Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: Pen Wielding Android Powerhouse

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Gaming And Graphics Performance

Next we'll test Samsung's new Galaxy Note 9 with GFXBench, which has been one of our standard mobile graphics performance benchmarks for quite a while now. In order to ensure display refresh (v-sync) and resolution are not limiting factors, we are comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads; we're specifically testing GLES 2.0 and 3.0 rendering performance in the following two benchmark modules. 

3D Graphics Benchmarks: 3DMark & GFX Bench
Pushing The Pixels
GFXBench T Rex Offscreen Galaxy Note 9

GFXBench Manhattan Galaxy Note 9

Here the Galaxy Note 9 once again ranks in the top echelon of Android handsets, within a frame or two of the top placed contenders, including Samsung's own 6GB Galaxy S9+. It would be splitting hairs here really to call a clear winner.

We also ran Futuremark's 3DMark, which has been a staple 3D graphics benchmark at HotHardware across all mobile and desktop platforms for many years. In this case we were running 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, which is targeted for mobile devices and also runs at 720p in offscreen mode, so as to take display resolution out of the equation. This test and its 3D graphics engine are also based on the Open GL ES 2.0 API. 

3DMark Ice Storm Galaxy Note 9

3DMark Ice Storm is a walk in the park for any of these phones and as a result, the groupings are tight here again. Regardless, ranked by total Ice Storm score, the Galaxy Note 9 is right up top in a close second slot position.

3DMark Sling Shot is a new benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite, so we have fewer results in our database to share, though we do have a few top-shelf Android phones, the iPhone X, and Samsung's Galaxy S9+ in the mix. Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based test that employs some advanced rendering techniques like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback.

3DMark Sling Shot Test
Futuremark 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

In this test we again run the off-screen mode, so as to remove display resolution differences from the equation and thus can compare cross-platform results more reliably.
3DMark Sling Shot FPS Galaxy Note 9

3DMark Sling Shot Galaxy Note 9

3DMark Sling Shot is more of the same for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 powered Android phones here, including the OnePlus 6, LG's G7 ThinQ, Samsung's Galaxy S9+ and the Galaxy Note 9. We had access to an iPhone X here as well and, unlike our GFXBench test, the A11 Bionic powering the Apple device falls deep into the middle of the pack.

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