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Galaxy Note 9 under the macro lens

You don't really know the Note 9 until you take a seriously close look.

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Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 40 Angela Lang/CNET

The Galaxy Note 9 seems simple at first. You have a large screen. Elegantly curved sides. A digital S Pen.

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2 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

But when you really lean in to take a look is when you can really appreciate the engineering and precision that goes into creating such a powerful, beautiful computing device.

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Like the pixels you can now see in this high-resolution screen.

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You can really begin to see how those curved edges meet along the phone's slim spine.

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5 of 40 Angela Lang/CNET

The speaker grille looks matte black when you see it from afar. Up close, you can make out the cross-hatch pattern set into the phone's glass face.

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Peering in reveals the metal contacts on either side of the USB-C port.

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Although the Note 9 has boxier edges than the Galaxy S9, there's still plenty of curve here.

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Look at the way the edge tapers into the side.

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From this distance, you probably can't see any scratches the phone picked up.

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This close up, it's plain how the abrasion cuts into the Note 9's Gorilla Glass 5 cover glass.

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Here you have the volume rocker and Bixby button, which calls up Samsung's take on the virtual sidekick.

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You can almost see the finish next to the button.

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The Note 9 is so reflective, that lighting can change the way the color appears. In studio lighting, this dark blue phone appears purple.

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The camera mount isn't perfectly flush with the phone.

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There's a bumper, a ridge even, that rims the camera module as it rises from the backing.

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Your Note 9's camera is watching you.

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Here's what the front-facing camera looks like up close.

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You'd never guess there was so much texture on a smooth glass backing.

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Here's what the S Pen looks like when it first pops out of its holster.

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It must be perfectly measured and machined to fit.

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The color on the blue pen top glitters with purple undertones.

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You can see how the gap around the S Pen button could catch dust, crumbs and other gunk.

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The S Pen's plastic pen tip looks almost fuzzy. It has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

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The S Pen isn't perfectly round. You can see the planes that help keep it from rolling off a table or desk.

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The S Pen's empty holster looks like a deep, dark pit.

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The Note 9 has a second speaker (the four vertical pill-shaped holes you see), just like the Galaxy S9 phones. This helps make audio like speakerphone and music playback loud.

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Another look into the top of the S Pen (left), second speaker grille (middle) and USB-C port.

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Samsung is one of few phonemakers to keep the headphone jack. You can see the metal contacts inside.

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The area to the right of the two camera lenses contains the LED flash and the heart rate monitor.

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Here's what's really going on in there.

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Can you see the yellow X inside the lens?

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Viewed from the side, the heart rate monitor has quite a bit of circuitry stuffed into a teeny tiny space.

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While the fingerprint sensor feels smooth to the touch, you can see that it's not entirely slick.

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You eyes can't focus this closely on the logo printed on the Note 9's back.

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I did not expect to see all those horizontal lines to show through the smooth glass on top.

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Pop! The SIM card slot once you've pushed in the SIM card ejector tool.

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This open slot could fit a microSD card, or a second SIM, in some markets.

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This is what the belly of your SIM card really looks like.

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The Note 9's seriously reflective.

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Get to know the phone even better in our full Galaxy Note 9 review and by learning these best Galaxy Note 9 tips and tricks you should learn right now.

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