Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Just another Camera phone?

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) comes with quad camera setup, however, is the quad camera good enough to make a smartphone great? Find out in our review.

Samsung, Galaxy A9

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) comes with a quad camera setup at the back.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) was the company's first smartphone to sport a quad camera setup on the back. The phone does feature a lot of nice hardware including a Snapdragon processor in all variants. The Snapdragon 660 though not super powerful but is a decent performer. The company seems to have had plans to make the Galaxy A9 (2018) overkill when it comes to camera performance. However, plans that aren't properly executed are never worth it. In this review, we will find out if Samsung was able to execute this plan properly or not.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. This is coupled 6GB/8GB RAM and 64GB/128GB of internal storage depending on the variant you choose to purchase.

Samsung, Galaxy A9
The No Notch Design makes the Galaxy A9 stand out.

The device sports a 6.3-inch (2220 x 1080 pixels) Super AMOLED display. For the optics, it features a quad camera set up at the back, consisting of a 24-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture main sensor with PDAF along with an 8-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture ultrawide sensor, 5-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture depth sensor, and a 10-megapixel f/2.4 aperture 2x Zoom sensor. For selfies, it packs a 24-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture sensor. All of this is backed by a 3,800mAh non-removable battery.

The device sports a glass back panel that comes in amazing paint jobs, a first by Samsung. It runs Google’s Android 8.0 Pie operating system with the company's own One UI skin on top. The phone sports dual SIM card slots, a dedicated microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-Type C port for charging and data syncing and a fingerprint sensor at the back.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Design

The design of the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) is really good. The back panel is made out of glass, however, the glass is really thin. Our review unit was the Lemonade Blue Variant, which is super flashy. If you want something less eye-catching, the Caviar Black colour variant is a good bet for you.

Samsung, Galaxy A9
The 6.3-inch Super Amoled display is great.

The device sports a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy A80 alternatives

The speaker grille, 24-megapixel front camera, and the sensor array are all placed inside of the top bezel. Due to it not sporting a notch, the bottom chin doesn't look out of the place.

Samsung, Galaxy A9
The back of the A9 is quite reflective

Coming to the back, Galaxy A9 (2018) sports a quad camera setup paired with an LED flash aligned vertically on the top left corner. The quad camera unit has a small bump, however, it was expected considering the size of the sensors integrated into the device. The fingerprint sensor is above the Samsung branding in the centre top of the device.

Samsung, Galaxy A9
Right, Left, Top, Bottom in order

The right edge consists of the volume rockers and the power button. Unlike the Galaxy A7 (2018), the fingerprint sensor is not in the power button, but on the back. The top edge holds the SIM card tray with two SIM card slots and a dedicated microSD card slot with a secondary microphone. The left edge sports only a Bixby button while the bottom edge has the USB-Type C port along with headphone jack and speakers.

Overall, the design of Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) feels pretty good. It's flashy but not completely in your face like some of the other devices. Exclusion of the notch really changes the look of the front of the device. The feel of the smartphone in hand is also good.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Software

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) runs Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo with the company’s own Samsung Experience 9.0 skin on top. Samsung Experience UI as the name suggests is a skin that makes the smartphone experience tailored to what Samsung thinks is the best.

It offers a heavily customized Android experience with its own icon packs and some additional apps by the company. What is good is while setting up the smartphone you are asked which Samsung Apps do you want to install. These apps can also be uninstalled later if wanted. There are also a few Microsoft Office apps pre-installed, which cannot be uninstalled, however, these apps are quite handy.

Samsung, Galaxy A9
Samsung Experience UI 9.0

Overall, with its Experience UI, Samsung has evolved a lot from its old days of what used to be the TouchWiz UI. There are many small features that have been added here and there, which make the experience much better than most of the other skins.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Performance

Performance is a major area of concern on any device, the same goes for the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018). It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor coupled with an Adreno 512 GPU and 6/8GB of RAM. Our review unit came with 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

Samsung, Galaxy A9, AnTuTu, GeekBecnh
AnTuTu 7 (Left), GeekBench 4 (Right)

We ran our usual benchmark tests to evaluate how the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) performs. On AnTuTu the device was able to score 139516, which is great considering the price and competition is a bit low.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) vs Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)

On GeekBench it managed to get a single core score of 1614 and a multi-core score of 5504. The performance numbers of the device on paper are lower than the competition.

While playing light games such as Temple Run and Crossy Chicken, the phone runs flawlessly. Heavy games like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile also run without any hiccup.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Display

Samsung, Galaxy A9
The Sunlight readability of the Galaxy A9 is great.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) sports a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2220x1080 pixels. The brightness levels are able to get super low and immensely high depending on the situation. The colours are better than most other smartphones in this range. The sunlight legibility is also great.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Camera

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) features a quad camera setup at the back. There is a 24-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture main sensor with PDAF along with an 8-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture ultrawide sensor, 5-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture depth sensor, and a 10-megapixel f/2.4 aperture 2x Zoom sensor. For selfies, it packs a 24-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture sensor. The quad camera setup on the back is definately overkill, packing a zoom lens, wide angle and a telephoto lens, all you can ask for together.

Images that were taken with the rear camera come out very good. The images have good details and come out very sharp. Due to a dedicated depth sensor and a wide angle lens, it can take perfectly stable shots even on while zoomed in at the maximum capacity. With the addition of the 2x Zoom lens, the field of view changes a lot going from 2x Zoom lens to a wide angle lens. You can take photos in whichever view frame you want without losing focus or clarity even a bit.

Samsung, Galaxy A9, Camera

Coming to the front camera, that is a completely different story. The camera app has a smart beauty mode turned on by default, which tries to make you look better. However, this makes the colours brighter and messes with the white balance. Turning it off solves most of those problems. The details and sharpness on the front camera are okay.

Also Read: Samsung has finally made Good Lock 2019 for Android Pie: Here’s how it works

Overall, the quad camera setup at the back provides amazing photos. The details and sharpness obtained from that setup are unbelievable. With the addition of a 2x zoom lens and a Wide angle lens together, the ability to take a perfect shot is unmatchable. If you want a camera phone with all the tricks up its sleeves, look no more.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Battery

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) is backed by a 3,800mAh battery Li-Po, which easily lasts more than a day. Charging time with the included charger is around 90 minutes, which is great. The adaptive smart charging on its charger is amazing. If you are not a heavy user, you can easily make it work till the end of the second workday.

Samsung, Galaxy A9
PC Mark Work 2.0 (left), Battery Usage (right)

We ran PCMark's Work 2.0 Battery Life test, which subjects the phone to heavy usage and finds out how the battery performs in those conditions. The device yielded a result of 12 hours and 32 minutes, which is quite good in comparison to similar battery capacity smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Verdict

Samsung, Galaxy A9
The Lemonade Blue variant of the A9 is quite eye catching

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) starts at Rs. 30,990, for the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant. The bigger 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant is priced at Rs 33,990. If you are a camera buff, look no more and buy the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018).

If you don't care about the camera at all and demand only raw performance, there are some better options out there. Phones like the OnePlus 7, which costs a little more and offer much better performance and features. However, the Galaxy A9 (2018) sports much better camera setup that makes the choice less obvious. In short, if you only care about the cameras, Galaxy A9 is a great buy, else there are better options out there.


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