Late last year, Samsung reinvented their Galaxy A series of smartphones by introducing a list of impressive handsets that took the likeness to the company's 2015 flagships in terms of design and build quality. Some of the editions on the lineup included the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5 and the A7 with the largest one of the bunch being the Galaxy A9. With its large size, the Galaxy A9 fortunately can be placed on the premium mid range category and here is more reasons why:
Samsung is known for its preference of bringing influence of the design language of its flagship to their other smartphone portfolio, so it wasn't very surprising when Galaxy A9 seemed like a bigger Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6, though without the rear curves. In a great build quality, the phone shows off dual Corning's Gorilla Glass 4 panels bounded by a metallic frame. However, it does differ with the other flagships, with less rounded edges, giving off a more angular look.The device's large display stands at 6 inches, which means one-handed operation may is be a bit difficult thus using two hands is the safest option. The A9 is a litle slimmer compared to the Galaxy Note 5, with a less protruding camera unit at the back. At the first hold, the Galaxy A9 feels quite heavy at 200grams, which is understandable considering the huge battery it packs.
The Galaxy A9's 6 inch screen features a Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080p boasting 367ppi in pixel density. As expected from the Samsung's display prowess integrated with a Super AMOLED panel, it includes increased brightness, vibrant colors, deep blacks and great viewing from different angles. As much as the large display doesn't offer the best handling experience, it does deliver when it comes to viewing media content and gaming.Quad HD is the current standard for flagships, so the lower Full HD resolution display, may be a bit disappointing to some, especially if you have moved from using a Quad HD complemented device.
Performance and Software
It was very surprising to see the Galaxy A9 launch in December 2015, preloaded with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. Though, an official Android 6.0 Marshmallow update may certainly be in the works, it was expected to come running on the latest Android version right away.
Under its hood, the Galaxy A9 is equipped with Qualcomm's octa core Snapdragon 652 processor backed with a GPU of Adreno 510 along with 3GB of RAM. A Snapdragon 6xx may give you the impression that the device delivers mid-range processing, but its performance is actually a bit close to the Galaxy Note 5 and what is even more impressive is the fact that its performance appears to surpass the Galaxy S6.Handling everyday tasks such as opening, closing and navigating between apps is done smoothly. Overall, things are smooth and fast with only a few instances of lags like when you move to the Briefing screen on the homescreen's left side, though this has also been witnessed in other Samsung phones, and perhaps its a software optimization issue.
In terms of hardware, the Galaxy A9 features the standard unit of connectivity modes which include NFC as well as dual SIM capacity. The phone only comes with a 32GB option, with its microSD card support up to 128 GB adding the advantage of an expandable storage.What it keeps from its flagship counterparts is fingerprint reader found on the front panel and integrated with the physical home button. This means easy accessibility at any time, without holding up the device. Aside from unlocking purposes, the scanner can also be used for Samsung Pay authorization.Its single speaker unit is found at bottom right hand side while its audio is really clear with only a small noticeable compression.As for battery, it is equipped with a large 4,000 mAh battery capacity with a promise of longer battery life, with average usage easily lasting up to 2 days. Additionally, you can get even more by employing the in-built Samsung saving modes and Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 technology which provides faster charging.
On paper, the A9 camera looks like a step down compared to the Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 with a 13 MP main camera with a f/1.9 aperture and optical image optimization. Under good lighting conditions, the camera performs really well, generating seemingly sharp images and vibrant colors. On the downside, camera can sometimes struggle with overexposure, dynamic range and details getting lost in shadows, though a realistic look can be maintained by its HDR function.The front shooter comes with 8 MP, with f/1.9 aperture with wide angled lens, which make a great difference.What are your thoughts about Samsung's latest A series? Let us know in the comments.