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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Full Review - Performance

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Samsung Galaxy Note9 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Samsung Galaxy Note9 Other sample images


Camera Performance - Using the wide-angle 4.3mm f/1.5-2.4 lens (26mm equivalent) and the telephoto 6.0mm f/2.4 lens (52mm equivalent), exposure is reliable, and when left on auto settings, the camera will automatically switch to the HDR mode when needed to record more dynamic range in photos, without looking unnatural. Holding the shutter release button down will let you shoot continuously.

Live Focus - You can focus on a subject close to the camera, and set the level of background blur. In playback (with dual capture on) you get to choose between the telephoto and wide-angle photos. You can also adjust the level of blur after taking the photo. 

In some low-light conditions, the 2x button on the screen will no longer activate the second camera, and instead simply activates digital zoom. Checking the EXIF information will show which camera was used if needed.

The Scene Optimiser will automatically select the correct mode when detected. This can improve photos, however, it isn't as over-the-top as competitors phones, so you can quite happily use it without having to worry about it. 


Samsung Galaxy Note9 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Colour reproduction is very good, with images looking good straight from the camera. When using the 2x telephoto zoom lens, the photos look very good as well, with the same colour reproduction, and good levels of detail. Noise is well controlled whichever camera you use. Switching to f/2.4 from f/1.5 does see a slight improvement in the sharpness of images. The aperture change happens in front of the lens, but behind the protective glass on the back of the smartphone.

The front selfie camera gives good results, thanks to autofocus (AF) to ensure that you and your friends are in focus. You can use "Selfie focus" and this will blur the background, giving you a "bokeh" effect. Wide-selfie can be used to get more of your friends, or more of the scene in to the photo. You can use the S-Pen as a remote trigger for taking photos (with any camera). 

Using the Pro mode, you can select raw shooting, and the camera will record Adobe DNG files, as well as JPEG images. The camera is resistant to flare, as long as you keep the camera lenses clean. 

Thanks to a bright aperture (f/1.5), optical image stabilisation (OIS), and a 12mp sensor with relatively large pixels (1.4micron), the low-light performance of the Note9 is good.


Samsung Galaxy Note9 ISO test images


Noise Performance - In the Pro mode you can manually set the ISO speed from ISO50 up to ISO800. Noise performance is good up to ISO800. The ISO speed can go higher and in auto mode, the camera will also go up to ISO1250. This is quite limiting, compared to other smartphones which offer much higher ISO speeds. 


Samsung Galaxy Note9 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance -  Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting with a slightly warm result, which most people will prefer. The tungsten preset gives a much more neutral result. AWB performs reasonably well under mixed light. Results under fluorescent lighting are reasonable but could be better. The fluorescent preset gives a magenta colour cast. 


Samsung Galaxy Note9 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a number of different colour effects available in the camera app. Simply press the magic wand symbol and you can choose from a number of different presets. We've shown examples of these above, and there are a number of subtle effects that can be used easily and effectively. There are also a few different monochrome effects that look good. 


Video - You can record 4K UHD video at 60fps, however, if you want to use electronic image stabilisation then you'll need to use a slower frame rate. Optical image stabilisation is available in all modes. Super slow-motion video is recorded at a resolution of 1280x720. Slow motion video can be recorded at 240fps, at FullHD resolution. The front camera can record at resolutions up to QHD (2560x1440), but not 4K.


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Chris_L 6 5.5k United Kingdom
13 Nov 2018 7:25PM
Looks fantastic but it is a pity that Samsung are doing that greedy thing of suppressing Android standards like Google Search, Google Assistant, Google Photos etc and putting their own, usually inferior, software such as Bixby front stage. It's such a shame that when people who aren't very techie buy this they will be very confused by it

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