Samsung Galaxy Note 9 [SM-960N] Review: Call Quality


The Galaxy Note9 was dubbed by the Samsung fans as a "bucket machine", for no shortage. After the screen was expanded to 6.4 inches, the 4000mAh battery capacity ensures better battery performance, and the fast charge and wireless charge was also available. There is really no obvious short board. Can the Korean version of the Galaxy Note 9 we bought be better in the call performance and hands-free experience?

The processor used in Korea's KT version Note9 is the Exynos 9810 designed and produced by Samsung and manufactured by Samsung's second-generation 10nm FinFET process. Quad Mongoose 3 cores combine quad-core Cortex-A55 form an Octa-core processor up to 2.9GHz. The built-in baseband of the Exynos 9810 supports LTE CAT18 and up to 1.2Gbps downlink rate and 200mbps uplink rate. Wireless also supports 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0LE wireless audio and NFC.

KT version Note9 supports 4G and 3G mobile networks such as China Mobile and China Unicom's FDD, TDD, WCDMA and TD-SCDMA. TD supports B38-B41 but does not support China Telecom's CDMA. Only single nanoSIM cards and MicroSD extensions are supported.

Galaxy Note9 runs the Android 8.1 system, integrates Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, built-in Google Play and some annoying Korean pre-installed apps. Therefore, applications such as Samsung Store and call alert are not so intuitive in China, of course, this will not affect the normal use of calls. In accordance with established practice, the call test uses Unicom GSM and China Mobile LTE networks, and VoIP applications are completed using a Wi-Fi network.

Earpiece Speaker Test

We place this cell phone indoor with normal signal, and set the call voice volume to maximum, then call 10010 [GSM], which is China Unicom customer service hotline. Then use professional sound card and microphone for recording and analysis.

Testing Item Galaxy Note 9 Galaxy Note 8 Galaxy S9+ Galaxy S9 iPhone X
Output Level of Earpiece,dB -8.62 -9.4 -8.41 -8.58 -8.36

Note 9's earpiece output volume maintains a consistent level with S9/S9+, slightly better than the previous generation models. The vocal style is softer and the glitch is more pronounced in high gain mode.

Loud Speaker Test

Speaker test was undertaken indoors with ambient noise level at 40dB or less, we turn up the ringtone volume to its maximum, and then use a sound level meter to measure sound level at the distance of one meter from the phone.

Testing Item Galaxy Note 9 Galaxy Note 8 Galaxy S9+ Galaxy S9 iPhone X
Face Up,dB 74.0 76.0 74.5 74.3 78.5
Face Down,dB 74.2 77.1 73.9 75.4 78.6
In Camera Bag,dB 69.6 72.5 69.5 69.4 72.2

Due to changes in the design of the laud speaker, the AKG-adjusted stereo speaker with a biased sound quality is slightly inferior to Note8 in the volume. Although the size is larger, the sound quality is similar to that of the S9, find sounds, good resolution, but the dynamic and left and right channel balance is slightly inferior to the briquette-shaped RazerPhone, which is an inevitable problem caused by the difference of the speaker boxes. And now there are already audio technology manufacturers researching the sound field sound correction for mobile phone laud speakers.

Noise Reduction Test

We place this phone indoors with ambient noise level at 32db or less, in the middle of the room, we use a human-like structure "handholding" the phone to send voice signal, and put surround speakers in a certain distance playing 5 kinds of simulating ambient noise at 6db SNR. Then we standardize the recording from this end, and run a specific program comparing this recording with raw speech recording and noise-speech mixed recording to get noise reduction level, SNR improvement and SNRI-to-NPLR difference quantitative result.

Testing Item[Hand Holding] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 33.2 43.7 48.7 32.9 38.0
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 27.9 40.7 41.2 22.2 30.1
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -1.3 -2.1 -3.9 -0.8 0.5
Testing Item[VoIP] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 45.4 43.6 47.4 47.4 43.6
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 34.0 30.6 37.8 37.4 28.1
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -1.9 -1.8 -2.4 -2.2 1.6
Testing Item[Hand-Free] Noisy Crowd Background Music Pink Noise Roadside Voice
Total Noise Level Reduction,dB[Higher is Better] 29.0 30.2 46.4 48.3 22.3
SNR Improvement,dB[Higher is Better] 22.8 26.5 35.3 37.2 12.0
SNRI-to-NPLR difference,dB[-4 to 3] -2.3 0.2 -6.1 -5.2 1.1
  • Total Noise Level Reduction, TNLR: Total Noise Level Reduction illustrates the reduction of ambient noise level. The average level is above 5dB. Theoretically, higher TNLR would be better, but an over high result may be caused by severe attenuation of voice signal, or interruption caused by poor phone signal or noise reduction algorithm flaw.
    Signal-to-Noise Ratio Improvement, SNRI: capability of an NS method to enhance the speech component of a noisy speech signal from an additive background noise. SNR improves after noise reduction by comparing noise-reduced and raw voice signal. Generally, the improvement is over 4dB.
    SNRI-to-NPLR difference, DSN: the signal level difference between raw and noise-reduced. Noise reduction process would attenuate voice signal level, cell phones would gain signal to ensure the call quality. Theoretically, it would be best that signal level remain the same before and after noise reduction. A standard signal level peak is -2.5dB. If the signal was gained too high, overflow would happen, and that means frequent crackle, too low, voice signal strength would not be enough, and that means the sound would be too low, and the other end would not hear clearly.
    The result is just a test reference under similiar circumstances or conditions, third-party websites or official technical data cannot be used for comparison.

In handheld mode, Note9 has a good effect on identifying and filtering ambient noises such as music and vocals, especially music can be filtered very cleanly. What is rarer is that in the hands-free mode, Note9 still has a good filtering ability for the music, while vocal ambient noises retain more information. Under the high-intensity noise such as roadside and car, Note9 noise reduction ability is still excellent. When talking on such scenes, paying attention to the voice and tone of the conversation can ensure the quality of the call. Overall, the Galaxy Note9's call performance is reliable, the hands-free noise reduction performance is excellent, the overall performance is better than the previous generation model, and slightly better than the same KT version of the Galaxy S9+, is a business flagship mobile phone should be.

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