Launched alongside the Galaxy A7, the Galaxy A9 is Samsung’s first device as well as the world’s first phone that boasts of a rear quad-camera array – that’s four separate cameras in one phone – to cover almost every eventuality that you’d likely encounter with a camphone.
Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy A9 comes with the usual array of accessories that cover the bases for immediate deployment. On top of the obligatory power cable and 5V/2A UK-style charger, the Galaxy A9 also tosses in a soft TPU casing to protect its glass-backed finish as well as a pair of non-AKG hard plastic earbuds done up in white. Unlike previous offerings, the earbuds now have a soft silicone earpiece that offers a more comfortable, tighter seal when worn though it lacks alternatively sized earbuds that you can swap out to in case the present ones don’t quite fit your ears.
As the fruits of Samsung’s recent design revamp, the Galaxy A9 also has a series of features that make it closer to its S-series flagship cousins than ever before. For starters, it sports a generous 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage out of the box that can be further augmented via a triple SD card slot. The processor though is the odd one out as the phone runs on an upper midrange Snapdragon 660 octacore processor. Everything else though is otherwise topshelf.
Galaxy A9 (2018) design
Externally, the Galaxy A9 benefits from Samsung’s recent flagships and draws several features from the Galaxy S9 and Note9 with a design language that is akin to its more affordable sibling the Galaxy A7 that we reviewed a while back. Externally, our test unit came in a rather novel shade of Bubblegum Pink that has a rosy pink coloured reflective finish that looks very eye catching.
Much like their more premium phones like the Galaxy S9 and Note9, the Galaxy A9 consists of an aluminium chassis with glass paving its front and rear to offer a premium feel on par with their flagship phones along with a pleasant heft and tactility belying its price tag. The only quibble here is that the Galaxy A9 is not water resistant so you’ll need some care to avoid it getting wet.
Up front, the phone has a nigh-bezelless display that eschews notches and any buttonry in order to cram in a rectangular 6.3-inch Super AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution and a generous 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Perched just on top of the display is a 24-MP f/2.0 selfie camera.
The right side of the phone hosts a volume rocker and power button while the top of the phone hosts a slot for a triple SIM card slot that allows you to cram in two nano SIM cards and a microSD card up to 512GB in size. Of note on the left of the phone is a button to summon Bixby voice, a feature that is usually issued only to higher end Galaxy S and Note series phones. Having it on an A-series phone is something of a pleasant surprise indeed and this time around, they’ve emplaced the button higher up the phone so that it won’t encounter an accidental mispress when you least expect it.
The base of the phone sports a pair of subtle antenna bands, a speaker grille for the sole mono speaker and a USB Type-C port for charging and docking duties.
The backplate of the Galaxy A9 (2018) is where the action is at as it hosts the Galaxy A9’s quad-camera array arranged vertically in the upper left corner with a sole LED flash perched just beneath it along with a squarish fingerprint reader on the back.
As the first quad camera of its kind, the rear camera array bears an unusual configuration with each camera intended for a specific task. Most of the grunt work falls to a primary 24-MP camera with an f/1.7 aperture while an 8-MP with an f/2.4 wide angle lens is meant for wide angle shots. Another 10-MP camera with an f/2.4 camera has 2x optical zoom while a 5-MP camera is there to gather depth data for live focus bokeh shots.
As far as first impressions go, the Galaxy A9 (2018) is an impressive looking phone indeed with a design and beautiful heft as well as excellent tactility more in keeping with their premium phones than a midrange workhorse. The uninitiated will even likely mistake it for a Galaxy S9+ bar the unusual pink finish, which goes quite aways towards justifying its rather somewhat premium price tag as far as midrange phones go. Stay tuned for our upcoming review where we put it to the test!