We’re all very familiar with Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships, but there’s also a myriad of mid-range devices that the Korean firm also offers – trying to cover all consumer price ranges.

Today’s announcement cover the new Galaxy A9. The A-series have been relatively popular in the past few years, offering a step down from the top S series in terms of features and price.

The Galaxy A9 in particular is noteworthy in that it’s Samsung first smartphone that deploys four rear cameras.

  Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)
SoC "Quad core"
4x 2.2GHz + 4x 1.8GHz
Display 6.3-inch 2220x1080 (18.5:9)
Dimensions 162.5 x 77 x 7.8 mm
183 grams
Battery 3800mAh (14.63Wh)
Front Camera 24MP f/2.0
Rear Cameras Regular 24MP f/1.7
Wide Angle 8MP f/2.4 - 120° FoV
Telephoto 10MP f/2.4 - 2x Zoom
Depth 5MP f/2.2
SIM Size 2x NanoSIM (dedicated SIMs + microSD slots)
Connectivity 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi
BT 5.0, NFC
Interfaces USB 2.0 Type-C;  3.5mm audio
Launch OS Android O (8.0)
Launch Price
6GB/128GB: £549

First of all, in terms of specifications, the new Galaxy A9 is the definition of a mid-range smartphone. Samsung doesn’t exactly specify which SoC the device uses, but discloses that it’s a 4x 2.2Ghz + 4x 1.8GHz design. There have been some reports that this might be a Snapdragon 660 in some markets, and there’s no matching Exynos at those frequency configurations. Still this would give the A9 plenty of performance, and is accompanied by 6GB of RAM, and a surprising 128GB base storage. The fact that Samsung is now upping the base storage to 128GB in such devices is really fantastic to see, and really ups the game in comparison with some other new flagship devices this year that still launch with 64GB.

The screen is a large 6.3” 18.5:9 AMOLED screen with 2220 x 1080 resolution. This is a big device, coming in with a width of 77mm, 3mm wider than a Galaxy S9+. Battery wise there’s also a big 3800mAh battery, which should serve the phone well in terms of battery life.

Now, the big key feature of the A9 are its four rear cameras. The A9 uses the trifecta of a regular angle module, a wide angle, and a telephoto module. On top of these three imaging cameras, there’s also a fourth camera that serves as a depth sensor.

The main camera is a 24MP unit with an f/1.7 aperture. In daylight pictures the sensor uses the full 24MP resolution, while Samsung now introduces a pixel binning mode in low light scenarios where 2x2 pixels on the sensor result in a single logical pixel in the output image – effectively resulting in 6MP photos.

The wide angle module is a first for Samsung. For long this has been an exclusive feature for LG devices, and it seems this year we’ll see a lot more vendors employ similar modules. The A9’s module is 8MP with fixed focus and an f/2.4 aperture – the key characteristic here is the 120° field of view.

Finally, the telephoto lens is a 10MP unit with an f/2.4 aperture offering 2x optical zoom.

We’ve seen dedicated depth cameras in past smartphones, most prominently from OnePlus. Now I can’t really think of any good reason as to why Samsung would use this 5MP depth sensor over the wide-angle unit when doing portrait mode depth sensing – the only possible explanation would be that the A9 would also support portrait mode shots on the wide-angle camera itself, which would be achievable through the dedicated sensor.

While I did refer to the A9 as mid-range, probably Samsung is targeting the Galaxy A9 as more into the “super premium” category as the £549 launch price is above the usual range where we’d see the top A-series phones priced in

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  • andyveryhandy - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    This seems like a real reason to buy an A9. Decently large screen size, 4(!) cameras. It’s good to see midrange phones doing interesting things again - more reason to buy them over a flagship.

    Also, the last few words of the article seem to be cut off - it ends in the middle of a sentence, FYI.
  • shabby - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    6gb of ram and 128gb of storage? I like where samsung is going here.
  • lurker22 - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Anything to help Android to be smoother UI
  • saleri6251 - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Hello Andrei,

    Will your review of the pixel 3 be available when embargo breaks?
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    No. We're expecting that review to take longer than the limited time available ahead of the embargo.
  • saleri6251 - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Hello Ryan,

    Okay thanks for the response.
  • Teckk - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Good to see higher base storage and a micro SD card slot too. Why do they not provide these in flagship devices though?
  • The Chill Blueberry - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Is the 24MP front facing camera accurate or a typo? It seems a bit big for a front facing camera.
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Surprising me as well, that is not a typo.

  • willis936 - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Not one or two or three but four
    - Zorg

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