Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Game Of Thrones Season 8 - End Game With Sinhala Subtitles

Flipboard

Flipboard

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Hands-on

Four-for-one: the Galaxy A9 packs the world's first quadruple lens smartphone camera - here's what we think after going hands-on

SHOULD I BUY THE SAMSUNG GALAXY A9?
Without actually getting the chance to properly put those four lenses through their paces, it's impossible to assess the A9. It looks slick, and the substantial storage and AMOLED screen should soften the blow of paying £549 for a mid-range processor.
Still, this phone is all about the camera, and right now we don't know if those extra lenses are the next step forward or a goofy gimmick.


PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • To be confirmed
Samsung’s Galaxy A series has rarely yielded exciting phones - they’re mostly mid-range devices with last year’s S or Note specs in a more budget-friendly design. That’s changed with the A9, which offers something even the Note 9 doesn’t: four rear cameras.

That’s not just a first for Samsung, but a first for any phone, so it’s surprising to see the breakthrough relegated to the A series. But it comes at a (literal) cost - so are extra lenses enough to make up for a price that’s higher than some rivals’ flagships?

PRICE AND RELEASE DATE
The Galaxy A9 isn’t out yet, and in fact you’ve got a little while to wait. Samsung told us the device would launch some time in mid-November, though we don’t know anything more specific than that yet.

In the UK it will cost £549, though we don’t yet know the US or Euro price of the phone. That’s a steep asking price for what the A9 offers though: it’s actually higher than the £500 cap we use for our mid-range phone chart, and puts the A9 in direct competition with flagships like the £469 OnePlus 6 or £599 LG G7 ThinQ.

It’s also a £100 jump from the Galaxy A8, released earlier in 2018, though to be fair there’s a considerable improvement in specs from that phone too. But with so many other brilliant phones available for less than £500, these four cameras will have to really impress to make the A9 stand out.

FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Let’s cut straight to the chase. Those four rear cameras are the real star here, representing the first time any smartphone has packed four lenses in one spot.

Aligned vertically in the corner of the phone’s body, each lens is optimised for a different type of photo, hopefully resulting in one of the most versatile camera setups around.

The primary lens is a 24MP shooter that will underpin basically every photo you take, with an aperture of f/1.7 to help deliver strong low-light performance too. It’s backed up by a 5MP depth lens used for the portrait/bokeh effect, a 10MP ultra-wide lens (120 degrees, supposedly to mimic the human eye’s field of view), and an 8MP telephoto lens with x2 optical zoom.
I’d love to be able to tell you just how those four lenses performed in the real world, but unfortunately we were only given access to pre-production hardware which was suffering from a few glitches that made the camera difficult to really assess. We’d expect all the problems to be ironed by the time the full release rolls out, but it means that right now even though I’ve used the phone, I couldn’t really tell you if the camera’s any good or not.

There are at least a few more tech specs and features worth mentioning. The A9 can shoot video up to 4K normally, or in slow motion or super slow motion at lower resolutions, along with various stills modes including panorama, beauty mode a scene optimiser, and the portrait, wide-angle and zoom modes enables by the three extra lenses.

Then there’s the single front lens (bringing us to five total). That’s another 24MP lens, though at aperture f/2.0, and comes backed up by all the usual selfie features you’d expect.

SNAPPY SNAPS
It’ll take some proper processing power to make the most of those four lenses, and while the A9 is hardly packing top-of-the-line specs, it should hold its own. The octa-core Snapdragon 660 is a solid mid-range chip that should deliver strong performance across the board, and help the A9 keep up with just about anything you throw at it.

Just as importantly, Samsung has thrown an impressive 6GB of RAM into the phone, so it should ace multitasking, while 128GB of storage makes the price more understandable - after all, the 128GB version of the OnePlus 6 sits at £569 in the UK, £20 more than the A9. And just in case that’s not enough, you can add on up to another 512GB via microSD card.

Finally, a 3,800mAh battery should be enough to see this coast past the 24-hour mark on typical usage, and we wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of people see it last a couple days on the trot.

LOOKS TO MATCH
With all those cameras, Samsung was very clear that it’s targeting the A9 at the Instagram-obsessed, so it’s no surprise to see it’s put some work into making sure the phone itself looks the part too.

That starts with the 6.3in Full HD+ AMOLED screen - what Samsung calls an ‘Immersive Display’ to distinguish it from the flagships’ ‘Infinity Display’. That means you still get some bezels and it doesn’t wrap around the body, but it’s still a big, beautiful screen - an area Samsung has always excelled.

6.3in is a lot of screen though, especially with bezels along the sides, so the A9 isn’t exactly compact. Measuring 162.5x77x7.8mm, and weighing 183g, this isn’t a phone for small hands, though it’s still comfortable to hold.

The back of the phone is obviously dominated by that ludicrous lens array, but you’re more likely to spot the striking colours first. The glass-bodied phone (no wireless charging though, sadly) is available in your choice of Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue or Bubblegum Pink - the latter two of which take a leaf out of Huawei’s book with some really stunning gradient finishes.

In terms of the rest of the build, there’s only a single speaker, but you do at least get a headphone jack (with support for Dolby Atmos) along with USB-C for charging. There’s also both NFC and Bluetooth 5.0 under the hood.

As for software, the A9 ships with Android 8.0 (overlaid with ‘Samsung Experience’, the company’s proprietary Android skin), but Samsung reps said that an over-the-air update to Pie 9.0 is ‘on the way’ - though couldn’t give a more precise estimate than that.

VERDICT
Without actually getting the chance to properly put those four lenses through their paces, it's impossible to assess the A9. It looks slick, and the substantial storage and AMOLED screen should soften the blow of paying £549 for a mid-range processor.

Still, this phone is all about the camera, and right now we don't know if those extra lenses are the next step forward or a goofy gimmick.

SPECS
  • Android Oreo 8.0
  • 6.3in FullHD+ AMOLED
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage, expandable up to additional 512GB
  • 24MP f/1.7 + 5MP depth + 10MP ultra-wide + 8MP telephoto quad cameras
  • 24MP f/2.0 front facing camera
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS NFC 3800mAh non-removable battery
  • 162.5 x 77 x 7.8mm
  • 183g



Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

iHealth Core Review

This smart scale from iHealth offers detailed body composition measurements, from BMI to visceral fat rating. Find out what we think in our iHealth Core review.
Should I Buy The iHealth Core? We like the way that the Core and Lite scales interact with the other iHealth products, and the Core offers a bunch of useful metrics with which to monitor your health. Setup is easy and the app's graphs give a decent visual representation of your health-metric trends as you progress.

Amazon Lord Of The Rings TV Show Latest News

Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV series has been quiet on the news front for the past few months but we're starting to some details emerge for the highly anticipated show.
For most of the past decade, TV producers have been desperate to find ‘the next Game of Thrones’, and now Amazon apparently reckons it’s found it: Lord of the Rings.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) Review

A mid-range phone with triple rear cameras is a rare thing, especially at under £300 but the Galaxy A7 isn't an instant winner. Find out why in our full review.
Should I Buy The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)? The Galaxy A7 is a decent choice for a mid-range phone if you're looking to spend less than £300. Highlights include an excellent screen, nice design and cameras you'd wouldn't expect to find.
However, unless you're going to use the wide-angle lens a lot there are some strong rivals out there like the Moto G7 Plus and Honor Play.

Huawei Mate 20 X Review

The Huawei Mate 20 X is an obscenely large smartphone but it has many of the features of the Mate 20 Pro for less. Here’s our full review of the huge premium slab
Should I Buy The Huawei Mate 20 X?
With a bigger screen, bigger battery and smaller notch than the Mate 20 Pro, the Huawei Mate 20 X also has the same camera set up and adds a headphone jack. If you want the most screen possible, it might be for you. 
You lose the curved display, wireless charging, full water resistance and secure Face ID but for many that won’t matter if a huge display, outstanding camera and great performance are top of your list. If you want a normal size phone, get the Mate 20 Pro.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung's Galaxy S range has been updated and here we compare the S10e - the new 'lite' model - to last years' Galaxy S9 to help you decide which phone is best for you.
Should I Buy The Samsung Galaxy S10e Or Samsung Galaxy S9?
The S10e could be the sleeper hit of this year. It doesn’t have the embedded fingerprint sensor of the S10 and S10 Plus or their triple cameras, but it comes with the same processors, new screen design, ultra-wide camera, and all in a compact and comfortable format with a smaller price-tag.
That being said, the S9 is still an excellent device, and its new, lower price makes it a definite bargain.

Like Fan Page