Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review

Introduction


Samsung's 2016 A-series is truly something. Retaining the slightly less-rounded rectangular shape of the 2015 A-series (compared to the flagship S-series), the new handsets have adopted a more gracious, sophisticated glass design. What's more, Samsung has added some additional size variations to choose from, the biggest of which being the Galaxy A9 – a 6" behemoth that impresses with both size and posture.

At a price ranging from $450 to $500, the Galaxy A9 is easier to acquire than Samsung's top-shelf Galaxy S7 edge, yet most consumers will probably have a difficult time finding the spots where the corner-cutting has been done. If you happen to love large... no, HUGE screens, this may be the phablet you've always wanted.

Design


Some say, with a somewhat negative connotation, that metal has become the new plastic when it comes to phone design. If you happen to second this view, then I'd assume you are going to like the Galaxy A9, with its elegant glass exterior. Yes, it'll be easier to crack; yes, it'll attract more fingerprints, but it sure as hell looks and feels fancy!

The design of the Samsung Galaxy A9 is among its main selling points: you can get it in three different colors: white, gold and 'pink gold', with the latter two having a black front. All three options are quite attractive. The metal side frame is colored appropriately for the three variations, and I'm pleased to say the company has excercised enough care so as to smooth out all the edges, making for a phone that feels genuinely good in the hand.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review

'Solid' and 'substantial' are two words I would definitely use to describe the Galaxy A9. The phone doesn't feel flimsy or plasticky like the Xiaomi Mi5, for example, but nice and solid – it makes you feel confident that it's not going to fall apart easily. And then, having in mind the imposing dimensions and scale-tipping weight of 7.05 oz (200 g), the A9 sure is substantial enough – so much so that it easily outweighs other big and heavy handsets like the iPhone 6s Plus (6.77 oz | 192 g) and the Galaxy Note 5 (6.03 oz | 171 g). However, considering there's a massive, 6" display mounted on the Galaxy A9, such figures are definitely to be expected.

Also worthy of note: as it's become the norm for recent higher-end Samsung handsets, the buttons (home, volume, power) are all clicky and easy to press, with a nicely defined tacticle feedback.

The Galaxy A9, being a higher-tier handset, comes with a fingerprint scanner built into its home button, just like the S7 or Note 5. The scanner also works in a similar fashion: it's mostly quick and responsive, though its accuracy tends to go south the more careless the user becomes with their finger positioning.

One feature the Galaxy A9 does lack, compared to Samsung's 2016 flagships, the S7 and S7 edge, is water-resistance. This is one area where we can say a corner has been cut in order to keep the price of the phone more accessible.


Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

Dimensions

6.37 x 3.19 x 0.29 inches

161.7 x 80.9 x 7.4 mm

Weight

7.05 oz (200 g)

Samsung Galaxy A8

Samsung Galaxy A8

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.02 x 0.23 inches

158 x 76.8 x 5.9 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Dimensions

5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches

151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

Dimensions

6.37 x 3.19 x 0.29 inches

161.7 x 80.9 x 7.4 mm

Weight

7.05 oz (200 g)

Samsung Galaxy A8

Samsung Galaxy A8

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.02 x 0.23 inches

158 x 76.8 x 5.9 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Dimensions

5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches

151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Dimensions

6.03 x 3 x 0.3 inches

153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display


Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Review

The 6" panel is another centerpiece of the A9. If you're interested in this phone, you're obviously interested in gigantic displays. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy A9 with a decent, though not particularly fancy AMOLED panel. The 1080 x 1920 px resolution delivers a pixel density of 367 ppi, which is more than sufficient.

There are the usual ultra-saturated screen modes like 'Adaptive' and 'AMOLED', but if it's reasonably balanced colors you're after, activating 'Basic' mode will engage a color profile that is more true-to-life. There is a slight tendency towards blue/green with this screen, and while this is mostly tolerable, colors happen to appear a bit subdued overall, especially at lower brightness levels. This is definitely not the liveliest display panel out there.

Still, it's not really that bad, especially when we consider its lovely brightness levels: going up, it can reach 560 nits, which is enough to allow for comfortable outdoor viewing, while when we turn the lights off and hit the sheets, its minimum brightness of 1 nit will make sure that our eyes aren't irritated in any way while viewing it.



FEATURED VIDEO

42 Comments

1. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

I don't understand why an opinion such as "very, very big" should be listed as a con... ...on the other hand "massive screen" is listed in the pros.

4. redmd

Posts: 1871; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

True. Sometimes I don't know what PA has been taking lately.

13. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Typical PA

17. Landon

Posts: 1219; Member since: May 07, 2015

This phone is roughly 1/8" taller and wider than the iPhone 6S Plus. None of that terminology was used when describing the 6S Plus in its review. You're better than this, PA.

32. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

You can check my comment below. And please stop wishing PA is better than this. I stop doing this from 2012 :))

35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

No they aren't better than this. Anyway, screw them. We have a glimpse of the Note 6. You know these guys are bigots and hypocrites. As much as the iPhone 4/4s were fingerprint magnets, it was never said. As big and oversized the 6/6s Plus' are, this wasn't considered a con as you stated. iPhoneArena, is never gonna change. That's why John V left.

21. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

A scores I can tolerate with. No complaints here.

31. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

This show the subjective opinion from PA. Just see how they tell the Iphone have a sleek design with small bezels =DD Screen size is personal preference. I never understand why this could be a pros or a cons. It's just the fact. However, the phone with same 5.5 inches screen as the others but employs the biggest chassis is 100% the cons (and they don't mention it). Yes, I mean the fruit bigger phone =DDD.

2. aikoo

Posts: 129; Member since: Feb 27, 2016

- Very, very big But are those bezels?.. (The phones not for you.) - Screen colors could be more natural Bud, it's called AMOLED. - TouchWiz needs to be more fluid In what way?... Swipping your finger on the home screen doesn't do anything IF that was what you were doing. The thing has 3GB of RAM - Comes with Android 5.1, and not 6 But is the security patch up to date and is the OS stable?

16. UglyFrank

Posts: 2188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

They review the accuracy in a mode that isn't designed for accuracy...... Which speaks levels about their bias

19. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Dude Android Marshmallow came out last October. No phone should be shipping with Lollipop at this point, regardless of security patches. If this was anyone but Samsung, everyone here would be on thier ass for taking so long to get 6.0 software on their devices.

23. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

I accept all your comment back except last one. Come on! No phone shall shipped with Android 5.1 now. it is time move over to Android 6. Android 6 is extremely stable. No issue there.

30. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

AMOLED has no relation with accuracy. S6, note 5 and s7 have more accurate screens than almost all the displays.

3. donrox

Posts: 196; Member since: Jul 18, 2014

Pro: Massive Screen Con: Very, very big Make up your mind. is the size a pro or a con for you? IMO it shouldn't be mentioned as either. the size of the device is what the manufacturer intended it to be based on the targeted audience. it isn't a criterion upon which a device rating should be given!

5. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3925; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

My thoughts exactly mate.

7. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

They try to be ultra liberal but at the end they piss off a lot of people :)

6. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

How can a9 get 10h 10m with 4000mh , and the a7 9h 57m with 3300 mah I cant understand you're battery tests anymore!

36. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

They don't either.

8. Shocky unregistered

Nobody understands them.

9. DechyX

Posts: 155; Member since: May 16, 2011

I have this phone and I think it's pretty awesome. A love larger screen phones because I have bigger hands so it's a good fit. I took this device on a trip to Ireland and it performed quite well. I used it all day taking photos, posting them to social media, searching for restaurants and attractions on Google and the battery took it all like a champ. Ending each night around 2/3am with 35-40% battery. Phone should get an 8/9. Biggest gripe is the OK camera, but it can be amazing with HDR, steady hand, and patience

10. legiloca

Posts: 1673; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

This review is the most confusing one I've ever seen in this site's history. I don't see any deep cons at all for this to be given a 7.5

12. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

The biggest con is, its not an iPhone.

18. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

1. give low score on good phone 2. lots of people come to complaint in comment section 3. fanboy wars mean more traffic to this page 4. .... 5. profit

20. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Smartest comment here by far. +1

24. Coconut00

Posts: 485; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Ray S. reviewed it. 7.5 = 9 with any other reviewer.

11. Shocky unregistered

Nice battery life, large average phone overall with a poor camera. Not sure the score is deserved, 6.5 would have been my score for this.

14. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

6.5? Camera is the only con. What other problems do you see?

28. Shocky unregistered

It's an overpriced mid ranger, why should it score higher?

15. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

I wouldn't say the camera is poor, even GSMArena says it's close to Note 5 in daylight scenes. Also, it has good performance from the Snapdragon 652. I don't really trust real-life situations performed by reviewers; smoothness is subjective. I would give it 8.

29. Shocky unregistered

8 or above should be for high end devices or exceptional mid rangers, this is neither.
Galaxy A9 (2016)
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, Octa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh

Latest Stories