Looks like we will see the term “quad-camera” being thrown about a lot in the time to come. But before everyone else, Samsung has launched the Galaxy A9, its first phone with four rear cameras, and that’s certainly bound to draw some attention. (Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) हिंदी में पढ़िए)

But how big a deal is that? Are four cameras better than one? Is Samsung Galaxy A9 the best camera phone in its class?  Well, let’s discuss answers to these pertinent questions based on some quality time that we have spent with the phone in our Galaxy A9 Review.

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Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Price and Specifications

Model Samsung Galaxy A9
Display 6.3-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display
Processor Snapdragon 660 Octa-core processor
RAM 6/8GB
Internal Storage 128GB ( expandable up to 512GB)
Software Android 8.0 Oreo
Primary Camera 24MP(f/1.7 aperture) Primary sensor;

10MP ( f/2.4 aperture )telephoto sensor;

8MP(f/2.4 aperture and 120 degrees ) ultra-wide sensor;

5MP (f/2.2 aperture) depth sensor

Secondary Camera 24MP selfie camera
Others Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MIMO,  Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS,  Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)
Battery 3800mAh, fast charging
India Price Rs. 36,990 (6GB variant)                                                          Rs. 39,990 (8GB variant)

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Design and Build

The Galaxy A9 has design semblance with its triple-camera sibling, the Galaxy A7 (2018), but both phones have their fair share of differences too.

Unlike the flat-back Galaxy A7, the rear glass on A9 curves towards the edges to facilitate a firmer grip. This seemly insignificant change is actually consequential, as the Galaxy A9 is definitely a big phone. To put the size in better perspective, the A9 is comparable in dimensions to the Galaxy Note 9.

Also, the Galaxy A9 is the first Samsung mid-range phone to include a dedicated Bixby button. However, since the volume rocker is on the other side edge, there weren’t any annoying accidental presses as on our Note 9.

The Galaxy A9 (2018) has a regular rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor and not the side mounted fingerprint reader-cum-power button as on Galaxy A7. As always, Samsung remains averse to camera bump and the quad-cameras still sit flush with the glass back (well, almost).

The big attraction for us is the beautiful color options – caviar black, Bubblegum pink, and Lemonade Blue. The Blue and Pink variant have a subtle gradient finish, but they might be a little too flashy for some.

Other than that, you will find a USB Type-C port, speaker grill, and Audio Jack at the bottom, and a dedicated card slot in the SIM tray up top, should you need some extra storage. And yes, Samsung bundles a transparent case cover in the box.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Display

The Samsung Galaxy A9 surely has the AMOLED advantage. The 6.3-inch ‘Infinity’ screen has Full HD resolution, excellent contrast, and allows you the option to switch between different color profiles.

Then there is the Samsung characteristic Always-on display which, in our opinion, adds immense value. Unlike Samsung’s high-end phones, the home button on the Always On screen isn’t pressure-sensitive, but it responds to double tap and can be used to wake the phone when it’s resting on your table, or if you prefer to unlock using face recognition.

And there is no notch, but you won’t hear us complaining. The fascia isn’t quite bezel-less, but at least the bezels at the top and bottom are symmetrical.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Performance and Software

At its very heart, Samsung Galaxy A9 employs Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 660 mobile platform. While this is a powerful mid-range chipset, it can’t be denied that it’s not exactly a new chipset and you can score the same chip in phones that cost less than half as much.

If not Snapdragon 845, something to the tune of Snapdragon 710 would have made the Galaxy A9 a lot more alluring. Having said that, the Snapdragon 660 is quite capable and, on the A9, is supported by 6GB/8GB RAM and 128GB of storage.

The real world performance is quite adequate. High-end games that we have tried ran well, but we did notice moderate heating. PUBG runs fine even on HD, high settings.

The Galaxy A9 (2018) supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE and call quality is quite good. The fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable. The Face Unlock isn’t as fast as what you’d get on Oppo, Vivo or OnePlus phones.

The Experience UI on the Galaxy A9 (2018) is based on Android 8.0 Oreo. I guess, the Android Pie update and the new One UI will eventually make it to the phone sometime later.

As of today, Samsung’s UI is well designed and stable, but we do have a few gripes. There are still quite a few pre-installed apps on the phone and Samsung is still using the mini version of Samsung Pay on Galaxy A9, in spite of the premium price tag. The Galaxy A9 has Widevine DRM L1 certificate but can’t stream HD content on Prime Videos and Netflix.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Camera Review

This is one segment where Samsung is overexerting itself. The primary 24MP sensor (wide f/1.7 aperture) is the one you will be using most often, but Samsung throws a few more options in the mix – a depth sensor, wide-angle shooter, and a 10 MP sensor with a telephoto lens (2X Zoom).

There are some software enhancements too. For instance, In low light the software combines data from four pixels of primary sensors (pixel-binning technology) to enhance image quality, there is a smart scene optimizer and the camera alerts you with a “someone might have blinked” prompt when it deems fit.

As for the actual camera performance, well it’s average for the price. Shots clicked outdoors in proper lighting turned out fine but at times camera struggles with metering and capturing proper dynamic range in tricky conditions. Details and color accuracy are close to what we have witnessed with phones that feature in the same price bracket.

For instance, we compared the A9 (2018) shots to OnePlus 6T shots and the shots were really close. However, OnePlus 6T turned out better overall.

When analyzed on a bigger screen, the camera quality is quite close to that of OnePlus 6T, but definitely not better. Performance indoors and in low light is comparable on both phones.

The other three sensors are fun to play with, but not gamechanger in any which way. The resolution of sensors with Zoom lens and Wide-angle lens are quite low and they are only truly useful in proper outdoor lighting.

You will find the toggle to switch between three sensors in the viewfinder, and to make use of the fourth depth sensor, you can switch to the Live Focus mode. Portrait shots we clicked were rather mediocre.

In our experience, having more cameras can be fun, but yes, the fact that the best smartphone camera produces remarkable results with just a single sensor does make the quad-setup appear superfluous.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review – Should you buy it?

The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) is an interesting phone for a number of reasons but it still heavily banks on the brand goodwill and four camera bragging rights. What we get here is a wonderful display, an attractive design, a reasonably powerful chipset, and a decent battery.

The Galaxy A7 (2018) follows a similar approach, but it makes more sense as it’s significantly cheaper and competes in an entirely different league. Samsung isn’t pushing itself when it comes to providing competitive hardware or software and that makes Galaxy A9 (2018) feel a bit overpriced at launch.

At the same time, it’s good enough to serve as a OnePlus 6T alternative. If you would rather invest in a more familiar or reliable brand with an extensive after-sales support network, you can consider the Galaxy A9 (2018) as an option.

Pros 

  • Looks attractive
  • Excellent display
  • Dedicated card slot
  • Well-designed interface
  • Dependable performance

Cons 

  • Mini version of Samsung Pay
  • Doesn’t support HD streaming

 

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