Six months with a Samsung Galaxy Note 9: too big, too good

I spent six months with a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. If my debut with him was a little difficult, I became fond of the guy and his multiple qualities. Feedback from experience.

Too big. Too imposing. Almost too heavy … And yet I like it a lot. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has some flaws, nevertheless I would lie shamelessly if I dared to say that this smartphone did not seduce me. I have been using it for about six months and now is the time to make a first feedback.
Learn to love
In a good number of Hollywood romantic films with rose water, the two main protagonists do not appreciate at first. They bicker, sulk and quarrel. But after these vain quibbles, the spark finally arises and ignites (s) a passion ardent.
Between Galaxy Note 9 and me, the story followed the same course. If talking about devouring love is obviously a gross exaggeration, force is to admit that I learned to appreciate this smartphone whereas it was not gained at the beginning.
The appearance a little too rectangular and the immensity of the device first put me off. I never denied that it was an excellent phone, but its design was a little out of my beauty guns. But I had to force myself – for the sake of this article. Note however that I used previously a Huawei Mate 10 Pro who does not have a membership card in the club of small smartphones.

But little by little, I took a liking to using brick. Even though the Galaxy Note 9 is not the most comfortable device in the world, I took the trick and quite naturally I ended up finding the right way to hold it and I got used to its weight in my pocket – note that the device would not fit in the pocket of a woman's pants.
There are always those rare moments where I feel more congested than anything else, but we will just say that the Galaxy Note 9 has finally become well integrated into my daily life. Beyond these concerns, I must also recognize that the phone is robust. He has fallen many times and has hardly suffered the ill-treatment I inflicted on him. And yet, I never coiled the guy in a protective shell. He has always faced the world with his back exposed and the screen bare.
This temerity has earned him a few scars: the two right angles are crunched by ugly little scales while the blue color has faded on a tiny notch three centimeters below the unlock button. Nothing very serious. Conversely: I was much more annoyed after having twisted the drawer which houses the nano SIM and which proved a little fragile. I only occasionally needed a second SIM, but it became very difficult to introduce into the phone.

Admittedly, I was a little bit sorry for the size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Do not believe that I do the same with its big screen of 6.4 inches. Samsung is the master of the AMOLED and has made this slab one of the best on the market. When I watch videos on my smartphone, I do not see it as a constraint, but really as something comfortable.
One UI is awesome
Shortly before the release of this article, I ventured on the love I have for the new One UI interface on Android 9.0 Pie. To make it short, I basically remember three things: the interactions adapted to the big screen of the phone, the dark theme and the intuitive navigation gestures.
The update will have taken its time, but it is clearly worth the detour. By combining One UI with the Nova Launcher, I found my happiness.

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We will not stop there for the software part, because we have to talk about the Bixby case. Alas, the intelligent assistant designed by Samsung has only spoken French very recently and only in beta. But for a long time, Bixby was for me only an embarrassment that I had to get rid of. That's why I installed BxActions. To date, this is still one of the best tips I have to suggest to use the Galaxy Note 9.
This application allows to reconfigure the button dedicated to Bixby. After some personalization attempts, I simply decided to disable the key in question. This one is therefore not good for nothing, but at least it does not bother me anymore.
                        Are you tired of Bixby? It is possible to disable it by following one of our tutorials. If you want to reconfigure the Bixby button, it's …
                        3 reasons to download this application
                        One of the only ways to re-configure the Bixby button
                                                                Works with Galaxy S8, S9, Note 8 and Note 9
                                                                We are still waiting for Bixby in French!
Another detail disturbed me a bit: the status bar. This one is not interrupted by any notch yet it never displays more than three notification icons on its left half. If you receive more alerts, they will only be marked with small dots indicating that you will need to lower the shortcuts panel to learn more.

Although it would not be very nice to cover the entire status bar with these small pictograms, I think there was plenty of room to extend the limit to at least five notifications. The screenshot above was taken while I received an SMS, an out-of-call and some messages on Messenger. But as you can see, we can not guess that with a single glance. Pity.

Stylish remote control
The pen S Pen is THE special feature of the Galaxy Note 9. Unfortunately, I probably do not use it to its full potential. I found it handy to note memos on the locked screen of the phone. To go shopping or remember an important call to pass, it's really perfect. I tried to scribble two things on the Notes application but without much interest.

To be honest, in my case, the S Pen is much more remote control than pen. I was able to take group photos by including myself in and without having to make a selfie. However, each time we had to find a solution to stabilize the smartphone on its edge. So I regularly had to put it on a low wall, a cardboard, a book on a shelf … But the game is worth the candle because it avoids using a self-timer. With the S Pen in hand, I can ask everyone to take the pose quietly before pressing the stylus button and thus have better control of the shooting.
Below you will find the picture taken with the S Pen that I appreciate the most. Here, while hiking with friends, we put a backpack on the ground, I joined the phone after dislodging the stylus, and it remained only to lie on the right of the frame to capture this moment of respite and full of poetry.

The beautiful saturation
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has a dual photo sensor of 2 x 12 megapixels. And the least we can say is that it is perfect for immortalizing scenes in beauty. The focus is very fast, the level of detail is very precise, the contrasts are well managed and the camera handles with ease most scenes with complicated light conditions. Perfect copy? Maybe not that much, because there is important information that we have not mentioned yet: the phablet's addiction for color saturation.
When asked, most people respond that they prefer true pictures to reality. Nevertheless, in our comparative photo opposing the Galaxy Note 9 to Google Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, it is the saturated images that have won the most votes (the iPhone has won most of the events). One of the exercises was a close-up shot of a red flower and it was the Galaxy Note 9 that won the round with the following image.

The photo is very beautiful, but the dominant cinnabar is a tad brighter than in reality. And this trend has been felt in most of my photos. But do not sulk our pleasure, the Galaxy Note 9 is an excellent camera that sublimates the landscapes available to us. For travel memories, it's perfect.
Talking about landscapes, the Galaxy Note 9's Panorama mode is one of the best I've ever tried. It preserves a fairly good image quality and succeeds in the vast majority not to double or distort the people and elements that move at the time of shooting. Yet it is a trap in which fall a lot of smartphones.
The presence of two photo sensors allows you to enjoy beautiful bokeh effects. The contours of the face or object being photographed are well defined and the blurred effect in the background is well proportioned. Note that the second sensor of the Galaxy Note 9 can be used independently for a zoom x2 in the image, but I used it almost exclusively to photograph signs far to better read what was written there. Nothing exciting.

The quality of selfies is much more sensitive to light conditions. Overall, I found it very satisfying, without being foolproof.

Finally, the video quality of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is very good and perfectly stabilized. The problem of saturation is felt here too.
With or without jack, it's perfect
As for the audio quality of the Galaxy Note 9, I have no complaints. At the beginning of my use of this phone, I still had my wired Sennheiser HD 598 CS headphone which I was very happy with and which allied itself extremely well with the phablette. I have never been disappointed. But the grass is always greener elsewhere, I slowly but surely began to ogle the Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless; and more particularly on its excellent active noise reduction and its delicious audio signature.
A promotion to Black Friday made me crack and since I am totally conquered by this headphones and the emphasis it puts on the bass (which I adore personally). By pairing it with the Galaxy Note 9, I enjoy a powerful sound, clear and detailed. On the stereo speakers of the phone, the report is inevitably less bright. The audio spectrum is much less wide and the loudspeaker of the top lacks intensity.
Always reliable
In terms of theoretical gross power, the Galaxy Note 9 equipped with an Exynos 9810 coupled to 6 GB does not reach the same highs as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro or the OnePlus 6T. However, in everyday life, does it really feel like it? No. The Galaxy Note 9 is running a poorly optimized game like Fortnite without flinching. Personally, I'm not a hard mobile player and my video games are focused on 2D titles that never worry about the phone.
Apart from that, I really appreciate the fact that despite the ton of applications I open at the same time, the phablette honors his rank of high-end smartphone. For example, long browsing Instagram with a Netflix series that runs in picture in picture does not represent a very complicated challenge for the Galaxy Note 9. I have rarely felt heated between my hands. And again, it was lukewarm and I really pushed the cork very far.

As for autonomy, the 4000 mAh battery is very reliable for my taste. If the camera or apps like Instagram or Netflix wear it out noticeably faster than other spots, I still manage to have a good day and a half with a relatively active use mixing daily one to two hours of video viewing on YouTube, several Twitter interactions, lots of Chrome browsing, at least 15 exchanges on WhatsApp and a Bluetooth headset constantly connected to the phone.
I think we can find quite easily more autonomous products, but the Galaxy Note 9 does not disappoint on this point and, until now, I have not yet the impression that the battery has worn out . For charging, I'm not going to hide the fact that powerful chargers that benefit some competing models make me want to, but the block of 15W Galaxy Note 9 is quite effective, even for those who are a little rushed. As we said in our test: 30 minutes are enough to recover 40% of battery.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a complete smartphone. If its large size can be a problem, it manages to fill this "defect" by offering a complete and comfortable experience. Special mention to the aesthetics of photos and the interface UI U as appreciable one than the other.
No need to say it at length: six months later, I am conquered. Recall that the acquisition of a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 requires to pay a substantial sum. Sold initially at 1009 euros, the phone is now officially offered at 859 euros by its manufacturer for the model of 128 GB (expandable).
Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 at the best price?
Read on FrAndroid: Test Samsung Galaxy Note 9: excellence has a price



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