Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro first impressions: a mid-tier, large-screened powerhouse

“The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is a 6-inch phablet which packs a Snapdragon 652 processor”

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Making users realise the need for smartphones with larger displays when the entire world was trying to shrink phones down was what got Samsung a huge chunk of its business thanks to its Note series. The premium line-up of Samsung Galaxy Note phablets comes with the best cameras, the best processors and the best design…albeit carrying a hefty price tag which might scare away some buyers. The phablet segment does have its share of takers. Taking the numbers into account, Samsung has launched the Galaxy A9 Pro, a phablet whose size might make a hole in your pockets, but its price tag won’t, relatively speaking. We had some time to play with the phone so here are our first impressions.

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Talking about the design of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro, the smartphone screams premium. The device is made from a blend of metal and glass with glass on the back and metal bands on the sides. This design language not only gives it a great finish but also provides users with a much better grip than they would have had if the phone was all metal. Unfortunately, as all glass back panels go, the device is a huge fingerprint magnet and requires a wipe every now and then. While we are on the topic of back panels, the A9 Pro doesn’t have a removable back. The port placement is pretty standard with a fingerprint sensor embedded on the home button upfront. The 3.5mm headphone jack along with a micro-USB 2.0 port can be found at the bottom with a lonesome microSD card tray at the top. To the right, users will find a tray that can hold a pair of nano-SIMs, so you won’t have to compromise on the device’s dual-SIM capabilities if you want to expand your storage.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is a 6-inch smartphone so one-handed usage goes out of the window with this one. In terms of core specs, the phone is packing a Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz with 4GB of RAM working in tandem. The display is a full HD Super AMOLED affair with the phablet running a skin of TouchWiz UI on top of Android Marshmallow. The 32GB of internal memory can be expanded as mentioned earlier, and for shooting, you get 16MP and 8MP sensors provided on the back and the front respectively. Fuelled by a beefy 5,000mAh battery, users can expect this device to get them through a day and then some.

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In the short time we had with the device, the screen seemed bright enough indoors as well as outdoors with the colours exuding good contrast levels. The vibrant colours and deep blacks were a treat for our eyes on the A9 Pro’s Super AMOLED display and the screen had decent viewing angles too. While the SoC on the device is certainly not the most powerful one around, the phone felt snappy enough when switching between apps. The RAM provided by Samsung gives users ample room for multitasking which should translate into a smooth real time performance.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro Screenshots (1) Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro Screenshots (2)

Out of the built in 32GB storage, the end user gets approximately 23.55GB to play with. Talking about the UI of the phone, returning Samsung users will find a familiar skin of TouchWiz which adds a layer of functionality and flair to the mundane vanilla OS. Users need not worry about future upgrades as Samsung should update the device to Android 7.0 Nougat very soon.

The default camera app on the device is similar to the one found on any other Samsung phone. Users wanting to shoot super crispy 4K footage will have to look elsewhere as the device supports video recording up to full HD only. The camera app comes with a bunch of modes such as night, pro, panorama with the option to download more through the app. We clicked a few pictures and found that the rear facing camera performed extremely well with the camera focussing quickly when switching between different subjects. The image quality from the primary camera was also very nice however, the front facing camera captured grainy selfies. We’ll come up with the complete camera performance in our camera review so stay tuned for that.

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The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro carries a price tag of Rs 32,490 and it will face stiff competition from the relatively cheaper Xiaomi Mi Max (review) and the slightly expensive ASUS Zenfone 3 Ultra, both of which have similar specifications like the Galaxy A9 Pro. However, Samsung’s cameras on its premium smartphones have been known to outplay the competition which could be a deciding factor towards the success of the A9 Pro. We’ll be reviewing the smartphone and comparing it to its competition very soon to decide if the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro can take the throne of the most affordable and feature packed phablet.

Related read: Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi Max vs ASUS Zenfone 3 Ultra

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