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Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) review: How well do these quad cameras work?

Priced at Rs 36,990 for 6 GB RAM and Rs 39,990 for 8 GB RAM, Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) is the world's first smartphone with four cameras

Aparna Banerjea  |  New Delhi 

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) review
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) review

How would you react if you saw four cameras instead of one at the rear on a phone? Would you feel a bit confused and astonished? Perhaps, curious enough to try each of the cameras out?

Priced at Rs 36,990 for 6 GB RAM and Rs 39,990 for 8 GB RAM, Galaxy A9 (2018) is the world's first smartphone with four cameras. It is a new breakthrough in the world of premium mid-range smartphones, from a company that has been the trendsetter in the business, having delivered features such as wireless charging and infinity display.

However, four cameras strapped at the rear of the phone is not the only thing. The new Galaxy A9 has a lot more to offer. Business Standard gives you the lowdown on the gizmo a week after using it.

Camera:

As the cameras are the biggest highlight of the phone, let's start from here. The phone has a 24 MP primary sensor, an 8 MP ultra-wide sensor, a 10 MP telephoto lens and a 5 MP depth sensor, all stacked up in the back. Up front, there is a single setup of a 24 MP sensor. The camera comes with a 2x optical zoom, which basically means a close-to-perfect macro-photography.

The cameras also have depth lens that will help you manage the depth and field of the photos manually. In addition to that, the 'live focus' feature also helps deliver the perfect shot.

There is also a concept of Intelligent camera - one which recognises 19 kinds of scenes and optimises colour settings to suit the content. Whether it's a night space, a close-up of flowers or flower buds, or a delectable spread on your dinner table, you are going to love the high-precision, crystal clear photos this camera takes. This Intelligent Camera can easily detect flaws in the ambience such as closed eyes, facial blur or back-light. The Google Pixel 3 introduced similar features at launch, wherein the phone takes a bunch of photos and then picks the best of the lot.

For the front camera, has added 24 MP shooter, which supports AR Animoji and wide-selfie camera.

Performance: The cameras offered a delightful experience, especially in the daylight. The sunlit natural background added an x-factor to the photos. I was able to use all the different camera lenses for different angles and all the photos turned out great, better than I expected.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for low-light photos. No doubt the blur effect and the depth field works well, but the photo quality and light exposure was just about satisfactory.

Display and design:

First things first, the phone has a massive build, both in display and size. At 6.3 Super-Amoled display, the phone looked gigantic in my hand. It was difficult to carry or hold for long with just one hand. It has an 80 per cent screen-to-body ratio and the company has not changed the look of the phone much.

The A9 looks extremely similar to other slap-like phones, especially the back, which is the same as the earlier A7 version. The only difference is the four lenses and the LED flash are set on a muc wider space. Other than that, the phone is pretty much clean apart from the fingerprint scanner at the back. There is no wireless charging support, though.

The glass back of new A9 comes in three different colours – Bubblegum Pink, Lemonade Blue and Caviar Black.

The sides of the device are also quite clean. The power button is on the right-hand side, alongside the volume rocker. The infamous Bixby button is on the left-hand side of the phone. At the bottom, you will find a USB-C charging port, a headphone jack, and a mono speaker. On the top, there is a hybrid SIM slot that doubles up as a microSD card slot.

Performance:

Powered by mid-end processor from Qualcomm, called the Snapdragon 660, the new Samsung Galaxy A9 has absolutely nothing extraordinary to offer. The phone has a chipset that also powers phones like the Xiaomi Mi A2, Nokia 7 Plus, and the Realme 2 Pro (all in the 15k-20k range), which cost much less.

The phone was launched in two RAM variants — a 6 GB of RAM variant and an 8 GB of RAM model. Both the variants start at 128 GB storage, which you can expand via microSD (up to 512 GB).

Apart from this, the device still runs Android 8.0 Oreo, which the company announced, will get the Android Pie update soon. The performance is very smooth, thanks to the powerful RAM. The device hardly lags even when three or four apps are running at the same time.

Fingerprint scanner is quick and responds almost 90 per cent of the time. However, the in-built face recognition Is a huge bummer. It hardly works in just one go and in some instances, refused to recognise my face even after multiple times and also after trying different angles. The face recognition really needs a solid upgrade to please the users.

Moreover, the device comes with 50-odd pre-installed apps, including the Google and Microsoft suite, two Amazon apps, and a whole series from Samsung. Ergo, the phone looks completely cluttered the moment you unbox and set it up.

Battery:

The Galaxy A9 is powered by a 3,800 mAh battery with support for Type-C fast charging. However, several phones, much cheaper than this one, give you a very decent battery backup.

With moderate usage, mostly for social media, texting and scrolling through social media apps, the phone gives a good one-and-a-half days of battery. However, the battery drains faster when using heavy apps and gaming. It also tends to heat up after one hour of continuous use.

When it comes to charging, the bundled charger rated at 15W takes merely an hour and 25 minutes to go from 10% battery to 100%.

Verdict:
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A9 is a striking smartphone majory because of the quad cameras. However, the cameras can well be upgraded with better picture qualities and features with time. The phone will definitely give you a premium feel and the blue and pink colour gradient is definitely fresh.

On the hindsight, priced at Rs 36,990, the Galaxy A9 is a bit overpriced, considering the old processor, 6 GB RAM and older software version - Android Oreo. The company definitely needs to do a lot of homework to up its game in a heavily-competitive market.

First Published: Sat, December 01 2018. 14:27 IST
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