Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Stanislav Kokhanyuk), 08/26/2018

Go penning. Samsung’s high-end phablet comes with a revolutionary S Pen, which can be used to trigger the camera remotely or switch slides during a presentation, thanks to its Bluetooth capabilities. A great display is accompanied by an intelligent camera. Whether this is enough to make the Note 9 the best business smartphone of the year, you can learn in our review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

With the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung introduces the first smartphone of the autumn. Once again, the South Korean smartphone maker brings a business phablet with a stylus known as the S Pen to the market. The phablet has been praised profusely thus far: According to DisplayMate, the Note 9 has the best display in a smartphone and it also did very well in the torture test.

We review the European model with 128 GB of storage space and 6 GB of RAM. It comes with Samsung’s Exynos 9810 SoC. However, the American version comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845.

When compared to its direct predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, not much seems to have changed, at least at first glance: There is now an optional version with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage space, the processor is somewhat faster and the battery has a larger capacity. The mobile Internet is also faster and the camera takes better photos. So, basically, a standard list of improvements. But what is really new here: Well, the S Pen now supports Bluetooth and therefore can be used as a remote control. Is this going to be enough to survive the competition from the behemoths such as the iPhone 8 Plus from Apple and the Huawei Mate 10? Or from the lower-priced competitors such as the OnePlus 6, the LG G7 ThinQ and the HTC U12 Plus. None of the competitors come with a stylus.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Galaxy Note Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
6144 MB 
Display
6.4 inch 18.5:9, 2960 x 1440 pixel 514 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, Super AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5, HDR10, glossy: yes
Storage
128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 128 GB 
, 109 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: motion sensor, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, barometer, iris scanner, pulse sensor, USB-OTG, ANT+,
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM (850/​900/​1800/​1900), UMTS (850/​900/​1800/​1900), LTE (1,2,3,4,5,7,8,12,14,18,19,20,28,29,30), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.8 x 162 x 76.4 ( = 0.35 x 6.38 x 3.01 in)
Battery
15.2 Wh, 4000 mAh Lithium-Ion, fast charging, Qi, Powermat
Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix f/​1.5-f/​2.4, phase detection autofocus (Dual pixel), OIS, LED flash, Videos @2160p/​60fps, Videos @720p/​960fps (main camera); 12.0MP, f/​2.4, depth detection, telephoto lens (second camera)
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix f/​1.7, contrast detection autofocus, Videos @1080p/​30fps
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, S Pen, Quick Charge charger, USB-C cable, Smart Things, Samsung Health, Galaxy Apps, Galaxy Wearable, PENUP, 24 Months Warranty, IP68 certified; LTE-A Pro Cat 18 (1200/150 Mbit/s); SAR-value: 0,381W/​kg (head), 1,509W/​kg (body), fanless
Weight
201 g ( = 7.09 oz / 0.44 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
999 Euro

 

Case - the Note smartphone with Gorilla Glass

Visually, the design of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has not changed much. It is very reserved. The front of the smartphone is dominated by the display, which is confined by the small top and bottom bezels. The display seems to meld into the sides. However, there are still side bezels, which are merely disguised by the curved glass. The Galaxy Note 9 comes in the following color schemes: Midnight Black and Ocean Blue. The back of the smartphone is made of highly reflective Gorilla Glass 5. A purple color scheme and a copper color scheme also exist on the Internet. However, they are not currently available.

Just like its predecessor, the glass back is very susceptible to fingerprints. However, it is very easy to clean. More and more manufacturers utilize glass surfaces, because they provide better signal strength than metal. Once again, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is IP 68 certified. Having said that, this time Samsung does not guarantee that the smartphone will be able to survive submersion under water for an unlimited period of time. It claims on its website in fine print that the Note 9 will only be able to last 30 minutes under water before fluid would enter it. 

The case is 1.6 millimeters (~0.63 in) wider and somewhat thicker than that of the predecessor. However, the smartphone is half a millimeter (~0.02 in) shorter and its display is 0.1 inches larger. The Note 9 weighs 6 grams (~0.2 oz) more than its predecessor. All in all, the differences are minimal and are almost unnoticeable in day-to-day use.

The smartphone is still extremely well-built and very rigid. We noticed only one small anomaly: When you shake the smartphone, something is rattling inside. There are no other abnormalities such as creaking or crackling to report.

The stylus is located inside the case. It can be inserted into the case completely. The stylus is ejected out of the case via a spring-loaded mechanism. This mechanism is comparable to what you might see in a ballpen. The stylus can be easily ejected from and put back in the case.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Size Comparison

Connectivity – the pricier Note 9 offers an enormous amount of storage space

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This year, Samsung’s flagship phablet comes in two storage variants: 128 GB of storage plus 6 GB of RAM or 512 GB of storage plus 8 GB of RAM. Last year, there was only one version, which had 64 GB of storage space and 6 GB of RAM. In terms of the price, both lower-priced variants cost the same, that is 999 Euros ($1157). However, the version with more RAM and more storage space now starts at 1249 Euros ($1447). Currently, only the dual-SIM version is available on Samsung’s website. The single-SIM variant can be purchased on the Internet or from mobile network carriers.

The storage space of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can be expanded with the help of a MicroSD card. SD cards can only be formatted as external storage. Nevertheless, apps can be stored on the MicroSD card.

The USB-C port is located on the bottom of the device. It operates at USB 3.1 speeds and supports USB OTG. There is also a 3.5-mm audio jack, which is a rarity with high-end smartphones these days. NFC and ANT+ are also supported. The latter allows to wirelessly monitor a range of devices. An IR sensor is not provided.

Right: power button
Right: power button
Left: volume rocker, Bixby button
Left: volume rocker, Bixby button
Top: Microphone, SIM-card slot
Top: Microphone, SIM-card slot
Bottom: 3.5-mm audio jack, USB-C port, microphone, speaker, S Pen
Bottom: 3.5-mm audio jack, USB-C port, microphone, speaker, S Pen

Software – up-to-date Android and a lot of additional apps

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 runs Android 8.1. An update to Android 9 should take place soon, because the Note series is usually kept up to date when it comes to software. As soon as the device is turned on, an update is available, which installs the most recent security patches (security patch level: August 1, 2018). Samsung Experience 9.1 serves as the system launcher. It expands the standard Android functionality and brings optimization for the S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes with the always-on-display feature. In this mode, the display is always on, unlike with many other smartphones. Here, the screen displays the clock, the date, notifications and the music player, all in monochrome with a few accent colors. There are many additional options in the settings menu, which are not found with other manufacturers: For example, the edges of the display can be set to light up when someone is calling or when there are new notifications. There is also the ability to set the screen to stay on as long as you are looking at it. Additionally, there is a one-handed mode, plus other functions such as multi-windows (this function allows to open multiple apps in different windows), video optimization (this allows users to adjust the sensitivity of the touchscreen and to lower the resolution of the display), simple mode (in this mode, only the basic functions are available, which is why it is perfect for people who are not familiar with smartphones or those who do not need that many functions).

The Note 9 comes with a lot of apps preinstalled. Besides Samsung’s proprietary apps, there are also third-party apps such as the Facebook app, Microsoft Office and LinkedIn. These apps cannot be permanently uninstalled, they can only be disabled. The proprietary apps include Samsung’s Internet browser, an app for customizing the home screen, Samsung’s app store and Samsung Health, a fitness tracker. Fortunately, Samsung’s own apps can be completely uninstalled without any hassle.

The home screen can only be used in portrait mode. There is a bar on the right side of the screen, where most often used apps are displayed. Your favorite apps can also be added to this bar. If you swipe right on the home screen, you will get to Bixby Home, where weather forecasts, notifications and other things of interest are grouped together. There is a dedicated Bixby button on the right side of the device, which launches Bixby Assistant. 

As soon as you take the S Pen out of the case, the user interface adjusts itself: Now you can write memos even in standby mode, and there is a stylus icon on the screen, which allows quick access to a number of stylus-operated apps. However, you can also add your own apps to this half-wheel. We are especially pleased with the app called PENUP, in which you can make very creative drawings. Here is something practical: If you remove the stylus too far from the device when the screen is turned off, a warning message pops up that tells you that the stylus is not inserted.

Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Software Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Communication and GPS – Wi-Fi of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 could have been faster

Once again, Samsung has pulled out all the stops in terms of communications modules: The Note 9 supports all current Wi-Fi standards, has a 4x4 MIMO antenna, operates at Category 18 LTE speeds (download: up to 1.2 GB/s) and features support for 15 LTE bands, which is why the Note 9 can function in LTE networks all over the world. Even though the specifications sound good, the Note 9 performed worse than many other high-end smartphones in our standardized Wi-Fi tests with the Router Linksys EA8500. When it comes to reception strength, the Note 9 does as well as its predecessor. However, it does much worse when it comes to transfer speeds. The OnePlus 6 and the LG G7 ThinQ deliver good results both when uploading and when downloading data. Anyhow, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has quite a fast Wi-Fi module: Websites load very fast, but images, sometimes, take a while to load. In close proximity to the router, the signal strength is ideal. When the smartphone is separated from the router by 10 meters (~33 ft) and three walls, the signal strength fluctuates between 3 out of 4 bars and perfect strength. Websites load just as fast when you are away from the router as when you are standing right next to it.

The Note 9 is very good when it comes to LTE reception: In the German D2 network, the smartphone has perfect reception even inside most buildings.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
A11 Bionic GPU, A11 Bionic, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
914 MBit/s ∼100% +88%
LG G7 ThinQ
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
656 MBit/s ∼72% +35%
OnePlus 6
Adreno 630, 845, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
609 MBit/s ∼67% +26%
HTC U12 Plus
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
579 MBit/s ∼63% +19%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Mali-G71 MP20, 8895 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
503 MBit/s ∼55% +4%
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
485 MBit/s ∼53%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
338 MBit/s ∼37% -30%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=270)
196 MBit/s ∼21% -60%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Mali-G71 MP20, 8895 Octa, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
653 MBit/s ∼100% +35%
LG G7 ThinQ
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
651 MBit/s ∼100% +34%
OnePlus 6
Adreno 630, 845, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
612 MBit/s ∼94% +26%
HTC U12 Plus
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
573 MBit/s ∼88% +18%
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
485 MBit/s ∼74%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
A11 Bionic GPU, A11 Bionic, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
374 MBit/s ∼57% -23%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
225 MBit/s ∼34% -54%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=270)
191 MBit/s ∼29% -61%
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test at the window
GPS test at the window
GPS test outside
GPS test outside

Inside a steel-reinforced concrete building, the Note 9 is only able to establish a connection with the satellites at the window, Here, it has a margin of error of 16 meters (~52 ft). Outside, the margin of error falls down to roughly 6 meters (~20 ft), which is a good, but not exceptional result. Our location is immediately determined in Google Maps and the compass also points in the right direction.

In order to determine how accurate our review device is when it comes to geo-location, we take it with us on a bike ride. During this ride, we are also accompanied by the professional navigator Garmin Edge 520. When it comes to navigation, the Garmin Edge 520 is a clear winner, but the Note 9 comes close on many occasions. The Note 9 did very well during the crossing of the bridge, which is a problematic area for many other devices. It also puts us in the right lane. However, sometimes we were placed outside of the road and some turns and curves were cut as well.

Those who do not need the absolute accuracy of a professional navigator and want a navigator for casual use will be more than happy with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

GPS Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – overview
GPS Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – overview
GPS Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – grove
GPS Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – grove
GPS Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – bridge
GPS Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – grove
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – grove
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – bridge

Telephony and Call Quality - The Note 9 supports VoLTE

The Note 9 comes with a proprietary Samsung phone app. However, this app resembles the standard Android phone app, which is why Android users who have never had a Samsung smartphone will be right at home with it. A special feature is the “places” tab that allows you to see restaurants and other such facilities nearby, which can be contacted directly from the app to, for example, reserve a table.

The call quality of the Note 9 is pretty good. At full volume, the voice of the call partner is easy to understand even in very noisy environments. However, under normal circumstances, the caller sounds way too loud at maximum volume. The sound quality is not as clear as we would have liked, and there is also some background noise, which pops up from time to time. Having said that, the caller’s voice is reproduced very well, both when they are talking loudly and when they are speaking quietly. Noise cancellation works more or less well.

The smartphone supports VoLTE and VoWiFi.

Cameras – Sharp times with the Galaxy Note 9

Shot with the front-facing camera
Shot with the front-facing camera
Camera app
Camera app
AR effects
AR effects
My Emoji Maker
My Emoji Maker

Samsung is famous for good image sensors in its flagship smartphones. The Galaxy Note 9 is no exception, and Samsung also expands the feature set: The Note 9 can recognize scenes automatically and apply appropriate settings. It can also recognize and notify you when people are smiling or when the camera lens is dirty. There are also AR effects, which can be added to a certain part of an image, such as a face. The Note 9 also features animated emojis similar to the Apple iPhone X.

The Note 9 has the same camera setup as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus: The dual-camera system with two 12 MP sensors on the back with a variable aperture, 2x zoom and dual optical image stabilization. There is an 8 MP camera with autofocus on the front of the device.

Here we are going to talk a bit more about the front-facing camera, which takes well-detailed and sharp photos. The dynamic range in dark scenes could have been higher, but overall the front-facing camera does not overblow bright areas and takes very contrasty pictures. Besides simple selfies, the camera also supports a number of AR effects and can apply a Bokeh effect to images via software. This Bokeh effect looks very good under normal lighting conditions. For a group selfie, the smartphone can be used in portrait mode to produce a panoramic shot.

The main camera provides even more features: Besides panoramic shots and Pro mode, in which many parameters of the image can be adjusted, there is also a Bokeh mode, in which the background of an image can be blurred. This works very well, thanks to the secondary camera. The HDR mode activates automatically and there is a short video preview for each shot, which is quite similar to what you might see on the latest iPhones. There are also beautiful effects for images in the gallery app, which make images move like in a Harry Potter film.

The image quality of the rear camera is very good under normal lighting conditions:  The details are clear and the images, overall, look bright and colorful. The photos taken under poor lighting conditions also look good. Moreover, the images do not suffer from a lot of noise. 

Video can be shot at a lot of different resolutions, but the maximum video resolution is [email protected] Optical image stabilization can be disabled in the settings menu. There is also a 720p super slow motion mode. Here, a 0.4 second shot is stretched to 12 seconds with one second at normal speed before and after the slow-motion clip. Videos shot in slow-motion mode play 30 times slower than normal clips. We linked a slo-mo clip below. This feature is easy to use because the recording starts automatically when the smartphone detects motion. Normal videos also look very good. The exposure adjusts very fast to changing lighting conditions. However, this is not needed very often, because the Note 9’s camera has a very high dynamic range.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

The Samsung phablet reproduces our test chart very well. The only blemish is the slightly blurred text before the red background. The sharpness is also very good at the edges. The colors are slightly too dim, but other than that, they are quite accurately reproduced. 

ColorChecker: The reference colors are located in the lower half of each square
ColorChecker: The reference colors are located in the lower half of each square
Shot of the test chart
Shot of the test chart
Test chart - details
Test chart - details

Accessories and Warranty - Samsung offers a lot of accessories for the Note smartphone

The chic box contains the following accessories: A fast charger with an appropriate USB cable, an AKG headset with a 3.5-mm plug, a USB OTG adapter, a USB-C to Micro-USB adapter and a replacement tip for the S Pen.

Furthermore, Samsung also offers a wide range of additional accessories for the Note 9 such as covers and docks. There is the LED View Cover, which allows parts of the screen to shine through. This way, a clock or other information can be displayed on the cover. The price of covers ranges from 20 Euros ($23) for a simple plastic case to 70 Euros ($81) for the LED View Cover. An additional S Pen can be had for 40 Euros ($46). The S Pens come in 5 different color schemes. A wireless charging pad for the Note 9 costs 60 Euros ($69).

With the help of Samsung’s DeX products, such as a cable or a dock, the Galaxy Note 9 can be connected to an external monitor and used as a mini computer.

Samsung provides a 2-year warranty for its Note smartphones, as long as you purchase it as a private customer.

Wireless Charging Pod
Wireless Charging Pod
Protective Stand Cover
Protective Stand Cover
LED View Cover
LED View Cover
Standing Cover
Standing Cover
Leather Wallet Cover
Leather Wallet Cover

Input Devices and Handling – The S Pen is now even more revolutionary

The Note 9 comes with Samsung’s proprietary keyboard app, which resembles a lot the keyboard app found on iOS devices. The Samsung keyboard offers a lot of features and is easy to type on. It can be customized with the help of themes. However, it is not as customizable as some other keyboard apps. The size of the keyboard can be increased or reduced in the settings.

The touchscreen is very accurate, but it does not always reliably recognize inputs at the edges of the 2.5D curved glass. This should not be a problem, because you are not going to be using this area to make inputs very often. If you use a screen protector, you can increase the sensitivity of the touchscreen, if it does not feel responsive enough. This can also come in handy during the winter, when you have your gloves on.

The navigation elements for the menu are located on the screen. The position and color of these elements can be changed. There is a virtual button on the home screen, which can be used to unlock the device. For this, you have to press this button with some force, until you feel the vibration, which stimulates the feel of an actual button. You can change how much force you need to apply for this button to work in the settings menu. 

There are physical buttons on the left and right sides of the device: On the left, there are the volume rocker and the dedicated Bixby button. The power button is located on the right. The buttons are small and unobtrusive. They also have a clear actuation point. 

The S Pen is an important control element and the main distinguishing feature of the Note 9. It Is located on the bottom of the device on the right side. When you pull it out you will have access to the features that we highlighted in the Software section.  According to Samsung, the S Pen supports 4096 pressure levels and has a 0.7-mm tip. This generation of S Pens supports Bluetooth Low Energy, which opens up a whole new realm of functionality: You can use the button on the pen to takes pictures or play/pause video remotely. You can also use it to switch slides during a Power Point presentation. You can customize what pressing the button on the S Pen does in different apps. However, at the moment, not all apps support the S Pen. That being said, it is supported in all the important applications. Above all, the S Pen is an accurate tool for taking notes and drawing pictures. All in all, the remote functionality is an additional input method that was not present in older Note smartphones. 

Display - Very bright with the ambient light sensor engaged

Pixel arrangement
Pixel arrangement

Aside from a small increase in the screen size, nothing much has changed when compared to the Note 8: A 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen with a native resolution of 2960x1440 is the best display on the market. As with the predecessor, the maximum brightness that can be set manually tops out at 330 cd/m². A higher brightness can be achieved with the ambient light sensor engaged. Here, as with the predecessor, the brightness reaches 500 cd/m². The display of the Note 9 has a better brightness distribution than that of the Note 8. Thanks to the almost perfect brightness distribution of 96%, even solid colors appear uniform. This is not surprising, because every pixel can be individually turned on and off in AMOLED displays.

According to DisplayMate, the screen of the Note 9 is much brighter than that of the predecessor. However, we were unable to verify this claim in our testing. The experts also claim that the display is so accurate that any deviations from the reference color space should not be perceivable with the naked eye. We look more closely at this in our own lab.

515
cd/m²
502
cd/m²
501
cd/m²
509
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
502
cd/m²
521
cd/m²
504
cd/m²
502
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 521 cd/m² Average: 506.1 cd/m² Minimum: 1.67 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 96 %
Center on Battery: 499 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.62 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 2.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
144.6% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.103
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.4
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
HTC U12 Plus
Super LCD 6, 2880x1440, 6
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
OLED, 2160x1080, 6
OnePlus 6
Optic AMOLED, 2280x1080, 6.28
LG G7 ThinQ
IPS, 3120x1440, 6.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.3
Screen
30%
23%
29%
10%
4%
14%
Brightness middle
499
559
12%
395
-21%
629
26%
430
-14%
974
95%
530
6%
Brightness
506
538
6%
402
-21%
636
26%
437
-14%
975
93%
536
6%
Brightness Distribution
96
90
-6%
90
-6%
94
-2%
87
-9%
96
0%
93
-3%
Black Level *
0.38
0.37
0.49
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.62
1.3
72%
1.6
65%
1.7
63%
2.3
50%
5.4
-17%
2.6
44%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.91
2.7
75%
3.4
69%
3.6
67%
4.6
58%
13.1
-20%
5.1
53%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.2
1.8
18%
1.1
50%
2.4
-9%
2.4
-9%
5
-127%
2.7
-23%
Gamma
2.103 105%
2.25 98%
2.14 103%
2.15 102%
2.28 96%
2.31 95%
2.04 108%
CCT
6115 106%
6797 96%
6536 99%
6337 103%
6160 106%
7480 87%
6206 105%
Contrast
1471
1068
1988

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 227 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 227 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 227 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8811 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

There is not much to be said about the contrast ratio and the black value of the screen: Because AMOLED displays can switch off individual pixels to display perfect black, the contrast ratio is theoretically infinite and the black value is zero. This is why the colors look very good. The screen supports HDR10 and therefore can play back HDR content with an expanded dynamic range and tighter brightness control.

There are several color profiles in the display settings. The “Adaptive Display” profile is selected by default. It serves to optimize the color reproduction. There are also the “AMOLED cinema” profile, the “AMOLED photo” profile and the “Basic” profile. The “AMOLED cinema” profile provides the most vivid colors, whereas the “Basic” profile provides a very natural color reproduction. The color reproduction can also be adjusted manually. A blue light filter is also provided. However, the blue light filter and color profiles cannot be used at the same time.

The display flickers at all brightness levels, which is not unusual for AMOLED screens: The screen is switched on and off in very quick succession for brightness control. Susceptible individuals should try out the display before committing to purchase.

We use a spectrophotometer running SpectraCal's CalMAN software to examine color accuracy more closely. The sRGB color space as well as the DCI-P3 color space are covered completely. However, the Note 9 can only cover 93% of the Adobe RGB color space. This result should be seen as a clue, because the spectrophotometer cannot assess this particular color space accurately. The grayscale is reproduced very accurately straight out of the box. The display suffers from a very slight bluish cast. The “AMOLED cinema” color profile provides the most accurate color reproduction. Nonetheless, even with this profile, the red hues are not reproduced very faithfully when compared to the reference color space sRGB.

The color reproduction of the display can be adjusted by the user. This opens up the possibility that it can be improved even further.

CalMAN color accuracy – default preset
CalMAN color accuracy – default preset
CalMAN color space coverage – default preset
CalMAN color space coverage – default preset
CalMAN grayscale – default preset
CalMAN grayscale – default preset
CalMAN saturation – default preset
CalMAN saturation – default preset
CalMAN color accuracy – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN color accuracy – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN color space coverage – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN color space coverage – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN grayscale – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN grayscale – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN saturation – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN saturation – AMOLED cinema
CalMAN color space coverage DCI P3 – default preset
CalMAN color space coverage DCI P3 – default preset
CalMAN color space coverage AdobeRGB – default preset
CalMAN color space coverage AdobeRGB – default preset
 
 

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 3 ms rise
↘ 3 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 3 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
10 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5 ms rise
↘ 5 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 4 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.1 ms).

We highly recommend that you enable the ambient light sensor when you are outside, because it allows the display to reach a much higher maximum brightness and because it is very fast and reliable. The Note 9 can be used outside. However, strong reflections may make reading screen content rather difficult.

The viewing angles of the display are excellent: No matter from which angle you look, the colors and the brightness do not change.

Outdoor use – minimum brightness
Outdoor use – minimum brightness
Outdoor use – medium brightness
Outdoor use – medium brightness
Outdoor use – maximum brightness
Outdoor use – maximum brightness
Outdoor use – ambient light sensor
Outdoor use – ambient light sensor
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance - Fast, but not the fastest

We have already seen the Samsung Exynos 9810 in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the S9 Plus. 8 cores in two clusters with a maximum speed of up to 2.9 GHz provide a great deal of performance. However, the Exynos 8910 is beaten slightly in the synthetic benchmarks by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which is used in the OnePlus 6 and the HTC U12 Plus. Nevertheless, in everyday use, we did not observe any significant differences in performance. The Samsung smartphone is extremely responsive, which makes it a joy to use. 

The ARM Mali-G72 MP18 serves as the GPU. It supports all the latest APIs and is quite future-proof, which is good news for gamers and people who use graphically intensive applications. The iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung phablet perform very similarly in the gaming benchmarks. There are no significant differences in this area as well.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
214090 Points ∼93%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
218158 Points ∼95% +2%
HTC U12 Plus
221971 Points ∼96% +4%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
177341 Points ∼77% -17%
OnePlus 6
230421 Points ∼100% +8%
LG G7 ThinQ
223464 Points ∼97% +4%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
173997 Points ∼76% -19%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (214090 - 222290, n=3)
218110 Points ∼95% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 232931, n=359)
72132 Points ∼31% -66%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
236552 Points ∼89%
HTC U12 Plus
255739 Points ∼96% +8%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
212278 Points ∼80% -10%
OnePlus 6
266686 Points ∼100% +13%
LG G7 ThinQ
256276 Points ∼96% +8%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
201210 Points ∼75% -15%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (236552 - 250577, n=3)
243663 Points ∼91% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=138)
109082 Points ∼41% -54%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
5184 Points ∼60%
HTC U12 Plus
8601 Points ∼100% +66%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6932 Points ∼81% +34%
OnePlus 6
8282 Points ∼96% +60%
LG G7 ThinQ
7717 Points ∼90% +49%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
5096 Points ∼59% -2%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (5184 - 5319, n=3)
5265 Points ∼61% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (4748 - 8601, n=225)
4439 Points ∼52% -14%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
5960 Points ∼58%
HTC U12 Plus
10264 Points ∼100% +72%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
8439 Points ∼82% +42%
OnePlus 6
9630 Points ∼94% +62%
LG G7 ThinQ
9503 Points ∼93% +59%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6084 Points ∼59% +2%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (5736 - 5960, n=3)
5839 Points ∼57% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (4147 - 10571, n=389)
4739 Points ∼46% -20%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
1132 Points ∼79%
HTC U12 Plus
1437 Points ∼100% +27%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
1234 Points ∼86% +9%
OnePlus 6
1386 Points ∼96% +22%
LG G7 ThinQ
1374 Points ∼96% +21%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
1235 Points ∼86% +9%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (1099 - 1132, n=3)
1113 Points ∼77% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=466)
678 Points ∼47% -40%
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
6506 Points ∼82%
HTC U12 Plus
7945 Points ∼100% +22%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3657 Points ∼46% -44%
OnePlus 6
7949 Points ∼100% +22%
LG G7 ThinQ
7906 Points ∼99% +22%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6121 Points ∼77% -6%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (6370 - 6506, n=3)
6416 Points ∼81% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15875, n=466)
1622 Points ∼20% -75%
Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
2068 Points ∼50%
HTC U12 Plus
3641 Points ∼88% +76%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
4142 Points ∼100% +100%
OnePlus 6
3799 Points ∼92% +84%
LG G7 ThinQ
3744 Points ∼90% +81%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3095 Points ∼75% +50%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (2068 - 2669, n=3)
2454 Points ∼59% +19%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 4798, n=466)
1157 Points ∼28% -44%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
6137 Points ∼75%
HTC U12 Plus
7862 Points ∼96% +28%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
5244 Points ∼64% -15%
OnePlus 6
8228 Points ∼100% +34%
LG G7 ThinQ
8070 Points ∼98% +31%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
5308 Points ∼65% -14%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (6137 - 6413, n=3)
6261 Points ∼76% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=466)
2351 Points ∼29% -62%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
3110 Points ∼72%
HTC U12 Plus
4252 Points ∼99% +37%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3147 Points ∼73% +1%
OnePlus 6
4308 Points ∼100% +39%
LG G7 ThinQ
4257 Points ∼99% +37%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3338 Points ∼77% +7%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (3110 - 3302, n=3)
3232 Points ∼75% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=470)
1178 Points ∼27% -62%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
9059 Points ∼67%
HTC U12 Plus
12493 Points ∼93% +38%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
8572 Points ∼64% -5%
LG G7 ThinQ
13497 Points ∼100% +49%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
8310 Points ∼62% -8%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (6202 - 9059, n=3)
7160 Points ∼53% -21%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 14417, n=164)
4116 Points ∼30% -55%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
8874 Points ∼84%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
10558 Points ∼100% +19%
HTC U12 Plus
8812 Points ∼83% -1%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6792 Points ∼64% -23%
LG G7 ThinQ
9029 Points ∼86% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6744 Points ∼64% -24%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (8786 - 8963, n=3)
8874 Points ∼84% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (1099 - 11598, n=213)
4133 Points ∼39% -53%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
1698 Points ∼40%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
4263 Points ∼100% +151%
HTC U12 Plus
2429 Points ∼57% +43%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
1898 Points ∼45% +12%
LG G7 ThinQ
2448 Points ∼57% +44%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2028 Points ∼48% +19%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (1698 - 3776, n=3)
3054 Points ∼72% +80%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=214)
1218 Points ∼29% -28%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
2569 Points ∼75%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
2109 Points ∼61% -18%
HTC U12 Plus
3197 Points ∼93% +24%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2871 Points ∼84% +12%
OnePlus 6
3432 Points ∼100% +34%
LG G7 ThinQ
3255 Points ∼95% +27%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2346 Points ∼68% -9%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (2469 - 2569, n=3)
2508 Points ∼73% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (549 - 3669, n=319)
1572 Points ∼46% -39%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
3673 Points ∼70%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
3069 Points ∼59% -16%
HTC U12 Plus
3488 Points ∼67% -5%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2844 Points ∼55% -23%
OnePlus 6
5212 Points ∼100% +42%
LG G7 ThinQ
5006 Points ∼96% +36%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2661 Points ∼51% -28%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (3553 - 3673, n=3)
3603 Points ∼69% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (69 - 5220, n=319)
1103 Points ∼21% -70%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
3353 Points ∼72%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
2781 Points ∼60% -17%
HTC U12 Plus
3419 Points ∼73% +2%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2850 Points ∼61% -15%
OnePlus 6
4673 Points ∼100% +39%
LG G7 ThinQ
4471 Points ∼96% +33%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2584 Points ∼55% -23%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (3244 - 3353, n=3)
3284 Points ∼70% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (86 - 4734, n=327)
1054 Points ∼23% -69%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
2515 Points ∼73%
HTC U12 Plus
2774 Points ∼80% +10%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2896 Points ∼84% +15%
OnePlus 6
3452 Points ∼100% +37%
LG G7 ThinQ
3150 Points ∼91% +25%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2342 Points ∼68% -7%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (2496 - 2600, n=3)
2537 Points ∼73% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 3642, n=350)
1471 Points ∼43% -42%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
4826 Points ∼58%
HTC U12 Plus
5637 Points ∼68% +17%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3353 Points ∼41% -31%
OnePlus 6
8252 Points ∼100% +71%
LG G7 ThinQ
7633 Points ∼92% +58%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3928 Points ∼48% -19%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (4569 - 4826, n=3)
4677 Points ∼57% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (104 - 8312, n=350)
1499 Points ∼18% -69%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
4008 Points ∼64%
HTC U12 Plus
4585 Points ∼73% +14%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3239 Points ∼51% -19%
OnePlus 6
6304 Points ∼100% +57%
LG G7 ThinQ
5799 Points ∼92% +45%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3414 Points ∼54% -15%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (3895 - 4008, n=3)
3938 Points ∼62% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (127 - 6378, n=358)
1279 Points ∼20% -68%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
18756 Points ∼55%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
25641 Points ∼75% +37%
HTC U12 Plus
33810 Points ∼99% +80%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
22629 Points ∼66% +21%
OnePlus 6
34191 Points ∼100% +82%
LG G7 ThinQ
27817 Points ∼81% +48%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
22829 Points ∼67% +22%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (18756 - 26851, n=3)
23944 Points ∼70% +28%
Average of class Smartphone (7103 - 36762, n=505)
12408 Points ∼36% -34%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
36190 Points ∼32%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
113380 Points ∼100% +213%
HTC U12 Plus
81726 Points ∼72% +126%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
34008 Points ∼30% -6%
OnePlus 6
81269 Points ∼72% +125%
LG G7 ThinQ
80534 Points ∼71% +123%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
36807 Points ∼32% +2%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (36190 - 48433, n=3)
43744 Points ∼39% +21%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 160199, n=505)
16687 Points ∼15% -54%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
29994 Points ∼47%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
64405 Points ∼100% +115%
HTC U12 Plus
62152 Points ∼97% +107%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
30590 Points ∼47% +2%
OnePlus 6
62241 Points ∼97% +108%
LG G7 ThinQ
56669 Points ∼88% +89%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
32399 Points ∼50% +8%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (29994 - 41093, n=3)
36944 Points ∼57% +23%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=506)
14150 Points ∼22% -53%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
146 fps ∼87%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
166.9 fps ∼100% +14%
HTC U12 Plus
98 fps ∼59% -33%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
112 fps ∼67% -23%
OnePlus 6
150 fps ∼90% +3%
LG G7 ThinQ
144 fps ∼86% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
105 fps ∼63% -28%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (144 - 147, n=3)
146 fps ∼87% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=529)
29.2 fps ∼17% -80%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
60 fps ∼50%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
119.4 fps ∼100% +99%
HTC U12 Plus
59 fps ∼49% -2%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
60 fps ∼50% 0%
OnePlus 6
60 fps ∼50% 0%
LG G7 ThinQ
60 fps ∼50% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
59 fps ∼49% -2%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (60 - 60, n=3)
60 fps ∼50% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=532)
24.1 fps ∼20% -60%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
76 fps ∼100%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
71 fps ∼93% -7%
HTC U12 Plus
72 fps ∼95% -5%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
54 fps ∼71% -29%
OnePlus 6
66 fps ∼87% -13%
LG G7 ThinQ
63 fps ∼83% -17%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
51 fps ∼67% -33%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (73 - 76, n=3)
74.3 fps ∼98% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 115, n=452)
15.5 fps ∼20% -80%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
47 fps ∼59%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
79.2 fps ∼100% +69%
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼44% -26%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
56 fps ∼71% +19%
OnePlus 6
58 fps ∼73% +23%
LG G7 ThinQ
41 fps ∼52% -13%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
38 fps ∼48% -19%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (45 - 47, n=3)
45.7 fps ∼58% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (4.4 - 115, n=454)
15.2 fps ∼19% -68%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
45 fps ∼80%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
49 fps ∼88% +9%
HTC U12 Plus
39 fps ∼70% -13%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
37 fps ∼66% -18%
OnePlus 6
56 fps ∼100% +24%
LG G7 ThinQ
51 fps ∼91% +13%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
42 fps ∼75% -7%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (45 - 47, n=3)
46 fps ∼82% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (1.3 - 69.3, n=316)
13.3 fps ∼24% -70%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
25 fps ∼44%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
56.4 fps ∼100% +126%
HTC U12 Plus
31 fps ∼55% +24%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
38 fps ∼67% +52%
OnePlus 6
54 fps ∼96% +116%
LG G7 ThinQ
26 fps ∼46% +4%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
23 fps ∼41% -8%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (24 - 25, n=3)
24.3 fps ∼43% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (2.6 - 110, n=318)
13.2 fps ∼23% -47%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
28 fps ∼80%
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼100% +25%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
21 fps ∼60% -25%
OnePlus 6
35 fps ∼100% +25%
LG G7 ThinQ
33 fps ∼94% +18%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
25 fps ∼71% -11%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (28 - 28, n=3)
28 fps ∼80% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (0.72 - 40, n=248)
9.16 fps ∼26% -67%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
15 fps ∼47%
HTC U12 Plus
20 fps ∼63% +33%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
22 fps ∼69% +47%
OnePlus 6
32 fps ∼100% +113%
LG G7 ThinQ
17 fps ∼53% +13%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
13 fps ∼41% -13%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (14 - 15, n=3)
14.3 fps ∼45% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (1.1 - 50, n=251)
8.35 fps ∼26% -44%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
1481 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
788 Points ∼53% -47%
OnePlus 6
1169 Points ∼79% -21%
LG G7 ThinQ
1176 Points ∼79% -21%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
1295 Points ∼87% -13%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (1436 - 1481, n=3)
1466 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (36.3 - 2606, n=68)
669 Points ∼45% -55%
Basemark GPU
1920x1080 OpenGL Medium Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
29.4 fps ∼83%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
14.3 fps ∼41% -51%
OnePlus 6
35.26 fps ∼100% +20%
LG G7 ThinQ
30.49 (min: 9.86, max: 49.99) fps ∼86% +4%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810
29.4 fps ∼83% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (1.45 - 35.3, n=14)
16 fps ∼45% -46%
Vulkan Medium Native (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
15.51 fps ∼59%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
5.45 fps ∼21% -65%
OnePlus 6
26.15 fps ∼100% +69%
LG G7 ThinQ
17.42 (min: 10.81, max: 36.84) fps ∼67% +12%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810
15.5 fps ∼59% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (5.06 - 26.2, n=11)
13.4 fps ∼51% -14%
1920x1080 Vulkan Medium Offscreen (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
22.84 fps ∼81%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
5.9 fps ∼21% -74%
OnePlus 6
28.35 fps ∼100% +24%
LG G7 ThinQ
28.33 (min: 16.3, max: 60.18) fps ∼100% +24%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810
22.8 fps ∼80% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (5.45 - 28.4, n=9)
18.6 fps ∼66% -19%
VRMark - Amber Room (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
2327 Score ∼49%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
1704 Score ∼36% -27%
OnePlus 6
4710 Score ∼100% +102%
LG G7 ThinQ
4598 Score ∼98% +98%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810
2327 Score ∼49% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (119 - 4731, n=13)
2040 Score ∼43% -12%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
3D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
4747 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
1501 Points ∼32% -68%
OnePlus 6
4195 Points ∼88% -12%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (4747 - 4777, n=2)
4762 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (373 - 4777, n=208)
1137 Points ∼24% -76%
2D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
8985 Points ∼83%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
8289 Points ∼77% -8%
OnePlus 6
10791 Points ∼100% +20%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (8620 - 8985, n=2)
8803 Points ∼82% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (894 - 16241, n=209)
3349 Points ∼31% -63%
Memory Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
73460 Points ∼0%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
27570800 Points ∼100% +37432%
OnePlus 6
75243 Points ∼0% +2%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (69910 - 73460, n=2)
71685 Points ∼0% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (678 - 31742300, n=209)
536494 Points ∼2% +630%
Disk Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
9916 Points ∼10%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
99202 Points ∼100% +900%
OnePlus 6
12497 Points ∼13% +26%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (9916 - 10239, n=2)
10078 Points ∼10% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (1033 - 153275, n=208)
20945 Points ∼21% +111%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
121702 Points ∼27%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
456258 Points ∼100% +275%
OnePlus 6
245734 Points ∼54% +102%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (121702 - 186922, n=2)
154312 Points ∼34% +27%
Average of class Smartphone (1140 - 486197, n=209)
57144 Points ∼13% -53%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
14546 Points ∼95%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
8303 Points ∼54% -43%
OnePlus 6
15318 Points ∼100% +5%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (14546 - 14762, n=2)
14654 Points ∼96% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (2016 - 15318, n=210)
4021 Points ∼26% -72%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Samsung Exynos 9810, ARM Mali-G72 MP18, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Apple iPhone 8 Plus Apple A11 Bionic, Apple A11 Bionic GPU, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
 
HTC U12 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei Mate 10 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
OnePlus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
LG G7 ThinQ Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa, ARM Mali-G71 MP20, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash


JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
223.5 Points ∼100% +255%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
88.081 Points ∼39% +40%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
87.695 Points ∼39% +39%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
87.036 Points ∼39% +38%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
69.57 Points ∼31% +10%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (63 - 69.6, n=3)
66.8 Points ∼30% +6%
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Chrome 68)
63.012 Points ∼28%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Chrome 61)
56.63 Points ∼25% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=387)
35.1 Points ∼16% -44%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
35209 Points ∼100% +140%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
17026 Points ∼48% +16%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
16720 Points ∼47% +14%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
16285 Points ∼46% +11%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (14663 - 15233, n=3)
14885 Points ∼42% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Chrome 68)
14663 Points ∼42%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
13265 Points ∼38% -10%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Chrome 61)
10406 Points ∼30% -29%
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=523)
5237 Points ∼15% -64%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=542)
11780 ms * ∼100% -335%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Chrome 61)
3590.6 ms * ∼30% -32%
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Chrome 68)
2710 ms * ∼23%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
2484.1 ms * ∼21% +8%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
2445 ms * ∼21% +10%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
2409.6 ms * ∼20% +11%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (2060 - 2710, n=3)
2283 ms * ∼19% +16%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
1876.8 ms * ∼16% +31%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
719.7 ms * ∼6% +73%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
362 Points ∼100% +79%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
257 Points ∼71% +27%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
252 Points ∼70% +25%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
252 Points ∼70% +25%
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Chrome 68)
202 Points ∼56%
Average Samsung Exynos 9810 (163 - 202, n=3)
176 Points ∼49% -13%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Samsung Browser 6.0)
159 Points ∼44% -21%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Chrome 61)
158 Points ∼44% -22%
Average of class Smartphone (27 - 362, n=260)
104 Points ∼29% -49%

* ... smaller is better

Our model of the Galaxy Note 9 comes with 128 GB of UFS 2.1 memory. Here, the Samsung smartphone meets the requirements for a high-end device, because it provides very good read and write speeds. When compared to the predecessor not much has changed, except for the random access speeds, which have improved significantly. 

We use our reference-grade MicroSD card Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 to test the performance of the MicroSD card reader. Here, the Note 9 outperforms its predecessor, but not by a huge margin.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9HTC U12 PlusHuawei Mate 10 ProOnePlus 6LG G7 ThinQSamsung Galaxy Note 8Average 128 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
63%
170%
-0%
-5%
-10%
61%
-49%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
66.7 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
63.64 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-5%
62.67 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-6%
59.27 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-11%
61 (51.3 - 66.7, n=3)
-9%
44.2 (3.4 - 87.1, n=294)
-34%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
77 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
84.32 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
10%
84.72 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
10%
67.87 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-12%
77.8 (75.4 - 81, n=3)
1%
62.6 (8.2 - 96.5, n=294)
-19%
Random Write 4KB
21
104.24
396%
164.45
683%
21.8
4%
23.26
11%
14.55
-31%
98.4 (20 - 164, n=12)
369%
14.1 (0.14 - 164, n=575)
-33%
Random Read 4KB
134
118.14
-12%
132.27
-1%
137
2%
110.46
-18%
122.48
-9%
139 (132 - 147, n=12)
4%
35.7 (1.59 - 173, n=575)
-73%
Sequential Write 256KB
196
195.82
0%
208.72
6%
201.4
3%
176.45
-10%
205.85
5%
202 (192 - 212, n=12)
3%
74.7 (2.99 - 228, n=575)
-62%
Sequential Read 256KB
805
709.11
-12%
732.46
-9%
725.6
-10%
695.15
-14%
796.96
-1%
764 (692 - 832, n=12)
-5%
218 (12.1 - 895, n=575)
-73%

Games - 60 FPS gaming on the Note 9

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can run video games at 60 FPS, as long as they support it. Here, we would like to point out “Arena of Valor”. Except for one big drop in the frame rate, the game ran smoothly all of the time. “PUBG Mobile”, on the other hand, does not run smoothly on high settings. It may be due to the fact that “PUBG Mobile” is still in a beta state. “Asphalt 9” ran perfectly well on low settings, but occasionally stuttered with the high settings. 

It should be noted that we benchmarked all of our games at the native screen resolution. If you lower the resolution, you will get a much smoother gaming experience. Moreover, the reduction in resolution does not seem as noticeable on a small smartphone screen as it would on a large gaming PC monitor.

We use “Temple Run” to see how well the touchscreen and the motion sensor work. The answer: They work perfectly.

Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
Asphalt 9
Asphalt 9
PUBG Mobile
PUBG Mobile
Asphalt 9: Legends
 SettingsValue
 High Quality30 fps
 Standard / low30 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!
PUBG Mobile
 SettingsValue
 Smooth40 fps
 HD40 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!
Arena of Valor
 SettingsValue
 min60 fps
 high HD60 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!

Emissions - Samsung smartphone with thermal throttling and stereo speakers

Temperature

GFXBench battery test
GFXBench battery test

If you use the Note 9 lightly, then it will get only minimally hot: We measured a maximum temperature of 34.2 °C (~94 °F) during idle operation. Under sustained load, the temperatures climb quite high and reach up to 47 °C (~117 °F). This is an uncomfortable temperature.

Unfortunately, the Note 9 is unable to maintain its full performance under continuous load: In the GFXBench battery test, in which the same sequence is run 30 times in a row, the Note 9 throttles down by about 30% after a few benchmark runs. It is likely that the device throttles down to prevent the SoC from overheating. 

Max. Load
 40.3 °C
105 F
41.2 °C
106 F
39.9 °C
104 F
 
 41.5 °C
107 F
43.2 °C
110 F
41.2 °C
106 F
 
 42.6 °C
109 F
45.9 °C
115 F
41.5 °C
107 F
 
Maximum: 45.9 °C = 115 F
Average: 41.9 °C = 107 F
37.1 °C
99 F
42.2 °C
108 F
40.3 °C
105 F
37.8 °C
100 F
43 °C
109 F
40.6 °C
105 F
39.1 °C
102 F
47 °C
117 F
41.9 °C
107 F
Maximum: 47 °C = 117 F
Average: 41 °C = 106 F
Power Supply (max.)  43.8 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 22.3 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-260

Speakers

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

There is an improvement in terms of sound quality: The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 uses the ear speaker in combination with the bottom speaker to produce a stereo effect. The speakers were tuned by the Austrian audio company AKG. Moreover, thanks to support for Dolby Atmos, the Note 9 can produce virtual surround sound. An equalizer is also included. Right out of the box, the Note 9 sounds very good. However, it is not as loud as some other smartphones. The mids and the highs are especially well reproduced. The speakers do not sound tinny and the highs never sound unpleasant. 

If you connect a headset to the smartphone, then you will get more options: Here, you can simulate the sound of a valve amplifier or the echo of a concert hall. With the help of Sound Adapt, you can adjust the sound in accordance with your hearing abilities with the help of a hearing test. In any case, the sound quality you get with the headphones is very good. Bluetooth also provides a very good sound reproduction.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.341.52525.6313125.733.24027.429.2503738.36323.323.68021.424.110021.725.112519.933.216017.439.9200174725016.450.131514.551.340014.256.750014.156.963012.655.580012.558.510001259.9125011.860.9160011.662.4200011.463.9250011.358.8315011.456.1400011.159.7500011.258630011.356.7800011.259.41000011.358.41250011.355.71600011.350.9SPL54.565.56767.167.365.824.171.6N9.618.919.520.221.617.80.629median 11.8Samsung Galaxy Note 9median 56.7Delta1.74.531.641.625.437.825.337.432.933.833.63831.632.328.432.32738.220.843.82249.321.351.820.852.121.253.619.454.219.562.417.765.417.965.117.866.317.365.817.468.416.767.717.267.818.270.417.971.317.669.817.77117.871.317.965.318.162.818.257.63080.11.348.9median 17.9Apple iPhone 8 Plusmedian 65.31.37.3hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (71.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.9% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (13.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 0% of all tested devices in this class were better, 0% similar, 100% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 10% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 88% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple iPhone 8 Plus audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 16% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 80% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management - Great battery life thanks to a big battery

Energy Consumption

In general, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 draws a little bit more power than its predecessor. We use the highest possible screen resolution in this test as well. If you reduce the display resolution, then you will get a lower power draw at the expense of some clarity. However, the energy consumption of the Note 9 is on a normal level for this kind of device, anyway. In fact, the maximum power draw of 7.6 watts is actually quite low. That being said, the maximum power consumption when idle, but with the brightness maxed out and the communications modules engaged, peaks at 3.7 watts. All in all, a mixed result.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
4000 mAh
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
2691 mAh
HTC U12 Plus
3500 mAh
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
4000 mAh
OnePlus 6
3300 mAh
LG G7 ThinQ
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3300 mAh
Average Samsung Exynos 9810
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
6%
-3%
25%
29%
3%
30%
26%
21%
Idle Minimum *
0.9
0.72
20%
0.77
14%
0.85
6%
0.6
33%
1.16
-29%
0.73
19%
0.743 (0.65 - 0.9, n=3)
17%
0.881 (0.2 - 3.4, n=603)
2%
Idle Average *
1.9
2.45
-29%
2.18
-15%
1.15
39%
1
47%
1.98
-4%
1.44
24%
1.22 (0.81 - 1.9, n=3)
36%
1.718 (0.6 - 6.2, n=602)
10%
Idle Maximum *
3.7
2.52
32%
2.21
40%
1.23
67%
1.6
57%
2.07
44%
1.53
59%
1.903 (0.92 - 3.7, n=3)
49%
1.987 (0.74 - 6.6, n=603)
46%
Load Average *
5.3
3.84
28%
6.25
-18%
4.12
22%
4.3
19%
4.51
15%
4.56
14%
4.88 (4.58 - 5.3, n=3)
8%
4.02 (0.8 - 10.8, n=597)
24%
Load Maximum *
7.6
9.02
-19%
10.16
-34%
8.42
-11%
8.6
-13%
8.3
-9%
5.09
33%
5.97 (5.16 - 7.6, n=3)
21%
5.68 (1.2 - 14.2, n=597)
25%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Note 9 with its new 4000-mAh battery does very well in our Wi-Fi test: Here, it lasts for 13 hours, which is significantly longer than the predecessor. Again, if you lower the screen resolution you will get longer battery life. After the battery fiasco that Samsung had with the Note 7 and the low-capacity battery in the Note 8, it is nice to see that the South Korean giant once again trusts itself enough to put a large-capacity battery into its flagship phablet. This is the kind of battery that a device like this really deserves.

The included Quick Charge charger take less then 2 hours to recharge the battery. Thanks to the glass back, the smartphone also supports Qi wireless charging and Powermat. 

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
28h 07min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
13h 14min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
14h 56min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 54min
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
4000 mAh
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
2691 mAh
HTC U12 Plus
3500 mAh
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
4000 mAh
OnePlus 6
3300 mAh
LG G7 ThinQ
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3300 mAh
Battery Runtime
-13%
-33%
6%
-10%
-13%
-33%
Reader / Idle
1687
2085
24%
1452
-14%
1744
3%
1806
7%
1662
-1%
1134
-33%
H.264
896
733
-18%
464
-48%
929
4%
791
-12%
908
1%
662
-26%
WiFi v1.3
794
657
-17%
507
-36%
818
3%
762
-4%
591
-26%
474
-40%
Load
354
211
-40%
230
-35%
398
12%
246
-31%
260
-27%
246
-31%

Verdict – For some users, the Galaxy Note 9 does not have much in the way of competition

In review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Review device courtesy of Samsung Germany
In review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Review device courtesy of Samsung Germany

Samsung once again delivers the business smartphone of the year, nothing less is to be expected. Even the owners of the Note 8 have a lot to gain by switching to the Note 9. However, this does not have a lot to do with the S Pen: The new remote control functionality is neat, but not revolutionary. What is more important is that the Galaxy Note 9 has a significantly bigger battery than the predecessor, which can last for several days on a single charge.

There are also drawbacks such as throttling under sustained load and all the preinstalled bloatware. Those who want to use the device without a protective case will often have the smartphone completely covered with fingerprints.

Other than that, nothing much has changed when compared to the predecessor: The camera offers a few new features, there is an optional version with an extreme amount of storage space, and the screen is marginally bigger. And talking about the screen: Even though its color reproduction is not optimal straight out of the box, the color accuracy can be improved significantly through manual calibration. Moreover, the display covers the sRGB color space and the DCI-P3 color space completely and the AdobeRGB color space partially. All in all, the Note 9 is a dream come true for those who need a color-accurate display.

With the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung delivers a great business phablet again – this time with a big battery. 

Anyhow, what can be improved in such a good smartphone: The case is still extremely rigid, LTE is fast, there are many ways to unlock the device, plus there is also the S Pen, which currently has no rivals on the market.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2018-08-26 (Update: 2018-09- 1)