At its first ever Global Unpacked event hosted in Malaysia, Samsung announced its premium mid-range Galaxy A9 to the world. It’s the world’s first quad camera smartphone and it promises “4X the fun.” It sounds completely absurd that a smartphone needs more than two or three, but Samsung thinks it’s a great idea.
You would expect new innovation to debut with flagship devices. Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh however, thinks otherwise. He said in his opening keynote that the company’s new strategy is not to wait for flagships to roll out the latest tech anymore. The best tech can also roll out in whatever product that’s introduced in the pipeline.
Samsung has done some pretty cool things with cameras on its smartphones. The Galaxy S9+ with variable aperture is a fine example. Two generations back, the Galaxy S7’s 12MP f/1.7 camera with Dual Pixel autofocus was ground-breaking as well.
Well, eat your heart out Huawei P20 Pro, because the Galaxy A9 has a one camera advantage. The unique camera system comprises a 24MP f/1.7 main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide 120-degree FOV camera, a 10MP telephoto camera (2X optical zoom) and a 5MP depth camera.
It’s a camera that’s designed to capture every single type of moment. The main 24MP camera by the way can do pixel-binning – combining four pixels into one large pixel. This enables the sensor to capture more light so you get better exposed photos even in low light.
The camera system uses AI to optimise each shot based on different scenes or environments via the new Scene Recognizer. And as seen on the Galaxy Note9, it has Flaw Detection where it can warn you if you accidentally blinked while taking a shot, or the shot appears blur.
The camera UI adds a couple of new touch controls to allow you toggle between the different lenses. Having played around with a demo unit during the launch, I found the cameras work pretty well. On first impressions, the cameras are snappy although the camera UI can be a little finicky. You’ll also notice difference in white balance and resolution when you switch between lenses.
The front shooter by the way, is a 24MP f/2.0 unit.
Cameras aside, the Galaxy A9 sports a large 6.3-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display (2280×1080) housed in a good-looking and well-built glass body and metal frame. The Galaxy A9 goes duo-tone with Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink colour options.
Under the hood, the device is powered by an unspecified octa-core processor which I suspect is either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 or a mid-range Exynos) and this is mated to either 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s storage expansion (up to 512GB) via a dedicated microSD slot.
The phone features a fingerprint scanner on the back and runs Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box.
The Galaxy A9 is slated for a November release. No pricing information is available at the moment but I reckon Samsung will price its latest mid-range devices aggressively – maybe even below MYR2,000.