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Samsung Galaxy A9 review: Hands on with Samsung’s quadruple camera smartphone

Price when reviewed 
549
inc VAT

Samsung’s Galaxy A9 throws four cameras into the mix, but is that really necessary?

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Dual-camera smartphones are swiftly becoming a thing of the past. Secondary lenses are so last year, with phone manufacturers frantically squeezing as many cameras as possible onto the back of their devices in a desperate attempt to one-up each other. Remember, Huawei added a third camera to the P20 Pro earlier in the year and that particular flagship was rather special.

But, three cameras? Pfft, move along Huawei – there’s a new bug-eyed phone camera in town.

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Samsung’s Galaxy A9 has finally entered the mid-range ring. And the Korean firm has placed a total of four cameras on the back, all bringing their own special attributes. Have Samsung’s tech boffins taken things a step too far? Is the Galaxy A9 firing the starting pistol for a flurry of multiple-camera smartphones? Let’s find out.

Samsung Galaxy A9 review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 6.3in 2,220 x 1,080 Super AMOLED screen
  • Octa-core 2.2GHz processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • Cameras: 24-megapixel f/1.7; 10-megapixel f/2.4 (2x telephoto); 8-megapixel f/2.4 (wide-angle); 5-megapixel f/2.2 (depth)
  • 128GB of storage, expandable up to 512GB via microSD
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 3,800mAh battery
  • 163 x 77 x 8mm
  • 183g
  • UK price: £549
  • UK release date: November 2018

Samsung Galaxy A9 review: Design, key features and first impressions

I think it’s best if we talk about the Galaxy A9’s quadruple camera arrangement first, don’t you think? After all, I’m certain that’s the reason you clicked on this article in the first place.

Flip the phone over, and you’ll spot a total of four cameras arranged vertically on the left-hand side. At the very top is an ultra-wide 8-megapixel unit with an aperture of f/2.4. Samsung says this camera can capture 120-degrees worth of content in a single frame, which is a total of 77-degrees more than Samsung’s previous wide-angle sensors.

The next camera down the list is the telephoto lens, which is a similar 10-megapixel, f/2.4 unit to the secondary camera on the back of the Galaxy Note 9. And, like Samsung’s venerable flagship, this sensor merely brings 2x optical zoom to the party.

Third is the main 24-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture sensor. There’s not much to talk about with this one – it’s much the same as most other smartphone cameras and doesn’t do anything particularly special. Let’s move on.

Lastly, at the very bottom of the arrangement, is the new 5-megapixel “live focus” depth camera, with an aperture of f/2.2. This camera unit is good for adding artistic bokeh effects to your shots, bringing your subject front and centre while blurring out the background. It offers a very effective setup in other phones and I'm looking forward to trying it out when I receive the A9 for review.

That’s your lot. As far as I can tell, there’s really not that much to it and Samsung doesn’t appear to be offering anything any other manufacturer hasn’t already brought to the table countless times before. It is, of course, the very first phone firm to squeeze all four different camera units onto a single device, so I expect it will be quite a versatile photographer’s companion when it does launch in a few weeks.

On to the rest of the phone’s specifics, and we’re treated to a massive 6.3in FHD+ Super AMOLED screen on the front. There’s no notch in sight, either: instead, Samsung has squeezed chunky chin and forehead bezels above and below the display. As for the quality of the screen, it’s just as good as any of Samsung’s other Super AMOLED panels on first impression, and I expect contrast ratios and colour accuracy will be effectively perfect when I finally turn our colour calibrator loose on a review unit.

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Design-wise, the A9 looks quite similar to the Galaxy S9. That’s by no means a bad thing, especially considering the price, and this phone looks positively lovely, no matter which colour scheme you choose. Come launch, It can be picked up in either “caviar” black, “lemonade” blue and “bubblegum” pink. Sadly, there was no room in this middle-class colour-naming system for “truffle” white – I asked.

Elsewhere, the phone itself is fitted with all of the particulars you’d expect from any aspiring flagship-beater. There’s a USB-C charging port on the bottom edge, which is flanked by a solitary speaker grille, and the power and volume rocker are situated on the right-hand side. A nano SIM and microSD card slot on the left side allows for an additional 512GB of storage.

Powering the Galaxy A9 is an octa-core chipset, which is clocked at 2.2GHz. There’s no word yet on which processor specifically, although I expect Samsung’s own Exynos chip will be running the show. This does, however, work alongside 6GB of RAM and there’s a massive 128GB of storage. A 3,800mAh battery should keep things ticking over for a fair while on a single charge.

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Samsung Galaxy A9 review: Early verdict

Samsung’s Galaxy A9 is a shining example of smartphone innovation gone mad. Certainly, it’s a phone that will get any bonkers futurist hot under the collar, but I’m still not convinced that we need this many cameras on a single smartphone.

Still, Samsung has managed to keep the cost down, even though it does face stiff competition form the OnePlus 6, our current mid-range favourite. The Galaxy A9’s future is filled with challenges, although it may very well pull this off.

Stay tuned for my full Samsung Galaxy A9 review in the near future.

Hardware
ProcessorOcta-core 2.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
RAM6GB
Screen size6.3in
Screen resolution2,220 x 1,080
Screen typeSuper AMOLED
Front camera24-megapixel
Rear camera24-megapixel, 8-megapixel, 10-megapixel, 5-megapixel
FlashLED
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage (free)128GB
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wi-Fi802.11ac
Bluetooth5.0
NFCYes
Wireless data4G
Dimensions162.5 x 77 x 7.8 mm
Weight183g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 8
Battery size3,800mAh

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