5 reasons you might prefer the Galaxy Note 9 over the new Galaxy S10+

5 reasons you might prefer the Galaxy Note 9 over the new Galaxy S10+
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the shiny new and rather big jewel in the Samsung lineup. It has top-of-the-line hardware, minimal bezels, and is so thin and light that it's a pleasure to hold and use. And, even with its elegant body, it still manages to somehow hold bleeding edge tech and a rather large battery.

Next to it, the Galaxy Note 9 can look a bit crude or underdeveloped. But, it's not always about looks, as any smartphone fan surely will tell you. The Note 9 can still stand on its own two legs with its own powerful processor and mind-boggling amounts of RAM.

Yeah, yeah, hardware has hit a plateau, there are no huge jumps year-over-year. It's about the features that a phone has! And, surprisingly, the Galaxy Note 9 manages to have a few features that make it a better choice than the Galaxy S10+, as long as they are right up your alley. Yep, let's check them out!

I. S Pen

Of course, the mighty S Pen. Samsung's proprietary stylus, which doubles as a Bluetooth remote control for the Note 9. It's unparalleled in terms of accuracy, pressure levels, and palm-rejection. A stylus is not for everybody, that's for sure. But those that love the feel of a super-accurate digital pen have no other phone to turn to than the Galaxy Note series. (Well, there is the Huawei Mate 20 X with the M-Pen, but good luck getting your hands on one).

II. No cutout

The removal of bezels has resulted in notches, cutouts, and other oddities. The Note 9 still keeps it real — yes, it has a bit of a chin and forehead on it, but at least your screen is a pure, unaltered rectangle. If you happen to be a devout notch or cutout denier, the Note 9 should beat the Galaxy S10+ in your eyes easily. Heck, it might even beat the Note 10, which is also rumored to have a display cutout for the selfie camera.

III. Telephoto camera portrait shots

Ever since it first introduced digitally-produced bokeh mode in its Camera app, Samsung has strayed away from calling it a “Portrait Mode”. Instead, its name is Live Focus. And, with the Galaxy S10 series, it's very apparent that the mode isn't meant strictly for portraits.

Why? Well, you can not use the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+'s telephoto lenses when in Live Focus mode. This means that, yes, portrait shots are still possible, but you will need to work with the wide-angle lens and its inherent desire to warp faces and hide ears behind the cheekbones.

The Galaxy Note 9 still “does it right” — Live Focus uses the 2x telephoto camera and is, essentially, a “Portrait Mode”. Just check out the difference in framing and composition in the two samples shown above. The telephoto camera certainly has that ability to "isolate" the subject and present their features more naturally, while the wide-angle lens manages to capture a lot more background than you'd normally want, and it distorts out model's face and body a bit.

IV. Notification LED

You might've heard the buzz by now — the Galaxy S10 family does not have a notification LED on the front. Now, that's a first for Samsung flagships and certainly disappointed a lot of Sammy purists out there.

Yes, it can be argued that Always on display kind of, sort of makes the LED redundant, but not exactly. If you are among the users that still prefer to know what notifications they have missed thanks to a brightly-glowing, color-coded LED that doesn't drain half your battery in a day, the Note 9 still has that notification light for you!

V. Faster fingerprint scanner

The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner under the display of the Galaxy S10+ is a true marvel of technology, that is an absolute fact. But it's still generation 1 tech and, as such, it's still not performing... optimally. It's kind of sluggish, sometimes not very accurate, and can be an annoyance.

On the flip side, the Galaxy Note 9's back-mounted fingerprint scanner is extremely fast and extremely accurate. Bonus: the Note 9 has the iris scanner biometric lock, which the Galaxy S10 did away with. We won't really miss it, to be honest, but some fans out there did like it.

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)
Galaxy S10+
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4100 mAh



1. Cat97

Posts: 1890; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Omission of the notification LED was the single stupidest design decision for the S10 series.

13. Fred3

Posts: 521; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

I use the notification ring that goes around the camera on my S10 which looks alot better than the LED

2. smileogeo1013

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 07, 2018

Or at least they should have made the ring around the camera cut out the notification light. The same way it lights up when you have face unlock enabled they could just add a software update to make the ring a notification light as well. There is an app out that does that but still Samsung should have made that an option out the box.

3. Knownhost

Posts: 106; Member since: Nov 13, 2017

As a Note user, I never even considered upgrading to the S10 plus. The Note 10 will be more tempting, but I am completely satisfied with the Note 9. I see myself holding onto it for at least two years, maybe more. Like an iPhone, a Samsung phone from the last couple of years still has a lot of life left in it.

7. LiveFaith

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Competition is painting these guys into a corner. They've all been forced to throw the kitchen sink at these flagships to stay relevant. Unfortunately, (for them) it's very hard to continue this rate of improvement. Good marketing says to "hold back" features to keep customers upgrading. Most have done so. But, everyone trying that is going out of biz now. Thankful for competition. All good for consumers

4. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not feeling the dumb cutout. As much as I want the in display FPS, if the Note 10 has the camera hole, I'll probably not get it (unless it has other killer features that are compelling).

8. LiveFaith

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

The double front facing camera is of zero interest to me. Plus that big cutout just creates some serious ugliness to me. But, the S10 regular w single cutout somehow looks attractive to me. I could live w either for the sake of no bezels. But I'd definitely take the single if I had the choice. I'm sure for you and a lot of others the cutout at all is unappealing.

5. maherk

Posts: 6873; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Better lowlight and indoors pictures.

6. LiveFaith

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Saw a rumor @ a smaller Note for the 10 series. I will upgrade my 8 if they truly bring that. Killing off the top and bottom bezela makes the S10+ more pocketable than the Note 8/9. If Sammy whacks those last bezels and brings a small version, then I'd be in love enough to pony up a grand. The Note 8 is still a friggin beast in it's own right, even today. They've got to bring something to get me off $1K. Otherwise I'll just enjoy what I have.

9. djinn911

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

I was very tempted with the new design of the S10+ but in the end I made the decision to not to upgrade from my Note9. The reasons were: 1) Fingerprint scanner - I've heard and saw how bad the sensor is no matter how cool the tech is. I unlock my phone 100 times a day and I don't want to have that frustration every time I unlock my phone. 2) S-Pen - I was always the S series user. I'm coming to my first Note after using the S7Edge and although at first I didn't use it much but the s-pen saved my life many times when I had to quickly sign and fill documents off. Guess I just grew up and started living that corporate life now. 3) Price - I spent 1000€ for my Note9 and only being used for 6 months, I was only getting 550€ out of it and it's still as new as the box sealed device. Losing 400+€ just for six months is too much for me and I'll rather wait for the new Note or new S. Regardless of everything I love my Note9 and I'm totally satisfied with it, it's just the techie in me always want to have the latest and greatest

14. Reviewerofstuff

Posts: 127; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

With a recent update it now is as fast and reliable as the note 9's fingerprint scanner.

10. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 206; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

The Note 9 is faultless. The only thing missing is G5. It is the best Note since the 4 and with the 4 all you had to do is add a 6500 battery which resulted in a camel back. If the 4 was upgradable to Android latest it would still be a good phone. I wait for Note 10 with G5 and 3D (is a depth sensor a 3D sensor?) sensor. Can you get a blueprint from scanning a space or an object??

11. Blazers

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I personally prefer the look of the Note 9 (and 8) over the look of the S10+

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31030; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Gotta have my S-Pen.

15. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

1 front facing speaker could be reason Number 6

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