The new Galaxy Note 9 has a lot to offer and plenty to love, but it’s crazy expensive. Samsung added a bigger 6.4-inch display, powerful new camera controls, neat S-Pen enhancements and all-day battery life. However, those improvements come with a new $999 price tag that’s too high for some.
In this buying guide we’ll share a list of excellent Galaxy Note 9 alternatives worth buying. Phones with a similar or better experience, bigger screens, great cameras and excellent battery life. Whether you can’t handle the high price tag or want something a little different we have you covered.
Best Galaxy Note 9 Alternatives
- OnePlus 6
- Galaxy S9+
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- iPhone Xs Max
- LG G7 ThinQ
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro
- Sony Xperia XZ2
- Galaxy Note 8
- Google Pixel 3 XL
- OnePlus 6T
These alternatives are available now or coming soon. That’s the short list, and here’s more information or links to buy each phone for those interested.
If you’re on a budget the best alternative to the Galaxy Note 9 is the OnePlus 6. You get a phone with almost the same high-performance specs on the inside, a big 6.3-inch screen, yet it only costs $529.
Basically, you can buy two OnePlus 6 phones for nearly the same price as the Galaxy Note 9. And with this phone, you get the same 8-core Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, dual rear cameras and a 3,300 mAh battery. It already runs Android 8.1 Oreo and will likely get Android 9 Pie months faster than any Samsung phone.
A few areas like battery life, the camera, and the screen are likely not as good as Samsung, but it’s close. Plus they offer a 128GB model with 8GB of RAM for only $579 if you need a little more.
Samsung Galaxy S9+
Personally, the best Android smartphone on the market for almost everyone right now is the Samsung Galaxy S9+. It’s almost identical to the Galaxy Note 9, only it’s slightly smaller and easier to hold but far more affordable. Which means it’s an excellent alternative too.
The Galaxy S9+ already offers a stunningly big 6.2-inch Quad-HD curved display, the same Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. You’ll enjoy the exact same dual camera setup as the Galaxy Note 9, decent battery life with a 3,500 mAh battery, and everything else people love about Samsung phones.
You won’t get the S-Pen stylus but that might not matter to you. If not, the Galaxy S9+ is around $839 or even cheaper directly from Samsung.
Google Pixel 2 XL
Even though Google’s Pixel 2 XL is nearly a year old, and runs a slightly older 8-core processor, it’s still nearly just as great as the Galaxy Note 9. Despite the improvements Samsung made to the camera, the Pixel 2 XL still has the best shooter in any smartphone. Well, if you ask me.
With the Pixel 2 XL you get a big 6-inch display, dual front-facing speakers, the latest Android 9 Pie software and pretty excellent battery life. It’s as well-rounded as it gets. The only potential downside is a new Pixel 3 will be here soon enough. Maybe just wait, or read more about the Pixel 3 XL below.
Buy the Pixel 2 XL for $849 (on sale for $749)
iPhone Xs Max
A lot of Galaxy Note users came over from the iPhone to enjoy a larger display. For years, Apple stuck to small screens. That said, in September of 2018 Apple unveiled the all-new iPhone Xs Max. A massive phone with a 6.5-inch display. Yes, that’s bigger than the Galaxy Note 9, which comes in at 6.4-inches.
Apple’s sleek new iPhone 10s Max does have a notch in the screen, but it’s a gorgeous Samsung OLED display. You’ll also get a premium design, a similar dual camera setup on the back, FaceID, and pretty great battery life. Not a lot of Android users switch back and forth between iPhone or Android, and if you never have now is a pretty good time.
This is a big iPhone. Bigger than anything they’ve ever released. It’s an Apple phablet running iOS 12.
LG G7 ThinQ
While Samsung, Apple, and Google steal the limelight, LG is still over here making pretty nice phones. Earlier this year the company debuted the LG G7, and it’s a great alternative to the expensive Note 9.
You’ll get a phone that has all the makings of a high-end device. We’re talking about a big 6.1-inch display (with an iPhone X-style notch), powerful specs, two very capable cameras, and a nice all metal and glass design. Yes, this has the exact same Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, and the two cameras on the back take great photos, wide-angle shots, or intelligently choose the right settings for you. That last feature is new to the Galaxy Note 9, but LG already had it. You won’t get excellent battery life on this phone, but it’s a good alternative all said and done.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
While Huawei isn’t super popular in the United States, it’s Mate 10 Pro is an excellent alternative to the expensive Galaxy Note 9. Whether that’s the battery life, storage, or the AI camera, Huawei has it too.
The Mate 10 Pro boasts a 6.1-inch Quad-HD display, powerful specs, 128GB of storage, dual cameras, AI camera controls, and the same big 4,000 mAh battery. You’ll even get the latest Android 8.1 Oreo with a promise to Android 9 Pie.
Honestly, these are two pretty similar phones. The Note 9 is bigger and has a slightly better camera, but it’s also $1,000. You can get a Huawei Mate 10 Pro for roughly half of that. Or, wait for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Sony Xperia XZ2
For years Sony has released phones with an old and outdated design. That all changed in 2018 with the new Xperia XZ2. This phone arrived around the same time as the Galaxy S9, but it’s still a good alternative worth considering.
While the screen is only 5.7-inches, it’s bezel-free so it looks like a phone from 2018. Then, you get the same 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a great camera experience. Sony added a power 19MP camera to the back too, one that’s capable of 960 FPS slow-motion video recording at 1080p HD. Samsung’s Note 9 does 960 FPS, but at 720p. You’ll also get a big 3,180 mAh battery powering a far smaller display, so that should be plenty. It’s a thought, right?
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
If the $1,000 price tag of the Galaxy Note 9 is too much for you, consider the Galaxy Note 8 instead. You’re not missing much, yet you’ll save a few hundred dollars in the process.
Basically, the Galaxy Note 8 is still an excellent phone. You get dual cameras, a similar experience, a smaller 3,300 mAh battery but you get to keep the S-Pen stylus. If you love Samsung (and the Note series) but can’t stomach the price, this is for you. No the processor isn’t as fast and the camera isn’t as smart, but really, these are very small differences in the grand scheme of things.
Google Pixel 3 XL
Now, we want to suggest two other potential phones that will be a great alternative to the Galaxy Note 9, once they arrive at least. Google’s Pixel 3 XL will get announced in October, so it’s almost here. And you know it’ll be worth considering.
This year we’re hearing Google’s Pixel 3 XL will pack a 6.2-inch screen, keep the dual-front facing speakers, match the Galaxy Note 9 in the specs department, come with 64-128GB of storage, and deliver the best smartphone camera on the market. Not to mention Google’s tweaks, Android 9 Pie, and hopefully a few other hidden secrets. If there’s one potential downside (other than waiting) it’s the iPhone X-style notch in the screen that Google was silly enough to copy.
And finally, we have the upcoming OnePlus 6T. Every year this company releases another phone in the second half of the year that’s slightly better than the original, competes with Samsung and Apple, and does so without asking a ton of money. We think it’ll look similar to the phone shown below.
We have a feeling the OnePlus 6T will really give the Galaxy Note 9 a run for its money, or beat it outright. Offering a similar 6.3 or 6.4-inch display with nearly zero bezels, the same specs under the hood, powerful triple cameras, the latest Android 9 Pie software, and an affordable price. Furthermore, we’re hearing it’ll have an in-display fingerprint sensor. Something we all wish the Note 9 had.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 6 won’t get announced until October or November, so you have a little wait ahead of you. That said, it might save you tons of money and be worth it.