Apple's iPhone X broke the price barrier for smartphones with a $ 1,000 price tag. Now Samsung's new Galaxy Note device, which will be released this week, joins the $ 1,000 Phone Club.
This begs the inevitable question: is this new phone worth spending so much?
After a week of testing, my conclusion is probably not going to be The Galaxy Note9 is a luxurious gadget for Power user who has a super fast phone with an extra large screen and excessive software efunktionen, such as the ability to be converted into a personal computer when connected to a display.
But if you can live without these premium features, there are many good Android phones that cost hundreds of dollars less. Although the Galaxy Note9 is an impressive technology element with a huge 6.4-inch screen, fantastic battery life, and a superb camera, I would most Samsung fans on the Galaxy S9, the approximately $ 700 expensive sibling device steer.
Here are my key insights on the remarkable features of the Note9, such as the innovative desktop mode, the long battery life and the improved digital pen.
Do you really want your phone to be your PC?
The Galaxy Note9 is the most interesting feature, at least in concept, is a software called Samsung DeX. DeX turns the smartphone into a PC.
To set it up, connect the phone to a display with a video cable and an adapter that connects to the phone's USB port. The phone automatically detects that an external monitor has been connected and switches the software system to a Windows-like system.
From there, you can control the "computer" via the phone's touch screen or a separate wireless keyboard or mouse. You can launch apps and files and juggle windows like on a desktop.
I was surprised at how good this pseudo-desktop system looked, but operating the desktop UI with the touchscreen buttons on the phone felt uncomfortable. I imagine that most people want to use DeX with a normal keyboard and mouse.
And I confess that it was unclear to me how this setup would fit into someone's lifestyle. Why do you carry a smartphone to a desk, keyboard, and mouse workstation – and leave the last accessory with just the smartphone – instead of just carrying a complete laptop? For now, this feature feels unnecessary, if not impractical.
Suzanne De Silva, a director of product strategy for Samsung, said she envisioned DeX for a variety of tasks using a large second screen, such as online shopping or karaoke on television to adjust.
"You can have these back-to-back experiences with your phone, unleashing the power of the dual screen," she said.
A great battery, but questionable durability
An attractive feature of the Note9 is its exceptional battery life. In my test week of using the device to take pictures, send e-mails and texts, use social media apps, and play games, it had a longer battery life than any smartphone I've ever used. Often I still had at least 30 percent of the battery at bedtime after one day of use. The vast majority of the phones I tested always had to be charged by the evening.
Still, I was less impressed with the physical durability of this phone. During an easy walk in a park, the Note9 dropped out of my coat pocket onto concrete and wore ugly scratches on two of its aluminum corners. The phone did not carry a suitcase (my pity!), But that was not even the glass part of the device. Should not a 1000 dollar product be less sensitive?
Ms. De Silva said the material around the phone is an aluminum that is durable and allows the transmission of radio signals. If customers want a more robust model, Samsung sells rugged phones called Galaxy Active.
In my tests, photos in bright light looked very clear and detailed. Lighter colors, such as pink and yellow, seemed livelier – which I do not prefer, although some people like exaggerated-looking photos for Instagram. In general, the pictures looked as good as on the Galaxy S9 +, which I have rated as an excellent camera.
Still, I did not like using the Galaxy Note9 as an everyday camera, just as I did with the Galaxy S9 + and other smaller cell phones. Its longer and wider body made it difficult to handle, and the curved sides of the screen made the phone slipperier.
So, in these happy moments, when you whip up your cell phone and instantly fire up the camera, the Galaxy Note9 will slow you down: its body makes it hard to pull out of a bag quickly and stabilize in your hands take a clear Shot.
The pen is the main reason for the note
The signature feature of the Galaxy Note has always been its digital pen for writing and drawing, called the S-pen. For the Note 9, the pen has been greatly improved: it now includes a button that you can press to use as a remote control.
This is my favorite feature in the new note. You can remotely control various tasks with the stylus. By default, you can press the pen button once to take a photo. This is especially helpful when taking a selfie: It is much easier to hold the phone in front of you with one hand while pressing the button on the pen with the other hand. The S-Pen button can also be reprogrammed to switch slides for a presentation or to start and stop an audio recording.
The S-Pen should be the main reason to look at this phone and not another Samsung device like the Galaxy S9 or the Galaxy S9 +. These phones do not have pens, but cost $ 620 to $ 860, are also very fast and have slightly smaller screens and bodies that make them easier to handle.
If you are not sure if this phone is right for you, consider the Samsung audience. Ms De Silva said the Galaxy Note9 is for people who "live exclusively on their device" to work, play, shop, create, read, and watch videos. "It's an all-in-one," she said.
For me that was the deal breaker. I'm constantly anxious to spend less time on my phone anyway, so will do a cheaper one.