Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Note 8. Worth getting the Note 9?

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Galaxy Note 9 – Biggest screen ever

The Galaxy Note 9 has by far the biggest ever display Samsung has ever fitted into a smartphone.

  • Galaxy Note 9 – 6.4-inch, 18.5:9 aspect ratio, Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2960 pixels (516 ppi pixel density), 83.4% screen-to-body ratio, HDR10 compliant, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Galaxy Note 8 – 6.3-inch, 18.5:9 aspect ratio, Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2960 pixels (521 ppi pixel density), 83.2% screen-to-body ratio, HDR10 compliant, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

There is also a fractionally higher screen-to-body ratio, due to its minimally thinner bezels. There is also a slightly lower pixel density, due to Samsung retaining the same native resolution on the larger display, although not many will notice these minute changes.

Design & Size

If you gave anyone the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Note 8, not many will be able to tell them apart, besides the small difference in size and weight:

  • Galaxy Note 9 – 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8 mm (6.37 x 3.01 x 0.35 in), 201 g (7.09 oz)
  • Galaxy Note 8 – 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm (6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 in), 195 g (6.88 oz)

Besides the dimensions, Samsung added in stereo speakers, tuned by AKG with Dolby Atmos branding, though the latter seems silly given stereo speakers cannot truly recreate Atmos audio. The fingerprint sensor is notably and sensibly placed below the rear cameras, a move that Samsung did as well with the Galaxy S9.

One other huge change is the Bluetooth LE S Pen that comes along with the Galaxy Note 9. It comes with far greater functionality, such as camera remote shutter functions, a clicker during presentations and music playback control. The new S Pen is charges automatically from the Galaxy Note 9 via a supercapacitor so it is always ready to be used. Samsung claims that it drains very little battery from the phone itself.

IP68 water and dust resistance stays the same, as well as USB-C charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The microSD card slot supports cards up to 512GB, a jump from 256GB on the Note 8.

Cameras Doubling up

The Galaxy Note 9 has the same camera hardware as the Galaxy S9 Plus, which is dual 12MP rear cameras. A primary dual aperture lens which shifts between F2.4 (for more detail in well-lit shots) and F1.5 (for low light) while the Note 8 is stuck with a standard F1.7 sensor. The secondary module remains a 2x optical zoom, though Huawei has managed 3x with its impressive P20 Pro.

Besides the above mentioned the Galaxy Note 9 camera hardware remains the same with the Note 8. Main focus is mostly on the phone’s new image processing. Samsung claims this has advanced even since the Galaxy S9.

One more difference from the Galaxy Note 8 is where Samsung added in the Galaxy S9’s ‘Intelligent Scan’ facial recognition software. It is definitely a useful addon, other than Samsung’s fingerprint reader.

Huge Storage

Samsung lifted the Galaxy S9’s boosted internals for the Galaxy Note 9, giving it a meaningful upgrade over the Note 8.

  • Galaxy Note 9 (US) – Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 octa-core chipset (4x 2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver CPUs), Adreno 630 GPU
  • Galaxy Note 9 (Europe and Asia) – Exynos 9810 (4x 2.8 GHz Mongoose M3 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55 CPUs), Mali-G72 MP18 GPU

The Galaxy Note 8 used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 which is 20% slower and 30% less power efficient than the new Snapdragon 845. Samsung also boosted RAM from the Note 8’s 6GB to 8GB or the 512gb version.

Interestingly, Samsung added a ‘Water Carbon Cooling system’ to the Galaxy Note 9 to stop it from throttling under immense pressure usage, such as game playing.

The Galaxy Note 9 has LTE Cat.18 compared to Cat.16 on the Note 8 which means it is theoretically capable of 1.2 gigabit (1,200Mbit) 4G speeds. Although this isn’t of any relevance as it has never been attainable in any real scenarios. Bluetooth 5.0 (2x speed and 4x range of Bluetooth 4.2) is also present in both phones.

One huge positive addon to The Galaxy Note 9 is the ability to connect to a monitor to create a desktop-style PC. Directly. The phone’s screen will be able to work as a touchpad and virtual keyboard. This means there is no need for a separate Dex docking device.

Find out more on these Samsung products.

Battery life greatly pumped up

Having gone backward in recent years after the exploding Galaxy Note 7 saga, Samsung is finally bringing back their big battery capacity in the Galaxy Note 9. Provided it doesn’t explode this time round.

  • Galaxy Note 9 – 4000 mAh
  • Galaxy Note 8 – 3300 mAh

Battery capacity will be increased by over 20% and Samsung promises not just full day but multi-day use from a single charge. Of course this depends on an individual’s usage.

The Galaxy Note 9 passed Samsung’s “8 Point Quality Check”, the most rigorous in the industry, which was introduced after the Galaxy Note 7 exploded globally and was recalled. This also means Galaxy Note 9 batteries should degrade by only 5% in two years, versus over 20% from most rivals.


Samsung has certainly packed a lot into the Galaxy Note 9. The downside is obviously the high price. Other than the cost, Samsung has definitely lived up to its Note line. Everything about the Galaxy Note 9 is big: the display, battery life, expandable storage and price.

Although Galaxy Note 8 users have not much reasons to do an upgrade to the Galaxy Note 9, users of older phone models will certainly consider getting their hands on this release.

August 14, 2018

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