The market today is crowded with smartphones ranging from sizes 4.7″ to 5.5″, rarely today we see smartphone makers make an effort to produce a good 6″ smartphone that is worth the up-size. That is until you meet the Galaxy A9 Pro, it is Samsung’s biggest smartphone in the mid-range series, at 6 inches big. What’s good about it is that it cost less than 30k which is cheaper than most flagship devices, for its big size the A9 Pro definitely has a lot in its sleeves.
So what’s good about this smartphone?
Here are the specifications of the Galaxy A9 Pro 2016
- Processor – 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa-Core
- RAM – 4GB
- Display – 6-inch FULL HD Super AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 4 Protection , 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Storage – 32GB + dedicated expandable storage
- Rear Camera – 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture, OIS, LED flash
- Front Camera – 8-megapixel front camera, f/1.9 aperture
- Sim – Dual SIM slot tray for Nano Sim
- Telecom Connectivity – 2G, 3G & LTE
- Connectivity – WiFi N, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS, Fast Fingerprint scanner
- Battery – 5000mAh battery
- OS – Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz UI Overlay
Big & Beautiful
The last series of smartphones Samsung made this big was the Galaxy Mega series sizing at a whopping 5.8 and 6.3 inches, though the body was still inheriting the plastic body from the Galaxy S4 which was unappealing. Fortunately, in the A series of Samsung they introduced an all-metal and glass body worth flaunting out.
The back of the Galaxy A9 gives you a quick flashback of the Galaxy Note 5 without the heart rate sensor in the camera. It sports a 2.5D curved glass on the side with the edges still diagonal and straight finish, instead of a concave shape found in the Galaxy Note 5, S7 Edge or even the Note7.
The metal frame is also treated to a rough sand-blasted finish, giving it a more rugged yet pleasing grip. Despite its big screen size of 6 inches, the bezels are very narrow giving it a good screen to body ratio. Despite its big screen, the footprint is just a tad bigger as compared to the Galaxy Note 5.
The color we got is the Gold, it doesn’t have the mirror body as compared to the Galaxy series but we still loved the cleaner looking body. The antennas of the A9 Pro are also almost hidden, with vertical plastic strips on the top and bottom makes it a very simple face.
At the bottom is the big speaker, headphone jack and standard Micro-USB port with USB 2.0 transfer speeds. On the top is the micro-SD slot and on the side are the TWO Nano-Sim card tray, making this phone one of the few phones with a complete interface slot of Dual-Sim + Expandable Memory (Other phone we encountered is the Oppo F1 Plus).
The speaker is also good, its very loud with the right amount of warmth. In high volumes, the sound doesn’t get distorted to make it annoying. What we love is that even in noisy environments, you can hear the sound of the music or video that you are playing.
Power buttons are also proportional to the size of the phone making it easy to use, despite having a bigger footprint it is still manageable to hold the phone and operate on the keys with one hand.
Watching on the 6″ FHD AMOLED display gives you the pixel density of 367, this didn’t mind us as the brightness and color production of the phone is still above among smartphones we have tried. Color production and viewing angles are great, making it ideal to share videos with everyone.Sunlight visibility is excellent making it perfect for watching videos on the go or even on a long trip.
We loved the fact that the A9 Pro already has a 4GB RAM for its price range, for other manufacturers you’ll only see 3GB ram at this price range to lower cost. Paired with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, the processor performance is snappy for games, multi-tasking and can really handle today’s demanding apps.
The fingerprint scanner is fast, similar to the performance of the Galaxy S6 or S7. We love that it’s still reachable despite the chunky size, overall we have to give credit to Samsung tin literally not letting the A series down.
Touchwiz UI with less flaunting
The TouchWiz UI on the A9 Pro is similar to the Galaxy Note 5 with less of the fancy features like multiple screen, one hand operation or even screen edge (since its not an edge phone). We actually love this setup as it has less toll on the performance of the phone and just keeping everything you need accessible.
Below flagship camera performance
The Galaxy A9 Pro 2016 has a 16MP camera with f1.9 aperture, this gives it good a camera performance as it is. Our initial impression is good, but we see struggling in performance when in mid to low light situations resulting to obvious noise.
Even with decent lighting, we see pictures with prominent noise. It’s like the software of the A9 Pro sharpens images too much and sacrificing quality for clarity. Perhaps this is one of the advantage the Galaxy S7’s dual pixel camera technology do.
Monster battery performance
The big 5,000mAh battery of the A9 Pro combined with the power efficient Snapdragon 652 processor is a delight. We were able to last a full day without charging with our data-heavy lifestyle, we usually get around 20% around 9pm. The FHD screen gives it a balance battery consumption as well, so our screen on time was reaching for more than 6 hours.
The A9 Pro also has Qualcomm fast charging making it easier to charge the 5,000mAh battery to around an hour to two. Heat production of the Galaxy A9 Pro might get high at crunch time, but this isn’t alarming enough to turn off your phone just to cool it down.
Verdict : The best phablet around today
There are only a few 6″ phones in the Philippine market today and in our experience, Samsung nailed it with the A9 Pro 2016. It may have a few hiccups with the camera, but its still decent enough in performance.
For SRP 25,990, the compact footprint, complete ports and no nonsense features makes it a serious image to consider. Think of the A9 Pro 2016 as a Galaxy Note 5 with less of the flagship features like the S-Pen, waterproofing and extra UI features. If you are in the search for a long lasting phone with a big screen, then this phone is definitely for you.