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Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Review




It’s not only OnePlus 3/3T who gets the fame of having 6GB of RAM on an Android smartphone as Samsung also has one. They have a 6-inch handset packing it decent internals inside its familiar chassis. Here’s our review of the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro.

What’s in the Box

The Galaxy C9 Pro is no different in terms of retail packaging from other Samsung smartphones. It comes in a white box with subtle printing for the brand and model. Don’t mind the Chinese characters on the back since this one imported straight from China.

Inside, the first thing you’ll is the smartphone. Beneath it is the usual packaging contents included for every purchase, all in white color. There’s a quality in-ear headset, a USB Type-C cable for charging and file transfer, and a charging brick equipped with Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging rated at 5.0-9.0 V= 2.0 A.

Design and Construction

The Galaxy C9 Pro, like its Galaxy A9 Pro cousin, is a huge smartphone or a “phablet” as we like to call it. As with other Galaxy C handsets, the phone sports an aluminum unibody design. We see it as a direct competitor to the iPhone for consumers in Mainland China.

It’s got a 6-inch nice looking Super AMOLED display. Its face is a typical Samsung with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner with a couple of capacitive keys for navigation. There’s the selfie shooter above the display and an earpiece which also acts a second channel for its stereo speaker setup.

On the left-hand side is a pair of buttons for volume up and down. The thin antenna bands originating from the rear also extends to the sides.

While on the right are the power/lock button and two card trays. There’s one for the dedicated microSD card and another for two Nano-SIM cards. This will please those who doesn’t want to sacrifice the second SIM card slot for a microSD.

Up top, we just have the pinhole for the noise-cancelling microphone. A “Qualcomm 4G” sticker is found here as well if you have a fresh unit that assures you that the phone is powered by Qualcomm rather than other chipset makers.

It’s quite busy down at the bottom with the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, main microphone, and the loudspeaker sitting next to each other.

On its back, we’ll notice the clean state of its aluminum chassis. The primary camera sits in the top center with its dual-tone LED flash on the side.

What’s interesting about the handset is the scheme of its antenna bands. Others put a thick strip of plastic to act as an antenna for the internal radios which becomes unsightly. Here, though, Samsung puts a trio of thin plastic strips and it looks neat compared to the likes of the old iPhone 6.

Display and Multimedia

The handset’s 6-inch Super AMOLED panel has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It delivers what you’d expect from an AMOLED display by Samsung — bright, vibrant, and pleasing to the eyes. Even at 6 inches, it still has a high pixel density of 367ppi. Good to know that the Always On Display feature is present as well.

As for the speakers, the Galaxy C9 Pro is advertised to have stereo speakers. The setup is similar to the iPhone 7 wherein the earpiece acts as a second channel to aid the main loudspeaker at the bottom of the phone.

Unfortunately, the experience is not that immersive as you’d expect. The quality of the sound firing from the earpiece is very tinny and the bottom speaker dominates it.

OS, Apps, and UI

The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. As to when will this get an update to Nougat 7.0? We don’t know and somehow, we’re not expecting it. But, there’s no need to be sorry about it because Samsung’s skin on top of Android is as feature-packed as always.

You already get the split screen feature found in Nougat with support for a few key apps. This allows you to work on two apps simultaneously and does take advantage of the generous RAM the phone has.

There’s not much bloatware here aside from pre-installed Microsoft apps namely Office and Skype. You get Google services as well including Play Store and a few Samsung apps like S Health and S Voice. Out of the 64GB total space, 11.32GB is occupied by the system leaving about 52GB for personal files and apps.

Camera

Both the front and rear cameras of the Galaxy C9 Pro are equipped with 16-megapixel sensors and f/1.9 aperture. On paper, this is a quality setup although final stills are somehow underwhelming.

The camera launcher is quick to launch especially with the double-press of the home button. The rear camera sports phase detection autofocus (PDAF) that lets the phone focus quickly. If there’s a bright source of light, the still comes out good and detailed although, in a low-light environment, there seems aggressive post-processing resulting to a smudgy photo. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is a capable selfie shooter but with its large aperture, you need to know the ideal distance for a sharp capture.

Video recording is not that different. Quality is good in daylight but it can only do 1080 despite the processing and memory capacity this phone has.

Performance and Benchmarks

The phone is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 octa-core processor with maximum clock speed of 1.95GHz. It has the Adreno 510 GPU to handle the graphics department and memory is fulfilled by the whopping 6GB RAM.

It’s not flagship Galaxy S specs but this phone has more memory than any Samsung phones to date. The mid-range chipset is more than enough for every task, intensive applications with heavy gaming on the side. Samsung’s skin on top on Android doesn’t slow things down too, so there’s nothing to worry about the performance of the phone.

It’ll be tough to consume the 6GB memory but it’s always good to know that the phone always has room to breathe and it’ll not choke anytime soon.

Here are the benchmark test scores of the device:

  • AnTuTu Benchmark v6.2.7 – 79642
  • Geekbench – 1388 (Single), 3974 (Multi)
  • PCMark – 4566 (Work 1.0), (Work 2.0), (Storage)
  • Vellamo – 3529 (Chrome), 2580 (Metal), 2622 (Multicore)
  • 3DMark – 938 (Slingshot Extreme)

Call Quality and Connectivity

Top-notch phone call quality is present with its loud earpiece and noise-cancelling microphones. The phone supports VoLTE but the feature is yet to land in the country. Signal strength is pretty good thanks to the use of a Qualcomm radio.

It has 4G LTE on board but it has no support for the prized 700MHz band. We do get decent speeds around Manila but it’ll be better to have more supported telco frequencies. There’s also dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC with Samsung Pay (not yet available in PH too), and complete suite of GPS, GLONASS, and BDS.

Battery Life

This phablet has a 4,000mAh sealed battery cell. It supports fast charging and has an included fast charger. It is able to give us a full day of use with mobile data on and mixed of calls, text, browsing, and light gaming while stuck in traffic. We do get around 3 to 4 hours of screen on time. With our traditional video loop test, it was able to last for about 20 hours.

Note: We continue to get an error with PCMark battery tests. We’ll include data once it gets fixed.

Conclusion

We find the Galaxy C9 Pro aimed for those who wants a huge Android phone that’s slim and performs well. The 6GB RAM is a novelty but it could come in handy in keeping your phone free from memory lag.

The phone is not officially available in the country but you can avail it at Widget City for Php24,500 (see listing here) in Gold color.

UPDATE (April 7, 2017): It is now official in the Philippines for Php27,990 (gold color only) and will come with a free Samsung Level U Pro that costs over Php3K. It will be available at Samsung Experience stores, official retail partners, and online via Lazada starting April 22, 2017.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro specs:
6-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, 367ppi
1.95GHz Snapdragon 653 octa-core processor
Adreno 510 GPU
6GB RAM
64GB internal storage
Expandable to 256GB via microSD card
16MP PDAF rear camera with f/1.9 aperture and dual-tone LED flash
16MP front camera with f/1.9 aperture
Dual-SIM (Nano)
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE
GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
USB Type-C
Cirrus Hi-Fi audio codec
Samsung Pay via NFC and MST
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
4,000mAh non-removable battery
162.9 x 80.7 x 6.9mm
189 grams

Pros:

  • Vibrant AMOLED display
  • Long battery life
  • Dedicated microSD card slot
  • Slim and elegant profile

Cons:

  • Less than stellar camera performance
  • Uninspiring stereo setup
  • Lacks LTE 700MHz (Band 28) support



This article was contributed by Daniel Morial, a film school graduate and technology enthusiast. He's the geeky encyclopedia and salesman among his friends for anything tech.

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