What exactly do you want in your smartphone? Is it day-long performance, fast charging, more data storage, speed and power, better immersive experience, or all of these?
There are several smartphones out there that promise to give you most of these features -- or even all -- but a true premium experience can only happen with a true premium device.
The 6.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 9 -- to be launched in India on August 22 -- has focused equally on performance as well as empowering users' expressions.
In India, The 6GB+128GB variant will cost Rs 67,900 and 8GB+512GB model will come at Rs 84,900.
With Stylus Pen (the company calls it S Pen), Note 9 becomes a piece of art, where you can write, create, draw, colour, give a presentation at office, click selfies and what not.
Let us see what Note 9 offers in the premium space where Apple iPhone X, Huawei P20 Pro and Google Pixel devices are its main rivals.
We tested the Ocean Blue variant with yellow S Pen (6GB+128GB variant).
Galaxy Note 9's Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display is the series' largest so far that offers more room for work, play and everything in between -- maintaining Samsung's design legacy.
Note 9 offers a sleek and square form factor and comes with enhancements that enable users to multitask as well as enjoy immersive multimedia experiences.
To amplify immersion, Samsung has rounded the corners of the display to a bare minimum, refining the Galaxy Note 9's barely-there bezels to conceal its iris sensor.
The screen is deeper black, which allows it to blend in with the bezels when the device is off, thus enhancing the overall aesthetic.
The frame is sleek and slim and features interplay of glossy and matte finishes.
Other enhancements include the redesigned camera which now matches the colour of the device and the repositioned fingerprint sensor, which is now housed beneath the camera.
In our tests, Galaxy Note9 performed well on screen reflectance, colour accuracy, brightness, native colour gamut, contrast ratio and screen resolution -- much better than what iPhone X, Huawei P20 Pro or Google Pixel would offer.
Galaxy Note 9 houses a 4,000mAh battery -- the largest ever on a flagship Galaxy phone. With fast-charging technology, the device had full juice in a little bit over an hour (You charge it in the morning and it will stay put till late night on regular usage).
Galaxy Note 9 houses a cutting-edge 10nm processor and support for the fastest network speeds available in the market (up to 1.2 gigabits per second) to stream and download without slowing down.
Be it with watching videos on YouTube or streaming Netflix series, the phone offered a smooth experience throughout.
The on-device Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based performance adjusting algorithm helped deliver the powerful yet stable performance.
This time, the S Pen is more than a tool but rather a device in its own right -- complete with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity and its own independent functions.
Also included in the Galaxy Note 9's collection of compatible accessories is a Wireless Charger Duo.
The fast-charging two-in-one allows a user to quickly charge the phone alongside another Qi-compatible (for wireless charging) phone or a smart watch.
The device that runs OS Android 8.1 (Oreo) has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) for the US customers and Samsung's very own "Exynos 9 Series 9810" chips for the Indian customers.
Let us talk about the camera.
The device sports dual camera system (12MP+12MP) with dual optical image stabilisation (OIS) at the rear -- with 2 times more powerful optical zoom and up to 10 times powerful digital zoom -- and an 8MP front shooter.
The "Scene Optimiser" technology uses intelligence to identify elements of a photo, such as scene and subject, to automatically classify it into one of 20 categories and instantly optimise it based on the category.
The result was a life-like image with bold colours and dynamic definition.
With "Flaw Detection" feature, Note 9 lets users know if there's something wrong so that they can take another picture without losing the moment.
An immediate notification appears if the image is blurry, the subject blinked, smudge on the lens or there is backlight impacting the quality of the image.
Galaxy Note 9's camera delivered crystal-clear shots in almost all light conditions.
What doesn't work?
Face recognition system to unlock the device falters at times, especially in low-light conditions.
Conclusion: If you have been using a Note device, this is a real upgrade. If you are on other premium-segment smartphones, Note 9 is definitely worth trying.
If you opt to buy Galaxy Note 9 with 512GB internal storage option, insert a microSD card and you will have massive 1TB storage at your disposal -- no need to buy any Cloud storage as with iPhones.
(Nishant Arora can be contacted at email@example.com)