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Dive into the Galaxy Note 9

Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 is a beast of a phone, with a large, 4,000-mAh battery, storage for days and a stunning 6.4-inch screen. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

The power is in the pen

The Note 9 brims with layers of software features, many of which are unlocked with the S Pen stylus, its single button and a new Bluetooth antenna inside.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Cancel the Note 9's signature color

If you buy a blue, purple or metallic copper Galaxy Note 9, you're able to write notes on the "off screen" in a signature color -- this is brand new to the Note 9. (The blue model writes in yellow, the other two write in purple and copper, and the black Note 9 writes in white).

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Cancel the Note 9's signature color

However, if you're not a fan, you can jump into the S Pen settings to turn this off. Settings > Advanced features > S Pen > Screen off memo > toggle Use S Pen signature color to the off position.

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Use the S Pen stylus as a remote control

You're not limited to just writing and navigating with the Note 9's S Pen. You can also use the button as a remote to do different things in different apps. For example, pause and play a YouTube video.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Use the S Pen stylus as a remote control

You can also take a remote photo, control a presentation, skip musical tracks and advance a photo slideshow.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Use the S Pen stylus as a remote control

Single click and double click control different actions.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Use the S Pen stylus as a remote control

Here, a press of the button takes a photo. Go to Settings > Advanced features > S Pen > S Pen remote > App Actions.

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Open any app with a press

You can also open any app on any screen by holding down on the S Pen. 

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Open any app with a press

Go to Settings > Advanced features > S Pen > S Pen remote > Hold down button to... and select from among your apps.

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Quick unlock with the S Pen

If your screen times out while you're holding the S Pen, you can opt to unlock it with a click. Settings > Advanced features > S Pen > Unlock with S Pen remote.

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Customize the shortcuts wheel

This one's not new to Note phones, but a good one to remember. You can add shortcuts to this handy wheel, and completely customize which apps you open and where on the wheel they live.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Customize the shortcuts wheel

Get to the settings through the on-screen gear icon when you're using the shortcuts wheel (which is called Air Command), or through Settings > Advanced features > S Pen > Air Command

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Make a 'live message'

Introduced in the Galaxy Note 8, Live Messages are basically animated GIFs you can make and share with friends. You can access it from the Air Command wheel and through the Samsung Messages app. They'll work with any sharing platform that supports GIFs.

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Make a 'live message' with AR Emoji

Brand new to the Note 9 is making a Live Message with an animated GIF of an avatar you make with the AR Emoji tool inside the phone's native camera. AR Emoji was introduced in the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. I'm not personally a fan, but it's here if you want it.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Create an animated GIF

Samsung rolled this one out for the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, but it's still an underutilized feature that has its moments of extreme handiness.

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Create an animated GIF

First, get a video playing. Then open Smart Select from the Air Command wheel. Next, select Animated GIF...

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Create an animated GIF

You'll be able to drag a boundary around the area you're going to turn into a GIF.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Create an animated GIF

Press Record and stop when you're done. You can pause, play and scrub along the video before recording, so you can get the scene you want.

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Compose a new note, fast

Not a new feature, but one worth the memory jog. If you press and hold on the S Pen button while quickly double-tapping any screen, a composition window appears for you to write a new note.

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Save a note for later

If you get started on a note and need to duck out to do something else, you can come back to it by turning it (and many other apps) into a floating icon that you can move around the screen. 

For example, after composing a new note through a shortcut setting, click the icon to minimize the window into the icon you see. Tap to revive.

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Pin a note to the always-on display

You may not have also been aware you can pin a note to the always-on display. Benefit: It's there at a glance and you can delete it when you're done. Handy for shopping lists.

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Pin a note to the always-on display

After writing it, press the icon of a thumbtack.

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Pin a note to the always-on display

The message will remain visible for 30 minutes. After that, you can revive it any time by double-tapping the tiny icon of a thumbtack.

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Pin a note to the always-on display

Once open, you can read it or delete it. You can only pin one note at a time, which means that pinning a new note will overwrite your old note if you give it the OK. 

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Erase with a press

Another oldie and goodie (from this point on they all are). Press and hold the pen button to erase tiny mistakes without having to raise the S Pen to the on-screen erase control.

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Erase with a press

This is meant for correcting small errors. The on-screen control is still better for erasing larger swaths.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Pin your note to the home screen

For a note you want to refer back to again and again, you might opt to pin it to the home screen.

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Pin your note to the home screen

This is a simple setting you access from the drop-down menu in a note file.

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Pin your note to the home screen

Here's what it'll look like when you're done.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

Make really precise screenshots

One of my favorite ever uses of the S Pen is in taking precise screenshots of only the part of the screen you want. Every other phone requires you to screenshot the entire display and then crop down. This is a thousand times easier.

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Make really precise screenshots

Choose Smart Select from the shortcuts wheel, and pick your rectangle, lasso or oval shape. Then just drag and drop to get your sample.

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Annotate the entire screen

Screen write is another tool that lets you quickly take a screenshot of the entire window and then write or draw all over it. It's fast and it works.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

What's missing: Turning off the Bixby button

Samsung has shut down your ability to make the Bixby Voice button (on the phone's left side) do anything but launch Samsung's digital assistant. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET

What's missing: Turning off the Bixby button

On the Galaxy S8 and newer, you were able keep the button from doing anything by going into the settings. No such luck here, at least for now...

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Light up your notifications

The S Pen has nothing to do with this trick, but I'm partial to it anyway. Instead of receiving a pop-up notification, you can opt for the perimeter of the phone face to light up in a variety of color choices every time you get a message. It's a little disco, but who cares? Go to Settings > Display > Edge Screen > Edge Lighting > Edge Lighting style.

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Even more hidden features

That's not all by a long shot. For more, see other hidden features that the Galaxy Note 9 shares with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Best and worst of the Galaxy Note 9

And read our full Galaxy Note 9 review for all the phone's ups and downs.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET
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