Well, not much has changed on the Note 9, however there is a handful of upgrades for people who might be holding onto their S7 or Note 5.

1- Design.

Compared to the Note 8, design-wise, not much has changed.

It looks pretty much the same on the back, except for that re-positioned fingerprint scanner which is a welcome change, given the lack of criticism given to Samsung for that awkward camera-smudging placement.

Front’s pretty much the same except it has a bigger 6.4 inches Super AMOLED panel with a Quad HD+ resolution while the Note 8 has a 6.3 inches Super AMOLED panel with Quad HD+ resolution as well. It’s pretty much the same except the fact that the Note 9’s AMOLED can hit 575 nits of brightness which automatically translates into it being much easier to read in direct sunlight, it does surpass the Note 8’s brightness of 518 nits. However, this doesn’t mean that the Note 8 can’t be read well in direct sunlight. It can be quite easily and very well.

2- Interface and OS version.

Surprisingly enough, both of them run Android 8.0 Oreo with both waiting for the Android Pie update.

Superficially, there’s no denying the incredible focus on productivity that’s offered by the two experiences, as they’re packing nearly the same arsenal. They include things like Edge Panel for quick shortcuts, side-by-side apps windows for better multi-tasking, one-handed mode for easier operation, and vast S Pen functions to jot down notes and drawing stuff.

3-Performance and Memory

Well, here’s where the real change comes in and Samsung truly played the trump card. The Note 9 packs a Snapdragon 845 for the US while the Exynos 9810 for the international models. There’s a fact that the Exynos 9810 is a bit behind the Snapdragon 845 when it comes to battery life as seen with the S9. The Note 9 does pack a huge 4,000 mAh battery. Benchmark tests show that the Note 9 has a leverage over the Note 8. However, the Note 8 conjures the same level of responsiveness and speediness as of it’s successor. The Note 9 has a water carbon cooling system which should keep the phone’s temperature steady during intensive tasks such as long and high levels of gaming. However, according to many tests, the Note 9 did get a bit hot to touch but that’s completely normal. The Note 8 still performs as good as the Note 9 in almost all games. Memory-wise, the base model of the Note 9 consists of 128GB which is a very welcome changed, doubling the capacity over its predecessor and goes all the way to 512GB. Both phones have microSD card support for further expansion!

4- Camera

The Note 8 and Note 9 both pack dual cameras, however, the Note 9 improves on the S9’s setup. It has the same variable aperture as the S9 with the lens opening up as wide as f/1.5 and going as narrow as f/2.4. The f/1.5 aperture really helps in low-light condition, allowing every bit of light to hit the image sensor. The secondary camera is also a 12MP sensor, same as the primary one but it’s a telephoto lens with upto 2X zoom, the telephoto lens also has a f/2.4 aperture. The Note 8 virtually packs the same setup except for that wonderful variable aperture. Both of the camera on the Note 8 have an aperture of f/1.7.

On the software side, there’s an assortment of modes available with both, but the Note 9 benefits from having additional features such as AR Emoji, super slow-mo, and a new “scene optimizer” mode that intelligently detects a scene and applies enhancements to improve the look of the shot. With their front-facing cameras, which are both 8MP sensors, the results are very similar, but again the Note 9’s performance is accompanied with a hairline increase of sharpness. And another advantage for the Note 9 is that it offers a new “selfie focus” mode that applies portrait-esque effects with background blurring around the face.

Also, the video recording on the Note 9 is just amazing. It can record on 4K resolution at 60 FPS. The Note 9 has an edge over the Note 8 in the recording section. The Note 9 records much better footage , it has much better stability and higher exposure range. The color profile is much sharper with the Note 8 lurking more around the softer side.

5- Speaker setup.

The design all around is the same, Samsung has recycled the same design and chassis from the Note 8 yet it still did manage to pack the stereo speaker setup which surprisingly outputs the same sound levels of 74.6 dB as of the Note 8’s single speaker.

6- Battery Life.

As I mentioned before, the Note 9 packs a much larger 4000 mAh battery compared to the Note 8’s tiny 3300 mAh battery. The tests shown an increase of an hour in usage which is very nice.

7- Extra features.

The S Pen has new abilities with the Note 9 thanks to its Bluetooth LE connection, but besides that, the only meaningful differences are the enhanced Bixby functions, access to AR emojis, and there’s no longer the need to use a DeX pad/station to access the phone’s desktop-like experience.


The Note 9 is a wonderful and amazing phone. Don’t get me wrong, however, there aren’t a handful of features and reasons to make you upgrade from your Note 8.

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