The Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the smartphone that basically attaches more to just about everything you can think of, went up for preorder earlier this month. It went on sale a couple of days ago, which means owners have had a little bit of time to spend with their newest daily driver powerhouse phablet. If you picked one up, and depending on how much you've actually been able to use it, you probably have some thoughts on Samsung's newest device.
Has Samsung made the perfect smartphone?
That all depends on the individual, of course. My time with the handset has been short so far, and while I can safely say this is definitely the best smartphone on the market right now, it's probably not one that I'm going to keep around. That comes down to personal, nit-picky stuff, like the fact I'm not a real big fan of the boxy design. Or even just the back of the phone in general, really.
(That doesn't include the fingerprint sensor, though. It's in a good spot -- even if I'd like it even a bit lower, positioned further away from the camera setup.)
But that's just me. And that's just looking at the phone. The build quality on the Galaxy Note 9 is superb. The display is fantastic. The battery life so far appears to be exactly what we'd expect from a huge 4000mAh offering. And the S Pen works just as well as Samsung says it will. Like I said, this is the best Android phone on the market right now, even if it doesn't immediately appeal to me on an aesthetic level.
There's also that price tag. The Galaxy Note 9 is an incremental update over the Galaxy Note 8, which is definitely not a bad thing. But I also think the 128GB Galaxy Note 9 shouldn't be priced at $999. Yes, the Galaxy Note 8 from last year was priced between $930 and $960 when it launched last year and it was rocking 64GB of built-in storage. So that's probably the easiest way to justify the higher price tag on the Galaxy Note 9, considering it starts at 128GB of built-in storage.
But this feels like a "just because" situation to me. Basically, just because Apple didi t, Samsung feels like it can, too. The good news here is that Samsung's $999 phone as 128GB of built-in storage (and a microSD card slot), while Apple's $999 smartphone has 64GB of storage (and no microSD card slot). But, that's Apple for you.
So, we're talking about things we'd change in a smartphone. I'd change that price tag, to start. I wish Samsung had priced the 128GB Galaxy Note 9 at $950 and called it a day. The 512GB model? Well, that's definitely going to retail over a grand, but maybe $1,100 could work? $1,249.99 is a pretty big pill to swallow.
(I saw somewhere at some point that the preorders for the Galaxy Note 9 were apparently trending towards the 512GB model, which honestly doesn't surprise me considering we saw the same early reports for the 128GB iPhone X, which is priced over $1,000, too.)
But on a physical level, I think the only thing I'd change at this point about the Galaxy Note 9 is the Bixby button. You can't disable it this year, just like last year, and this is still the one thing I wish Samsung would give consumers a break on. Let us do what we want with that button. If someone wants to use it to activate Google Assistant, let them. You'd probably get plenty of brownie points if you could let Galaxy Note 9 owners use it as a physical camera shutter button.
The Galaxy Note 9 is a fantastic handset, and Samsung has probably reached the pinnacle of what they can offer in a smartphone with this design. So that will make the unveiling of the Galaxy S10 next year pretty exciting. But, keeping our feet firmly in the present, I want to hear how you would change the Galaxy Note 9. Whether or not you bought one, how would you like to see Samsung change up the handset to make it more appealing to you? Let me know!