Four cameras at the rear. 6.3 inch screen. 6 GB of RAM. 128 GB of storage. And a nice design that combines metal and glass with gradient colors. These are the weapons with which the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 wants to compete in the upper-middle range of Android terminals . Will they be enough to succeed?
The Samsung Galaxy A9 is the first mobile with four cameras on its back , which makes it clear that Samsung seeks to stand out in the photographic section. However, the A9 is much more than four lenses. It is a very complete mobile and it has very little to envy the top terminals on the market. I have had the opportunity to spend almost three weeks using the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 as my main mobile and here I am going to tell you how it works and what I think.
Data sheet Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
|screen||6.3-inch Super AMOLED panel, FHD + resolution of 2,220 x 1,080 pixels|
|Main chamber||Four sensors:|
24 MP main, f / 1.7
5 MP depth sensor, f / 2.2, dynamic focus
10 MP telephoto, f / 2.4, 2x optical zoom
8 MP, f / 2.4, 120 degree Ultra Wide Angle Sensor
|Camera for selfies||24 MP, f / 2.0|
|Internal memory||128 GB|
|Extension||MicroSD (up to 512GB)|
|Processor and RAM||Octa-Core (four at 2.2 GHz and four at 1.8 GHz)|
|Battery||3,800 mAh with fast charge|
|Operating system||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Connections||4G LTE, GPS, WiFi 802.11 ac dual band MIMO, Bluetooth v5.0, USB Type C, 3.5 mm jack|
|Design||Metal and glass, colors: black, blue and pink (the last two with gradient)|
|Dimensions||162.5 x 77.0 x 7.8mm, 183 grams|
|Featured Features||Fingerprint reader|
Always on Display
Are four cameras better than two (or one)?
Perhaps it is one of the questions that you have repeated the most when learning about the existence of a mobile with four cameras. They are necessary? Why do we want four cameras in one terminal? It is clear that they are not necessary, but they can offer us a versatility that we cannot find in other mobiles .
And it is that not all the lenses of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 have the same functionality. On the one hand we have the usual set that we see in a double system. That is, a main sensor accompanied by a depth sensor that is responsible for the well-known bokeh effect. In the A9, a 24-megapixel sensor with f / 1.7 aperture and a 5-megapixel sensor with f / 2.2 aperture are responsible for this . The latter is the one that provides us with the dynamic approach, which I will talk about later.
The other two sensors offer us a different type of photography. In fact, they do not work in conjunction with the first two, but we will have to select them in the camera app to use them.
On the one hand we have a telephoto lens with 10 megapixels of resolution and f / 2.4 aperture . This allows us to have a 2x optical zoom . On the other hand, an ultra-wide-angle sensor with 8 megapixels of resolution and f / 2.4 aperture has also been included . With the latter we can take pictures with an angle of 120 degrees .
But the photographic set of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 does not close here. On the front we have a 24 megapixel sensor with f / 2.0 aperture , which does not lack a complete beauty mode.
Want to see how this four camera system is shared in real life? Now I tell you, but first let's take a quick look at the application.
Samsung Camera app
Samsung offers the user a complete Camera application, but at the same time easy to use . Placing the mobile horizontally, we have the trigger, access to the gallery and the button to record video on the far right. Just above we see some shortcuts, such as Settings, camera change, some filters, the flash or the button to use the full screen.
If we continue from right to left, the next thing we find is a slider to switch between the main camera, the ultra wide angle and the 2x zoom . And to the far left of the screen we have the different modes that the camera offers.
Among the available modes we can highlight the Pro mode , which is Samsung's Manual mode, for my taste somewhat lacking in options. We also have the "Dynamic focus" mode , which translated to other mobiles would be the Portrait mode.
On the other hand, we have a mode called " Scene Optimizer" , which uses the AI system to, in theory, improve the photographs by adapting them to the scene detected by the terminal. And I say in theory because its effect is very slight. It just saturates some colors a bit more.
Finally, it is worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 also has the AR Emoji . From this mode we can create our personalized Emoji to send or publish it on social networks and messaging apps.
The only thing I did not like about the Samsung Camera app is that it does not offer the ability to turn HDR on and off from the main interface . To do this we will have to enter Settings, which is not practical.
The four cameras in action
The Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 offers three types of photography thanks to its four sensors. With the main camera (I understand by such the set formed by the 24 and 5 MP sensors) we get a good image quality . If we shoot in abundant light, the camera is capable of displaying realistic colors and sharp images .
In backlighting or more complex situations we can use HDR, which works very well and can save us from shady areas or burnt skies. The result is also quite good in sunrises and sunsets, its use being highly recommended.
When the light begins to disappear, as is usual, things get complicated. The noise makes an appearance and clarity is lost , which is common in almost all terminals. With artificial light we have some flaws, such as the appearance of the watercolor effect and a marked loss of sharpness.
Portrait mode (Dynamic Focus) can be used with any type of subject, it is not limited to people. Of course, we must meet a minimum distance of 1-1.5 meters , letting us know the application itself. However, what it does not warn us about is when we have met that distance. So, to know if we are at the correct distance, we will have to click on the object to focus on. If we are correctly positioned, a sign will appear advising us that the Dynamic Focus is ready.
We can adjust the degree of blur , both before and after taking the photo. Of course, the more blur the less accurate the crop will be, being able to blur part of the image that should not be.
As for the other two lenses, we must always bear in mind that they are much less luminous than the main one. The wide angle gives us a different point of view of the scene thanks to its 120 degrees . The image quality achieved by this sensor is quite good, very similar to that seen in the main sensor.
And when it comes to 2x zoom , I was a bit disappointed. Sharpness is lost when using it, but the most striking thing is that the colors are quite washed out, with less force.
Samsung has used up all of its sensors on the rear, so the selfie camera only has one. Specifically, a 24 megapixel sensor with f / 1.9 aperture .
This camera offers results that are within the average. In good light, a sharp photograph is achieved , with somewhat muted colors . The HDR system works quite well again in difficult situations, and can greatly improve a photograph.
As for the portrait mode, it achieves a well achieved blur , as long as we do not put it in a very complex situation. If we are in an environment with less light, as you can see in the photo, the faults will appear. In addition, we will have to look directly at the camera, since if we do not do it, it will not blur.
Here you have a gallery of photographs taken with the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 so you can see how it behaves in various situations.
Photo gallery made with the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018
Video with or without stabilization
And to close the analysis of the camera I want to talk about the video section. The Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 allows recording with 4K and Full HD resolution . If we decide to record with 4K resolution we will obtain an image with more definition, realistic colors and a good level of contrast, but we will lose the electronic stabilization.
If we are going to record a video with motion, we may be more interested in opting for 1080p resolution . We will obtain a good image quality and we will have the possibility of using HDR, video effects and the commented electronic stabilization . The truth is that the latter is quite noticeable and it is worth having it activated.
Metal, glass and pretty gradient colors
We have started with the camera because it is one of the great attractions of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018, but not the only one. This year Samsung has taken a step forward in the upper-middle range, providing its terminals with larger screens and better materials.
The A9 has metal frames and 3D glass on the back . A rear that curves to the sides, much in the style of the S-range but with a less pronounced curve. The four cameras are positioned at the top left and in a vertical position. We have the four sensors forming a single set with a black background. Below them the small LED flash. These do not protrude practically nothing, so the terminal is not lame when left on the table.
In this model Samsung replaces the fingerprint reader on the back . It is located in the center and slightly sunken. In addition, it sports a slightly different color from the rest of the back of the mobile. And speaking of colors, the A9 2018 is available in black, blue and pink. The last two offer a nice gradient finish , very striking.
The only buttons on the terminal are located on the frames. On the right (looking at the mobile from the front) we have the volume buttons and the power button. On the other side we have the Bixby button , without much use currently since the Samsung assistant only speaks English. However, it seems that very soon it will be available in Spanish.
The card tray is located at the top and at the bottom we have the 3.5 mm jack for headphones and the USB Type-C connector for charging.
The front is governed by a large 6.3-inch panel that we will talk about later. We do not have a notch, since Samsung has preferred to use small black frames on both the top and the bottom . Both are one centimeter in size, thus providing the symmetry that many users demand.
The full dimensions of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 are 162.5 x 77.0 x 7.8 millimeters, with a weight of 183 grams. It is a nice terminal, comfortable to use and with a quite striking finish . It has nothing to envy at the design level to high-end mobiles.
Large screen with Super AMOLED technology
The Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 features a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED panel . It offers an FHD + resolution of 2,220 x 1,080 pixels , enough for a pleasant viewing experience.
I do not have the maximum brightness data, but I can tell you that I have not had any problem seeing the content even with the sun shining directly. Of course, the automatic brightness control works regularly . There have been several occasions in which in dark environments the screen was too dazzling.
Samsung takes great care of its screens, so it offers a lot of configuration options. From Settings we can change the screen mode to adapt the colors to our personal taste. Also modify the color balance , to achieve a colder or warmer tone. And even activate the "Advanced Options" and change the colors individually .
On the other hand, we have the option to activate the " Blue light filter " to reduce visual fatigue. And, of course, the " Always on display " function is not lacking , which, although it has lost some prominence because it has not advanced too much, is still quite useful.
In general, we could say that the screen of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 is good , without standing out above the others. It offers correct viewing angles and good touch sensitivity. Of course, it is very easy to make accidental touches when we hold the mobile with one hand, since the side edges are very narrow.
Lots of RAM with a somewhat dated processor
The technical data of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 is quite striking. First, because we see that it has an eight-core processor, four running at 2.2 GHz and another four at 1.8 GHz . Although lately the Korean manufacturer prefers not to report the processor model, we have found that the international version of this year's A9 is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660. It is a processor that offers good performance, but it was launched last year.
However, Samsung has equipped the A9 with 6GB of RAM , a fairly high figure. In addition, it has 128 GB of internal storage . A figure that we can expand using a Micro SD card of up to 512 GB.
The overall performance of the terminal is good. Multitasking works with ease and, although we have a little lag when opening heavy applications , this is not at all annoying. Games loading is also relatively fast, so the experience with the terminal is satisfactory.
But for lovers of numbers, in the image at the top you can see the results of the AnTuTu and Geekbench tests. In the first, the A9 2018 has achieved 141,566 points , while in AnTuTu it reaches 5,877 points for the Multi-Core test. It is in the line of terminals like the BQ Aquaris X2 Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 comes with Android 8.0 Oreo as a base . But, as you well know, Samsung's customization layer is quite intrusive. As for pre-installed applications, we have from Samsung's own apps to the Office package, Facebook or most of Google's apps. Nothing crazy.
Additionally, Samsung's customization layer offers some advanced features of the company's own. For example, we have the Smart Stay function , which keeps the screen on while you look at it. We also have the option of one-hand operation , which adjusts the size and layout of the screen to control the mobile with one hand.
On the other hand, we have the " Digital Sensor Manager ", which allows you to open and close the notification panel using the fingerprint sensor. Others like " Swipe palm to capture " are quite curious. And others like " Smart Alert " are quite useful, since it will notify us by means of a vibration when picking up the mobile that we have missed calls or messages.
Before finishing with the software, it is worth highlighting the security section. The Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 has a fingerprint reader that, honestly, has not quite convinced me. Actually, it is not that it works badly sometimes, it is that the unlocking is not as fast as it should and sometimes it seems that it has not paid attention.
On the other hand we have a facial recognition system . The system registers the face fairly quickly, but then it takes 2-3 seconds to perform the face unlock. It may not seem like a long time at first, but when you get used to the instant unlocking of other mobiles it shows. In addition, it fails a lot if we use glasses and we will have to "turn on the screen" for the system to scan the face. That is, we will end up opting for the almost certainly fingerprint reader.
Very good autonomy
A large screen, lots of RAM and four cameras to power, so we need a good battery. The Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 equips a 3,800 milliamp battery , thus surpassing even the Samsung Galaxy S9 +.
This translates into really good autonomy . In the three weeks that I have been with my mobile, I have not had a single day in which I had to charge the battery before going to sleep. Not even on days of heavy camera use for testing. In a day of normal use, with social networks, messages, navigation, some video and some photos, I have arrived home with more than 30% of available battery.
As for charging, the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 uses a USB Type-C connector that supports fast charging . The included charger allows the battery to be charged to 100% in less than two hours from empty. Of course, despite the use of glass, it is not compatible with wireless charging.
Decaf Dolby Atmos Audio
To play music on the A9 2018 we will have two options. On the one hand, a small speaker located at the bottom, next to the USB Type C connector. Yes, only one, the terminal does not have stereo sound . This one achieves a sound "of the pile". It sounds good, it has a lot of power, but it does not stand out in anything against the competition.
On the other hand we have the possibility of connecting headphones to its 3.5 mm jack socket. Because yes, in this model Samsung has decided to keep the headphone jack , which shows that the thickness of the mobile is not a problem.
When connecting them, in the Sound and Vibration settings we will have a special section dedicated to advanced audio functions called “Effects and sound quality”. From here we can activate the Dolby Atmos , change the equalization or activate the " UHQ Optimizer " and the " Pro Tube Amplifier ".
One feature that has caught my attention is " Adapt Sound ". This customizes the sound profile taking into account our age. And I also liked the “ Independent application sound ” function, which allows you to play the sound of a specific application on an external audio device. That is, we can tell you that, for example, the sound that comes from Netflix is played on the sound bar in the living room.
Conclusions and price
We come to the end of the analysis and we have to draw conclusions. Samsung has wanted this year to differentiate itself from the competition based on cameras. Hence, the Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 arrived with three cameras on the rear, upping the ante to four cameras with the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018.
Will we take better photos by having four cameras instead of two? No, but at least we will have more options. The truth is that it is not bad at all to have on the same mobile the possibility of taking normal photographs, photos with 2x zoom and photos with a wide angle . However, it would be better if all sensors had the same image quality.
In design you can not put many "buts" to this terminal. It is a beautiful, comfortable and elegant mobile . You can see immediately that we are facing a premium device. Could they have made the top and bottom edges of the screen tighter? Of course, yes, but the symmetry that is achieved in this way is sure to be liked by many users.
The screen looks great and the terminal, despite using a chip from last year, works quite smoothly . The small "delays" in the opening of applications that we have mentioned are minimal and surely almost negligible by a large part of the users.
We also have a very good autonomy and software that you may like more or less, but there is no doubt that it works perfectly . In addition, we have several options added "made in Samsung" that enhance the user experience.
It could get better? Of course. It could count, for example, with wireless charging. It could also be compatible with Samsung Pay. The cameras could be better and the processor more modern. But then, probably, we would be facing a model from the S range.
Perhaps the biggest handicap of the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 is its official price of 600 euros . Now that we come to the end of the year, we can find high-end models with a very similar or even lower price.