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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro - Everything You Need To Know!

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro – Everything You Need To Know!

Xiaomi just launched the Redmi Note 8 Pro, offering 64 MP photography at ridiculous price points!

Here is EVERYTHING you need to know about the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, including its key features, price and availability!

 

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Revealed!

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Lazada | Shopee) is more than just the Redmi Note 8 with a 64 MP camera. In fact, it is built upon the MediaTek Helio G90T mobile platform that is optimised for mobile gaming!

In this video, Allen An, Xiaomi Country Manager of Malaysia and Singapore, explains what the Redmi Note 8 Pro offers!

More Premium Design

Despite the very similar names, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Lazada | Shopee) is quite different from the Redmi Note 8. Not only does it boast a more premium curved design, it come with these features :

  • a larger 6.53-inch Dot Drop display with a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, and 84% NTSC gamut
  • 6 GB LPDDR4x memory and 64 GB / 128 GB storage options
  • 20 MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture
  • 64 MP Samsung ISOCELL GW1 camera
  • 4,500 mAh lithium-ion battery

Gaming-Centric MediaTek Helio G90T

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Lazada | Shopee) uses the MediaTek Helio G90T, which is a 12 nm gaming-centric mobile platform.

It has two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores running at 2.05 GHz, and six low-power Cortex-A55 cores running at 2.0 GHz. And it comes with the Mali-G76 GPU running at 800 MHz.

64 MP Samsung GW1 Camera

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Lazada | Shopee) is the world’s first smartphone to feature a 64 MP main camera built around the Samsung GW1 sensor, paired with a 2 MP depth sensor.

In addition, it comes with two additional cameras like the Redmi Note 8 :

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  • a new 8 MP wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture
  • a new 2 MP macro camera with f/2.4 lens

In the front, it sports a higher-resolution 20 MP camera with a bright f/2.0 aperture.

Faster Charging Larger Battery

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Lazada | Shopee) comes with a larger 4,500 mAh battery.

Like the Redmi Note 8, it supports 18 watt fast charging. But the good news is – it comes with a 18 watt fast charger.

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 vs Redmi Note 8 Pro Comparison

Specifications Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Display 6.3-inch Dot Drop display
– 1080 x 2340 pixels (409 ppi)
– 84% NTSC, 1500:1 contrast ratio
6.53-inch Dot Drop display
– 1080 x 2340 pixels (395 ppi)
– 84% NTSC, 1500:1 contrast ratio
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front + back)
IP Rating NA
Operating System Android 9 Pie
System Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 MediaTek Helio G90T
CPU 4 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 Gold cores (2.0 GHz)
4 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 Silver cores (1.8 GHz)
2 x ARM Cortex-A76 cores (2.05 GHz)
6 x ARM Cortex-A55 cores (2.0 GHz)
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 610 ARM Mali-G76 (800 MHz)
RAM 3 GB / 4 GB LPDDR4x 6 GB LPDDR4x
Storage 32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB storage 64 GB / 128 GB UFS 2.1 storage
Front Camera 13 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture 20 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture
Rear Cameras 48 MP Samsung GM1 camera with f/1.79 aperture
8 MP wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture
2 MP macro camera with f/2.4 lens
2 MP depth sensor with f/2.4 lens
64 MP Samsung GW1 camera with f/1.89 aperture
8 MP wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture
2 MP macro camera with f/2.4 lens
2 MP depth sensor with f/2.4 lens
Dual SIM Capability Dual SIM, dual active capable
Connectivity 4G : LTE Cat 13 UL, Cat 13 DL
Wi-Fi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth : BT 5.0
USB : USB 2.0 Type C
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, Rear-Mounted
Other Sensors Proximity, Ambient Light, Acceleratometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
NFC No Yes
Battery 4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery 4,500 mAh lithium-ion battery
Charger 18 W fast charging (maximum)
10 W fast charger in box
18 W fast charging (maximum)
18 W fast charger in box
Dimensions 75.3 mm wide
158.3 mm tall
8.35 mm thick
76.4 mm wide
161.35 mm tall
8.79 mm thick
Weight 190 g 200 g

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Price + Availability

There are three Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro models :

Both models will be available for sale starting 12 October 2019, with three colour options – Forest Green, Mineral Grey and Pearl White.

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro Pre-Order Deals

Xiaomi is offering these deals for the pre-order period from 8 to 11 October 2019 :

You can grab these pre-order deals here – Lazada | Shopee

 

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 – Everything You Need To Know!

Xiaomi just launched the Redmi Note 8, offering 48 MP photography at ridiculous price points!

Here is EVERYTHING you need to know about the new Xiaomi Redmi Note 8, including its key features, price and availability!

 

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Revealed!

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Lazada | Shopee) builds upon the Redmi Note 7 that was launched just 6.5 months ago, offering a faster and more efficient Snapdragon 665 mobile platform and expanded photographic capabilities.

Join Allen An, Xiaomi Country Manager of Malaysia and Singapore, for his presentation on what’s new!

Same Key Features

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Lazada | Shopee) retains many of the Redmi Note 7‘s key features :

  • a large 6.3-inch Dot Drop display with a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, and 84% NTSC gamut
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection in both front and rear aspects
  • 3 GB / 4 GB LPDDR4x memory and 32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB storage options
  • 13 MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture
  • 48 MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 camera
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • 4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery

Faster + More Efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 AIE

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Lazada | Shopee) replaces the old 14 nm Snapdragon 660 AIE platform, with a new 11 nm Snapdragon 665 AIE platform.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 actually has a slightly slower CPU, but makes up for it with a much faster Adreno 610 GPU.

More importantly, it is built on the smaller 11 nm process technology, which reduces its power consumption and thermal output.

Expanded Photographic Capabilities

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 first introduced a 48 MP main camera built around the Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 sensor, paired with a 5 MP depth sensor.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Lazada | Shopee) uses the same 48 MP Samsung GM1 camera, but pairs it with a 2 MP depth sensor instead while offering expanded photographic capabilities through two additional cameras :

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  • a new 8 MP wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture
  • a new 2 MP macro camera with f/2.4 lens

The Redmi Note 8 Has Faster Charging… Well, Not Quite

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Lazada | Shopee) supports 18 watt fast charging. However, it only ships with a 10 watt fast charger.

If you wish to make full use of its faster charging capability, you will need to purchase a separate 18 watt fast charger.

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 vs Redmi Note 7 Comparison

Specifications Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
Display 6.3-inch Dot Drop display
– 1080 x 2340 pixels (409 ppi)
– 84% NTSC, 1500:1 contrast ratio
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front + back)
IP Rating NA
Operating System Android 9 Pie
System Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
CPU 4 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 Gold cores (2.0 GHz)
4 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 Silver cores (1.8 GHz)
4 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 Gold cores (2.2 GHz)
4 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 Silver cores (1.8 GHz)
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 610 Qualcomm Adreno 512
RAM 3 GB / 4 GB LPDDR4x
Storage 32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB storage
microSD hybrid slot (up to 512 GB)
Front Camera 13 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture 13 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture
Rear Cameras 48 MP Samsung GM1 camera with f/1.79 aperture
8 MP wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture
2 MP macro camera with f/2.4 lens
2 MP depth sensor with f/2.4 lens
48 MP Samsung GM1 camera with f/1.8 aperture
5 MP depth sensor with f/2.4 lens
Dual SIM Capability Dual SIM, dual active capable
Connectivity 4G : LTE Cat 13 UL, Cat 13 DL
Wi-Fi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth : BT 5.0
USB : USB 2.0 Type C
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, Rear-Mounted
Other Sensors Proximity, Ambient Light, Acceleratometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
NFC No
Battery 4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
Charger 18 W fast charging (maximum)
10 W fast charger in box
10 W fast charging (maximum)
10 W fast charger in box
Dimensions 75.3 mm wide
158.3 mm tall
8.35 mm thick
75.21 mm wide
159.21 mm tall
8.1 mm thick
Weight 190 g 186 g

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Price + Availability

Like they did with the Redmi Note 7, Xiaomi will offer three Redmi Note 8 models :

  • 3 GB RAM + 32 GB storage : RM 599 / ~US$ 143 / ~£117 / ~A$212
  • 4 GB RAM + 64 GB storage : RM 799 / ~US$ 191 / ~£156 / ~A$282
  • 4 GB RAM + 128 GB storage : RM 899 / ~US$ 214 / ~£176 / ~A$318

They will make the 4 GB + 64 GB model available for sale starting 12 October 2019, while the other two models will start selling on 18 October 2019.

There are three colour options – Space Black, Neptune Blue and Moonlight White.

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pre-Order Deal

If you pre-order the 4 GB + 64 GB model from 8 to 11 October 2019, you will receive a FREE pair of Mi True Wireless Earbuds Basic worth RM 99 / ~US$24 / ~£19 / ~A$35.

You can grab this pre-order offer here – Lazada | Shopee

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (SM-T835) Tablet Preview

The new Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is here! This is not just an upgrade of last year’s Galaxy Tab S3, but a larger model Here are our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 that arrived in our lab last week!

 

How Does The Galaxy Tab S4 Compare To The Galaxy Tab S3?

Here’s a comparison of their key specifications :

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Tab S4 (2018)Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (2017)
Display10.5-inch Super AMOLED display
- 1600 x 2560 pixels (287 ppi)
- Corning Gorilla Glass protection
9.7-inch Super AMOLED display
- 1536 x 2048 pixels (264 ppi)
- Corning Gorilla Glass protection
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 7.0 Nougat
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 835Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Processor4 x Qualcomm Kryo 280 cores (2.35 GHz)
4 x Qualcomm Kyro 280 cores (1.9 GHz)
2 x Qualcomm Kyro cores (2.15 GHz)
2 x Qualcomm Kyro cores (1.6 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 540Qualcomm Adreno 530
RAM4 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage64 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (up to 400 GB)
32 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera8 MP camera5 MP sensor with f/2.2 lens
Rear Camera13 MP camera with single LED flash
- Up to 4K video recording @ 30 fps
13 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
- Up to 4K video recording @ 30 fps
Network4G LTE
LTE Cat16 DL : 1 Gbps
LTE Cat13 UL : 150 Mbps
4G LTE
LTE Cat16 DL : 600 Mbps
LTE Cat13 UL : 150 Mbps
ConnectivityWiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 / 5 GHz)
Bluetooth v5.0
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 / 5 GHz)
Bluetooth v4.1
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C
GPS SupportGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDouGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou
Iris ScannerYesNo
Fingerprint SensorNoYes
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Proximity SensorAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor
NFCNoNo
S PenIncluded
Pen tip : 0.7 mm
Pressure levels : 4,096
Included
Pen tip : 0.7 mm
Pressure levels : 4,096
Battery7,300 mAh lithium-ion battery6,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
Dimensions164.3 mm wide
249.3 mm tall
7.1 mm thick
169.0 mm wide
237.3 mm tall
6.0 mm thick
Weight483 g434 g
Available ColoursBlack, GreyBlack, Grey

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Price + Availability

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is available in two colour options – Black and Grey. They are both available starting 21 September 2018. with these recommended retail prices :

 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (SM-T835) Tablet Up Close!

Last year’s Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 was a 9.7-inch phablet, but with the Galaxy Tab S4, Samsung decided to go bigger with a 10.5-inch display. Yet, it’s barely larger than the Tab S3. In fact, it is slightly narrower.

How is that possible? They reduced the bezel size, and removed the physical and capacitive buttons. This allowed Samsung to expand the display size by 8% while only increasing the form factor by 2%.

Of course, without the physical home button, the Galaxy Tab S3 lost its fingerprint sensor. A rear-mounted fingerprint sensor would be awkward in such a large tablet. So they replaced it with an iris scanner

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App) also got a boost in performance with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. It is not only faster, it is 35% smaller, and uses 25% less power.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Key Features

 

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Better Performance + More Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App) runs on the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC.

It has four  Qualcomm Kryo 280 cores running at 2.35 GHz, and another four Kyro 280 cores running at 1.9 GHz. It also has a faster Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU.

Like last year’s Galaxy Tab S3, it has 4 GB of RAM. This time, they are using the faster LPDDR4x memory. They also doubled its storage capacity64 GB of internal flash storage. This addresses one of the weaknesses of the Tab S3 – lack of storage.

 

New S Pen Stylus

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App) comes with a redesigned S Pen with a glossy, rounded design. Samsung also removed the pocket clip, and replaced it with an odd metal fin to help you identify where the button is located.

Despite its new look, the new S Pen still has the same 0.7 mm nib and support for 4,096 pressure levels. It is also electromagnetically-powered by close proximity to the Galaxy Tab S4’s display. So it will never run out of power.

In case you are wondering, no, it does not come with the new remote control function that is the hallmark of the Samsung Galaxy Note9‘s Bluetooth S Pen.

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The Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App) boasts a higher-resolution 8 MP Sony IMX320 sensor, up from the 5 MP shooter in the Galaxy Tab S3. It can take pictures with a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels, and record Full HD videos.

Samsung kept the rear camera resolution at 13 MP, which is really good enough. But they switched out the Sony IMX260 sensor for the Samsung S5K2L2 ISOCELL sensor, which is an improved version of the sensor used in the main camera of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphones.

Just like last year’s Galaxy Tab S3, this camera can record 4K videos at up to 30 frames per second, and supports electronic image stabilisation.

Next Page > More Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Features

 

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Improved Audio Capabilities

One of the key features of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is its quad speaker system tuned by AKG. That carries over in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App). But that’s not all.

This time, Samsung added support for Dolby Atmos. This allows the Galaxy Tab S4 to deliver a more realistic 3D audio soundscape using those four speakers. Incidentally, the Tab S3 is smart enough to detect when you rotate it and change the output accordingly.

 

SIM + microSD Tray

The SM-T835 is an LTE model, while a less common WiFi-only SM-T830 model is also available in some countries. The LTE model comes with a unique double-sided card tray – one side for a microSD card, and the other side for a nano SIM card.

It officially supports microSD cards of up to 400 GB in size, like the 400 GB SanDisk Ultra (Price Check), but could theoretically support higher capacity cards when they are launched.

 

Samsung DeX Built-In

This is a great new feature that was first introduced in the Samsung Galaxy Note9. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App) has Samsung DeX built-in. You won’t need to purchase a DeX station or a DeX pad. You just need a simple USB-C to HDMI adaptor. You don’t even have to use a Samsung-branded adaptor (looking at you and your MFi bullshit, Apple!)

Just hook up a monitor to the Galaxy Tab S4 using the HDMI adaptor, and you can use a mouse and keyboard to enjoy a desktop working experience. While using Samsung DeX, you can also use the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (US | UK | MY Web | MY App) as a very touch pad, a digitiser or a touch keyboard.

All in all – this is a very useful feature if you are always on the go, and yet would like to enjoy a desktop working experience.

 

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Use Samsung Super Slow-mo To Add Drama To Any Video!

One of the key features that the Samsung Galaxy Note9 brings to the table is Super Slow-mo. It automatically adds drama to even the most mundane activity, and brings out the action when it matters the most!

In this article, we will explain how the Samsung Super Slow-mo mode works, and show you some examples of how Super Slow-mo makes our videos better!

 

Samsung Super Slow-mo

Super Slow-mo is a new video recording capability first introduced in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. It allows you to record 720p video at an astounding 960 frames per second!

Here is a short video we created to showcase how easy it is to use Super Slow-mo to create really interesting and fun videos to share with your family and friends!

If that is not enough, you can check out the Super Slow-mo video we created using the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check).

These Super Slow-mo videos can be instantly edited, with a random selection from preloaded choices. Or you can use your own music / songs. You can also create a GIF from the recorded video, with three style of looping – reverse, forward or swing.

There are some caveats though – Super Slow-mo is limited to 0.4 seconds of recording and 12 seconds of playback for single Super Slow-mo shots. If you opt for the multi-shot mode, each Super Slow-mo segment in that video is limited to 0.2 seconds of recording and 6 seconds of playback.

If you are interested to know how they accomplished this, read on further…

 

How Is Samsung Super Slow-mo Possible?

Super Slow-mo is only made possible by a new Samsung ISOCELL image sensor, and the very fast Samsung Exynos 9810 (or Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US) SoC. Hence, it is currently only available in the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App), the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Samsung Galaxy S9+.

Samsung ISOCELL Fast Image Sensor

Samsung used the new ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 image sensor in the Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App). First introduced in the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, it is a 12 MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels for excellent low-light performance.

The Fast designation means it comes with Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It also boasts a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that allows high-speed capture of Full HD video.

The Dual Pixel technology is an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses the entire image sensor for autofocus, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

Flagship-Class Processor

When paired with the Samsung Exynos 9810, the new ISOCELL Fast image sensor is said to be fast enough to record slow-motion 1080p video at 960 fps / 4K video at 120 fps.

However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is not fast enough, so Samsung limited the Super Slow-mo capability to ensure a consistent experience worldwide.

So now you know why you are limited to 720p videos at 960 fps, and only for up to 0.4 seconds. Even so, the Super Slow-mo capability adds a new creative tool that was not available in many other flagship smartphones.

 

Where To Buy The Galaxy Note9

Here are some direct links to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note9 in Malaysia.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 with 128 GB storage : RM 3,699 (Web | App)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 with 512 GB storage : RM 4,599 (Web | App)

Here are some direct links to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note9 in the US.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, International Unlocked) : $849
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, US Unlocked) : $999.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, International Unlocked) : $1,214
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, US Unlocked) : $999.99

For more details, read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Note9 review!

 

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Review – Quietly Revolutionary!

We know just how eager everyone is to read about the new Samsung Galaxy Note9 smartphone. Is it the best Note Samsung ever made? Is it much better than the already impressive Galaxy Note8? Is it worth buying?

Here is our comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 smartphone. Let’s see if it’s an evolutionary upgrade, or a revolutionary device… and find out why it won our Editor’s Choice Award!

Updated @ 2018-09-10 : A major update of the review with many new photos and videos added. We also updated many aspects of the review, adding new details about the Galaxy Note9.

Originally posted @ 2018-08-24

 

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Colour Options

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) will come in FOUR colour options, but the Lavender Purple colour will be limited to certain countries, at least initially. The other colours are, from left to right : Midnight Black, Ocean Blue and Metallic Copper.

The Ocean Blue colour is the most interesting because it features an S Pen in a contrasting yellow colour.

 

Where To Buy The Galaxy Note9

Here are some direct links to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note9 in Malaysia.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 with 128 GB storage : RM 3,699 (Web | App)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 with 512 GB storage : RM 4,599 (Web | App)

Here are some direct links to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note9 in the US.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, International Unlocked) : $849
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, US Unlocked) : $999.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, International Unlocked) : $1,214
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, US Unlocked) : $999.99

 

Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy Note9

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) comes in a premium black box, which is virtually the same used for the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check).

Once you fully unbox it, you will find the following items :

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  • One Samsung Galaxy Note9 smartphone
  • One clear TPU bumper case
  • One set of Samsung Galaxy Note9 documents
  • One 15 W Samsung adaptive quick charger
  • One USB Type A to USB Type C data and power cable
  • One micro-USB to USB-C adaptor
  • One USB Type A to USB T Type C adaptor
  • One pair of AKG earphones with spare earbuds
  • One S Pen nib extractor with spare nibs
  • One SIM tray extractor pin

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Up Close + Key Features

 

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Up Close!

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) has the largest Infinity Display ever – a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. It is slightly wider, thicker and heavier than the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check), and comes with the dual camera system from the Galaxy S9+ (Price Check), albeit in a horizontal arrangement.

Just like in the Galaxy S9+ (Price Check), they shifted the fingerprint sensor into a central position. Otherwise, the new Galaxy Note9 looks deceptively similar to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check).

That has led quite a few pundits to call it a minor or evolutionary upgrade, rather than a distinctive device in its own right. Are they right? Let’s find out!

 

New Bluetooth S Pen

The new Bluetooth S Pen looks deceptively like the S Pen from before. In fact, it features the same basic design with a 0.7 mm tip and 4,096 pressure levels as the S Pen from the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) and the Samsung Galaxy Note FE (Price Check). But that’s where all similarity ends.

The new S Pen is a Bluetooth Low Energy device that lets you use the shutter button to remotely perform a variety of tasks. For example :

  • Hold the shutter button to open any app you wish. By default, it launches the Camera app.
  • When the camera is activated, press the shutter button once to take a picture, or twice to switch between the front and main cameras.
  • Press the shutter button once to go forward in an app or browser, or twice to go backwards.

Its Bluetooth capability also allows the Galaxy Note9 to sense when you forget your S Pen and warn you. This will greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the chance of losing your S Pen.

Samsung also introduced a new S Pen Signature Colour for the Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App). Every S Pen will now write in its signature colour when you are using the Screen Off Memo mode.

The only problem with the Signature Colour feature? Samsung has not updated its Samsung Notes app to include the ability to change its background to black – the colour of the Screen Off Memo mode. So currently, whatever you write in the Signature Colour will be quite hard to read in Samsung Notes. Samsung needs to address this quickly!

You don’t need to worry about powering it. Hidden inside is a tiny Seiko K8373 supercapacitor. The expensive supercapacitor is not only highly durable and withstands extreme temperatures, it recharges in a flash – just 40 seconds of charging will give you 30 minutes of use!

Photo Credit : iFixit

It is also simple to recharge – the new S Pen recharges automatically when it is docked. You can even check the power level, but you really don’t need to worry about running out because :

a) the supercapacitor only powers the remote control feature, and

b) the stylus itself is still powered electromagnetically by the Galaxy Note9, and will never run out of power!

For more secret features of the new Galaxy Note9 S Pen, read The 7 Secret Galaxy Note9 S Pen Features You Never Knew!

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4,000 mAh Battery

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) comes with a 4,000 mAh battery – 21% larger than the 3,300 mAh battery of the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check. Yet the Galaxy Note9 is just 0.2 mm thicker and 6 grams heavier.

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) naturally supports fast charging in both wired and wireless (WPC and PMA) modes. It continues to use the standard 15 watt Samsung fast adaptive charger, so expect a longer charging time for its beefier battery.

Later in this review, we will examine its battery life, and battery recharging speed…

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Camera Features

 

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) retains the same 8 MP front camera with the Samsung S5K3H1 sensor, and f/1.7 lens from the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability. It doesn’t come with an LED flash but uses screen flash for more even lighting.

At the back, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) inherits the awesome dual camera system from the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check) smartphone. It consists of a dual aperture camera, and a telephoto camera.

Unlike other dual camera systems, it works like two separate cameras that captures images simultaneously! This allows it to create pictures with amazing adjustable bokeh through its Live Focus feature, while giving you the Dual Capture option to capture photos from both cameras simultaneously!

The dual aperture camera uses the superb Samsung ISOCELL SAK2L3 image sensor, and has a large mechanical aperture that automatically switches between :

  • a large f/1.5 aperture, for incredible low-light performance and bokeh, or
  • the f/2.4 aperture for a greater depth of field.

The f/1.5 aperture is the widest aperture so far in a smartphone, offering just over ⅓ stop more light than the f/1.7 aperture of the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s camera and twice that of most flagship smartphone cameras. This translates into better low-light photography with less noise.

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The secondary camera has a smaller 12 MP sensor (without Dual Pixel capability) paired with a telephoto f/2.4 lens. This telephoto camera does not just give you a 2X optical zoom capability, it delivers the Samsung’s signature Live Focus and Dual Capture capabilities.

Best of all, you can switch between the two cameras in the midst of recording a video! This is an incredibly useful feature that is only available in two other smartphones – the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and  the Samsung Galaxy S9+.

And because both the wide and telephone cameras have OIS lenses, the video will be stabilised irrespective of which camera you choose to use at any time. This is why the

 

Samsung ISOCELL Fast Sensor

Samsung used the same ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor that was used in the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check). This is a 12 MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels for excellent low-light performance.

The Fast designation means it comes with Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It also boasts a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that allows high-speed captures of Full HD video.

The Dual Pixel technology is an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses many more autofocus pixels, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

 

Super Slow-mo

Like the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check), the Samsung Galaxy Note9 supports the Super Slow-mo feature, which allows you to record 720p video at 960 fps.

The Super Slow-mo videos can be instantly edited, with a random selection from preloaded choices. Or you can use your own music / songs. You can also create a GIF from the recorded video, with three style of looping – reverse, forward or swing.

The new ISOCELL Fast sensor, when paired with the Samsung Exynos 9810, is said to be fast enough to record slow-motion 1080p video at 960 fps / 4K video at 120 fps. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is not fast enough, so Samsung limited the Super Slow-mo capability to ensure a consistent experience worldwide.

There are other caveats too – Super Slow-mo is limited to 0.4 seconds of recording and 12 seconds of playback for single Super Slow-mo shots. If you opt for the multi-shot mode, each Super Slow-mo segment in that video is limited to 0.2 seconds of recording and 6 seconds of playback.

 

Built-In DeX Capability

Samsung DeX is a promising effort to deliver a desktop working experience using a smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 takes that one step further with its built-in DeX capability!

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) does not require a separate DeX Station or DeX Pad accessory. All it requires is a simple USB-C to HDMI adaptor or cable! It does not even require a Samsung-branded adaptor (looking at you and your MFi bullshit, Apple!) – ANY USB-C to HDMI adaptor or cable will do.

After you use the USB-C to HDMI adaptor or cable to connect the Galaxy Note9 to a TV or monitor, you just need to link a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to use it like a PC. Best of all – you can continue to use your Galaxy Note9 while Samsung DeX is running!

Next Page > More Samsung Galaxy Note9 Features

 

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More Powerful Processor

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) will come with a faster processor – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US, and their own Exynos 9810 SoC worldwide. They are both the fastest SoCs in the world, so you should feel a noticeable bump in performance.

 

More Memory + Storage!

Samsung first introduced 6 GB of RAM in the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). The Samsung Galaxy Note9 comes with that as the minimum, and offers 8 GB of LPDDR4 memory for higher capacity models. They also doubled the internal storage! Samsung offers the Galaxy Note9 in three variants :

  • 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage
  • 8 GB RAM + 256 GB storage
  • 8 GB RAM + 512 GB storage

 

Hybrid SIM + 512 GB microSD Card Tray

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (Price Check) has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability, and comes with a hybrid SIM tray. This gives you some flexibility – you can choose to use either a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time.

The microSD slot supports microSD cards of up to 512 GB in size, allowing you to obtain up to 1 TB of storage! Samsung will be announcing a new 512 GB microSD card to pair with the Galaxy Note9, but you can immediately purchase and use the following high-capacity microSD cards :

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New Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to a central location right beneath the main camera at the back. This is a much better location, especially if you are left-handed. But that’s not all.

Samsung also used a new touch fingerprint sensor. It is much easier and faster to register your fingerprint with this new sensor. This addresses a major criticism of the Galaxy S8 and Note8 smartphones.

The location of the fingerprint sensor under the horizontal layout of the dual-camera system means the bumper case has a T-shaped cut-out that helps to guide your finger to the fingerprint sensor. However, its close proximity to the rear camera means you will still have to regularly clean the camera lens to avoid blurry pictures.

 

Intelligent Scan

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) has a “new login method” called Intelligent Scan. This is not really a new feature, but a combination of the existing facial recognition and iris scanning capabilities.

In bright conditions, Intelligent Scan uses facial recognition to login. But when it gets too dark, the iris scanner kicks in. This allows for easier and faster logins in low light or super bright conditions.

Intelligent Scan addresses the key problem with the iris scanner – it doesn’t work in bright conditions. However, it is easier to fool than a point cloud facial recognition system like Apple Face ID, and future honor smartphones,

Intelligent Scan is a great convenience, especially if you need to log into the Galaxy Note9 while it’s attached to a car mount. But security-conscious users should stick to a password if possible, or rely on the iris scanner and fingerprint sensor.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Durability, Ergonomics, Setup, Available Memory + Storage

 

 

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IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy Note8, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at The Samsung IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, or reading in the bathtub. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Water may enter and damage the Galaxy Note9 if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – The Samsung IP68 Engineering Explained.

 

The Ergonomics

You would expect the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) to be a large phablet. After all, it has a large 6.4-inch display. Yet, it is about the same size as a 5.7-inch smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Note FE (Price Check).

That said, this is still a two-handed device, because of its height. If you prefer to use only one hand, you can turn on the One-handed mode option.

The Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display. The smudges are particularly obvious on the Ocean Blue and Midnight Black models. Perhaps that’s why Samsung threw in a clear TPU bumper case – it protects the Galaxy Note9 while keeping the shiny back smear-free.

 

Setting Up The Samsung Galaxy Note9

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) runs on Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5-7 minutes to finish the setup process.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) base model comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory. Those who hated the bloat in the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) will be glad to know that the Note9 has far less bloat.

Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 has 3.3 GB (55%) of memory available for use – significantly more than the 2.8 GB (37.5%) free memory of the Galaxy Note8.

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (Price Check) base model comes with 128 GB of internal flash storage, with 108.8 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 24,500 photos, or 13.25 hours of 1080p videos, or 5.25 hours of 4K videos.

If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 512 GB), for a total storage capacity of 1 TB!

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Camera Performance – Photos

 

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) uses the superb 12 MP Samsung ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the dual aperture camera. It is capable of automatically or manually switching between the f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4032 x 3024 pixels, and a file size of between 3 MB and 5 MB.

Here are 14 high-resolution unedited samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

The resolution and detail in the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s photos are incredible. You can see the intricate detail of the pepper seeds, the flower pollen, even the individual buds of the broccoli florets.

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It also did a great job of bringing out the colour of the subject matter. Every colour is accurately rendered and automatically “amped up” by AI algorithms. If you do not like the increased vividness though, you can turn off the Scene Optimiser feature.

The f/1.5 aperture naturally creates a very narrow depth of field, with a nicer bokeh effect. But if that’s not enough, you can use its Live Focus feature which allows you to create really awesome bokeh for the background.

No doubt, the Live Focus bokeh is artificially created, but the dual camera design allow for precise separation of the subject from the background. Live Focus also allows you to adjust the amount of bokeh for the background.

 

Awesome Samsung Galaxy Note9 Photo Samples From Taipei

One of the first things we did with the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) was to take it on a photo trip.

This time, we took it to Taipei, where we got a bunch of awesome Samsung Galaxy Note9 photo samples. Check it out!

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Camera Performance – Video Recording

 

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, Samsung still limits the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano (1080p)

In this video, you can see the amount of detail the sensor captures, even at just 1080p. You can also see how well its OIS capability worked, even when we switched between the main camera and the telephoto camera.

The audio quality is still a bit bright and lacks bass, but it’s still one of the better non-Hi-Res Audio recordings we have heard.

Video Recording Test #2 : Piano (4K)

The resolution at 4K is incredible. You can clearly read the small text on the sign under the piano! Samsung also solved the seeking issue we noted when we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check), which uses the same camera.

Video Recording Test #3 : Street Market (1080p)

The combination of OIS and EIS allowed the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) to deliver really good image stabilisation.

Video Recording Test #4 : Street Market (4K)

Its image stabilisation capabilities were not diminished with the higher resolution. Overall – very good OIS and EIS performance.

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Video Recording Test #5 : Night Dancing (1080p)

The singers on the platform are well-lit, but the dancers are not. Watch how well the Samsung Galaxy Note9 adapts to the changing lighting conditions. You wouldn’t think that this was a low-light condition.

Video Recording Test #6 : Night Dancing (4K)

The resolution is just amazing… and so was its control of the highlights. You can see right into the restaurant in the background even though it’s much brighter than the dancers in the foreground!

 

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Camera Performance – Low Light

We created a separate article looking at the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s camera performance in low-light conditions. Check it out!

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Performance, Battery Life  + Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 Honor 10 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S9+ Samsung Galaxy Note9
Performance Score
(Average)
7106 5617 5590 5557
Web Browsing 7295 5433 6037 5763
Video Editing 5159 4872 5332 5410
Writing 6732 5696 4713 5421
Photo Editing 12910 8563 6847 5898
Data Manipulation 5524 4329 5253 5316
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This Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) is powered by the same Exynos 9810 SoC used in the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check), so Its performance in work application was no different.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Galaxy Note9’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited Samsung Galaxy Note9 Samsung Galaxy S9+ Samsung Galaxy Note8 Honor 10
Gaming Score 42598 42489 32584 30560
Graphics 51199 49852 36927 34801
Physics 26825 28009 23083 21423
Graphics Test 1 330.2 fps 308.6 fps 185.5 fps 206.2 fps
Graphics Test 2 167.9 fps 167.0 fps 141.5 fps 119.5 fps
Physics Test 85.2 fps 88.9 fps 73.3 fps 68.0 fps
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What the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) lacked in work performance, it more than made up in gaming performance. Its ARM Mali-G72 MP18 graphics processor was 44% faster than the ARM Mali-G71 MP20 used in the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check).

The Samsung Galaxy Note9’s CPU cores also delivered 39% faster physics processing than those of the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy Note9’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note9 Samsung Galaxy S9+ Honor 10 Samsung Galaxy Note8
Battery Life 10 hours 15 mins 9 hours 5 mins 8 hours 56 mins 8 hours 50 mins
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Will you look at that! The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) delivered a battery life of over 10 hours. This is not just screen-on time. It’s running the Work 2.0 benchmark over, and over again, for over 10 hours!

The Galaxy Note9 lasted 70 minutes longer than the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Price Check), and 85 minutes longer than the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check)!

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 15 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 4,000 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) just under 107 minutes (1 hour 47 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. That is a battery life : recharging ratio of 5.8 : 1 – a good ratio. A rule of thumb – for one hour of battery life, charge it for 10.5 minutes.

The fastest recharging happened up to the 85% level. This took just 72 minutes. Then the recharging speed slowed down, and it took a further 35 minutes to top up the remaining 15%.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy Note9 Verdict & Award, Price, Availability + Specifications

 

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Our Verdict & Award

In our review of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check), we pointed out that it was in a class of its own. This remains true with the new Samsung Galaxy Note9. Nothing else in the world comes close to it.

So the question really isn’t whether the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) is the best Note ever, but whether it is an evolutionary upgrade, or a revolutionary device in its own right. The answer – it is both. Let us summarise why.

Evolutionary Improvements

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  • Faster CPU and GPU
  • Doubling of storage capacity
  • Improved fingerprint sensor
  • Larger battery capacity

Revolutionary Features

  • Dual Aperture Camera
  • Bluetooth S Pen with remote control
  • Supercapacitor in the S Pen
  • Built-in Samsung DeX capability

Many pundits predicted an evolutionary device. Yet Samsung continued to push the envelope, delivering several revolutionary features. Perhaps there is much to be said for their strategy of focusing on making their core features better, Instead of resorting to gimmicks like display notches and pop-up cameras,

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) is, without doubt, a magnificent piece of smartphone technology. It’s unbelievable how much technology Samsung packed into such a compact device. We would like to congratulate Samsung for a work well done, and award the Galaxy Note9 our Editor’s Choice Award!

 

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Price + Availability

Here are the Samsung Galaxy Note9 (US | MY Web | MY App) prices in the UK and Malaysia. Note that the UK price includes the VAT of 20%.

  • 6 GB + 128 GB : £899 / $999.99 / RM 3,699
  • 8 GB + 256 GB : £999
  • 8 GB + 512 GB : £1,099 / $1,249.99 / RM 4,599

The Galaxy Note9 is available worldwide starting 24 August 2018. In Malaysia, it will only be offered in Midnight Black and Metallic Copper with a matching S Pen, and Ocean Blue with a Yellow S Pen.

 

Where To Buy The Galaxy Note9

Here are some direct links to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note9 in Malaysia.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 with 128 GB storage : RM 3,699 (Web | App)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 with 512 GB storage : RM 4,599 (Web | App)

Here are some direct links to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note9 in the US.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, International Unlocked) : $849
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (128 GB, US Unlocked) : $999.99
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, International Unlocked) : $1,214
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 (512 GB, US Unlocked) : $999.99

 

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Specifications Compared

In this table, we compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note FE.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Note9Samsung Galaxy Note8Samsung Galaxy Note FE
Display6.4" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (516 ppi)
6.3" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (521 ppi)
5.7" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5Corning Gorilla Glass 5Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68IP68IP68
Operating System (At Launch)Android 8.1 OreoAndroid 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 9810
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options128 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB internal storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 512 GB
64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB internal storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB / 128 GB internal storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens
Rear CameraDual Lens Camera with Dual OIS and dual-tone LED flash

Dual-Aperture Camera
12 MP (1.4 µm) Dual Pixel sensor with f/1.5 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and f/1.5 or f/2.4 apertures

Telephoto Camera (2X optical zoom)
12 MP (1.0 µm) sensor with f/2.4 lens, and optical image stabilisation (OIS)
Dual Lens Camera with Dual OIS

Wide-Angle Camera
12 MP (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash

Telephoto Camera (2X optical zoom)
12 MP (1.0 µm) sensor with f/2.4 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 18 (1.2 Gbps / 200 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear MountedYes, Rear MountedYes, Home Button
Iris ScannerYesYesYes
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRM
BixbyYesYesNo
S PenYes, Bluetooth LEYesYes
Battery4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,300 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,200 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
Dimensions76.4 mm wide
161.9 mm tall
8.8 mm thick
74.8 mm wide
162.5 mm tall
8.6 mm thick
73.9 mm wide
153.5 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
Weight201 g195 g169 g
Colour OptionsOcean Blue, Midnight Black, Metallic Copper, Lavender Purple (limited countries)Midnight Black, Deepsea Blue, Orchid Gray, Maple GoldBlue Coral, Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, Black Onyx

 

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Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus “Dual Aperture” Smartphone Review

When pictures of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus first leaked, pundits criticised how similar it looked to its predecessor – the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. But the familiar facade hides a number of important upgrades. Find out why we think the new Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the perfected Galaxy S8 Plus!

 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, there will be two sizes – the Galaxy S9 (SM-960) with a 5.8″ display, and the larger Galaxy S9 Plus (SM-965) with a 6.2″ display. Here is a table comparing their specifications :

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy S9+Samsung Galaxy S9
ModelSM-965SM-960
Display6.2" Super AMOLED Infinity Display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.8" Super AMOLED Infinity Display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi)
Operating SystemAndroid 8.0Android 8.0
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US)
Samsung Exynos 9810 (Worldwide)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US)
Samsung Exynos 9810 (Worldwide)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 8 x Qualcomm Kyro 385 (2.8 GHz)

Samsung Exynos 9810
- 4 x Custom CPU core (2.9 GHz)
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 (1.9 GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 8 x Qualcomm Kyro 385 (2.8 GHz)

Samsung Exynos 9810
- 4 x Custom CPU core (2.9 GHz)
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 (1.9 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Qualcomm Adreno 630

Samsung Exynos 9810
- ARM Mali-G72 MP18
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Qualcomm Adreno 630

Samsung Exynos 9810
- ARM Mali-G72 MP18
Memory6 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM
Storage64 / 128 / 256 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera8 MP sensor8 MP sensor
Main CameraDual Camera System
- Main Dual Aperture Camera with 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor, OIS lens with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable apertures
- Telephoto camera with 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor, OIS lens and f/2.4 aperture
- dual-tone LED flash
Dual Aperture Camera
- 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor with 1.4 μm pixels
- OIS lens with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable apertures
- dual-tone LED flash
Super Slow-moYes, 720p (0.2 seconds)Yes, 720p (0.2 seconds)
Samsung Live FocusYesNo
ConnectivityQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 150 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C

Samsung Exynos 9810
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 200 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 150 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C

Samsung Exynos 9810
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 200 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C
Iris ScannerYes, with IntelligentScan capabilityYes, with IntelligentScan capability
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, Rear-Mounted
Bixby ButtonYesYes
Dust & Water ResistanceIP68IP68
AudioAKG-tuned Stereo Speakers
3.5 mm audio jack
AKG-tuned Stereo Speakers
3.5 mm audio jack
FM RadioYesYes
Battery3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery
15 W Fast Wireless Charging Capability
3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
15 W Fast Wireless Charging Capability
Dimensions73.8 mm wide
158.1 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
68.7 mm wide
147.7 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
Weight189 g163 g
Available ColoursMidnight Black / Coral Blue / Lilac Purple / Titanium SilverMidnight Black / Coral Blue / Lilac Purple / Titanium Silver

This time around, Samsung made more of an effort to differentiate the two models. The larger Galaxy S9 Plus not only comes with a larger battery, it also has more memory and storage options, as well as a dual camera system.

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Colour Options

Samsung is making the Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) available in four colour options – Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, and Titanium Silver. However, not all of them will be available worldwide.

In Malaysia, only these three colours are available (at least initially) – Midnight Black, Coral Blue, and Lilac Purple.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Up Close + Camera Features

 

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 in design. They both boast the same glass and metal design, with an Infinity Display and IP68 dust- and water-resistance.

In most countries, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) is powered by the Samsung Exynos 9810, while in the US, it runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. It comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4x memory, and 64 GB of storage (with a 128 GB option in some countries).

Despite rumours that Samsung would be ditching the dedicated Bixby button and 3.5 mm earphone port, they will both still here.

 

The Front Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) retains the Galaxy S8‘s front camera with the 8 MP Samsung S5K3H1 sensor and an f/1.7 lens. It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability.

Its low-light capability will come in handy, as the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash. Still, we hope that Samsung will at least throw in screen flash, which costs nothing to add.

 

Dual Aperture Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) boasts a new dual aperture camera, that was first used in the rare and expensive Samsung W2018 smartphone (available only in China). This dual aperture camera has a mechanical aperture that lets you switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture for a deeper depth of field.

The f/1.5 aperture is the widest aperture so far in a smartphone, offering just over ⅓ stop more light than the f/1.7 aperture of the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s camera. This translates into better low-light photography with less noise.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) has an additional telephoto camera that is not available in the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check). This camera has a 12 MP sensor, but lacks the Dual Pixel capability of the main camera, and is coupled to a f/2.4 lens.

This telephoto camera does not just give you a 2X zoom capability, it actually adds Live Focus and Dual Capture capabilities. You can also switch between the two cameras in the midst of recording a video, and because they both have OIS lenses, the video will be stabilised all the way.

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New Samsung ISOCELL Fast Sensor

Samsung used their latest ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the new cameras. This is a 12 MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels for excellent low-light performance.

The Fast designation means it comes with its Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It also boasts a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that allows high-speed captures of Full HD video.

The Dual Pixel technology is an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses many more autofocus pixels, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

 

Super Slow-Mo

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) supports a new Super Slow-mo feature, which allows you to record 720p video at 960 fps.

The Super Slow-mo videos can be instantly edited, with a random selection from preloaded choices. Or you can use your own music / songs. You can also create a GIF from the recorded video, with three style of looping – reverse, forward or swing.

The new ISOCELL Fast sensor, when paired with the Samsung Exynos 9810, is said to be fast enough to record slow-motion 1080p video at 960 fps / 4K video at 120 fps. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is not fast enough, so Samsung limited Super Slow-mo capability to ensure consistent experience worldwide.

There are other caveats too – Super Slow-mo is limited to 20 shots per video, with approximately 0.2 seconds of recording and 6 seconds of playback for each Super Slow-mo shot.

Next Page > Other New Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Features

 

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Bixby Live Translation

The original Samsung Bixby is capable of live translation, so a more accurate description of this new feature is AR (augmented reality) Translation.

In the original Bixby, the translation appears as a separate card. But in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 Bixby implementation, the translation appears as part of the image. Hence, our opinion that it should be called AR Translation.

In fact, it is smart enough to take note of the font and background of the text being translated, and render the translation as if it was the original text!

This is, without doubt, a truly useful combination of Bixby and augmented reality!

 

AR Emoji

This is arguably one of the coolest software features in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 camera system. You can use either the front or rear camera to take a picture of anyone, to create augmented reality emojis that look like your subject!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) will automatically create an avatar that looks like you, which you can customise to your satisfaction. They will also automatically create 18 stickers showing a range of different emotions for you to use in your instant messages.

But that’s not all – the avatar will imitate your facial expressions. You can even record videos that can be shared with your friends!

 

Intelligent Scan

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) has a “new login method” called Intelligent Scan. This is not really a new feature, but a combination of the existing facial recognition and iris scanning capabilities.

In bright conditions, Intelligent Scan uses facial recognition to login. But when it gets too dark, the iris scanner kicks in. This allows for easier and faster logins in low light or super bright conditions.

Intelligent Scan addresses the key problem with the iris scanner – it doesn’t work in bright conditions. However, it is easier to fool than a point cloud facial recognition system like Apple Face ID, and future honor smartphones,

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New Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to a central location right beneath the main camera at the back. This is a much better location, especially if you are left-handed. But that’s not all.

Samsung also used a new swipe fingerprint sensor. It is much easier and faster to register your fingerprint with this new sensor. This addresses a major criticism of the Galaxy S8 and Note8 smartphones.

However, its close proximity to the rear camera, and its swipe functionality means you still have to regularly clean the camera lens to avoid blurry pictures.

 

Hybrid SIM

As it was with the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) will be offered with a nano SIM + microSD tray, or a hybrid SIM tray, depending on region. If you want dual SIM, dual standby capability, you will need to get the model with the hybrid SIM tray.

The hybrid SIM tray allows you to either use a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. The microSD slot officially supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in size, although it should have no problem supporting larger capacity microSD cards, like the 400GB SanDisk Ultra (Price Check).

Next Page > Durability, Ergonomics, Setup, Memory & Storage

 

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IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at our article, Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy S9 Plus can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy S7 edge if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

 

Ergonomics

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) has a 5.8″ bezel-less Infinity Display, so it does not feel like a large smartphone. In fact, it feels smaller than the 5.5″ Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and even 5.2″ smartphones like HTC 10. This means it will feel more comfortable in smaller hands, and fit better in smaller pockets.

The large Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display.

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Setting Up The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) comes with Android 8.0 Oreo installed. The setup process is the same as the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check), whose setup video can be seen below.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4x memory, of which 3 GB (50%) is available for use. That is a lot of bloat, equal to that of the Galaxy S8. But seriously, 3 GB of memory is more than enough memory to run many applications simultaneously. In fact, it is more memory than what many mid-range smartphones ship with!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) comes with 64 GB of internal flash storage, with 50 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 11,000 photos, or 6 hours of 1080p videos, or just over 2 hours of 4K videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Camera Performance – Photos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) uses the 12 MP Samsung ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the dual aperture camera. It is capable of switching between the f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4032 x 3024 pixels, and a file size of between 3 MB and 5 MB.

Here are 10 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

Telephoto 2X Zoom Capability

Here are two pictures to show you the additional reach the secondary telephoto camera gives you.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Camera Performance – Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, Samsung still limits the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano (1080p)

In this video, you can see the amount of detail the sensor captures, even at just 1080p. There is a good control of the highlights – you can see into the Padini Concept Store in the background.

You can also see how well its OIS capability worked, even when we switched between the main camera and the telephoto camera.

 

Video Recording Test #2 : Piano (4K)

The resolution at 4K is incredible. You can even see some of the price tags deep inside the Padini Concept Store. There was some seeking issues with the telephoto camera at 0:17, but they were only present at this particular angle – where there are other subjects behind the pianist, Mr. Yang.

 

Video Recording Test #3 : Japanese Band (1080p)

This was taken with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) mounted on a DJI Osmo Mobile gimbal. You can see a lot of wobbling. This sadly appears to be the camera’s OIS trying to compensate for the stabilisation already provided by the gimbal.

The highlights were slightly overblown, but it was still an admirable effort for such bright spotlights in a dim environment.

 

Video Recording Test #4 : Japanese Band (4K)

Again, there was significant wobbling from the OIS, when used with a gimbal. But we can’t help but admire the sharpness and detail captured in this video.

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Video Recording Test #5 : Street Market (1080p)

The combination of OIS and EIS allowed the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) to deliver really good image stabilisation.

 

Video Recording Test #6 : Street Market (4K)

Its image stabilisation capabilities were not diminished with the higher resolution. Overall – very good OIS and EIS performance.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life + Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy S9’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S9+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018
Performance Score
(Average)
5618 5590 5303 5197
Web Browsing 5357 6037 5155 5035
Video Editing 5265 5332 4998 4433
Writing 4673 4713 5158 5607
Photo Editing 7560 6847 7082 7238
Data Manipulation 5616 5253 4458 4183
Review
Price Check
Price Check Review
Price Check
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Price Check

The Samsung Exynos 9810 powering the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) is about 5.5% faster than the Exynos 8895 used in the Samsung Galaxy S8. This is not a high score by any means, being slightly slower than the Snapdragon 625 powering the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy S9 Plus’ battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S9+
Battery Life 12 hours 19 mins 10 hours 32 mins 9 hours 6 mins 9 hours 5 mins
  Review
Price Check
Review
Price Check
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Price Check

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) lasted as long as the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check). Despite having a 16.7% larger battery, it was only sufficient in making up for its larger display and memory capacity.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 18 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged its 3,500 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) about 95.5 minutes (1 hour 35.5 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. This is just 8.5 minutes longer than it takes the Galaxy S8 to recharge its 3000 mAh battery.

This gives it a rather disappointing battery life : recharging ratio of 5.7 : 1. Its recharging performance is good, but Samsung needs to improve its battery life.

Next Page > Gaming Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Galaxy S9 Plus’ gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited Samsung Galaxy S9+ Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018
Gaming Score 42489 39588 29509 14684
Graphics 49852 45577 33279 15201
Physics 28009 27116 21130 13121
Graphics Test 1 308.6 fps 267.9 fps 173.1 fps 134.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 167.0 fps 157.2 fps 124.3 fps 43.8 fps
Physics Test 88.9 fps 86.1 fps 67.1 fps 41.7 fps
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Price Check
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Price Check
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Price Check

What the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) lacked in work performance, it more than made up in gaming performance. Its ARM Mali-G72 MP18 graphics processor was 44% faster than the ARM Mali-G71 MP20 used in the Galaxy S8.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’ CPU cores also delivered 32% faster physics processing than those of the Galaxy S8.

 

Our Verdict & Award

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) looks almost identical to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S8. While some see it as a “lack of innovation“, others point out that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Whatever we may think of its familiar design, there is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the best Galaxy smartphone ever made.

Samsung basically fixed every major criticism of the Galaxy S8 smartphone. They moved the fingerprint sensor to a better position, and used a much better swipe-type sensor. They buttressed the iris scanner with the facial recognition system, allowing easy login in bright and low-light conditions.

The biggest hardware change was the addition of a dual aperture camera, coupled with a telephoto camera. The dual aperture camera allows you to switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture and a f/2.4 aperture for greater depth of field. The telephoto camera not only offers 2X optical zoom, it also enables the Live Focus and Dual Capture capabilities.

Samsung also introduced a new Samsung ISOCELL Fast sensor in the main camera. It has large 1.4 µm pixels with Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It also has a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that enables the new Super Slow-mo mode – the ability to record 720p video at 960 fps.

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The other new Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Price Check) features like AR Emoji, Bixby Live Translation and Intelligent Scan are software in nature.

The downside? The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes with the same 3,500 mAh battery, but has a shorter battery life and longer recharging time.

With the exception of the shorter battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is better than the Samsung Galaxy S8+ in every possible way. This is why we think it deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Samsung!

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Review : Galaxy S8 Perfected!

When pictures of the Samsung Galaxy S9 first leaked, pundits criticised how similar it looked to its predecessor – the Samsung Galaxy S8. But the familiar facade hides a number of important upgrades. Find out why we think the new Samsung Galaxy S9 is the perfected Galaxy S8!

 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, there will be two sizes – the Galaxy S9 (SM-960) with a 5.8″ display, and the larger Galaxy S9+ (SM-965) with a 6.2″ display. Here is a table comparing their specifications :

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy S9+Samsung Galaxy S9
ModelSM-965SM-960
Display6.2" Super AMOLED Infinity Display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.8" Super AMOLED Infinity Display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi)
Operating SystemAndroid 8.0Android 8.0
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US)
Samsung Exynos 9810 (Worldwide)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US)
Samsung Exynos 9810 (Worldwide)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 8 x Qualcomm Kyro 385 (2.8 GHz)

Samsung Exynos 9810
- 4 x Custom CPU core (2.9 GHz)
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 (1.9 GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 8 x Qualcomm Kyro 385 (2.8 GHz)

Samsung Exynos 9810
- 4 x Custom CPU core (2.9 GHz)
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 (1.9 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Qualcomm Adreno 630

Samsung Exynos 9810
- ARM Mali-G72 MP18
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Qualcomm Adreno 630

Samsung Exynos 9810
- ARM Mali-G72 MP18
Memory6 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM
Storage64 / 128 / 256 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera8 MP sensor8 MP sensor
Main CameraDual Camera System
- Main Dual Aperture Camera with 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor, OIS lens with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable apertures
- Telephoto camera with 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor, OIS lens and f/2.4 aperture
- dual-tone LED flash
Dual Aperture Camera
- 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor with 1.4 μm pixels
- OIS lens with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable apertures
- dual-tone LED flash
Super Slow-moYes, 720p (0.2 seconds)Yes, 720p (0.2 seconds)
Samsung Live FocusYesNo
ConnectivityQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 150 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C

Samsung Exynos 9810
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 200 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 150 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C

Samsung Exynos 9810
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 200 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C
Iris ScannerYes, with IntelligentScan capabilityYes, with IntelligentScan capability
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, Rear-Mounted
Bixby ButtonYesYes
Dust & Water ResistanceIP68IP68
AudioAKG-tuned Stereo Speakers
3.5 mm audio jack
AKG-tuned Stereo Speakers
3.5 mm audio jack
FM RadioYesYes
Battery3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery
15 W Fast Wireless Charging Capability
3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
15 W Fast Wireless Charging Capability
Dimensions73.8 mm wide
158.1 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
68.7 mm wide
147.7 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
Weight189 g163 g
Available ColoursMidnight Black / Coral Blue / Lilac Purple / Titanium SilverMidnight Black / Coral Blue / Lilac Purple / Titanium Silver

This time around, Samsung made more of an effort to differentiate the two models. The larger Galaxy S9+ not only comes with a larger battery, it also has more memory and storage options, as well as a dual camera system.

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Colour Options

Samsung is making the Galaxy S9 (Price Check) available in four colour options – Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, and Titanium Silver. However, not all of them will be available worldwide.

In Malaysia, only these three colours are available (at least initially) – Midnight Black, Coral Blue, and Lilac Purple.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy S9 Up Close + Camera Features

 

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 in design. They both boast the same glass and metal design, with an Infinity Display and IP68 dust- and water-resistance.

In most countries, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is powered by the Samsung Exynos 9810, while in the US, it runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. It comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4x memory, and 64 GB of storage (with a 128 GB option in some countries).

Despite rumours that Samsung would be ditching the dedicated Bixby button and 3.5 mm earphone port, they will both still here.

 

The Front Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) retains the Galaxy S8‘s front camera with the 8 MP Samsung S5K3H1 sensor and an f/1.7 lens. It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability.

Its low-light capability will come in handy, as the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

 

Dual Aperture Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) boasts a new dual aperture camera, that was first used in the rare and expensive Samsung W2018 smartphone (available only in China).

This dual aperture camera has a mechanical aperture that lets you switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture for a deeper depth of field.

The f/1.5 aperture is the widest aperture so far in a smartphone, offering just over ⅓ stop more light than the f/1.7 aperture of the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s camera. This translates into better low-light photography with less noise.

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New Samsung ISOCELL Fast Sensor

Samsung also used their latest ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the new cameras. This is a 12 MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels for excellent low-light performance.

The Fast designation means it comes with its Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It also boasts a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that allows high-speed captures of Full HD video.

The Dual Pixel technology is an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses many more autofocus pixels, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

 

Super Slow-Mo

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) supports a new Super Slow-mo feature, which allows you to record 720p video at 960 fps.

The Super Slow-mo videos can be instantly edited, with a random selection from preloaded choices. Or you can use your own music / songs. You can also create a GIF from the recorded video, with three style of looping – reverse, forward or swing.

The new ISOCELL Fast sensor, when paired with the Samsung Exynos 9810, is said to be fast enough to record slow-motion 1080p video at 960 fps / 4K video at 120 fps. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is not fast enough, so Samsung limited Super Slow-mo capability to ensure consistent experience worldwide.

There are other caveats too – Super Slow-mo is limited to 20 shots per video, with approximately 0.2 seconds of recording and 6 seconds of playback for each Super Slow-mo shot.

Next Page > Other New Samsung Galaxy S9 Features

 

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Bixby Live Translation

The original Samsung Bixby is capable of live translation, so a more accurate description of this new feature is AR (augmented reality) Translation.

In the original Bixby, the translation appears as a separate card. But in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 Bixby implementation, the translation appears as part of the image. Hence, our opinion that it should be called AR Translation.

In fact, it is smart enough to take note of the font and background of the text being translated, and render the translation as if it was the original text!

This is, without doubt, a truly useful combination of Bixby and augmented reality!

 

AR Emoji

This is arguably one of the coolest software features in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 camera system. You can use either the front or rear camera to take a picture of anyone, to create augmented reality emojis that look like your subject!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) will automatically create an avatar that looks like you, which you can customise to your satisfaction. They will also automatically create 18 stickers showing a range of different emotions for you to use in your instant messages.

But that’s not all – the avatar will imitate your facial expressions. You can even record videos that can be shared with your friends!

 

Intelligent Scan

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) has a “new login method” called Intelligent Scan. This is not really a new feature, but a combination of the existing facial recognition and iris scanning capabilities.

In bright conditions, Intelligent Scan uses facial recognition to login. But when it gets too dark, the iris scanner kicks in. This allows for easier and faster logins in low light or super bright conditions.

Intelligent Scan addresses the key problem with the iris scanner – it doesn’t work in bright conditions. However, it is easier to fool than a point cloud facial recognition system like Apple Face ID, and future honor smartphones,

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New Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to a central location right beneath the main camera at the back. This is a much better location, especially if you are left-handed. But that’s not all.

Samsung also used a new swipe fingerprint sensor. It is much easier and faster to register your fingerprint with this new sensor. This addresses a major criticism of the Galaxy S8 and Note8 smartphones.

However, its close proximity to the rear camera, and its swipe functionality means you will have to regularly clean the camera lens to avoid blurry pictures.

 

Hybrid SIM

As it was with the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) will be offered with a nano SIM + microSD tray, or a hybrid SIM tray, depending on region. If you want dual SIM, dual standby capability, you will need to get the model with the hybrid SIM tray.

 

The hybrid SIM tray allows you to either use a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. The microSD slot officially supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in size.

Next Page > Durability, Ergonomics, Setup, Memory & Storage

 

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IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at our article, Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy S9 can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy S7 edge if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

 

Ergonomics

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) has a 5.8″ bezel-less Infinity Display, so it does not feel like a large smartphone. In fact, it feels smaller than the 5.5″ Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and even 5.2″ smartphones like HTC 10. This means it will feel more comfortable in smaller hands, and fit better in smaller pockets.

The large Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display.

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Setting Up The Samsung Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) comes with Android 8.0 Oreo installed. Let’s boot it up, and see how easy it is to set-up!

 

Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4x memory, of which 1.5 GB (37.5%) is available for use. That is a lot of bloat, equal to that of the Galaxy S8. With that in mind, 1.5 GB of memory is plenty of memory to run several applications simultaneously. In fact, it is more memory than what some low-end smartphones ship with!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) comes with 64 GB of internal flash storage, with 48.8 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 11,000 photos, or 6 hours of 1080p videos, or just over 2 hours of 4K videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos + Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) uses the 12 MP Samsung ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the dual aperture camera. It is capable of switching between the f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4032 x 3024 pixels, and a file size of between 3 MB and 5 MB.

Here are 6 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

The new camera is just amazing. The detail and colour are top-notch, and the noise level is really low.

A word of caution – the f/1.5 aperture may offer great low-light performance, but it has a very narrow depth of field. If you don’t focus properly on your subject, it will end up blurred.

Too bad there’s no way to switch to the f/2.4 aperture for greater depth of field in the Auto mode. You can only switch apertures in the Pro mode.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, Samsung still limits the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery.

Below are four video samples, all taken without the use of gimbals.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano (4K)

The camera’s resolution is really good. You can pick out the tiny signs in the background very clearly. It also demonstrated good control of the highlights – you can see into the Padini Concept Store in the background.

The optical and electronic image stabilisation capabilities also appear to have improved. It was almost as good as mounting the Galaxy S9 on a gimbal!

The recorded audio was clear, but still lacked the wider dynamic range of the HTC 10 (when HiRes Audio is enabled).

Video Recording Test #2 : Piano (1080p)

Even at this lower resolution, the amount of details captured by the Samsung Galaxy S9 is amazing. We also love how well it was able to control the highlights in the bright background. You can see the details that are usually washed out in other smartphones.

Video Recording Test #3 : Street Market (4K)

Look at how stable the recorded video was, even as we walked down this street market and looked around. It may not be as good as mounting the Galaxy S9 on a gimbal, but it comes real close!

Video Recording Test #4 : Street Market (1080p)

The 1080p walk-through appears to be even smoother than the 4K walk-through. So if you want the best-possible image stabilisation for your video, try recording in 1080p.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life + Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy S9’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018
Performance Score
(Average)
5656 5618 5303 5197
Web Browsing 5708 5357 5155 5035
Video Editing 5888 5265 4998 4433
Writing 4509 4673 5158 5607
Photo Editing 10698 7560 7082 7238
Data Manipulation 3570 5616 4458 4183
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When it comes to work applications, the Samsung Exynos 9810 powering the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is about 6% faster than the Exynos 8895 used in the Samsung Galaxy S8. This puts it at par with the Snapdragon 625 powering the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy S9’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S9 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
Battery Life 12 hours 19 mins 10 hours 32 mins 9 hours 6 mins 8 hours 41 mins
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The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) lasted just over 9 hours in our battery test. That is almost 1.5 hours shorter than the Samsung Galaxy S8, and over 3 hours shorter than the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018. It only managed to beat the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro by 25 minutes

Note : All four smartphones compared here have a 3,000 mAh battery.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S9 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 18 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged its 3,000 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) about 108 minutes (1 hour 48 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. This is 21 minutes longer than it takes the Galaxy S8 to recharge the same battery capacity.

This gives it a battery life : recharging ratio of 5 : 1 – a rather disappointing performance.

Note : Our Samsung Galaxy S9 sample did not come with its charger. We used the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s charger instead. We will retest when we receive the official Galaxy S9 charger.

Next Page > Gaming Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Galaxy S9’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
Gaming Score 39588 29509 14684 14015
Graphics 45577 33279 15201 13470
Physics 27116 21130 13121 16328
Graphics Test 1 267.9 fps 173.1 fps 134.4 fps 80.7 fps
Graphics Test 2 157.2 fps 124.3 fps 43.8 fps 46.0 fps
Physics Test 86.1 fps 67.1 fps 41.7 fps 51.8 fps
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What the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) lacks in work performance, it more than makes up in gaming performance. Its ARM Mali-G72 MP18 graphics processor was 37% faster than the ARM Mali-G71 MP20 used in the Galaxy S8.

The Samsung Galaxy S9’s CPU cores also delivered 28% faster physics processing than those of the Galaxy S8.

 

Our Verdict & Award

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) looks almost identical to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S8. While some see it as a “lack of innovation“, others point out that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Whatever we may think of its familiar design, there is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S9 is the best Galaxy smartphone ever made.

Samsung basically fixed every major criticism of the Galaxy S8 smartphone. They moved the fingerprint sensor to a better position, and used a much better swipe-type sensor. They buttressed the iris scanner with the facial recognition system, allowing easy login in bright and low-light conditions.

The biggest hardware change was the addition of a dual aperture camera. It allows you to switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture and a f/2.4 aperture for greater depth of field. The dual aperture camera also appears to have improved image stabilisation.

Samsung also introduced a new Samsung ISOCELL Fast sensor in the Galaxy S9. It has large 1.4 µm pixels with Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It has a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that enables the new Super Slow-mo mode – the ability to record 720p video at 960 fps.

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The other new Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) features like AR Emoji, Bixby Live Translation and Intelligent Scan are software in nature.

The downside? The Samsung Galaxy S9 comes with the same 3,000 mAh battery, but has a shorter battery life and longer recharging time.

With the exception of the shorter battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is better than the Samsung Galaxy S8 in every possible way. The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the Samsung Galaxy S8 perfected, and unreservedly deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Samsung!

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Review – In A Class Of Its Own

We loved last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note7 and were sad to return it to Samsung before we could complete our review. We are glad to see it return as the Galaxy Note FE, but if you are one of those who were impressed by the Note7, you will be even more impressed with the new Samsung Galaxy Note8. It is literally in a class of its own.

In fact, we are so impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check), we gave it our Editor’s Choice Award. Find out why we think it deserves no less!

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is more than just a Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+ with an S Pen. While it shares many similarities, it introduces numerous improvements. Here is a table that compares the specifications of the Galaxy Note8 against the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy Note7 (now known as the Galaxy Note FE)

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Note8Samsung Galaxy S8+Samsung Galaxy Note7
Display6.3" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (521 ppi)
6.2" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.7" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)
Operating System (At Launch)Android 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB / 128 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens
Rear CameraDual Lens Camera with Dual OIS

Wide-Angle Camera
12 MP (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash

Telephoto Camera (2X optical zoom)
12 MP (1.0 µm) sensor with f/2.4 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear MountedYes, Rear MountedYes, Home Button
Iris ScannerYesYesYes
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRM
BixbyYesYesNo
S PenYesNoYes
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68IP68IP68
Battery3,300 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
Dimensions162.5 mm tall
74.8 mm wide
8.6 mm thick
159.5 mm tall
73.4 mm wide
8.1 mm thick
153.5 mm tall
73.9 mm wide
7.9 mm thick
Weight195 g173 g169 g
Colour OptionsMidnight Black, Deepsea Blue, Orchid Gray, Maple GoldMidnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple GoldBlue Coral, Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, Black Onyx

 

Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy Note8

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) comes in the premium black Samsung box. Let’s unbox it, and see what’s inside!

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When you unpack everything, you should find the following items :

  • One Samsung Galaxy Note8 phablet with S Pen
  • One Samsung Galaxy Note8 TPU bumper case
  • One set of Samsung Galaxy Note8 documents
  • One 15 W Samsung Quick Adaptive Charger
  • One USB Type C cable, with USB Type A and micro USB converters
  • One pair of AKG earphones with replacement ear buds
  • One set of spare S Pen nibs, and nib extractor tool
  • One SIM tray extractor pin

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Up Close, Cameras, Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a large 6.3″ Super AMOLED display with a WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. But thanks to its Infinity Display design, the Galaxy Note8 is just 2.2 mm wider than the Galaxy S7 edge, which only has a 5.5″ display! This means it will better fit smaller hands, while offering a much larger display.

Just as we saw with the Galaxy S8 (Price Check), the new Infinity Display covers almost the entire frontal aspect of the Galaxy Note8. Samsung achieved this by removing the physical Home button and making it part of the display. It is pressure-sensitive, and works like a physical button.

The same metal-glass design philosophy from the Galaxy Note7 was retained, with the glass protection upgraded to Gorilla Glass 5. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 continues to boast the same IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating of its predecessor, as well as its iris scanner.

The Infinity Display required the fingerprint sensor to be moved to the back, as it was in the Galaxy S8 (Price Check). There is also a dedicated Bixby button, as well as a new dual-lens camera.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Cameras

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a new 8 MP front camera with f/1.7 lens. It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability.  its low-light capability will come in handy, as the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

But what’s unprecedented is the new dual-lens main camera that beats everything else in the market today. It boasts a regular wide-angle 12 MP camera with a very fast f/1.7 lens, as well as a telephoto 12 MP camera with f/2.4 lens. However, unlike other dual-lens cameras, it works like two separate cameras that captures images simultaneously!

This allows it to create pictures with amazing adjustable bokeh through its Live Focus feature, while giving you the Dual Capture option to capture photos from both cameras simultaneously! Learn more about these two features in our article – The Samsung Live Focus & Dual Capture Explained & Tested.

This is also the world’s first dual-lens camera to boast optical image stabilisation (OIS) for both lenses! This is especially important for the telephoto camera, as it is paired with a “slower” f/2.4 lens. What this ultimately means is better photos and videos with either camera, even in low-light conditions.

If that’s not enough, the Galaxy Note8’s dual-lens camera is also the first in the world to allow you to switch between the two lenses on-the-fly while recording videos! This is an incredibly useful feature. Once you tried it on the Galaxy Note8, you will wonder why on Earth can’t other dual-lens cameras can’t do the same thing!

We will share with you photo and video samples later in the review. You will be able to see for yourself, the quality of the images captured by the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). Be sure to also check out how useful it is to switch between the two lenses on-the-fly in our video samples. This is, no doubt, the best dual-lens camera system in the world today.

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Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

This is the South East Asian model (SM-N950FD), which supports Dual SIM, dual standby capability, and comes with a hybrid SIM tray. This gives you some flexibility – you can choose to use either a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. The microSD slot supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in size.

With the removal of the physical Home button, Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the Galaxy Note8. This is not unique as many smartphones have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor (e.g. Huawei Mate 9, Honor 5C). However, the Galaxy Note8 fingerprint sensor is awkwardly placed next to the camera sensor, instead of the more natural position below the camera sensor.

The higher position makes it harder for the user to reach, because the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is a tall device. Being offset makes it harder for left-handed users to use, and makes it easy for all users to smear the main camera lenses with their oily fingerprints.

Obviously, we do not like this fingerprint sensor at all. It is harder to use, as our Galaxy Note8 set-up video will show, although its usability improves with practice. But the good news is – the Samsung Galaxy Note8 also supports alternative login methods like iris scanning and face recognition, that work better.

Next Page > Iris Scanner, Facial Recognition, IP68, S Pen Stylus

 

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Iris Scanner & Facial Recognition

These are not new abilities for a Samsung Galaxy Note device. They were first introduced in the Galaxy Note7, The iris scanner was easy to set up and use, and so, it quickly became our favourite way to log into the Galaxy Note8.

The iris scanner works best if you are not using glasses or contact lenses though, and it may not work in bright sunlight. Its accuracy may also be affected by dirt and fingerprint smudges on the iris camera and LED sensor. Finally, the iris scanner takes longer to log in than the fingerprint sensor, but the coolness factor is undeniable.

The facial recognition feature is easier and faster to use because it does not require you to align your eyes with the sensor focus circles. However, it is less secure than the iris scanner or fingerprint scanner.

 

IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at The Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy Note8 can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy Note8 if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – The Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

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S Pen Stylus

This is the defining feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 – the S Pen stylus. This is the same S Pen used by the Galaxy Note7, with a 0.7 mm tip and 4,096 pressure levels. The S Pen is electromagnetically-powered by close proximity to the Galaxy Note8, so there is no need to worry about batteries – which is just awesome.

A set of spare nibs and a tweezer are included, so you can also swap the default black nib for a white nib, depending on your preference for more friction (black) or a smoother writing experience (white).

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Setup Process, Ergonomics, Memory & Storage

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Setup Process

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5-7 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

Looking at the specifications, you would expect the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) to be a large phablet. After all, it has a large 6.3″ display. Yet, it is about the same size than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note7 with a 5.7″ display!

Despite its larger display, it is only 0.9 mm wider, so it fits most hands comfortably. But this is still a two-handed device, because of its height. If you prefer to use only one hand, you can turn on the One-handed mode option.

The Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display. The smudges are particularly obvious on the Midnight Black version. Perhaps that’s why Samsung threw in a clear TPU bumper case – it protects the Galaxy Note8 while keeping the shiny back smear-free.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 2.8 GB (37.5%) is available for use. There is obviously quite a fair bit of bloat. That said, 2.8 GB of memory is more than what many smartphones ship with, and is more than enough to run many applications simultaneously.

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check comes with 64 GB of internal flash storage, with 51.1 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 11,500 photos, or 6.25 hours of 1080p videos, or 2.5 hours of 4K videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) uses the same excellent 12 MP sensors as the Galaxy S8 (Price Check) for both the wide-angle and telephoto cameras –  either the Sony IMX260 sensor, or Samsung’s own ISOCELL S5KL1 sensor. They are both identical in specifications and performance – with Dual Pixel autofocus technology and 1.4 μm pixels.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4032 x 3024, and a file size of between 3.8 MB and 4.8 MB. Here are 6 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

It’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) performed exactly as the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Price Check), in this respect. It still remains one of the best, if not the best, smartphone camera out there today.

What’s unique though is the Galaxy Note8 Live Focus feature, which allows you to create really awesome bokeh for the background. No doubt, the bokeh is artificially created, but the simultaneous use of both cameras allow for precise delineation of the subject and the background. Live Focus also allows you to adjust the amount of bokeh for the background.

You can read all about Samsung Live Focus and the accompanying Dual Capture feature in this separate article – The Samsung Live Focus & Dual Capture Explained & Tested.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, this time, Samsung has limited the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery that lies next to it.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has no such limitations, and is thus, a better smartphone for 4K video recording. However, the Galaxy S7 edge is somewhat limited by the 4 GB file size limit. When you record a long 4K video, it will be broken up into separate files that are about 11.5 minutes in length, with a short recording gap in between. So its advantage is limited.

Samsung appears to be using a more efficient codec for the videos, allowing 1080p videos to be recorded to about 40 minutes before hitting the 4 GB file size limit. This is about 25% longer than the Galaxy S7 edge, which only managed about 31-32 minutes.

Below are four video samples, all taken without the use of gimbals.

Test #1 : Piano (1080p)

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) did an excellent job capturing this live performance. The audio quality was very good, albeit lacking the wider dynamic range of the HTC 10 (when HiRes Audio is enabled). The noise reduction is decent, although the background noise is still audible.

We LOVE the ability to instantly switch between the wide-angle camera and the telephoto camera while recording. You can also see how well the OIS worked for both cameras. In other smartphones, videos recorded with the unstabilised telephoto lens will often induce nausea…

Test #2: Piano (4K)

Note the incredible amount of detail capture by the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). We are very impressed with its ability to capture such detail even in the bright background, which is often overblown in other smartphones. Note that you can still switch instantly between the wide-angle camera and the telephoto camera while recording in 4K.

Test #3 : Street Market (1080p)

In this test of the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s image stabilisation capability, you will note that it does a rather decent job of smoothing out the jerkiness during our walk. It is not the best we have seen, but it’s still pretty good.

Test #4 : Street Market (4K)

The image stabilisation for the 4K video was also good. In addition to OIS (optical image stabilisation), it appears to perform some EIS (electronic image stabilisation) as well.

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Performance Score
5617 5285 5303 6316
Web Browsing 5433 5041 5155 5624
Video Editing 4872 5219 4998 5370
Writing 5696 5122 5158 6326
Photo Editing 8563 7003 7082 9864
Data Manipulation 4329 4369 4458 5333

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is powered by the Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC, which is really fast, albeit not as fast as the Kirin 960 SoC used in the Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy S8’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Battery Life 8 hours 50 mins 9 hours 34 mins 10 hours 32 mins 11 hours 27 mins

Of the four smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has the smallest battery at 3,300 mAh. The Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check), in comparison, has a 4,000 mAh battery. Even so, it managed to deliver almost 9 hours of non-stop operation.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 15 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 3,300 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) just under 83 minutes (1 hour 23 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. That is a battery life : recharging ratio of 6.4 : 1 – a very good performance.

The fastest recharging happened up to the 85% level. This took just 53 minutes. Then the recharging speed slowed down, and it took a further 30 minutes to top up the remaining 15%.

Next Page > Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

AnTuTu Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
TOTAL SCORE 178168 170991 175422 123167
3D SCORE 74302 72039 74336 40114
– 3D (Marooned) 43996 42844 43953 23313
– 3D (Garden) 30306 29195 30383 16801
UX SCORE 54965 50518 52159 39975
– UX Data Secure 8100 7822 7996 7943
– UX Data Process 6079 5830 5866 6985
– UX Strategy Games 11072 10359 11165 11860
– UX Image Process 24646 21998 22716 5580
– UX I/O Performance 5068 4509 4416 7607
CPU SCORE 38240 38274 38513 31992
– CPU Mathematics 10970 10958 10996 9680
– CPU Common Use 11135 11001 10939 11139
– CPU Multi-Core 16135 16315 16578 11173
RAM 10661 10160 10414 11086

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) sure is fast in AnTuTu. Its Exynos 8895 proved to be much faster in 3D rendering than the Kirin 960 used by the Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check).

 

Our Verdict & Award

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is truly in a class of its own. It is the only phablet in the world with an electromagnetic stylus, an Infinity Display and a dual-lens camera. Nothing else, not even the new Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Price Check), is in the same league. It builds upon the excellent, albeit unlucky, Galaxy Note7, with a plethora of major improvements.

First and foremost is the Infinity Display, which is almost bezel-less and covers almost all of the front aspect. To achieve this, Samsung integrated a pressure-sensitive Home button into the display itself, and moved the fingerprint sensor to the back.

The Infinity Display also allowed Samsung to increase the display size while reducing the width of the device. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a large 6.3″ display in a form factor that equivalent to a regular 5.5″ device. It makes for a better fit for smaller hands, and most pockets.

The new 18.5 : 9 aspect ratio is useful for viewing two different screens at the same time, but introduces pillarboxing when you watch movies. Samsung allows you to stretch the videos to fit the entire screen, but you will lose the upper and lower parts of the videos. So it’s a trade-off.

As their flagship phablet, it comes as no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is very fast, thanks to its top-of-the-line Exynos 8895 octa-core processor. It also has an incredible amount of memory and it comes with a reasonably large storage capacity of 64 GB. This should be more than enough for even power users, even if they enjoy recording 4K videos.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 extended the amazing camera used in the Samsung Galaxy S8 by doubling it to create a dual-lens camera system that is unparalleled. Both cameras are optically-stabilised and work simultaneously. This allows the Galaxy Note8 to support the new Live Focus and Dual Capture features. It also gave us the ability to instantly switch between the two lenses while recording video.

It bears pointing out that Samsung took extra care with the Galaxy Note8’s battery, employing greater scrutiny and safety protocols to ensure its safety. Even though it has a relatively small 3,300 mAh capacity, it lasted just under 9 hours of non-stop operation in our stress test. Best of all – you can completely recharge it in less than 1.5 hours!

The offset fingerprint sensor, though, was awkward to use. We highly recommend that Samsung move the fingerprint sensor to the more conventional position below the main camera in their next device. We far prefer the iris scanner, which is really easy (and cool!) to use.

Samsung really went the extra mile with the Galaxy Note8, making sure it is in a league of its own. There is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. Job well done, Samsung!

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Smartphone Review

We hope you enjoyed our extensive coverage of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), from the preview, our first opportunity to try it out with the Gear VR and the smashing launch with Korean superstar, Lee Kwang-soo. But nothing beats having the real thing at hand, and today, we will share with you our comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphone!

 

Unboxing The Galaxy S7 edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) comes in a very classy black cardboard box, with the storage capacity and colour printed on a gold-coloured label on the upper right corner. In this video, we open up the Galaxy S7 edge box and take a look inside.

Inside, you will find the following items :
  • One Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) smartphone
  • One Samsung 15 W adaptive fast charging travel charger
  • One micro-USB to USB 2.0 cable
  • One USB OTG adaptor
  • One pair of Samsung earphones with spare set of earbuds
  • One SIM card slot extractor
  • One Quick Start Guide (in English and Mandarin)
  • One set of Warranty Cards & Regional Lock Guide
  • One OTG adaptor manual (in English and Mandarin)
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Specification Comparison

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) comes in two variants – the SM-G935 (US) variant powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor, and the SM-G935F/FD (Worldwide / SEA) variant powered by the Samsung Exynos 8890 octa-core processor. Let’s compare their specifications with their predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy S7 edge (Qualcomm Variant)Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Exynos Variant)Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Display5.5" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 ppi)
5.1" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4 (front & back panels)
Operating System (At Launch)Android 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 5.0 Lollipop
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996)
- 2.15 GHz ARM Kyro x 2
- 1.59 GHz ARM Kyro x 2
- Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
- 2.3 GHz Samsung Mongoose x 4
- 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 x 4
- ARM Mali T880 GPU
Samsung Exynos 7420
- 2.1 GHz ARM Cortex-A57 x 4
- 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 x 4
- ARM Mali T760 GPU
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM3 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options32 GB / 64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB internal flash storage
No microSD slot
Front Camera5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash16 MP Sony / Samsung sensor (1.1 µm) with f/1.9 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
None, single SIM only
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 12/13 (600 / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.1 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 8 (450 / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.2 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 6 (300 / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.1 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, IR Remote, GPS
SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68None
Battery3,600 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (Qi and PMA)
2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired only)
- wireless charging (Qi and PMA)
Dimensions150.9 mm tall
72.6 mm wide
7.7 mm thick
142.1 mm tall
70.1 mm wide
7.0 mm thick
Weight157 g132 g
Colour OptionsBlack Onyx, Silver Titanium, Gold PlatinumWhite Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge model we have is the South East Asian model – SM-G935FD. Like the SM-G935F (Worldwide) model, it is powered by the Samsung Exynos 8890. The difference is the FD model has a hybrid dual SIM slot, instead of a dedicated microSD slot in the F model. Now, let’s take a closer look!

Next Page > Video Primer, Double Curves, Hybrid SIM Slot

 

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The Galaxy S7 edge Key Features

Before we go into the details of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon)‘s key features, here is a primer video that gives you a quick tour of those features. Take a look :

 

Double Curves

Superficially, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) looks very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon). The Galaxy S7 edge is taller and slightly wider, and has double-curved edges. Its double curved edges actually allows for a slightly more comfortable grip

.Just like its predecessor, it has the Volume buttons on the left, a Power button on the right and a Home button which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor is more accurate and works faster than the Galaxy S6 edge‘s fingerprint sensor.

 

Hybrid SIM Slot

The SIM and microSD card slot is located at the top, but the earphone port is located at the bottom, near the USB 2.0 and microphone ports. This is due to extremely slim profile of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon).

This is the South East Asian model (SM-G935FD), so it has a hybrid SIM slot, instead of the standard microSD slot. The hybrid SIM slot can be used to install a second SIM card (SIM 2), or a microSD card.

This gives you some flexibility – you can choose to use either a second SIM card, or a microSD card. However, you can’t use both at the same time. This has led to some disgruntlement although practically everyone agrees that Samsung made the right decision in bringing back the microSD slot which supports microSD cards of up to 200 GB in size.

 

Faster Cameras

Samsung improved the front camera, giving the Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) a faster f/1.7 lens for better low-light performance. The rear camera also comes with f/1.7 lens, but drops the 16 MP sensor for a 12 MP sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus technology. That doesn’t mean the sensor is capable of delivering twice as many pixels of resolution though.

Dual Pixel technology is actually an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses many more autofocus pixels, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

Samsung uses either a Sony IMX260 sensor, or their own Samsung S5KL1 ISOCELL sensor in their Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) smartphones. Our model came with the Samsung S5KL1 sensor. Both are virtually identical in performance – 12 MP of resolution with Dual Pixel autofocus technology and 1.4 μm pixels – 25% larger than their predecessors. This means much lower noise levels, and better image quality overall.

The new 12 MP rear camera still has a bump, but it is far less pronounced than the 1.7 mm tall camera bump on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon). Earlier leaks claim that it is 0.8 mm, but in reality, it’s just 0.46 mm. That’s virtually imperceptible if you lay it on a flat table, and only noticeable if you slide your finger over it.

Next Page > Water Resistance, Liquid Cooling, Bigger Battery, Faster Charging

 

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Water Resistance

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at our Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy S7 edge can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy S7 edge if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

 

Liquid Cooling

One of the biggest complaints about the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon) was how hot it gets during heavy use. This is particularly pronounced when it is used to record videos.

Samsung mitigates this issue in the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) using a “liquid cooling system” to keep its internal components cool. Samsung was not forthcoming with the details, but ifixit tore it down to reveal the liquid cooling system as a small, thin copper heat pipe.

A heat pipe is used to very efficiently remove heat from a hot surface on one end, and conduct it to a colder surface on the other end. It does this using a working fluid (like water) that turns into vapour on the hot end, and condenses at the cold end.

The Galaxy S7 edge’s heat pipe can be seen to run across the 4 GB Hynix LPDDR4 (which lays over the Snapdragon 820 / Exynos 8890 processor), and 32 GB Samsung MLC flash chip, as well as several other chips before terminating on the back cover.

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Bigger Battery, Faster Charging

Samsung also corrected another major complaint by Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon) users – battery life. The Galaxy S6 edge only came with a 2,600 mAh battery. Samsung gave the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) a large 3,600 mAh battery1,000 mAh or 38.5% more than its predecessor!

How much more battery life can we expect from this larger battery? We tested it using PCMark and lo behold, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) lasted almost 11 hours! That is almost double the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon), which lasts just over 6 hours on the same test.

Officially, the Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) will fully recharge its battery (from 0% to 100%) in just 115 minutes. In our test, it took us just 86 minutes and 46 seconds to recharge the Galaxy S7 edge from 19% to 100%. If you look at the graph, you can see that its recharging performance is linear up to the 90% mark, then it tapers off. For maximum charging speed, you can charge from 19% to 90% in just under 64 minutes!

This battery recharging performance is thanks to the 15 W fast charging capability that both Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy S6 edge support. The new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) improves on that by adding fast wireless charging! This allows you to recharge its battery wirelessly in just 155 minutes.

Next Page > Initial Setup, It’s Alive!, Improved Edge

 

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Initial Setup

When you power up the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) for the first time, it will take about 23 seconds to boot up. If you set it up as a fresh device, it will take no more than 5 minutes to complete the initial setup. Check out our video on the initial setup process, and a quick look at some of its software features.

 

It’s Alive!

The moment the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) starts running, you will immediately be very impressed with its bright, sharp and vivid display. That’s the beauty of its Super AMOLED display that is unmatched by IPS LCD panels. The front Gorilla Glass 4 cover has an oleophobic coating, which makes for easy swiping and a cleaner display. The back lacks the oleophobic coating for a better grip. However, this means it’s very easily smudged.

You will also notice that the Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) grips better than the Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon). Even though it’s a 5.5″ smartphone, it feels no different from the Galaxy S6 edge. This is because it’s just slightly (2.5 mm) wider but 8.8 mm taller. At 15 cm tall, it may protrude out of your pocket, especially if you are wearing jeans.

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Improved Edge

Although many Samsung fans love the dual curved edges for aesthetic reasons, Samsung put considerable effort into making the edge screen even more functional than it was with the Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon). Let’s take a look!

The first swipe takes you to the Apps edge. Here you get quick access to your 10 most frequently used apps. Samsung already pre-populated 8 of them, but you can swap them or add two more from the list of apps in your Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon).

Swiping again takes you to the Tasks edge. This is where you can create shortcuts to perform your favourite tasks, like composing an image or start a stopwatch.

The third swipe will bring you to the People edge screen. This is the default screen in the Galaxy S6 edge. Here, you can add up to 5 favourite contacts, so you can quickly call or message them.

The final swipe will take you to Yahoo! News. Of course, you can swap that out (or even any of the previous Edge panels) for new Edge panels that you can download online. As of April 2016, there are 15 free and paid Edge panels to choose from.

Next Page > Memory & Storage, Camera Options

 

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory. This is great news because the Galaxy S7 edge has quite a lot of bloat. In fact, you only have 1.7 GB of free memory to use. Compare that to the ASUS ZenFone Zoom (Amazon), which also has 4 GB of RAM but 2.2 GB of free memory to use. That’s a difference of 500 MB.

The Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) also comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory. Once you deduct 7.8 GB for the Android 6.0 operating system and apps, you have 24.2 GB of free space left to use. That is pretty decent actually, allowing you to store about 5,000 photos, or record 180 minutes of 1080p video or 60 minutes of 4K video.

In some countries, a 64 GB internal storage option is also available. However, the 32 GB model is likely to be the far more popular model because the Galaxy S7 edge comes with a microSD slot that allows you to top up storage by 200 GB via a microSD card.

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Camera Options

Both the front and rear cameras use a 4:3 ratio for maximum resolution, with small crop sizes available in the settings menu. The main camera can record videos in full 4K resolution, albeit only with electronic video stabilisation, HDR, tracking AF and video effects turned off. For those features to be enabled, you must record at resolutions of 2560 x 1440 (QHD) or lower.

Surprisingly, the front 5 MP camera can also record video with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (QHD). with electronic image stabilisation disabled. If you want EIS enabled, you need to drop it down to 19×0 x 1080. Both front and rea