Upon the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s release in August 2018, I immediately pushed aside my Galaxy S9+ and made it my primary Android device. While one might not expect this upgrade to make much of a difference, considering the devices’ similar specifications, it really has. After using it for nearly 6 months, I can say that the Note9 is one of the best Android smartphones for millennials who want one unified device for work and play. Let’s take a look at what sets the Note9 apart from the competition, particularly for the millennial subset.
Let’s get one thing straight—with a 6.4” screen, the Note9 is big. That’s what has always distinguished the Note from the rest of the market (along with the device’s S Pen). The Note9’s design looks almost identical to the previous generation Note8, with perhaps the most noticeable difference being the location of its fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, which is now below the camera module rather than nearly part of it. However, I will say that even in its new location it looks like a bit of an afterthought. Samsung also introduced more colors, like Lavender Purple, and color-matching styluses for the Note9. I particularly like the flagship Ocean Blue color option, which comes with a nice contrasting yellow stylus. Another nice little design touch is that when you write on the Note9 when the screen is locked, the writing shows up in the same color as the stylus.
The Note9’s camera is good—very good, in fact. The main camera features a dual-sensor, dual-lens design. The wide-angle lens features a 12MP DPAF (dual-pixel auto-focus) sensor for high-speed photo and video capture, and both f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture capabilities, which utilize a 1/2.55” sensor (resulting in a 1.4 µm pixel size). The telephoto sensor is a 12MP AF sensor with a 1/3.4” sensor, 1.0 µm pixel size, and an f/2.4 aperture. Altogether, this represents a smarter version of the dual camera that is in the S9+, with improved scene detection and automatic camera settings. You can take wider angle shots with the ‘full’ view mode, with both the front-facing and main camera on the back. This feature, combined with the new Bluetooth-enabled stylus, allows for some good group selfies (something millennials will appreciate). The Note9’s camera also has an improved portrait mode—the Note8’s was quite rough around the edges, in my opinion.
The Note9 features an absolutely gorgeous 6.4” display. Its 18:5.9 aspect ratio produces a 2960×1440 resolution, which in turn yields a 516 PPI pixel density. I’ve logged many hours watching Netflix on my Note9, and I can attest to the excellent image quality. I even prefer using my Note9 (over a tablet), for watching shows and movies while I travel. The display is HDR-certified by Amazon , Netflix, and YouTube , putting it above any inflight screen or tablet. With the Note9, I can watch whatever content I want, whenever I want, at the highest quality possible—flexibility that millennials will appreciate.
Storage and memory
Another thing that sets the Note9 apart from the rest of the market, is its 128GB of built-in storage and support for up to an additional 512 GB memory card slots. If you opt for the 512GB storage version, you can get a 512GB memory card for a total of 1 TB of storage. While 128+ GB of storage on a phone sounds excessive, between my TV shows, movies, Spotify playlists, and high-resolution mirrorless camera photos, I am starting to understand the need for more. Millennials need storage—I’m far from the only one who utilizes multiple streaming services and pre-caches video and audio for on-the-go consumption. Multitasking is also important, which is why the Note9 ships with 6GB and 8GB of RAM depending on the storage configuration. I love being able to switch between apps or run them simultaneously on the same screen.
I’ve already discussed content streaming and its importance to millennials. Another important component to delivering a quality entertainment experience is connectivity. The Note9 has top-notch Wi-Fi and Gigabit LTE connectivity, which ensures users will have enough bandwidth to maintain a solid signal, artifact-free HD stream, even when they drop out of optimal signal conditions.
Productivity and security
People ask me all the time why I prefer the Note9 over all my other Android devices. The main reason is productivity, with a dash of security. To me, productivity and security should come hand-in-hand; Samsung’s Note9 nails this. Samsung’s Knox security platform pairs with Android to allow for a secure separation between personal and work applications. I think that lots of people, including millennials, appreciate this separation and added data security.
The S Pen on the Note9 is a crucial part of this. It enables users to sign contracts and mark up documents and images, using their own personal touch. It also makes taking precise screenshots very easy. I also really enjoy taking quick notes on the Note9, particularly when the screen is locked (like I mentioned earlier). While the appeal of these features will vary from user to user, I believe that if people fully understood the S Pen’s capabilities, they would be quick to embrace it.
On a less serious note
One fun feature worth mentioning is a tool that allows users to easily capture and create their own GIFs. This is perfect for the millennial subset, who traffic heavily in GIFs and memes. Also, the S Pen can be a real game-changer when playing certain drawing games (such as Jackbox’s Tee KO or Patently Stupid) on your phone—to the point where it almost feels like cheating. Make no mistake, the Note9 is not just a work device—Samsung wants you to have fun with it.
I have always been a fan of Samsung’s Note series; year after year, it remains my top recommended Android phone. The security, productivity, storage, and entertainment capabilities make the Note9 an easy phone to recommend—especially to millennials. While Apple has struggled with its iPhone sales as of late, I suspect that the Note’s differentiation will allow the company to meet its expectations for units shipped (though some may still balk at a $1,000 phone). For those whom the price isn’t a dealbreaker, I believe that the Note9 is the best Android phone around.