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From Samsung Note 3 to Note 9

I bought a Samsung 3 in 2013, and used it relentlessly for the next six years. That's a long time, but thanks to the now-banished feature of a replaceable battery, I was able to prolong its life by three years longer than other phones simply by spending fourteen dollars on a new battery when the original one began failing! Finally this year, the GPS started to fail and it seemed time to upgrade. Here's what I won, and here's what I lost by going to a new device:


  • Goodbye, replaceable battery. Hello, planned obsolescence and forced hardware upgrades, plus all the environmental impacts that ensue.
  • The old address book was simple and excellent; the new one is less useful with a tiny "search" button – probably the first button you'll look for after starting it. Also, the new address book keeps trying to engage me: "Do you want to merge entries?" No, fuck off: I have friends who share a land line and they're not dupes, so stop asking. "Do you want to share your address card?" No, fuck off, and stop asking me multiple times per day.
  • The old Notes app – kind of a flagship app allowing you to use the stylus to take handwritten notes – was better in a way, with templates and some tricks that gave it more flexibility. The new version is simpler and streamlined, but not as flashy.
  • As a result of the big battery, this thing is much heavier than its predecessor, when we were still very concerned about weight.


  • A really big battery: I can go all day and into the next day before charging. The audacity of walking around all day with no charging cable instantly improves my street cred.
  • USB-C: no more fiddling to get the plug in 'right side up' and it charges very fast. Much appreciated!
  • The chip is much faster and more powerful and it's noticeable.
  • As a result, now I can finally install Microsoft O365 and read work email! Wait, that might be a loss, now that I think about it.
  • Much nicer camera, obviously. In fact, the old Note 3 took great photos but the Note 9 takes even nicer ones.
  • The new stylus is far smoother and more comfortable – very nice to write with.

    About the same

  • The Note 3 came installed with some non-deletable crapware: TripAdvisor, Peel Remote, some other shit I detested but was unable to delete. (For bonus points, TripAdvisor insisted on updating regularly). Those apps are now gone, but Samsung has installed some other garbage.
  • I've still got a headphones jack. Suck it, iphone! Actually, categorize this one as pure win.
  • I've still got a micro-SIM card slot I can stick a 4TB chip into containing my entire music collection. No streaming for me, no monthly music fee, and my entire collection belongs to me. Streaming is for suckers.


    Well, you win some and use some. The irony is that the Note 3 is still pretty serviceable, just not as a GPS, and so I still have it in use.

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