9 things that would have made the Galaxy Note 9 even better

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
9 things that would have made the Galaxy Note 9 even better
Samsung says the Galaxy Note 9 is aimed at “those who want it all.” But can you really have it all, even at $999, from a phone that comes mere months before Samsung’s true “next big thing”, widely expected to adopt a bunch of groundbreaking new technologies in an attempt to turn sluggish sales around?

At first glance, you do get a lot here. A bigger than ever battery, a very ingenious new S Pen that technically doesn’t have a built-in battery, some extremely neat camera features, one whole terabyte of (potential) storage space (eat your heart out, iFans), actual water cooling to prevent overheating, a couple of deal sweeteners, and basically more of everything.

But take a closer look, and you’ll find this powerhouse is not without its flaws. Even before the PhoneArena team could get the chance to rigorously review the Galaxy Note 9, I’ve been able to come up with a list of 9 things that would have made this excellent phone even better. Buckle up, because this is going to get divisive:

A lower price

Freebies (available with pre-orders) are nice and all, but even though it doesn’t work like that, Samsung could have taken the $299 that complimentary pair of AKG headphones is purportedly worth right off the Note 9’s $1,000 MSRP. Or at least the $200 they’re actually worth. $150, even $100 lower would have made a difference. Because let’s be real, when a great device like the OnePlus 6 can be sold for $529 and up (at a presumably small profit), there’s no other reasonable explanation for the sky-high Galaxy Note 9 price than the aggressive pursuit of hefty margins.

That's a perfectly sound business strategy, of course, but it's also an elitist practice that makes some of those Apple attack ads feel hypocritical.

In-display fingerprint recognition technology

Do you really need a fancy new way to scan your fingerprint and biometrically unlock your phone in a split second? Probably not, especially if the in-display sensors available today are slower and less reliable than the best “traditional” solutions, like the one mounted on the Note 9’s back.

Still, this is a classic case of emotion overcoming logic. Also, bragging rights. Among other reasons, people used to buy high-end Samsung phones because they weren't afraid to take risks, embracing visionary new technologies before others would follow suit. This time around, the company may only be willing to jump on the bandwagon when it becomes standard practice, with many rival flagship and even non-flagship devices expected to beat it to the punch.

Better facial recognition

I’m not talking a Face ID-rivaling 3D authentication method... necessarily, but something a little better than what the Galaxy S9 offered. Faster, more accurate, and above all, harder to trick. Again, the Galaxy Note 9 reviews are not in yet, so maybe, just maybe Samsung made some improvements without trumpeting them at yesterday’s Unpacked event. But that doesn’t really sound like Samsung, now, does it?

A third rear-facing camera

No, it’s not (necessarily) about the size number, but sometimes it can be. The Note 9 may very well feature the world’s best dual camera setup, but a third shooter could have allowed it to set a new standard in terms of advanced zooming capabilities in addition to flexible aperture and all that stuff. As things stand, 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom technology lets you capture pretty great detail at a distance, but perhaps not as sharp as you'd wish. 

Both the Galaxy S10 and Apple's 2019 iPhones are widely rumored to follow the suit of an existing Huawei flagship and a couple of impending ones, moving to triple imaging sensor arrangements, which signals this is not just some sort of a gimmick going nowhere. The world of augmented reality could also get a much-needed boost from a third rear camera, and although the technology is still rough around the edges (to say the least), you have to start somewhere. Remember, back in the day, the Galaxy Note family was home to a number of ambitious experiments, so why not renew that tradition?

Google Assistant integration

Bixby is not happening. There, I said it. Or even if it is, Samsung's proprietary virtual assistant looks like it will need several years to catch up to the competition's versatility and knowledge. During those years, of course, Google Assistant's skills are likely to expand even further, making Samsung's efforts a Don Quixote-style windmill chase. 

Does anyone remember those DOA Tizen phones? Samsung appears to be going down a similar road here, trying to reduce its reliance on a vital partner rather than strengthening their alliance and recognizing an area where Google has made great strides in a short period of time. 

Gorilla Glass 6

Remember when Samsung had dibs on all the new technologies and new generations of essential features like Corning’s ubiquitous Gorilla Glass screen protection? Those days are gone, and just like in-display fingerprint scanners, Samsung could end up adopting Gorilla Glass 6 after many of its rivals. That means the Note 9 is tough, but probably not as durable as an upcoming Oppo handset that’s also likely to cost a lot less than $999.

A better smartwatch companion

Smartwatches these days tend to fly solo, and the Galaxy Watch is no exception, with standalone LTE connectivity supporting the making and receiving of voice calls on your wrist. But there’s also a Bluetooth-only option that requires smartphone synchronization for... pretty much everything, which created a perfect opportunity for Samsung to (indirectly) increase the Galaxy Note 9’s appeal.

That’s not really the case, as the Galaxy Watch fails to live up to its new name, looking way too similar to a Gear S3 released a full two years ago. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about the Galaxy Watch, further proving this product category is in a rut. Perhaps worst of all, no Galaxy Watch/Note 9 bundle deals have been announced... just yet.

Android 9 Pie

Yes, it could have been done. It was tight, but feasible. After all, Google allowed a number of partners to test the Android P update ahead of its general release, and the Essential Phone already runs stable Pie.

Unfortunately, Samsung insists on tainting the stock Android experience with an abundance of proprietary “optimizations” and add-ons, making the company’s software support mediocre... at best. Oh, well, at least the Galaxy Note 9 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo, an OS version that hasn’t rolled out to the S9 or Note 8.

A notch

Just kidding, that 6.4-inch “Infinity Display” is pretty much perfect. A little large by certain standards, it squeezes into a phenomenally compact body (all things considered), sporting symmetrically thin bezels and curved edges. By the way, the new Super AMOLED screen is ever so slightly bigger than the one on the Note 8, but somehow, Samsung managed to lower the overall height of the device. 

Related phones

Galaxy Note 9
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(29h 3G talk time)



2. antmiu2

Posts: 551; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

You got me with the Notch lol

4. axc06j

Posts: 26; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Glad they were joking with the notch.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31594; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Note 8 is sold, getting ready to order my 9, and then it’s just the wait.

32. Heisenberg

Posts: 378; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

How did you completely back up your phone inorder to restore it fully on the Note 9?

43. darkkjedii

Posts: 31594; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The settings automatically back up to Samsung cloud dude.

44. Ozsikhs

Posts: 58; Member since: Sep 03, 2015

What about data??

6. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

Notch !! Maybe all other things are right but NOTCH!!! Hahha who the idiot need this s**t called NOTCH ??!!

7. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I cannot believe NOTCH is on the list. Ppl are glad it does not have one. But it should have : - Decent front cam for video calls - 12MP 1/2.3" instead of 1/2.55" - 3x zoom - Unlimited 4K recording

34. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You didn't read.

8. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

I just wanted Note 9 to have fingerprint sensor under the display and 4k display witn 120H refresh rate for better VR experience but unfortunately there is nothing like this !! Hope S10+ will have them and come with S-Pen too to can replace my Note8

9. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

This wish-list is pretty much the S10. It's not ready for production. It's also not going to include #1 - lower price. Samsung's backed into the high price wall by 2018 lower sales. Trying to be a high-margin, lower sales release for the S10 will be tricky. 2018 has made buyers skeptical that the price is justified.

10. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

I want notch on my Samsung phone, at least one notched variant of a flagship will be better

11. Cyberchum

Posts: 1106; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

What a waste of an article?! But then, it's not really a waste if it got people reading and commenting, right? . Okay, Tizen for phone hasn't… didn't work out, so you want Samsung to stop trying? Which company gives up when one project fails? Must be one without vision and ambition. And, I am sure people would get the option of using GA instead.

12. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

1. A lower price: It's overall a much better device than The iPhone X. Keep in mind that The 64GB variant of The X goes for roughly $1,000 while Samsung is offering twice the memory for similar price. A bloody bargain! 2. In-display fingerprint recognition technology: And yet Apple got away with ZERO fingerprint sensor whatsoever. Bias, maybe? 3. Better facial recognition: The way you're mocking this phone without even trying the newer and hopefully better facial recognition technology is definitely a bias. 4. A third rear-facing camera: We've got a variable aperture and you're talking about a THIRD camera. Talk about redundancy! 5. Google Assistant integration. 100% agreed. 6. Gorilla Glass 6: Unless you planning to use your Note 9 as a ping-pong ball; there's no need for a tougher glass. But it surely would've been nice. 7. A better smartwatch companion: Smartwatches are overrated, period. 8. Android 9 Pie: Impossible given how Samsung likes to 're-skin' Android before releasing. A desperate attempt to make a list consisting of 9 points! 9. A notch: Don't get me started on the notch! 10. Oh well... G'Day!

13. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Great post, agree 100%

15. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

IKR, and.. 3. Iris scanner already there, and it's faster and better than face unlock.

16. cmdacos

Posts: 4319; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

How is Google assistant not already integrated? It's there in a long press of the home button or voice wake up.

19. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

This is gonna be fun! A lower price If you can't afford a phone, don't get it. It's that simple. This isn't the first phone that's gonna be that price, it won't be the last & it won't be the most expensive. In-display fingerprint recognition technology Stevie Wonder could see that this wasn't planned until next year, so I know you all knew it wasn't expected on this device, especially since YOU reported that it won't. This 'point' was unnecessary. Better facial recognition 4 Alternative security lock methods > 'better' facial recognition. A third rear-facing camera WTF for? Samsung cameras have always been at the top amongst ALL flagships & was the reason everyone else had to step their camera game up. Google Assistant integration It's an ANDROID phone! I really shouldn't have to spell this out for you. Had you said, "A Dedicated Google Assistant or Customizable Bixby Button" then you would've had a point. Gorilla Glass 6 Dropped the $#¡% outta my Note 8 on tile, granite, concrete & marble. My not Gorilla Glass 6 screen doesn't have a scratch, & I'm not rocking a screen protector. The Note 9 having GG6 is fine. A better smartwatch companion This would've made the smartwatch better, not the phone. Android 9 Pie The only valid point stated. Samsung knew when they were launching this phone & they knew when Android 9 Pie was being launched. It would've made sense to have it launch with the latest version. A notch Joking or not, a notch doesn't look good on any phone. Remove it from the iPhone X & it would be THE best looking phone out there hands down, INCLUDING over the S9 & Note 9.

31. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

What people still odn't understand about firmwares is, a phone is release with the firmware that was available ot them when the phone was being made and tested. Android 9 was not made available to OEM's soon enough for it to be tested with phones, especially if they use a skin. The S and Note do enough that not having Android 9, shouldn't even be a big deal. Show a phone with Android 9 that does equal or more than the S/Note.

41. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017


21. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

There are really only two things that this phone needs - front facing stereo speakers and in display FPS. Lower price is always nice, but that's true of everything. But it's still going to be the phone that unseats the Note 8 as the best phablet sized smartphone in the world.

23. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

The only thing that they need to copy from iphones is its best seller, that’s why  got roughly 90% of the total smartphone profit. Whereas Samsung best seller were low to mid tier phones. Price this as $700 and it would really sell like S4

24. cmdacos

Posts: 4319; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Why would they price a phone that has equal hardware to and more functionality than an iPhone eks, dramatically lower than the eks??

25. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

This phone got a chuck full of everything. No phone beats this one feature-wise, but in the end it all comes to the user experience. I'll give this phone a try when it lands in stores.

29. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Most of those things would have made the Note worse. A lower price? Agree 100%. $1000 for ANY smartphone is ridiculous. My question is, what is so different about today's galaxy S and Note that both have had a $300 price increase in just 3 years?! IDFPS? It has a FPS. an IDFPS offers zero benefit. it's simply more expensive. Considering the rise in the Note cost, it should be there only for cost reasons. 3rd camera? Why? More isn't better!!! Google Assistant is already there. You can "OK Google" anytime you want. GG6? Why? Is it better than GG5? We have yet to see if it is. I honestly doubt. It's glass. Glass breaks no matter what number it is. A better smartwatch companion? Nothing made by any OEM is better than samsung's own accessories with their phones. The Gear S is better than any smartwatch for something that is a total waste of money anyways. Android 9? Not really. Android 8.1 on a Samsung phone, does more than ANY phone that will be upgraded or comes pre-installed with Pie. Higher numbers, doesn't mean better. Notch? NO!!!!! Any OEM that uses such a compromise in their display. Whether it be a small hole or a huge forehead, is a complete stupid concept. I would never buy a phone with such. If Samsung ever copies this, I certainly won't be buying it, unless everyone is doing it. which will never happen. The only downside to the Note 9, is if you have an 8; it won't be a reasonable enough upgrade. But if you have a Note FE or older, this is a huge upgrade.

33. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

1)If it wasn't made by Samsung 2)If it would get timely updates 3)If it wasn't made by Samsung 4)If it wasn't made by Samsung 5)If it wasn't made by Samsung 6)If it wasn't made by Samsung 7)If it wasn't made by Samsung 8)If it wasn't made by Samsung 9)If it wasn't made by Samsung

36. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

What is "9 ways to make the Note less functional like your phone!" I'll take 14545 butthurt for $600.

42. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Just don't get mad when they screw you over like they did me. That being said, I'm perfectly fine with my pixel 2 xl.

40. Fellwalker

Posts: 541; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Two things only that would have made the note 9 acceptable 1. Flat screen. This is the only mobile phone with an S-pen! Curves are not a friend of a pen. There aren't any other phones with a proper stylus. 2. 16:9. The narrow screen is dreadful for business related things like spreadsheets, or database related apps like accounting, and not particularly good for documents. I'm yet to meet anyone including younger shop staff who want a phone for watching movies. So why has 2:1 become so universal. With those, I'd seriously consider buying one, so let's hope there is a widely available version like that. . If it also has a 5000 mAh battery, I'd be rushing to buy one.

45. Anchor

Posts: 160; Member since: Jun 16, 2017

Everything listed here is either planned for a future galaxy model or simply a joke.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.