Samsung has always been known for its powerful phablets. With the Note-series boasting the beefy, brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and the S-series packing the powerhouse S9+, the choice between the two big-screened devices isn’t easy. We break it down for you.
|Name||Samsung Galaxy Note 9||Samsung Galaxy S9+|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Dimensions||6.38 by 3.01 by 0.35 inches||6.2 by 2.9 by 0.33 inches|
|Weight||7.09 oz||6.67 oz|
|Screen Size||6.4 inches||6.2 inches|
|Screen Type||Super AMOLED||Super AMOLED|
|Screen Resolution||2,960 by 1,440 pixels||2,960 by 1,440 pixels|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||516 ppi||529 ppi|
|Camera Resolution||Dual 12MP rear/8MP front-facing||Dual 12MP/8MP Front-facing|
|Video Camera Resolution||4K||4K|
|Total Integrated Storage||128 GB||64 GB|
|Read the Review||Read the Review|
Size and Screen
When it comes to large phones, both the 6.2-inch S9+ and 6.4-inch Note 9 feature Quad HD displays with 18:9 aspect ratios. They’re equally sharp and bright, with the rich saturated colors and the dense, inky blacks for which Samsung’s AMOLED panels are known.
The size makes both devices ideal for watching videos and both support HDR10 content. Either phone will undoubtedly offer you a great multimedia experience, but the Note 9 is a tiny bit bigger. Of course, these are phablets so neither can really be used with one hand. If you want that, you’ll need to scale down to the S9.
Battery and Hardware
Taking a peek under the hood again shows two devices with a similar set of hardware. Both the Note 9 and S9+ run Snapdragon 845 chipsets. The base models of both come with 6GB of RAM, but the Note 9 has more configuration options. By default, it starts at 128GB of storage with 6GB of RAM or 512GB of storage with 8GB of RAM. By contrast, US customers will only find the S9+ in a 64GB storage/6GB RAM configuration.
In PCMark, a measure of overall system performance for a variety of applications, the Note 9 scored 7,662 and the S9+ scored 7,273. In terms of real-world performance, this isn’t likely to make a difference outside of benchmark tests. Both are equally snappy when it comes to multitasking and games.
Camera performance is nearly identical. The Note 9 has the same 12MP dual rear sensor setup as the S9+ with the only changes coming from the intelligent AI scene recognition and the ability to identify and notify you when shots haven’t come out well. The differences here are fairly minor and either device will snap sharp pictures, record 4K video at 60fps, and is capable of 2x optical zoom.
Where the Note 9 really stands out compared to the S9+ is battery life. With a 4,000mAh cell, it ran out our 12-hour battery test video with 15 percent of its juice to spare. That handily beat the 3,500mAh S9+, which lasted for 10 hours. Naturally, both phones support features like fast charging and wireless charging. If you’re always running out of charge, the Note 9 has a clear advantage but the S9+ is no slouch.
S Pen and Features
When deciding between a Note device and any other, it really comes down to the S Pen. The Note 9’s Bluetooth-equipped stylus has an incredibly precise pressure-sensitive tip that allows you to write, draw, take notes, sketch, created animated messages, and translate
Beyond that, you can use it as a clicker for presentations and control the Note 9’s front and rear cameras to snap pictures remotely. There’s no comparable set of features on the Galaxy S9+ or really any other phone on the market. If you need to scribble, the Note 9 is the device you need.
In most other regards, both phones have the same suite of features. The Bixby voice assistant and button, Samsung DeX’s desktop mode, Samsung Pay for mobile payments, and the Knox security software come standard on both phablets.
Price is going to be the big sticking point. The Note 9 costs $ 999.99 for the 128GB storage/6GB RAM model, and a hefty $ 1,249.99 for the 512GB storage/8GB RAM version. All told, it runs between $ 150 to $ 400 more than the S9+, which usually runs around $ 850 depending on the carrier.
If you plan to make heavy use of the S Pen to write and draw, and need the extra juice from the battery, this price is worth it. But if the stylus doesn’t appeal to you, there’s no need to shell out for the Note 9. Both the S9 and S9+ will offer a nearly identical experience when it comes to performance, without being quite so hard on your wallet.