with a wide angle lens that allows you to fit more objects in a single frame.
There is ample 32 GB internal storage which can be further expanded using MicroSD card slot. This is good enough to keep everyone happy.User Interface and Battery
The presser sensitive S-pen is a valuable tool in Note series. It retails all good features from Note 3 besides adding a few more. Then there is a heart rate sensor and top notch connectivity options including 4G LTE-A Cat.6 / 3G HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe , Bluetooth v4.1 LE / ANT+, GPS / GLONASS / Beidou , USB2.0, MHL 3.0 and Infrared LED for smart TV remote.
The 3200 mAh battery inside can charge to 50 percent in just 30 minutes, when you use the charger that comes bundled inside the box. Fast charging is an effective pragmatic solution that works well in our opinion. Samsung claims 7.5 percent improvement in battery consumption as compared to Note 3. If Samsung manages to maintain a similar battery backup in spite of increased resolution, it will be a big achievement.Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Photo Gallery Conclusion and Price
Note 4 has all the latest and best hardware combined together in a well build premium body. Samsung has opted for the Snapdragon variant in India, which also a good thing. However, the price tag of 58,300 INR seems ridiculously high and hard to justify. There is a huge craze for Samsung Note branding in Indian market and perhaps Samsung will manage to be a formidable competition to iPhone 6 Plus launching side by side on October 17.
This phone is undoubtedly the best you can get for $200.
It’s $200! It performs well. Nice screen. Battery life is two days. Solid camera. It has 64 GB storage, a microSD card slot and a headphone Jack. Contactless payments are possible with NFC. It runs the most recent version of Android. You will receive two OS updates and four years worth of security updates. All major US networks are compatible.
IP rating not available. Mono speaker isn’t great.
The $1200 flagships are not the most exciting smartphones. They have very minor upgrades that improve the camera’s performance from the previous year. It’s the inexpensive phones that I have been focusing on. It is amazing to see what features are coming down from the top end and how quickly these phones are improving. This is evident in Samsung’s Galaxy A14 5G.
The $200 unlocked Android phone from Google is truly amazing. You can buy a smartphone that is capable of handling most daily tasks and doesn’t act slow. It also has a decent camera system, lengthy software updates, and a longer battery life than the A13 5G. It’s amazing that Samsung managed to improve upon the A14’s predecessor, the Galaxy A135G, while reducing the price by $50. My mind is boggled.
Although the A14 5G may look a bit plain, its textured back gives it more personality than budget phones. It doesn’t feel cheap. You don’t have to worry about the glass surface because of the plastic rear design. Only problem with the hardware? The only problem with this phone is its IP rating. It’s therefore not water or dust resistant. It’s best to avoid it near water, pools, or beaches.
It has a 1080 pixel resolution, which is sharper than the previous model. The LCD display measures 6.6 inches and looks great. It’s easy to read on sunny days, which is not unusual in New York. I also enjoy gaming, reading and watching all the TikToks that my partner sends me.
Displays aside, cheap phones are now introducing high refresh rates to their screens. This is a new feature that has been gaining popularity and is being dropped as a flagship feature. The 60Hz screen was the norm for smartphones. However, by increasing the refresh rate from 60 to 90 to 120 times per second, the experience is fluid and responsive. Read more about it here. Samsung has kept the A13’s 90-Hz panel, which is a nice touch, but it is difficult to see. It’s not as smooth as other powerful devices, which can more frequently ratchet up frames as you move through the interface.
The performance is definitely a highlight. The Galaxy A14 5G is an incredible phone, especially when compared to the $170 phone that I just reviewed. My blood pressure doesn’t rise when I manage all my apps. Thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 7005G and 4GB of RAM, this is possible. Geekbench benchmark testing shows a significant improvement in performance over A13 5G. This is not surprising considering that the A135G uses the same chipset as the A13 5.G. This may be due to better optimization. This is easily evident in my experience. I don’t notice any annoying hiccups when playing games such as Alto’s Odyssey, CarX Highway Racing and Dead Cells.
The primary camera is 50 megapixels. The camera snaps images quickly and has a Night mode that allows you to capture decently sharp and bright images even in low light (unlike Moto G Play). Nighttime photos may be blurry from time to time. Sometimes there’s too much processing, which can make it difficult to see certain details on faces or colors. For $200, the results have been satisfactory. This includes selfies that I took with the front camera of 13 megapixels (which also supports Night mode). If you’re looking for extreme close-up shots it’s possible to use the macro camera. However, this is only possible if there’s enough light.
My only complaint about this phone is its mono speaker. The mono speaker is not too loud and doesn’t sound very good. It’s also easy to block when playing video games in landscape mode. It’s possible to use headphones, wired or wireless, because has a headphone Jack.
You can even use the microSD card slot to increase the 64 GB internal storage. This is a big win for me as I almost always pay with my smartphone when I’m on the go.
As the name suggests, the Galaxy A14 5G supports… 5G. This is a rare feature at this price, since most phones below $200 rely on 4G LTE. Every major US carrier supports it, including AT&T, T–Mobile and Verizon. Samsung promises two Android OS updates. This means that, even though it is running the latest Android 13, it will still be receiving Android 15 in 2024. The phone will also receive four years worth of security updates. This is a rare offer for a smartphone this cheap.
It is almost impossible to not be amazed at the Galaxy A14 5G value. It does almost everything for so little. That’s exactly what we should expect from our gadgets.
January 27, 2023 Correction: The incorrectly stated that the phone had a 60-Hz display, but it actually has a panel of 90-Hz. We regret this error.
It’s not a flagship smartphone, so I won’t oversell it. You will still experience stutters when switching between apps. You might have to close some apps. The majority of the time, however, I have had a great experience with the A14 5G. It is not only useful for keeping up with Reddit or Twitter, but it also allows me to reply to emails, track work tasks and make calls.
This brings me to the battery. My sister is in India so we don’t have much time to get together. The battery was only 50% when I used it for a four-hour video call the other day. It was lower than what I expected. The same day, I also used my phone’s GPS to drive to a Manhattan dog park. I took lots of photos of the delicious Bua fried chicken sandwich. The phone was at 11 per cent by bedtime, which is, err, past midnight for my eyes. It had a remarkable 9 hours of screen-on-time. It was a very busy day. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time on video calls, I still had 30% left on my battery after two days. It’s wonderful not to have to recharge every night.
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