The Samsung Galaxy A9 makes its official appearance in Malaysia.Aloysius Low/CNET
More is better -- at least, that"s what Samsung believes. The Galaxy A9 is the Korean giant"s latest midrange phone, unveiled on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur. It has four rear cameras, as well as one at the front, making a total of five.
Sounds crazy? Maybe not. Huawei upped the imaging ante with its triple-camera P20 Pro ($690 at Amazon), after all. So while Samsung"s own Note 9 only came with two rear cameras, the new A9 could be a hint of what to expect for the upcoming Galaxy S10.
Unlike the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagship phones, the midrange A line is Samsung"s B-list. But it can be a good way to get Samsung"s features at an affordable price. Last year"s Samsung A7 (yes, the names stay the same every year) blew me away with its 22-hour battery life.
Each of the four rear cameras performs a different function. The main 24-megapixel f1.7 camera is the primary shooter, assisted by an 8-megapixel, ultrawide 120-degree camera for group or landscape shots. If you need to zoom in, the 10-megapixel telephoto will offer 2x optical zoom, while the 5-megapixel camera serves as a depth sensor that will let you adjust your background blur in real time. For low-light shots, Samsung uses the 24-megapixel camera, and combines four pixels into one for clearer 6-megapixel images.
But it"s not just the cameras that reminded me of Huawei"s phones -- the colorful A9 comes with a choice of three shimmery gradients like the ones we"ve seen on the Huawei P20 ($475 at Amazon) and P20 Pro. They sound fanciful too -- Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink.
The Galaxy A9 shimmers in Lemonade Blue.Aloysius Low/CNET
The A9 has a 6.38-inch Super AMOLED display powered by an octa-core processor. It will have a fingerprint sensor at the back. But there"s no in-screen fingerprint sensor like the one you"d find in the new Oppo R17 and Vivo V11 and soon the Oneplus 6T.
There"s also fast charging, courtesy of the A9"s 3,800-mAh battery. And if the default 128GB of storage isn"t enough, you can also pop in a microSD card for another 512GB of space.
The Samsung Galaxy A9 will go on sale globally in November. Prices have not yet been revealed.Samsung Galaxy A9 specs
- Processor: 2.2GHz, octa-core
- Display: 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display, 2,200x1,080-pixel resolution
- Memory: 6GB or 8GB RAM, 128GB onboard storage with microSD card slot
- Operating system: Android 8.0 Oreo
- Fingerprint sensor: Rear
Meet the triple-camera Samsung Galaxy A7.Samsung
Samsung also showed off its new Galaxy A7 at the event, having unveiled the device in India last month. Unlike the quad-camera A9, the A7 has three rear cameras: There"s the same 24-megapixel main, a wide-angle 120-degree, 8-megapixel camera and the 5-megapixel depth sensor. This means there"s no optical zoom, but you can use digital zoom if you really need it, terrible as that may be.
The A7 comes with a smaller 6-inch Super AMOLED display. It"s powered by Samsung"s Exynos 7880 octa-core processor, and is water and dust-resistant up to IP68, which means it can stay up to 1.5 meters underwater for 30 minutes. It will have Dolby Atmos sound and Bixby Assistant.
Unlike the A9 though, the A7"s fingerprint sensor is located at its side on the power button. This keeps the rear of the phone looking clean.
The A7 will go on sale now in most countries. Pricing is not yet available.Samsung Galaxy A7 specs
- Processor: Samsung Exynos 7880 octa-core
- DIsplay: 6-inch Super AMOLED
- Camera: 24-megapixel front and rear, 8-megapixel wide-angle rear, 5-megapixel rear depth sensor
- Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage