Galaxy A9 and A7 hands-on and first impressions

Samsung today took the wraps off its Galaxy A9, and shone a spotlight on its previously announced Galaxy A7, the new face of the South Korean giant's midrange ambitions.

Both phones are aimed at allowing Samsung to distinguish its lineup from the barrage of cheap Chinese alternatives flooding the market at the lower end.

The phones may be designed to combat Samsung's cheaper competition, but these phones feel anything but cheap. Both feature a glass sandwich design that feels both good and premium in hand. As always, they are also massive fingerprint magnets and one of the most amusing things at the event was the horde of Samsung employees whose sole job was to wipe the phones before every photo.

Barring that pet peeve, the phone also looks quite good, and with both phones' designs, Samsung is making one statement: pink is pretty.

Both phones come in three colours, and as expected, a black variant will be available for both. Alongside that rather obvious inclusion, both phones will also come in pink, the colour that stood out most. The final colour choice for the Galaxy A9 is what Samsung is calling Lemonade Blue, while the design of the A7 is rounded by a bright gold variant. The paint job on the A9 phones also has a slight gradient to them, while the A7 features a more monotone design.

The standout feature that Samsung wants everyone to talk about is the multiple camera setup on each phone. The Galaxy A9 will come with four cameras strapped to its back, while its cheaper sibling comes with three.

The Galaxy A9, in particular, comes with a depth sensor, a telephoto camera with 2x zoom, and a 120° wide angle lens to supplement its main 24MP shooter.

The camera app on the two phones is well optimised and come with a plethora of options for you to choose from, offering a simple row of icons that quickly lets you switch between the various lenses. Samsung also uses some AI magic to help its camera default to the ultra-wide lens when it sees that you're trying to take a landscape picture, for example. It also detects if anyone in the picture blinked, and alerts you. That's certainly a nifty use of AI that's actually useful and not overly superfluous.

In my brief time with the phones, they also felt snappy and responsive and, despite the midrange chips powering them, seemed to perform well. I'll hold my judgement until a full review is possible, but my first impressions were certainly positive.

As far as the other specs go, Samsung is not cutting any corners, with both phones starting off with 128GB of storage. The A9 comes with either 6 or 8GB of RAM, while the A7 comes with 4 or 6GB of memory.

There are also a few other things separating the two phones, such as the A7 retaining a micro-USB port in USB-C era, something its larger sibling doesn't. As a result, the A9 also supports fast charging, while the A7 doesn't. Since we're talking about ports, Samsung has kept the headphone jack around for now, but as recent reports suggest, that may not be true for much longer. Both phones also feature Dolby Atmos via headphones.

The Galaxy A7 is already available for purchase for a starting price of MYR1299 in Malaysia, equivalent to $312. The A9 will be available in November, but the Korean giant hasn't revealed pricing details yet. Though, rumours suggest it will be priced at €599 (approximately US$700).

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