What is it? A whopper of a phone, in every way. Samsung's new Note9 comes with a minimum of 128GB of storage, but there's also a 512GB model that can be increased up to 1TB. It also has the largest edge-to-edge display on a Note phone, along with Dolby powered stereo speakers. The battery is the biggest yet too, with Samsung promising it will last "all day". All of this sounds ridiculous, but it's true.
What does it do? Samsung's talking a big game, promoting the Note9's "cutting-edge 10nm processor," its support for the "fastest network speeds", a water carbon cooling system and an "AI-based performance adjusting algorithm". All this means it's just really, really quick. For the two weeks I used it, the Note9 let me operate in multiple tabs and flick between apps faster than any phone I've used. I sure love the upgraded S-Pen too (more on that below).
What does Samsung say?
"The Note9 is a powerhouse," says Todd Selwyn, Head of Mobile Portfolio for Samsung New Zealand. "With a battery that will last you all day, a super-fast processor, and expandable memory configurations giving you up to 1TB of potential storage, the Note9 can tackle any task you demand of it. If you're looking to upgrade to a seriously powerful smartphone, this is the device we'd recommend."
What's its best feature? The S-pen, for sure. On the Note9, the upgraded model of S-Pen is bluetooth enabled, meaning it can take on a lot more tasks than just scrawling grocery lists. Using the button on the side of the pen, you can use it to take selfies or group shots, or erase mistakes in those notes. If you use your phone to make presentations at work, it'll help you flick through slides. Best of all, it charges fully within seconds. The Note9 is also waterproof. Oh, one other thing: if you're a gamer, the Note9 features a fully-integrated Fortnite for gaming sessions on the go.
And what's its worst?
That screen is beautiful, great for scrolling through Instagram, perfect for watching videos, crystal clear and razor sharp. But it's also terrifyingly large. You'll want to protect it for all it's worth. If you're getting this phone, purchase a robust cover immediately. Don't do what I did with my Note8 and smash the screen: the repair bill was nearly $500. Doh.
Okay, so how much is it? A whopper of a phone comes at a whopper of a price. The 128GB model starts at $1699, while the 512GB model retails for $1999. You'll need a cover, and a separate microSD card too, if you really want to take care of it and maximise its potential. At that price, you probably do. But the next time you go to buy a laptop, it really does feel like the choice could be between that or the Note9. And that means we've just entered a new generation of cellphones. The quality, it seems, matches the price.