Are Old Flagship phones worth it? Samsung Galaxy Note 9 - 2021 Revisit

Galaxy Note 9 in 2021

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was an amazing smartphone back in 2018. It improved upon pretty much everything that the cautiously launched Note 8 lacked; A bigger battery, way better (stereo) speakers, Better performance, and of course, improved cameras.


I am one of the many users who still own and swear by their Note 9 even as we start marching through 2021. That made me wonder, perhaps a revisit or re-review of sorts is an order for my trusty Note, 2 something years after its launch. 
 
Should you buy an older flagship in 2021? let's take a look at how the Note 9 has aged.
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

The physical build is probably the least affected one here. The metal frame has a few scratches and so does the display; general wear and tear of sorts. Nothing out of the ordinary to report.
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

The beautiful 1440p QHD+ AMOLED Display, despite physically being at "only" 60 Hz, due to faster animations on Sammy's new One UI 2.5 software skin, feel like almost 90 Hz. 
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review
 
The new UI also brings about much-awaited camera upgrades, like the presence of dedicated Pro Video mode. Users can now natively record 21:9 Cinemawide videos at 4k @24 fps. Noice!

Interesting how much can be achieved just with software, eh?
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review
 
Battery life unfortunately has taken a noticeable hit, with eh phone only averaging around 4.5 hours of heavy usage. 
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

I suppose it's still good enough as it allows me to do all my hardcore power-user stuff like 4K video recording and Editing, Some occasional digital art, moderate gaming, multitasking, etc.
 
Speaking of power user stuff, the S-Pen! Yes, the S-pen now has Bluetooth functionality supporting "air gestures" over a series of button presses from a distance.
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

Yeah, like every other human being who ever used a Note 9, I never used the air action thingy.
I did however use the S-pen itself a lot. Every day, in fact.

A self-recharging pen that resides inside the phone's body itself and offers its fine-point capacitive tip to me when I need it is just a convenience that I'm too spoiled over. 
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

I can't switch to a phone without one now; Damn you, Sammy!
 
Performance is still satisfactory. The Exynos variant that I have isn't the most optimized one like its Snapdragon 845 counterpart. 
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

It exports 4K videos just fine but it gets boi does it get toasty! I'm guessing close to the 45+ degree Celsius mark.
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review

The cameras as mentioned above still work great. they're perhaps the one thing that has aged the best amongst other things in this device.
 
Put them all together, and you have a still very competent phone in your hands, even for 2021!
But does that mean you should go out and buy one? Well, it's a little more complicated than just a yes or no.

You see, technology doesn't stop for anyone. And even though the Note 9 was truly the last "No Compromise" Note from Samsung, that doesn't mean the newer ones are worse off in every other way.
 
Samsung Note 9 2021 Review
 
Although in our region we are stuck with the lower performing Exynos variants, the newer Note 20 Ultra, and the soon upcoming Note 21 Ultra are/will undoubtedly be better flagships.

But to answer the original question; is the Note 9 still a Fan Favorite? That is certainly a resounding Yes!
 
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Cheers!
 
 

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