System performance

This main handset processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (8 Cores, 2.8 GHz) which has access to 6 or 8 GB of memory (RAM). By now, people know how fast this processor platform is for all kinds of apps, including games and VR.

The amount of RAM is paramount for heavy users who have many apps/services installed on the handset. If the memory is tight, the system may become less responsive if it has to read/write from the slower Flash storage instead. This used to be one of the differentiators between low and high tiers of phones, but this line is blurry now.

Perhaps, the vapor-cooling system of the Note 9 could help lift performance slightly because higher sustained performance. The cooling system works by trapping a liquid inside a carbon-heatsink. Carbon is great because it is non-porous and doesn’t trap hot pockets of air. As the liquid turns into vapor, heat is taken away and the vapor is evacuated in another part of the heatsink where it becomes liquid again. Think of it as a mini liquid-cooling system.

CPU and Graphics performance

As a handset that is released later in the year, the Galaxy Note 9 will tend to slightly outperform devices equipped with the same excellent Snapdragon 845 SoC / Processsor platform. The main reason behind this is better drivers, that other phones may get at a later date. Most of the improvements seem to come from 3D graphics, which still counts a little in a CPU-heavy test like Geekbench 4, but shows much more in the gaming-like test GFXBench.

Wireless Broadband performance

The Galaxy Note 9 has a CAT18 (1200 Mbps ⇣ / -1 Mbps ⇡ ) LTE modem. This level of performance is exceptional and represents the best you can get today.

Wireless networks (3G/4G) performance is often thought as peak download/upload speeds, but it is the average speed that counts. These days 4G/LTE is the primary network of interest, but 5G is coming. The higher the peak LTE performance and the better the average true experience. Note that, wireless providers have better and more efficient wireless networks to lower their own costs.


The biggest software evolution from the S9+ is Dex. Introduced in previous years, Dex gives the ability to a handset (or tablet) to power a Windowed computing experience, like a desktop computer.

In previous iterations, Dex required a Dock or a Pad, which was nice in many ways, but it was also relatively expensive, so we assume that most people didn’t use it. This time, all you need as a standard USB-C to HDMI converter. Samsung has an adapter which is tested, but in theory standard ones should work too, although Samsung can’t vouch for them.

Upon connecting to an HDMI monitor, Dex can either transform your Galaxy Note 9 into a trackpad and virtual keyboard or you can use it normally with Android if you want to have both your Dex desktop applications and your Android applications available at the same time.

Huawei introduced something similar with the Mate 10 Pro, and we’re glad to see that Samsung is willing to compete and lower the price of entry for Dex. It is likely that many more people will be tempted to use their Note 9 as a small computer for powerpoint presentations, but also for slideshows, and basic productivity apps — or games!


Talking about Games, Samsung will have a short exclusivity for Fortnite on Android. We’re talking about days here, and not weeks or months. Still, it’s a great way to make some buzz around this game, even if that should not alter the Android gaming landscape dramatically.


Although the Galaxy Note 9 features a couple of twists such as the 4000 mAh battery and the BT enabled Pen, it’s fair to say that it came out more or less as expected. As the final handset of the Series 9 line, it is evident that it would feature mostly the same strengths with a few extras to make it Samsung’s technological tip of the spear.

As such, the Note 9 enjoys a relatively comfortable position in a segment that it had created many years ago (remember when people said that big phones would never work?). The mere presence of a high-performance Pen and a leading 6.4” display would make it already tough to compete with.


But when you add the best Qualcomm processor, the largest battery capacity in its class, a top-tier camera and a neat industrial design, there aren’t many competitors left. There’s not even a need to add that it could be the first Terabyte handset. Perhaps, the biggest change for the Samsung Series 9 since its launch in March is the competitive landscape. With the OnePlus 6 and the Huawei P20 Pro, the competition is getting got for S9 and S9+.

The Note 9 particular positioning explains how Samsung designs the Note: primarily for loyal Note users. It wouldn’t be surprising if Note 5 and Note 8 users were to be the primary “switchers,” but we have no data about this. In any case, if you like very large-display phones, and if you can afford it, nothing can beat the Galaxy Note 9 on its turf.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, Galaxy Note 9, Samsung, Samsung Reviews and Smartphone Reviews.

514 PPI
~$999 - Amazon
12 MP
F1.5 Aperture F-Stop
201 g
4000 mAh
Wireless Charging
Launched in
Snapdragon 845 + MicroSDXC
Storage (GB)
64, 128, 512
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