Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Review: Sayonara, A9 Pro?

Is the first Samsung Phone with 6GB of RAM Worth It?

Previously an exclusive to the Chinese market, Samsung Philippines launched the Galaxy C9 Pro locally a little over two weeks ago. We’ve been using it as our main phone for a week now, so it’s time to see if this 6-inch phablet is worth its asking price of Php 27,990. Before we jump in, let’s take another look at the specs for the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 510 GPU
  • 6-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 64GB of expandable storage
  • 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture
  • 16-megapixel front camera with f/1.9 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Good ‘Ol Samsung Design Staples

While Samsung is currently making waves with the design of their two flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, the C9 Pro follows along similar cues we’ve come to know and love from the Korean firm. You’ve got the navigation keys on the chin of the device, flanking the familiar home button that doubles up as the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, but you will have to give it a wipe down here and there as the oil from our hands can affect its accuracy.

We’ve alluded to the C9 Pro’s similarity to the OPPO F3 Plus in terms of internals, but — apart from camera placement, branding, and button layout — they’re rather alike on the outside as well. While that may be true, there is one key difference that sways in favor of the Korean brand. The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro is thinner than the F3 Plus.

Coming it at 6.9mm, compared to the F3 Plus’ 7.4mm, the C9 Pro is a little easier to hold in one hand, despite its 6-inch screen size; this also makes reaching over to the volume rockers a little easier as well.

It’s pretty rare to see Dual SIM phones nowadays that don’t utilize hybrid SIM trays. On the C9 Pro,  you’ve got separate trays for two nano SIMs and another for microSD expansion. It’s always good to have this option and we’re pretty sure some of you will be happy to see this setup on the C9 Pro.

Can’t Complain About that Super AMOLED Display

Along with the design staples from Samsung, you’re also getting the Super AMOLED display they widely use for their devices. At Full HD, the 6-inch phablet has a pixel density of 367 pixels per inch and it has a screen to body ratio of 75.5%. As expected from Sammy’s displays, it’s nice and vibrant; making media consumption on this big-screened phone a delight. It’s also got great viewing angles and we didn’t have trouble using it outdoors either.

The lone speaker grille at the bottom of the device also provides a decent listening experience with great quality and little to no distortion at higher volumes as well.

More Than Enough RAM

While we agree that benchmark scores aren’t everything, we thought we’d start out this part of the review with a few test results as we were unable to provide them during our initial review. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 processor running the show, a generous amount of RAM at 6GB, an Adreno 510 GPU, and 64GB of storage — we’re seeing the C9 Pro score an 81799 on AnTuTu and a 1443 on 3D Mark’s Sling Shot. But, what does that mean in terms of real world use?

In the week that we’ve been using the device, it didn’t bat an eyelash with the amount of tasks we were throwing at it. Personally speaking, I’ve had to resort to using the C9 Pro to write articles during its review period; jumping from app to app, watching a ton of YouTube videos and playing a few games here and there. At a certain point, I’ve always had to close down apps running in the background to make sure the device I use is running smoothly, and I rarely had to do that with the C9 Pro.

You will get a few frame rate drops here and there for NBA 2K17, but that’s nothing a few adjustments in its settings won’t fix.

Stepping Up in the Selfie Department

In terms of the cameras, you have a 16-megapixel camera with an f-stop of f/1.9 for both the front and rear shooter on the Galaxy C9 Pro. The last big-screened phone we handled from the Korean brand, the A9 Pro, had a bit of an issue with its rear camera and its dynamic range was all over the place. Thankfully, Samsung has done a better job with this device. Take note though that the samples we’re showing you were taken at dusk, so they may seem a little warm.

As mentioned above, Samsung has also greatly upped the megapixel count on their front camera with the C9 Pro to cater to the selfie crowd. It does a great job, but focus can be a little hit or miss and you can expect a fair amount of noise in less than ideal lighting situations.

Juice to the Last the Day

We mentioned that the Galaxy C9 Pro had a slim 6.9mm frame, but it still manages to fit a 4000mAh battery in the unit. Running our usual benchmark to test out the phone’s battery, PCMark Benchamark’s Work 2.0, the C9 Pro managed a time of 8 hours and 57 minutes. In real world use, that amounts to a full day with mobile data running and moderate to heavy use on our part.

The C9 Pro also supports fast charging, which means you’ll be spending less time tethered to a wall if you need to top it up. We were unable to test our review unit with the packaged charger from Samsung, but it took us a little less than two hours to get it to 100%.

Verdict: Asking Price May Drive Buyers to Other Options

At Php 27,990, the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro certainly isn’t the most affordable device in the market and its price might be its major hurdle to finding success; nearly breaching flagship pricing territory. As good as the C9 Pro may be, buyers may opt to look at other options from the Korean brand, such as: the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), which is capable phone in its own right and has IP68 certification in case you get caught in the rain, or some may even opt to save up a little longer to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8.

There’s also the question of what happens to the A9 Pro now that Samsung has this phone on the loose? Will they offer a 2017 iteration of the big-screened A series device or will they phase it eventually out?

Read:

Head-to-Head: Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro VS Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro
Head-to-Head: Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro VS Huawei Mate 9

3 comments

  1. Avatar

    oneplus 3t over this

    • Avatar

      I think it’s a toss-up.

      OnePlus 3T has the better chipset (SD 821 > 653), but everything else the C9 Pro is actually competitive. Equal internal storage, memory, camera megapixel count. C9 Pro also gets a bigger battery and display, and for expansion it has a microSD slot.

  2. Avatar

    Super love my C9 Pro. 🙂 For me, it’s a premium mid-range smartphone.

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