Just when we have gotten used to the dual camera set up for our smartphones, we were greeted with the appearance of three camera set up when Samsung launched the Galaxy A7 a few months back.
To me, three camera set up is still new for some people. I have been using the A7 for a few months now and all I can say is that, I love it. And that’s it. I’ll stop at three. That’s what I said to myself anyway.
And then I got a message from Samsung that they will be lending me the new Galaxy A9 for 2 weeks review. I was curious to know how a four camera set up will perform for photography enthusiast. Will it be good enough to be used as a daily device or for photography? Let’s find out.
First Look & Design
The review unit that I got was a really good looking bright “Bubblegum Pink” Galaxy A9. At first I thought that pink is definitely NOT my colour but after a while, it kinda grew on me. It’s not like really the feminine type of pink, but it’s rather a strong dual tone pink. It’s nice.
Contents inside the box are pretty much the standard stuffs. You have the phone itself, the charger adapter, the USB type-C data/charger cable, user manual, a clear silicone case and the hands-free/earphone kit.
The Galaxy A9 is slightly bigger than the A7 with 6.3″ Super AMOLED screen at 2220 x 1080 pixel resolution. When I held the phone in my hand, it doesn’t feel that big but instead it feels slim. I’ve said the same about the Galaxy A7 and the Note9 before this. The screen side is big, but it’s slim, making it easy to hold.
As you can see from the picture above, the Galaxy A9 is only slightly bigger than the Galaxy A7. The most obvious difference is the camera set up at the back. The four camera module on the A9 is exactly at the same spot as the A7 but with one extra camera. More on the camera features and sample below.
The shiny surface is a fingerprint magnet so if you don’t like having your fingerprint smudges all over your phone, I suggest you put the silicone case on. Also, the shiny surface made it a little bit slippery. Note that the fingerprint sensor is located at the back center of the phone, next to the camera modules.
Front camera set up is at the usual place. It is located at the top front of the phone. It comes with a 24MP camera sensor, an f/2.0 27mm wide angle camera lens so that you can take a bright wide angle selfies with the A9. You can also record a 1080p HDR video at 30fps with the front camera. Scroll to the camera section below to view the photo samples.
The volume rocker and the power button is located on the right side of the phone while a button to quickly access Bixby is on the left. The SIM/MicroCD slot is at the top with a tiny microphone hole is on the other end and finally you can see the USB type-C port and the headphone jack at the bottom. The speaker is also located here and there’s another tiny microphone hole next to it.
One cool thing I like about the Galaxy A9 (and also the Galaxy A7) is that the phone supports dual SIM, AND you’re still able to use a MicroSD card up to 512GB through its dedicated slot. This is a plus point because I use dual SIM and a memory card. I’m happy.
By now I bet most of you know how I benchmark a phone’s performance, right? Those who don’t know, I’ll tell you.
It has been a norm for me to test a phone performance simply by installing and playing a game on it. In this case, I play PUBG Mobile. And what the Galaxy A9 has inside is something that can churn out enough power for heavy gaming.
The Galaxy A9 is powered by a Snapdragon 660 octa-core with 4 x 2.2GHz Kyro 260 and 4 x 1.8GHz Kyro 260, supported by Adreno 512 GPU and 6GB or 8GB of RAM option. It also comes with 64GB or 128GB of internal storage variations.
There are many new phones that comes with the same or similar hardware set up and the Snapdragon 660 is a good mid-high range CPU. I am able to set the graphics to the highest setting when I play PUBG on the A9. And thanks to the SD660, the graphics are silky smooth.
The review unit that I was using comes with 128GB of internal space and 6GB of RAM. I didn’t feel any stutter or sluggish when I played PUBG but once in a while it lags because of the render. But it only lags for a few milliseconds. Overall performance is really good.
Those who love gaming, this phone is a good option to have.
Camera & Photo Samples
Like I said earlier, the first thing you will see on the Galaxy A9 is the quad camera module at the back. The long protruding camera “housing” is so obvious that it may look awkward at first. But I’m sure you’ll get over it.
Okay. What are the four cameras are for, you may ask? Here’s what they are for. Main shooter is a 24MP sensor with f/1.7, 27mm wide angle lens for normal day to day photo. Second one is an 8MP sensor, f/2.4, 12mm ultrawide angle lens for fitting that extra person on either sides in a group photo. Third camera is a 10MP sensor with f/2.4, 52mm telephoto lens for stalking someone standing far away or taking a picture of the supermoon. While the fourth camera is a 5MP, f/2.2, 24mm wide depth sensor, which only used to calculate the depth distance to create that “bokeh” effect.
Among all the camera set up and functions available on the A9, I love the ultrawide angle the most. I don’t know why but I enjoy taking photos with this function almost all the time.
I feel that the Galaxy A9 has a good camera set up overall. The normal function is good for indoor and outdoor shots, the ultrawide angle is superb when taking group shots or when you need to capture more in a single picture and the zoom lens function is great when you need to capture faraway subjects.
Camera quality is above par. It’s not bad and at the same time it’s not great either. But it can still deliver punchy photos and images that is good enough for publications. Photos are sharp and in good details. Noise levels are kept low in low-light areas but it is obvious when taking photos in the dark. Other than that, the Galaxy A9 lived up to its expectations.
Now here are some sample photos taken with the Galaxy A9…
What can I say about the Galaxy A9? All I can say is that it is a good phone that performs well for daily use and able to give you the power for a good gaming experience. It doesn’t overheat while gaming or when you’re watching a 2.5 hour movie.
It comes in great colour options such as the Bubblegum Pink, Lemonade Blue and Caviar Black. The sound system supports Dolby Atmos for that awesome cinematic surround sound while watching movies. The battery will last you the whole day all thanks to its 3,800mAh capacity. Charging the battery is pretty quick with the USB type-C quick charger.
Good camera set up of course. You not only have 2 cameras but instead you now have 4 camera set ups to play around with. It is a great go-to device when you travel or for that good Instagram postings. Of course you can get other phones with the same CPU and GPU hardware but the others don’t have a quad-camera set up.
So if you ask me whether the Galaxy A9 is a good buy, I would say yes. The retail price for the Galaxy A9 2018 in Malaysia is RM1,999.00.