The word “mid-range” is usually used to describe a smartphone that’s “not the best” or “not good enough” in terms of specs and build quality. Lately, however, with the rise of flagship killers from brands like OnePlus or Huawei, “mid-range” has started to be associated with phones that have decent specs for their price. The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is a great example. With internals that are even better than flagships of 2 or 3 years ago, this phone was designed to blow away your mind without emptying your pockets. This is our review.
Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro:
- 1.8GHz Octa Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor
- Adreno 510 graphics
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage expandable via up to 128GB
- 6-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1920 x 1080 pixels)
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
- 16 megapixel rear facing camera with OIS, autofocus and LED flash (f/1.9 aperture)
- 8 megapixel front facing camera (f/1.9 aperture)
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, Fingerprint Scanner
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
- 5,000 mAh battery with QuickCharge technology
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Price: P25,990
- Status: Available at Samsung Experience Store and retailers
Related article – Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro Hands On and First Impressions
The Galaxy A9 Pro is the better sibling of late last year’s Galaxy A9. It keeps most of the A9’s physical qualities, most notably its size and build quality. It’s actually hard to distinguish both phones when placed side-by-side, but that’s mostly because most differences can be found internally. More of that later, though. The phone is big thanks to the 6-inch display that it sports. It’s not too big, however, to be uncomfortable to use thanks to its thin display bezels. The phone fits comfortably in the hand thanks to its slightly curved from and back glass panels. The A9 Pro also feels premium thanks to its metal frame and considerable heft.
The A9 Pro’s design shares a lot with some of Samsung’s phones, especially the S6 line. The gold unit that we have doesn’t have much of the S6’s annoying camera bump so typing on a flat surface isn’t much of a hassle (if that’s what you’re into). Button placements are also similar to the S6, with volume rockers on the left side, power button on the right, a micro-USB port, speaker grilles, a microphone, and best of all, a headphone jack, all at the bottom. It’s a little annoying, though, that the volume rockers are placed ever so high that it’s hard to reach while holding the phone. However, it’s nice that all buttons are tactile and solid when pressed.
Like most smartphones, the Galaxy A9 Pro has a fingerprint scanner built right into the home button. It’s fast and easy to get used to, and since this has become the new norm, you’ll want to use it a lot.
The back is almost plain, except for that camera bump and the single LED flash next to it. It’s almost boring when you think about it, but minimalists will like this clean, uncluttered look.
Another trend for mid-range smartphones? Really decent specs. And I mean decent. The Galaxy A9 Pro is no exception o this. It has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage that’s expandable via a Micro-SD card slot up to 256GB. That’s plenty of memory for a smartphone that’s primarily targeted as an entertainment device. The phone also has a Qualcomm MSM8976 Snapdragon 652 Octa-core processor, same as its non-Pro brother. This means that shifting from one app to another is a breeze, and with that RAM, apps don’t need to reload often.
With a big phone comes split view, a feature Samsung is making a mandatory across its bigger devices. Split Screen on the A9 Pro is also not a problem. Both apps run simultaneously with minimal stutter and lag. This means you can watch a YouTube video on one panel, and then scroll your Instagram feed on the other. This one’s definitely for people like me who like doing two things at once.
The phone doesn’t heat up while being used, and so far we haven’t experienced that feared “explosion” or sudden “smoke” that some users have experienced with the Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 recently. The phone only heats up when charged, obviously, but away from the outlet, it’s safe.
Because the phone has a big, bright a beautiful 6-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, watching videos is always a treat. Streaming videos also work well, and games feel more fun when played on this bigger screen.
One of the Galaxy A9 Pro’s strengths is in the camera department. Again, it proves otherwise that being mid-range is a bad thing by sporting a 16MP camera with an f/1.9 aperture and, get this, OIS! This is better in terms of megapixel count compared to the Galaxy A9’s 13-megapixel shooter. Selfies are also equally bright and high quality thanks to an 8MP sensor also with f/1.9 aperture. Both cameras shoot at 1080p, which isn’t a bad quality at all given that most displays only have up to 1080p resolution.
Photo exposures are most of the time correct, and with a few exposure tweaks on the camera app interface, turn out to be better. It’s quick to shoot, as well. One tap of the shutter button immediately takes a photo so you never miss a moment. Launching the app is equally fast and easy as its flagship counterparts. Double clicking the home button wherever you are on the phone launches the camera. Modes like panorama and HDR are also available here and are also easy to access and use and produce great quality photos.
See sample photos here.
That “Pro” on its name also means a bigger battery. The A9 has a 4,000 mAh battery, which is already impressive, right? But the A9 Pro is able to squeeze in a 5,000 mAh battery in a body that’s similar to the A9. This means you won’t need to charge your phone even after a day’s worth of using it. In our tests, it easily lasts a day with still some juice for after work use. If that’s not enough, the phone also comes with Samsung’s Ultra Power Saving Mode which prolongs the phone’s battery life even more.
The phone also supports quick charging with a dedicated quick charge adapter. With it, charging from 0% to 100% only takes under 2 hours. Without it, it’s always a little longer, even up to 3 hours.
The A9 Pro supports more LTE bands than the A9, so LTE or even HSPA+ connectivity, whichever is available, shouldn’t be a problem. The A9 Pro’s Ultra Data Saving Mode also allows users to manage their use of data wisely without compromising use. The mode is smart enough to compress data usage so you won’t exceed your data limit if you’re not on an unlimited data plan. Cool, right?
The Galaxy A9 Pro retails for P25,990 for the 32GB model. It’s steep if you think about how it’s a midrange smartphone, but its beautiful 6-inch full-HD display, 4GB of RAM, expandable storage, swift user experience, great performance and a big, big battery all make it much worth your hard-earned cash. It’s a great phone if you’re looking for a big one, but it’s also a great entertainment device. No regrets if ever you decide to buy one.
What do you think of this smartphone? Let us know in the comments below!