(Update 29/10/2018: Samsung has announced the pricing of the Galaxy A9. Details at the bottom of the article.)
Samsung has just announced the new Galaxy A9 smartphone that comes with not one, two or three…but four cameras! Well, five if you include the front camera too.
The Galaxy A9 is part of a new strategy of Samsung, where it hoped that new and innovative features on its mid-range smartphones would make it more appealing to a younger audience and in the developing markets, who may feel priced out of flagship models such as the company’s own top-tier S and Note series.
Expectedly, each of the four rear cameras does something different:-
In low-light conditions, the Galaxy A9 uses the main camera and combines four pixels into one for clearer images. Oh, and there's an equally impressive 24-megapixel front-facing camera that will certainly satisfy demanding selfie queens and kings.
According to Samsung, the A9 is a phone "optimized for the Instagram generation," and it does look like the company has put some genuine thought to, as mentioned earlier, make the phone economically attractive to this target demographic. For instance, the Snapdragon 660 processor isn’t the fastest around, but together with the 6GB of RAM, it will still get most basic functions done for a mid-range phone. There’s 128GB of internal storage, and with microSD support for up to 512GB capacity cards, it's plenty enough for your selfies, downloaded Spotify music files and whatnot.
The A9 also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a fingerprint scanner at the back. The screen is a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ panel, with a respectable resolution of 2,220 x 1,080 pixels. There’s also fast charging support for its 3,800mAh battery.
It’s shiny on the outside too – quite literally. Like the shimmery gradients seen on phones like the Huawei P20 or Oppo Find X, the Galaxy A9 comes with a choice of three fanciful-sounding colors – Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue, and Bubblegum Pink. I suspect the Bubblegum Pink will be a popular choice for many ladies.
All of the above, and especially its eye-catching array of cameras, should make the Galaxy A9 attractive to the mid-range crowd. But having more cameras don’t necessarily make for a good experience, and the jury is still out on the A9’s camera performance until we get our hands on a review set – even if early impressions I've experienced from the reveal event was excellent.
No pricing was announced for Singapore and the region, but European countries will be selling it for €599 or £549 in the UK. As a calculated guesstimate, the Galaxy A9 could cost somewhere between S$949-S$999 locally, and that is fairly expensive for a mid-range, albeit a high-tech, phone.
If price is a concern, there’s the alternative and presumably cheaper (we are still waiting for the local suggested retail price from Samsung) Galaxy A7 announced a little while back. It’s just a tad smaller, has two more color options, and comes with a few internal compromises (compared to the Galaxy A9). Notably, there’s no 10-megapixel telephoto camera, but its three cameras are the same as the A9’s otherwise.
Update 29/10/2018: The Galaxy A9 will retail for S$728 on 22 November 2018, at all local telco operators (Singtel, Starhub and M1), major consumer electronics and IT stores, as well as Samsung Experience Store. The phone will be available in Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink.