Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review: A-lister

A-lister

GSMArena team, 19 February, 2016.

Telephony and loudspeaker

The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) is available as a single-SIM phone, but there are versions (like our review unit) which are dual-SIM. The SIM card manager lets you pick a preferred SIM for voice, text and data.

SIM Manager - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Picking data SIM - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Customizing SIMs - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Customizing SIMs - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
SIM Manager Picking data SIM Customizing SIMs

This is a dual-standby phone - both SIMs listen for incoming calls, but once you're in a call, the other SIM becomes unreachable. You can set up call-forwarding though.

The dialer gives you two dial keys (if you put in two SIMs). The call log can even be filtered by SIM1 and SIM2, also by missed or rejected calls.

Dialer - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Call log - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Filtering the log - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Call settings - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Dialer Call log Filtering the log Call settings

The Do Not Disturb mode can be put on an automated schedule. When it's on, only priority notifications can get through hand you decide what counts as "priority" - it can be anything from calls from select contacts to reminders from key apps.

Do not disturb - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Priority notifications - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Priority apps - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Do not disturb Priority notifications Priority apps

The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) broke away from its pack (which scored Below Average) and pulled in an average mark. With the right ringtone the single loudspeaker can perform quite well, but don't expect much when you play music or use it in a call.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 66.2 64.8 66.8 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 65.8 66.0 66.5 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ 65.8 64.8 70.4 Average
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) 65.5 72.2 65.2 Average
Samsung Galaxy Note5 65.3 64.6 73.5 Average
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 66.5 66.6 75.8 Good
Sony Xperia C5 Ultra 69.8 66.6 82.7 Very Good
Huawei Nexus 6P 74.7 77.8 72.1 Very Good
Meizu MX4 Pro 76.9 73.6 82.7 Excellent
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL 74.9 75.7 84.3 Excellent

Text input

The Galaxy A9 (2016) uses an updated version of the Samsung Keyboard. It's quite feature-packed, with a dedicated numbers row, a row above that for word suggestions and additional characters on each key (accessible via long-press).

Keyboard - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Arrow keys - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review landscape mode - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Keyboard Arrow keys landscape mode

If that seems too tall, you can scale the keyboard down (or up, if you want bigger keys). We don't like that the Space key is quite short, though.

Keyboard size: Smallest - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Keyboard size: Default - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Keyboard size: Biggest - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Keyboard size: Smallest Default Biggest

Additional typing tools include swipe input, My Hot Keys (predefined phrases that can be typed by long-pressing a number key) and voice dictation.

Other apps

Samsung continues to bundle the Microsoft app package that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Skype. Note that only Skype was actually installed, the rest are just shortcuts to Galaxy Apps (this way they don't take up space until you actually need and install them).

Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Microsoft app package

Google Drive is pre-installed, however, the actual document editors are not (they are a free download, though).

The Samsung-customized web browser features Web sign in - a feature that works as a password manager secured by your fingerprint. This makes log-ins as simple as unlocking the phone.

With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
With the Samsung browser, your fingerprint is your password

S Health is on board though without the advanced sensors (heart rate, blood oxygen) its functionality is more limited. It can still track walking/running/cycling and you can manually input water and coffee intake and so on.

S health is missing the hardware sensors - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review S health is missing the hardware sensors - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review S health is missing the hardware sensors - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review S health is missing the hardware sensors - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
S health is missing the hardware sensors

Smart Manager is a hub that controls several key areas - battery, RAM, Storage and Device security. This gives you tools to track down apps that drain the battery, use too much RAM and clean-up unnecessary files.

Smart Manager - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Cleaning up the storage - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Cleaning up the RAM - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Smart Manager Cleaning up the storage Cleaning up the RAM

The Device Security tab lets you activate KNOX (protects the phone and OS from attacks but adds a second to boot time) and scan for malware. The My KNOX app lets you separate work and personal apps by creating a secure, isolated space on the phone.

KNOX security manager - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review KNOX security manager - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
KNOX security manager

The My Files app is the default file browser. It features Google Drive integration. You can ZIP folders to make them easier to share as a single file.

My Files - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review My Files - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review My Files - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
My Files

Finally, there's Galaxy Apps, Samsung's own app store. Galaxy Essentials is a good place to find great tools (like Kids Mode), but for general app shopping, you would probably be better off with Google Play.

Samsung Apps - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Samsung Apps - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Samsung Apps - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review Samsung Apps - Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) review
Samsung Apps

Reader comments

  • Woodpops

It seems to use up its battery power very quickly or am I doing something wrong

  • hunaini

Why it doesnt have notification light 😭😭😭

  • Anonymous

Plz know This phon battery life?