The year was 2014 and I had the newest Galaxy device, the Note 4. Things were going great, I had previously owned a Samsung Galaxy S 3 and was reasonably happy with it but always found it lacking in performance. When the Note 4 came out, I was excited. So excited that I preordered it and waited anxiously until it arrived, little did I know this would be the last Android device I would ever purchase. Fast forward about 9 months later and Android 5.0.1 was released on the device, this would prove a horrible downfall. Android 5 was a buggy nightmare for me. The phone crashed constantly and at one point the device factory reset in the middle of the day. After dealing with this for a few days I reverted back to Android 4.4.4, the last good version. To my dismay my carrier at the time forced the update anytime I connected to WiFi so it wasn’t long before Android 5 was back. This was the final straw for me, shortly after I preordered the iPhone 6S and never looked back.
August 24th, 2018. As a long time iPhone user I have grown used to the quirks and the price tag. I also grew accustomed to the simplicity and that things just seemed to work on the iPhone. I never had any issues beyond the times I used the beta versions of iOS (no dig here, they’re beta versions for a reason) and life was pretty good. Part of me always liked to look at the Android offerings though, many of my friends are long time Android users and I work with the devices almost daily for work so I had plenty of exposure to them. I watch the key Note for the Note 9 and it seemed pretty comparable to the iPhone X I was using at the time except it was an Android. So while I was satisfied with the iPhone I wanted to try something new, enter stage left, the Note 9. The Note 9 is the latest device released from Samsung. It runs Android 8.1.0 and comes in at a cool 1,000 dollars for the 128 GB model (1,249 for the 258 GB model) and features 6 GB of memory and an 8 core processor in the form of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.
My first impression of the device is it feels great in the hand. Its a little heavy vs the iPhone X that I had prior but its much larger, and comes with a larger “All day” battery. Beyond that the standard Android offering is there but with a twisted in the form of a pen. The S Pen is what sets the Note apart from the S9 Plus. Using the pen you can draw things, take hand notes, and even control the camera. The Pen wasn’t really a big selling point for me, I was more or less after the battery and memory, but its a nice feature to have in case I want to take some notes or something. Beyond that the device feels pretty standard, the camera takes photos, the fingerprint scanner lets me unlock, and Android pay lets me, pay.
With that being said, I’m not going to bag on the device. I bought the Note because I was ready to try it out again. After being burned almost 4 years before I can safely say that Android has come a long way. The interface is much more responsive and snappy, the fingerprint scanner is faster, the widgets work well this time around. The even has some nice features like being able to take notes while the device is locked and close, which may come in handy if my handwriting was better. Overall I’m happy with the purchase so far, I think the Note really is a great Android experience, even coming from years of iOS usage. If you’re a long time lover of Android and looking for an upgrade I would absolutely say the Note 9 is worth a look.
Its not all sunshine and happiness though. Somethings I do miss (and im sure these will fade with usage) are Face ID, the swipe functions of iOS, the relative simplicity of iOS and the overall look of Android is, off, I guess is the best way to put it. With iOS the look and feel seems cleaner and more professional than Android, specifically the email app. Ive used the stock app, Outlook for Android, and BlueMail (this is my favorite of the bunch so far) and I just cant seem to find the one I Like. Everything on the Note is flush with color, almost to the point where it gets distracting and a little cartoonish. With iOS the apps are more slim without all the vibrancy of Android, but this makes it feel less intrusive and more utilitarian. Of course, this is all preference and I’ve only had the device for about a day now, so your experience may vary (and be sure to look out for the in depth review coming in about a week).
So getting down to brass tax what do I think? Well, I think the device is a solid device, it feels good in the hand, it has a lot of features i would expect from a 4 figure device and it has the performance I would expect for a flagship. Bottom line, if you’re already an android user and looking for an upgrade, go for it. You really cant go wrong with the Note 9. What about the iOS crowd? If you’re an iPhone user and you’re happy with it, don’t switch. Android and iOS are neck and neck in terms of features and without a real reason to leave I wouldn’t suggest it. If you aren’t happy or are just looking to try something new, give it a shot. For me personally by trading in my iPhone X I as able to cut the price of the Note in half. Android does have its quirks but so does iOS so honestly, what do you have to lose.