Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Best Value Flagship Smartphone | TLR Technology

Samsung recently released the Galaxy Note 9 to the public on August 24, 2018. Learn how this device and bundles offered make it the best value flagship phone on the market.

Author: Jules Beshears

Best Value Flagship Smartphone: Galaxy Note 9


I know, I know.. Did he just say the $1,000 Samsung Note 9 was the best value flagship smartphone you could buy in 2018. Why yes, Yes I did. I’ll prove to you that I didn’t bump my head and that it’s really a great deal, cheap in fact.

Released and Reviewed

Samsung recently released the Galaxy Note 9 to the public on August 24, 2018. Praise for this device has been shouted from the rooftops of tech blogs and reviewers everywhere. If you want a refresher we also have a review of this amazing device and you can read that here (Review). All that said the Note 9 is a great device. Notice I called it a device and not a phone because it’s far from a phone. As a mobile phone it’s incredibly cheap hence the title of this post.

The Price Breakdown

Here is my take as well as breakdown of what the Galaxy Note 9 is in terms of real-world usability and value. Let’s start with the $1,000 price tag for the 128 GB model.

At the time of this post, you could order the Galaxy Note 9 from Samsung. With this order you would receive a free dual wireless charger valued at $120 AND a free LED case valued at $65. A total value of $185 free on day one. This price now breaks down to $1,000-185= $815.  $815 for a flagship smartphone isn’t bad at all but we can do a lot better.

TLR Technology Unboxing Samsung Galaxy Note 9 w/ Dual Wireless Charger & LED Wallet Cover

Next Price Breakdown: The Dex Feature


Next is Dex (see what I did there). No, really Dex is system Samsung created that allows you to connect some of its flagships phones to a monitor or tv to get a desktop experience. All you need is an inexpensive USB C to HDMI dongle or a USB C to HDMI cable. That’s it really. However, to get a fantastic experience you’re going to need a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I’ll link to the dongle, keyboard, and mouse that we used below. The setup takes seconds, you plug in the phone to the tv/ monitor and that is it. 

Keyboard:, Mouse:,                                USB-C to HDMI:

You might be asking what can I do, big deal, and why am I talking about Dex here…this isn’t a review. True story, but stick with me here. The experience you get is VERY similar to the experience you’ll find using Google’s Chromebooks. I’m actually typing this article now on my Google Pixelbook, and we here at TLR Technology also own and use a chromebox. Using Dex on the Note 9 allows you to run basically any android app in a desktop style environment, games, productivity, no problem. Same as a Chromebox.

Now to my point, Samsung Dex with the 8 core processor and 6 GB of RAM is actually a faster setup that Intel i3 and within a stone’s throw of the performance of the lower power i5 processors used in very thin laptops like some of the premium Chromebooks. SO, it’s time for more math A chrome box with a processor of similar power with LESS RAM than the Galaxy Note 9 cost about $350

$1000 Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  -$185 Free charger and case

  -$350 Comparable Chrome box to Note 9 in Dex mode

$465 current cost of the Galaxy Note 9 after subtracting value-added features and accessories


There is indeed more. Samsung purchased the audio company AKG a little while ago, and

akg tlrtechnology
AKG Headphones | TLR Technology

 if you’ve never heard of AKG you’re missing out. AKG was founded in 1947 and has provided audio devices to theaters and radio stations before moving into the consumer space. They honestly make some of the best sounding headphones that you can buy. All that leads to my next point. Samsung provides a pair of AKG earbuds with the Galaxy Note 9, Gone are the days of the hard plastic white earbuds. The included AKG look beautiful and sound even better. As a self-proclaimed audiophile, these aren’t one of the best sounding earbuds that I’ve heard included with a phone. They are one of the cleanest sounding earbuds that I’ve heard period. I’ve got tons of headphones, in fact, I have the new JBL Everest 110GA earbuds clipped to my shirt now. Right now I have my wired Klipsch earbuds, a pair of monster Intune on ears sitting on the shelf, and Skull Candy Bluetooth’s sitting on my desk, all an arm’s length away. The included AKG if you wanted to buy them separately are going to cost you $99. Yes, the included earbuds are a $100 value, and I’ve paid $100 for earbuds before that don’t sound as good as these.

Back to the math

$1000 Galaxy Note 9

 -$185 Free charger and case

 -$350 Comparable Chrome box to Note 9 in Dex mode

 -$99 AKG Earbuds with in-line remote control

$366 current cost of the Galaxy Note 9 after subtracting value-added features and accessories

By now I’m sure you are getting the point $366 is the cost of low to mid-level Android phone, but I have 2 more things for you to consider in your cost to value analysis.

The Next Stop S Pen…

s pen lavenderOn the valve train is the S Pen. I bet you thought that I forgot about it. Answer is NOPE. The Galaxy Note 9 includes a new and improved S pen that charges in under a minute and is Bluetooth. This leads me to my last 2 points, the Galaxy Note 9 is a creative’s dream. The screen is 6.4in and has 4096 levels of sensitivity, it can easily double as a Wacom style pen tablet to sketch ideas, logos, etc. The lower end pen tablets cost about $65 so we will use that price, but when you’re looking at pen tablets around that price you WON’T get the 4096 pressure levels that the Galaxy Note has.

Before we do the final cost analysis, let’s stick with the S Pen. The Bluetooth inside allows it to be used as a Bluetooth remote for the camera, or PowerPoint presentations etc. The average cost of a basic Remote is about $10.

Time for the last bit of subtraction on the Note 9 cost analysis.

$1000 Note 9

 -$185 Free charger and case

 -$350 Comparable Chrome box to Note 9 in Dex mode

 -$99 AKG Earbuds with in-line remote control

 -$65 Wacom style pen tablet

 -$10 Bluetooth android remote

$291 current cost of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 after subtracting value-added features and accessories. It didn’t take me long to see the value in the Galaxy Note 9. First, it’s basically a $291 smartphone with a huge battery, great Samsung OLED screen, and fantastic cameras. (Really that is what smartphones now are).

In conclusion, I’m sure you’ll agree now $291 is by far the cheapest you could hope to pay for a 2018 flagship phone that hasn’t fallen off the back of a truck.

jules authorJules Beshears is a Mechanical Geek by trade and Technology Enthusiast by day. Jules has developed prototype robot technology. Designed and custom built quad-copters known today as drones. Designed and custom built airplanes for hobby. He owns a 3D printing business. He has a massive background in sound quality in equipment and/or technology. Formally owned a car audio retail and installation shop. Enjoys disc golf and video gaming.

Follow IG: @epic_engineering.

This was TLR Technology personal experience.  This is not a paid post nor is this post affiliated with Samsung USA.  Pictures are proof of TLR Technology own personal experience.  Please feel free to leave a comment below. Would love to hear your experience with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Please note there are Amazon Affiliate links. This is no cost to you, but we will receive a minor kickback to maintain TLR Technology’s website. Thanks in advance for your continued support.

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