When you think multiple camera setups on smartphones can’t get any crazier, Samsung outs the Galaxy A9 with four–yes, four–rear cameras. This year, we may soon see more devices with the same (or more) number of rear shooters. But for now, the Samsung Galaxy A9 is the first to carry a quad camera system.
Let’s take a look if this groundbreaking design is enough to make the Galaxy A9 stand out from the rest of the smartphone crowd. Read our review below.
Design & Construction
The Samsung Galaxy A9 comes with a form factor and design similar to previous Galaxy A Series phones. Nonetheless, this phone is really good-looking, especially the Lemonade Blue colorway. Other color options for the Galaxy A9 are Bubblegum Pink and Caviar Black.
Also adding to the premium feel of this device is its metal frame and glossy finish. The glass back and front can be slippery to hold (and quite a fingerprint magnet). It’s a good thing that the device already comes with a jelly case out of the box.
The Galaxy phone flaunts a 6.3-inch screen that is almost bezel-less thanks to its edge-to-edge design. One of the few new devices to not jump the notch bandwagon, the Galaxy A9 features bezels at the top and bottom part of the screen. Housed inside the top bezel are the front camera, earpiece, and sensors.
At the bottom of the device, you can find the 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and the down-firing speakers. The volume keys and power button are placed on the right side of the device, while a dedicated Bixby button is placed on the left. The SIM card/microSD holder is at the top part of the unit. The keys are accessible and the screen is mostly easy to navigate, except for when you have small hands.
The four camera setup, aligned vertically on the upper left side together with the LED flash, stars at the back of this Galaxy handset. You can also see the fingerprint sensor above the Samsung branding at the A9’s rear.
While there’s now IP rating announced for this model, our review unit has survived occasional splashes without having its performance affected throughout our review.
Display & Multimedia
Samsung puts the Galaxy A9’s large screen real estate to good use by slapping on a Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, which does not disappoint in terms of colors and contrast. With 2220 x 1080 resolution with 392ppi density, this handset’s display offers immersive and detailed viewing experience–whether it’s watching your favorite series in HD, playing the latest mobile games, and reading the smallest of texts. Samsung also gives you the option to tweak the display’s color through various screen modes and individual settings.
Despite having a one-speaker setup, the A9’s audio is quite loud. The down-firing configuration of the speakers is strategic so that when you watch a video or play a game, your cupped hand amplify the hands. When on headphones, you can turn on the Dolby Atmos feature and adjust the sound quality via Settings.
Now, let’s talk about the highlight feature of the Samsung Galaxy A9–it’s quad camera setup at the back, which Samsung claims to be a world’s first. The rear camera system features an 8MP Ultra Wide sensor for ultra wide shots, a 10MP Telephoto sensor with 2x optical zoom, a 5MP Depth sensor with Live Focus, and 24MP main sensor.
The Ultra Wide and 2x Zoom features offer variation to your shooting, as you can capture more of the landscape and get closer to the scenes, respectively. The Live Focus adds depth to your photos especially for portraits and macro shots. Plus, it allows you to adjust the blur and focus on your pictures after you take them. Other features you can try on the Galaxy A9 are the Scene Optimizer, Super Slow-mo, Hyperlapse, Panorama, Beauty, AR Emoji, and Pro.
Quality-wise, the Galaxy A9 produces great images with crisp details and good colors on well-lit situations. At times, images taken with the 2x Zoom on come out with a lot of noise, but other times the photos are great. Pictures taken in Ultra-Wide Angle are okay for the most part. Don’t expect much from the photos taken in low light–especially with the Ultra-Wide Angle or 2x Zoom on–as they lack details and have a lot of noise.
Similarly, the front camera of the handset produces great selfies. It can be underwhelming for some, but I appreciate that the software doesn’t alter your facial features too much even with the Beauty mode on. Low-light performance is also a problem with the front snapper.
Samsung Galaxy A9 Sample Photos:
The Galaxy A9 runs on Samsung Experience 9.0 (which is based on Android 8.0 Oreo). Liking the Samsung UI is a matter of personal preference. If you’re not into the default user interface, you can download various themes, wallpapers, and icon designs form the Themes app.
Overall, even without tweaking anything on its software, this Galaxy phone is fast–launching and switching between multiple apps is smooth, playing games with heavy graphics like PUBG and Mobile Legends are lag-free, even the fingerprint and face unlock are fast. If you feel like bloatware bogs down the A9’s performance a bit, you can remedy by uninstalling or disabling unnecessary apps and features, or by tweaking some settings in the developer options.
One great thing about this device is its massive 128GB storage, which allows you to take as many photos as you want and download files without worrying that you’re already running out of space. If you’re really a storage hogger, the dedicated microSD card slot can support up to 512GB additional memory space. You can even still use two SIMs even with the SD card on.
In terms of battery life, the Galaxy A9 lasts for one whole day of mixed usage in one full charge. It would have been better if Samsung equipped the A9 with a bigger battery, but the Fast Charging feature makes up for it. Using the Samsung cable and wall charger that comes with it, this phone can be fully charged in just an hour or less.
In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy A9 is a solid phone in terms of design, performance, and features. It looks really good, on par with premium flagship devices, and performs really well on power- and graphics-intensive apps. However, you might have second thoughts when you consider its P32,990 price tag as you can get flagship phones from other brands with similar features and performance. Plus, it’s quad rear camera is still quite a hit-and-miss affair, considering that it’s one if not the main highlight feature of the device.