Samsung's early launch yesterday of the flagship Galaxy Note9 smartphone is welcome news to fans of the Korean phone maker.
Since 2012, the first Note made waves with a "huge" 5.5" screen. The new Note9 has a 6.4" screen, but it is still narrow enough to handle with one hand. Joining other flagship series Galaxy S phones, which have launched every six months for the past six years, the Note9 will be available in Canada on August 24.
The Note9 S Pen digital stylus has been the phone's front line offence against competing devices. The S Pen takes on more duties, such as functioning as a remote camera shutter for snapping creative selfies. It can also flip slideshow pages from anywhere.
The S Pen charges quickly for these low power Bluetooth technologies, but still works without power for previous functions like Screenwrite. Nice! It excels in calligraphy and its new tip can easily write accurately from any angle.
The camera has not changed much from the S9, switching between f1.4 and f2.4 depending on scene lighting. But it's smarter with features like Scene Optimizer, and Flaw Detection, the latter of which warns you of blinking and out of focus pictures right after an errant photo was taken so you can immediately take action and retake the pic before the moment is lost. And it works!
If you snap a photo and there's a problem, like the subject was blinking or it's blurry, Flaw Detection will immediately point it out and provide an opportunity to quickly reshoot before the moment is gone. (Photo by Steve Makris)
I was, however, disappointed with the Super Slo Mo feature not moving to Full HD from the HD like competitors.
Samsung went big on battery, incorporating a 4,000 mAh one that will presumable last all day. That's huge and welcome.
The Note 9 comes with 128GB storage and six 4GB RAM memory which in Canada will retail for $1,300. The crazy 500GB version with 8GB RAM ($1,630) will only be available online or Samsung stores, with your choice of cell phone provider.
The phone uses the 845 Snapdragon processor, which boots it up quickly in only 15 seconds. The 10 nanometre technology for faster LTE speeds was casually noticed. But the new water-based cooling technology keeping temperatures down during heavier than average processing was noticeable.
I like the incorporation of Samsung ‘s DeX technology doing away with the separate base holder. Simply plug the Note 9 directly to a monitor or TV with an HDMI converter and you have your Note 9 running on desktop mode on the big screen. Smart move.
All in all, Samsung does not go crazy with new technologies for the Note9, but rather incorporates smarter and useful improvements.
If you have an older Note5 like me, go for the upgrade. The Note is a niche phone with powerful digital stylus features simply unmatched.
Find more of Steve Makris' writing on his blog at www.techuntangled.ca.
Top photo by Steve Makris