Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes you back to the future

03rd September 2018
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 takes you back to the future
Actress Kiara Advani, launching the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 at Sangeetha Mobiles, Bangalore.

With jumbo storage and retro writing  tools,  the Samsung Galaxy Note 9  pushes the envelope of portable productivity.
Bangalore, September 3 2018: 'Take a note, Miss  Mona!' says the boss. And Mona whips out her notebook and takes shorthand at  a blazing 80 words per minute.  That was an era long gone, replaced by Pocket PCs that  let you take your own notes, replacing pencil and paper with glass screen and stylus.  That too, was swamped by  the smartphone: typing became a two- finger exercise on a touch screen.
But somewhere in our collective psyche, we still  long for the  feel of pen on paper  -- and Samsung's latest addition to its  Note series -- the Galaxy Note 9 -- is a fond salute to this retro writing tool.  Take away the S Pen and the Note 9 is not much different -- spec-wise -- from many another flagship phone.  Correction: I forgot the insanely huge storage:  at its max configuration, 512 GB inside and 512 GB in the microSD slot,  making this a one terabyte pocket monster, which can carry all your files, movies, music for years, without using  any cloud store.
The  8 MP front camera  is fairly standard in this class of phone except for the 960 frames-per-second  slow motion mode. Samsung has lavished attention on the dual 12 MP front camera combo with wide angle,  2X optical zoom telephoto  and two aperture settings: F2.4 for  well-lit  subjects and F1.5 for dark.  AI  which phone cameras increasingly deploy, is creatively used here to  detect flaws:  eye blink, smudged lens, excessive back light or just someone jogging your elbow to create a blur. In all such cases the phone prompts you to reshoot!
The Note 9 is primarily a productivity platform -- with a large  6.4 inch screen  that  provides a 4K  ultra HD  display. The sized allows you to split the  screen between two apps ( one work, one play, I imagine!).  You can link the phone to laptop or PC monitor via HDMI   and use the bigger screen to show presentations,  spreadsheets etc with a tool called Dex. And the 4000 mAh battery should keep you going over a working day. This is a device that can be customised in many ways, but like the Seven Veils of Sheba, one has to  peel through layers to find many hidden customization tools. While this jumbo- sized phone  asks to be held  with two hands, you can  set up a one handed mode,  if you chose,  by shrinking some of the displayed apps.
The true USP is the S Pen, a cool tool with a tiny button, that provides a great writing feel. Hover over any text and tap the blue 'T' sign to bring up the writing pad anytime. But for me,  the   truly  innovative  use of the S Pen was this: You can  use it to bring up the camera  with a long press -- then run to join a group of people  and click to take an old fashioned group shot.  From selfie to groupie...  back to the future indeed!

Galaxy Note 9  is available for Rs  67,900 and  Rs 84,900 for 128 GB and 512 GB variants, respectively. ANAND PARTHASARATHY