Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) review

GSMArena team, 03 January 2019.

Solid showing across the board from the 6.3-inch SuperAMOLED

The Galaxy A9 (2018) is equipped with a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display. The resolution is FullHD+ in a stretched up 18.5:9 aspect ratio, so 2220x1080px, which works out to a 392ppi pixel density. The panels has rounded corners but none of that notch nonsense.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) review

The A9's brightness results turned out virtually identical to the A7's - 400nits in manual mode, 600nits in auto with the ambient light sensor exposed to bright light. There was no measurable illumination of the blacks, effectively rendering contrast infinite. We measured a minimum brightness of 1.8nits, so that's good too.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) 0 399
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) (Max Auto) 0 606
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) 0 402
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) (Max Auto) 0 602
Nokia 7.1 0.377 490 1300
Nokia 7.1 (Max Auto) 0.465 600 1290
OnePlus 6T 0 453
OnePlus 6T (Max Auto) 0 455
Honor 8X 0.346 427 1234
Honor Magic 2 0 433
Oppo RX17 Pro 0 455
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 0 390
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) (Max Auto) 0 590
Motorola Moto Z3 0 464
Motorola Moto Z3 (Max Auto) 0 652
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 0.314 461 1468
Honor Play 0.414 470 1135
vivo V11 0 418
Oppo F9 0.29 526 1814

Sunlight legibility on the A9 (2018) is excellent, on par with the Galaxy Note9. The A7 (2018) is marginally better in the test but the difference is easily negligible in real life. The vast magority of potential competitors aren't a match for the A9, particularly the LCD-based ones.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone XS
    5.171
  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
    4.965
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
    4.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9
    4.531
  • Apple iPhone XS Max
    4.516
  • Sony Xperia XZ3
    4.502
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • Oppo RX17 Pro
    4.434
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • Google Pixel 3
    4.35
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    4.324
  • OnePlus 6
    4.321
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • LG V40 ThinQ
    4.256
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    4.251
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • Google Pixel 2 XL (pre-update)
    4.234
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)
    4.220
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • OnePlus 6T
    4.138
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • vivo V11
    4.113
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei P20 Pro
    4.087
  • Xiaomi Mi 8
    4.086
  • Meizu 15
    4.082
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    4.052
  • Google Pixel 2 (pre-update)
    4.023
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • vivo NEX S
    4.012
  • Honor Magic 2
    4.01
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • LG G7 ThinQ (outdoor)
    3.978
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Oppo Find X
    3.954
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    3.901
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    3.865
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    3.842
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Microsoft Lumia 950XL
    3.837
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018)
    3.834
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco
    3.745
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Huawei P20
    3.683
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
    3.675
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
    3.58
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Nokia 7 plus
    3.479
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3.448
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
    3.445
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Plus
    3.445
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    3.419
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    3.397
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera
    3.393
  • LG G7 ThinQ
    3.39
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor Play
    3.349
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo F7
    3.333
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Archos Diamond Omega
    3.305
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    3.24
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Oppo Realme 2 Pro
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • BlackBerry KEY2
    3.212
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Oppo R11s
    3.153
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Honor 8X
    3.113
  • HTC U11 Life
    3.108
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite
    3.087
  • HTC U12+
    3.085
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    3.077
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Oppo F9
    3.069
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 3
    3.061
  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    3.059
  • Huawei Mate 20
    3.052
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
    3.051
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    3.026
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL
    3.019
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Motorola Moto X4
    3.012
  • Oppo Realme 2
    3.006
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • LG Q6
    2.987
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    2.966
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    2.952
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    2.951
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    2.938
  • Oppo Realme 1
    2.932
  • Razer Phone 2
    2.932
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • Huawei Honor View 10
    2.896
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
    2.867
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    2.862
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Nokia 3.1
    2.837
  • Realme U1
    2.815
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Nokia 7.1
    2.804
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Honor 10 (Vivid)
    2.757
  • Nokia 2
    2.752
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus
    2.737
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Huawei Honor 7X
    2.734
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    2.696
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • vivo V7+
    2.671
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.654
  • Oppo F5
    2.653
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Huawei P Smart
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • HTC U11+
    2.556
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2.556
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503

As we've come to expect from recent Samsung Super AMOLEDs, the display on the Galaxy A9 (2018) is capable of accurately reproducing different color spaces depending on content and selected display mode. The Basic mode stays true to sRGB (average DeltaE of 1.7), AMOLED Photo is for Adobe RGB applications (average DeltaE of 2.0), while AMOLED Cinema adheres to the DCI-P3 color space (average DeltaE of 1.9). Of course, the default Adaptive mode makes no claims for accuracy and posts an average DeltaE of 5.7 against an sRGB target with a maximum of 13 for 100% red.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) battery life

The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) packs a 3,800mAh battery, a minor bump over the A7 (2018)'s 3,500mAh to go with the minor bump in display size and more powerful/power-hungry chipset.

In our tests, the Galaxy A9 (2018) performed predictably, posting a significantly longer time in the video looping test than in web browsing - we've observed this on AMOLEDs more often than not. The 15+ hours in the video test is a great result, class leading too. The (just short of) 11 hours on our web browsing script is still pretty good, but here it's bested by the vivo V11 and the Realme 2 Pro, for example. The 22 hours on a 3G voice call aren't record-breaking either, but a reasonable score nonetheless.

Factoring in the standby battery draw into the equation, we arrive at an overall Endurance rating of 88 hours - not half bad.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

We didn't have the full retail bundle, but we know for a fact that the A9 (2018) ships with the usual Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge adapter that's rated at 5V/2A and 9V/1.67A. Since it's been around for ages and it's also the one supplied with the current high-end models, we have a bunch of them lying around so we did clock the A9's top up speed. We can say that a full charge from flat takes a very reasonable 1:47h, though a 30-minute stint will only leave you with 35%.

Loudspeaker

The Galaxy A9 (2018) has a single loudspeaker located on the bottom of the handset. It just barely made it to the 'Very Good' bracket in our three-pronged test when it comes to loudness - about the same as the A7 (2018), while a lot of the competitors are louder. It's also lacking in the lower register - there's practically no bass coming out of the A9.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Huawei Honor View 10 68.6 69.9 77.8 Good
Honor Play 68.3 73.8 75.8 Good
BlackBerry KEY2 66.5 72.0 79.8 Good
Nokia 7 plus 67.5 71.3 79.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) 69.5 72.4 77.8 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) 69.4 70.9 79.9 Very Good
Honor 8X 67.1 72.9 81.6 Very Good
Oppo RX17 Pro 68.3 72.7 81.8 Very Good
OnePlus 6T 67.2 72.5 84.5 Very Good
vivo V11 70.7 73.8 80.7 Very Good
Oppo F9 71.7 74.4 81.6 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi 8 SE 70.5 74.1 85.2 Excellent
Honor Magic 2 72.5 73.6 85.2 Excellent
Nokia 7.1 75.6 76.0 81.1 Excellent
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 72.8 74.7 86.6 Excellent
Motorola Moto Z3 80.1 73.2 85.0 Excellent

Audio quality

The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) delivered nicely loud audio output with an active external amplifier and with great accuracy too, so nothing to frown at really.

Headphones caused a moderate amount of stereo crosstalk and some intermodulation distortion, but those last two aren't high enough to make a difference in real life. Volume remained high adding up to a solid overall performance.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)+0.04, -0.04-90.690.60.00150.191-93.8
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) (headphones)+0.25, -0.207-91.991.90.0250.435-51.2
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)+0.02, -0.02-93.192.90.00260.0089-92.5
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) (headphones)+0.25, -0.17-91.491.60.1150.306-55.4
Nokia 7.1+0.02, -0.06-91.088.60.00210.016-94.4
Nokia 7.1 (headphones)+0.05, -0.03-93.889.60.00190.034-54.9
Huawei Mate 20 lite+0.01, -0.02-94.794.70.00130.0086-73.1
Huawei Mate 20 lite (headphones)+0.12, -0.09-93.893.80.00350.115-71.7
Honor Play+0.01, -0.03-93.093.10.00370.0093-92.9
Honor Play (headphones)+0.12, -0.06-92.392.50.00270.088-65.7
Pocophone F1+0.01, -0.02-93.693.60.00100.0069-93.8
Pocophone F1 (headphones)+0.65, -0.08-91.292.50.00820.359-50.3

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) frequency response
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

Disappointed LCD appearing green vertical lines

  • Pedro Roque

Worst phone I have ever had, lots of problems, camera does not focus, clunky and sometimes slow in its workflow speed. Definetely a mistake.

How bout the camera? Is it gotten better or still as bad as when it was launched? Since this is seems to be the "only" budget mid range (at least now) that has 3 useful rear cameras (yeah, I don't really count the 4th depth camera as that useful)....