Thursday, 11 October 2018 22:50

VIDEOS: Samsung launches Galaxy A9, world's first phone with four cameras on the back


Billed as the phone that is "optimised for the Instagram generation", each of the four cameras on the back of the Samsung Galaxy A9 serves a different purpose, while a fifth camera on the front does 24 megapixel selfies.

The mystery of Samsung's 4x fun launch event is finally over, and there's not a foldable smartphone in sight, but the world's first smartphone with four cameras on the back, the Samsung Galaxy A9.

You can see the A9 TV ad and the separate 30+ minute launch video below, in full.

The A9 phone has four rear cameras, as some online correctly guessed, and while this isn't one of Samsung's S or Note series flagships, but instead an A-series upper-mid range model, it's still a world first, and presumably the harbinger of quad or better camera systems to come on future S and Note-series flagship models.

Indeed, Nokia has already teased a future, as-yet unreleased smartphone with 5 cameras on the back, while I wrote an April Fool's joke this year that a future iPhone would come with six cameras as you can see here

However, while those phones are yet to come, Samsung's A9 is real, and as Samsung puts it, its A9 is "a smartphone built for those who love to explore, capture the moment and share it as they see it", with "the world’s first rear quad camera and is packed with features designed to help you live each day to the fullest."

Of course, that's all very elegant marketing spin, as is the statement that "the Galaxy A9 is tailored for those who know what they want, and go after it".

So too is the claim that "whether it’s capturing a dare-devil selfie or that perfect panorama, the Galaxy A9 is the ultimate companion for capturing and sharing everyday adventures, no matter where life takes you".

No doubt, Samsung would have wanted us to think the Note 9 was the ultimate companion for capturing and sharing life, and the S9 before it, let alone the A7 smartphone with three cameras on the back that Samsung launched last month as you can see here.

DJ Koh, president and chief executive of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics, was naturally on hand with a comment: "As a global leader in smartphone innovation, we understand the demand for meaningful innovation in a fast-paced world driven by visual communication.

“Building on our legacy in smartphone camera development we’re introducing next-generation technology across our entire Galaxy portfolio to give more consumers the opportunity to experience cutting-edge innovation. We’re excited to deliver on this promise and debut world leading smartphone camera technology with the Galaxy A9.”

Here's Samsung's official A9 video ad, the article continues thereafter with the full launch video also embedded below, please read on!

So, what do the four lenses do?

  • First is the 24 megapixel "main lens" to capture "clear and bright images in both bright and low light conditions for gorgeous photos at any time of the day".
  • Second is a 10 megapixel Telephoto Lens with 2x Optical Zoom for "incredible and detailed close-up shots even from far away".
  • Third is the 120-degree, 8 megapixel "Ultra Wide Lens", which also comes with a "Scene Optimiser" with built-in AI Scene Recognition, ensuring a smarter camera that is "able to identify the subject and adjust settings accordingly for the best photo, in an instant".
  • Fourth is the 5 megapixel Depth Lens that "gives you the freedom to manually manage the photos’ depth of field and focus on the subject for stunning, professional looking images" - all your bokeh dreams come true.

There's also a front-facing 24 megapixel camera for detailed selfies, meaning five cameras in total.

Want more? Of course!

There's a 3800mAh battery that promises "outstanding long-lasting performance", while 128GB of storage and up to 512GB via microSD card for even more space to store your photos, videos, music and more.

The specs below just mention an "Octa Core" processor, but Engadget says its a Snapdragon 660 processor, not as fast as the latest 845 flagship processors but still more than good enough for upper mid-range mastery, while 6GB of RAM is also nice to see - and Samsung's fine print at its Galaxy A9 page even mentions that some countries will have the option of an 8GB model.

That same page also shows a picture of the A9 with a microSD card slot, and then dual SIM card slots, letting you have all three at the same time if desired, although whether the country you're in will see that option is presumably yet to be known.

The screen is also 6.3 inches in size, with nary a notch to be seen, and Android 8.0 Oreo is the OS delivered at launch, with no word yet on when Android 9.0 Pie might come along, although you'd presumably expect it to appear within six months or so.

You also get Bixby, Samsung Pay capability, Samsung Health apps, multi-tasking via "App Pair" where you are presumably able to have two compatible apps on the screen at the same time, and more.

Samsung also boasts about its "heritage in first-class design", noting that "the Galaxy A9 is styled in three unique colours: Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink with a sleek and ergonomic design, that fits in one hand with a 3D Glass curved back for a high-quality comfortable feel".

Coming to "selected markets from November", Engadget says it will cost £549 (around US$724) which equates to $1022 in Australia, but given that's today exchange rate, things could fluctuate up or down, and we don't yet know whether that price would include VAT or GST or whatever else it might be.

In any case, when there's more info to share, we'll let you know, but until then, Samsung has lots more information here

Here's the A9 launch event video in full, which I've selected to start at the 27-minute and 38-second mark as that is when the presentation actually starts, after which you'll find the A9 specs, so please watch and read on below!

Samsung Galaxy A9 Product Specifications:

6.3” Full HD+ Super AMOLED, 1080×2220
Screen measured diagonally as a full rectangle without accounting for the rounded corners

Front: 24MP, F2.0
Rear: quad camera

  • Main Camera : 24MP AF, F1.7
  • Telephoto : 2X optical zoom, 10MP AF, F2.4
  • Ultra Wide : 120°, 8MP, F2.4
  • Depth : 5MP, F2.2

162.5 x 77 x 7.8 mm, 183g

Application Processor (CPU) 
Octa Core (2.2GHz Quad + 1.8GHz Quad)

6GB RAM, 128GB + MicroSD Slot (up to 512GB)

3,800mAh (typical)

Android 8.0 (Oreo)

3CA, LTE Cat.9

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MIMO, Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo*, Glonass, BeiDou*)
*Galileo and BeiDou coverage may be limited.

Samsung Pay (NFC)

Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor


At time of publication, Samsung's specs listing at its A9 media release seems to accidentally list the same set of audio codecs as above, but the A7 media release from last month notes the video codecs are as follows, and you'd have to assume the A9 is capable of at least these same video formats:



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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