Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the biggest and best phone Samsung makes, and that also makes it the best overall big-screened phone. Its 6.4-inch display is the best in the business, and it wraps around a beautiful metal and glass exterior. You can take advantage of the huge screen with top-end specs and the S Pen stylus that's truly unique in the smartphone world. It's expensive, but it's available both unlocked and from just about any carrier or retailer in the world.

Our pick

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

A massive screen with every spec and feature needed to back it up.

The Note 9 is the do-it-all smartphone, with every feature and spec you could want. And you get to use those features with an amazing best-in-class 6.4-inch display and top-end internals to back it up. It's hard not to like the design as well..

Who should buy this phone

When you're looking for the biggest and best phone, look no further than the Galaxy Note 9. It has a big screen, and better yet it's also a great screen with excellent colors and brightness even in direct sunlight. It also has the highest-end specs possible, with an optional 512GB of internal storage if you need it. Then you get all of the nice-to-have features like wireless charging, a headphone jack, waterproofing, an SD card slot and more. It's a "more of everything" approach that works well in the big-screened phone market, and makes the Note 9 a fantastic buy.

Is it a good time to buy this phone?

The Galaxy Note 9 is new, and will be the best phone available from Samsung until the Galaxy S10 is announced in February or March 2019. You can buy the Galaxy Note 9 and be confident that you're getting the best big-screened phone available for the next several months.

Reasons to buy

  • Massive screen is the highest quality in the industry
  • Top-end specs across the board
  • Has S Pen for writing and drawing
  • Great pair of cameras
  • Headphone jack and wireless charging

Reasons not to buy

  • More expensive than the competition
  • Glass is more fragile than metal options
  • Samsung's software, including Bixby, is a bit overbearing

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the best phone with a big screen

When Samsung made the Galaxy S9+, we were impressed. Six months later, we got the Galaxy Note 9 that turned all of the knobs to 11. It's been a few years since the Note was considerably better, and in no ways worse, than the latest Galaxy S, but we're glad that's the case again. You start with the core fundamentals of the Galaxy S9+ in the processor, RAM and hardware features, and that's a great place to build from — you get all of the latest and greatest specs and hardware features like waterproofing, wireless charging, a headphone jack, stereo speakers and an SD card slot.

But then the Note 9 goes further. You get a base of 128GB of storage, optionally spec'd up to 512GB. You get an even larger display, now 6.4 inches, that's the brightest and most colorful you'll find in a phone today. Then Samsung bumped the battery up to 4000mAh, giving you effortless full-day battery life and lasting longer than most phones out there.

The Note 9 does it all, and gives you a huge screen to experience it.

And of course, you get the S Pen stylus. With extreme accuracy and precision you can write or draw all day — and now it works wirelessly to control the phone within Bluetooth range, to trigger the camera or move through a slideshow presentation. It just shows that the Note 9 is designed to do everything you need, which you're looking for if you want such a large screen.

Samsung's software isn't the best in the business, but it's amazingly customizable and if you're willing to work with it it can be an amazing tool to complement such wonderful hardware. The original Galaxy Note really defined the "phablet" segment all those years ago, and now the Note 9 is a modern take that's still the best available.

Alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Galaxy Note 9 is the absolute pinnacle of modern-day phablets, but it isn't the only big-screened phone out there. There are solid alternatives that also have large screens but won't break the bank at nearly $1000. The Galaxy S9+ is a really good alternative for a couple hundred dollars less that simply doesn't have an S Pen, and the OnePlus 6 is a great choice for a couple hundred dollars less still. Huawei also deserves a shout with the excellent P20 Pro.

Runner-up

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Effectively the same as the Note 9, but with a slightly smaller battery and no S Pen.

For a couple hundred dollars less than the Note 9, you can get about 95% of the experience. The Galaxy S9+ has the same capabilities and great specs, but simply comes up short in two areas: it has a smaller battery, and lacks the S Pen.

Many people don't see the value in having a stylus in their phone, and if that sounds like you then you should just buy a Galaxy S9+ instead. Save some money, and still get an excellent phone with a big, beautiful screen. All of the rest of Samsung's core features and tenets are present in the Galaxy S9+ — it's a great phone.

Value pick

OnePlus 6

An excellent large-screen phone with simple software and excellent performance.

For another $200 less, you can get a OnePlus 6. It follows a similar size and design recipe as the Galaxy S9+, but goes for simplicity with fewer features and unnecessary specs. The software, too, is much simpler — which you may actually enjoy. But it also means you don't get the great screen or camera.

OnePlus is going after the Galaxy S9+ at an even lower price, starting at just $529. You don't get all of the advanced features or as good of a screen, but the software and performance are exceptional. OnePlus will launch the OnePlus 6T soon, replacing the 6, but it isn't likely to have any game-changing differences that would keep you from buying this great phone today.

Great camera

Huawei P20 Pro

An excellent hardware package, killer camera and software that may put you off.

Huawei made a gorgeous high-end phone that has all of the hardware features and specs you want, a big screen and large battery. It also put together a triple-camera system that's as good as any in the business — and it's about the same price as the Galaxy S9+.

The P20 Pro is an excellent large-screen phone with all of the features and specs you expect in the big package. Its camera is exceptional ... but it's software is not. Huawei has shown off revamped and improved software with its EMUI 9 update that helps relieve some of the pain points, but it isn't up to speed with what Samsung is doing yet.

Bottom line

For big-screen lovers, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 offers everything you want (and more). It's undeniably powerful no matter what you need to accomplish, and its industry-leading display combines with the S Pen to give you a power-user experience unlike any other.

From top to bottom the spec sheet has everything you need, and more. It actually offers a headphone jack, which isn't necessarily a given even on these big phones. The cameras are really good as well. You'll have to pay dearly to get this whole package, nearly $1000 in fact, but when money isn't the ultimate deciding factor the Note 9 is absolutely worth it.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

Updated September 2018: Our new phablet winner is the Galaxy Note 9. The Galaxy S9+ remains on the list as an excellent option for less money without a stylus, and the OnePlus 6 and Huawei P20 Pro offer something different while keeping the price lower as well.

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