Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Review: Entertaining but Not Worth the Hype

Samsung has been the frontrunner in the mobile phone game for a decade or so, and it has shaped the industry into what we see today. In this process, Samsung has popularized many trends – like wireless charging, infinity displays – and defied many others – like the notch. Samsung Galaxy A9 is a device which does both – defies the trend of triple cameras but tries to popularize the concept of four cameras instead. Does it succeed?

Since the moment I started using the Galaxy A9, I have honestly only had mixed feelings about the answer to the question, especially taking a look at Samsung’s audacious pricing which starts at Rs 36,990.

The idea of “four cameras” is something that instantly grabs attention, but the impression might change once you start using the phone. However, its taffy-inspired colors surely make it an eye candy for the younger users out there.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

After all, this Samsung Galaxy A9 is about exploring uncharted avenues and the South Korean giant’s choice to introduce four cameras is definitely worth weighing to verify whether having four cameras covers all bases. You may call it a gimmick that a slowly plunging (at least in context of popularity) company is using to keep its consumers entertained if not entirely engaged.

So, in this review, we’ll take a look at Samsung’s claims with maximum veracity and least bias. While the quad cameras are arguably its most intriguing aspect, we will take a look at what else the smartphone offers, and whether it’s a good all-round package.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Specifications

Evidently, the biggest and the most gripping highlight of the Galaxy A9 is its set of four cameras on the back, but that’s not all. Let’s take a look:

Display 6.3” Full HD+ Super AMOLED, 1080×2220 pixels
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
RAM 6/8 GB RAM
Storage 128 GB, expandable upto 512GB via microSD
Battery 3,800mAh
Primary 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
Secondary Camera 24MP (F2.0)
OS Android 8.0
Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor
Network and Connectivity LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80, Bluetooth v5.0 (LE), USB Type-C, NFC, GPS, Glonass
Body 162.5 x 77 x 7.8 mm, 183g

The Galaxy A9 also comes with the same specifications that you might find on a Xiaomi smartphone at almost half the price, but that’s what you have to pay for a ride aboard the “brand value” train. While I realize these specifications might not exactly be exciting, Samsung seems to be confident that it will titillate (at least) Samsung fans.

But before I take any more digs at the pricing, let me tell you about what all comes in the box.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Box Contents

The box packaging of the Galaxy A9 is pretty standard and you get the following inside it:

  • Samsung Galaxy A9 handset
  • 12W charging brick
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • Samsung in-ear headset
  • TPU clear case
  • SIM ejector
  • Manuals and paperwork

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

I admire the fact that Samsung is including in-ear style earphones within the box, which I am actually very fond of because of their clarity and a good amount of isolation. Further, the clear case is where Samsung has begun following the suit of Chinese competitors trying to lure Indian users by adding freebies. This case is pretty durable, and since it’s clear, it does not steal the thunder away from the dazzling back.

Now that we’ve already begun talking about the sparkling back, let me also take you through the overall build and design of the Galaxy A9.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Design and Build Quality

There’s no harm in pointing that Samsung’s take on design is not too diverse and it almost seems that the entire design team is concentrated on making the next Galaxy S-series or Note series product more appealing than the previous one while almost the same design trickles down to its smartphones intended for lower price brackets.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

The same can be seen here, with only distinguishing factor (from the Galaxy A7) being the four cameras on the back. The boxy design slapped with so many cameras is almost intimidating and concerning. With its rounded rectangle design – the essence of which can also be spotted within the Samsung Experience UI – the phone looks a bit outdated.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

The neon colors of the Galaxy A9 somehow manage to save it from being a boring phone, but it is unlikely to appeal customers in all age groups. If you’re someone who might actually be attracted by this, let me tell you that these accents actually use a gradient and would appear differently based on how you hold it. I personally prefer the “Lemonade Blue” (random history lesson: pink lemonade is actually more popular and was invented accidentally) over the “Bubblegum Pink” but that is probably because of the gender-specific social conditioning.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

When I shift my attention towards the front, I find the sight rather soothing. The front of the smartphone accommodates a 6.3-inch FullHD+ Super AMOLED “Infinity Display” panel which has immaculate quality. As we already know, many other leading smartphone brands including Apple and OnePlus rely on Samsung for its OLED displays, and the panel justifies its monopoly in the game. I’m delighted to see that the sparkling colors do not make their way to the front and the minimal bezels here are black.

The back is made out glass but there’s no wireless charging support. While the display is protected under Gorilla Glass 6, the exact generation of Corning’s protective glass shielding the glass back is not clear.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

Along the edges, you find ports and mics, buttons and slots, as usual. The right side carries the volume rocker, and the power button while the left side features a dedicated button for Bixby, which I accidentally pressed many times while taking screenshots and ended up loathing myself because Bixby is just not my thing – as I’m sure it’s not for many others either.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

On the top is the SIM tray, which conveniently accepts two SIM cards and a microSD, along with a noise-canceling microphone. The bottom of the Galaxy A9 is reserved for a USB type-C port, headphone jack, and a solo speaker.

Overall, the Galaxy A9 does feel slightly hefty and using it would be a two-hand affair if you have small or medium-sized hands. At 183 grams, the phone is not necessarily light but you wouldn’t feel the bloat unless you’re using a thick protective case. But then, this is also something that you’d get used to, over time.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Display

As I noted in the previous section, Samsung is really at the top of its game when it comes to the quality of AMOLED displays which is why we can see that even some of its rather affordable smartphones come with AMOLED displays. Even on the Galaxy A9, we can see that the display is something that you cannot really complain about. It is super bright, very rich when it comes to colors, vibrant, and has a good contrast.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

Colors, whether natural or artificially enhanced, pop out – thus, laying out a dramatic and vivid picture. And while the display is not certified for HDR content officially, watching videos with a wide dynamic range actually feels like a bliss. The text appears clear and crisp and I have had no problem, whatsoever, while swiping across, tapping, or typing on the screen.

The display is also certified with Widevine L1 license for HD and Full HD content via paid video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play Movies etc. and while I’m not really a binge-watcher, I found myself easily drifting on to the next episode, and consuming much more video content than I usually do.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

With this large screen, Samsung has omitted the notch and while, it is as tall as the one on OnePlus 6T, the bezels on the top and the bottom of the display make the smartphone slightly larger than what is exactly appealing to the eye, but the expansive display should help you forgive this slight demerit.

The display, being an AMOLED, also remains always on and like any other Samsung smartphone, the interface is neatly laid and you also get colored badges for incoming notifications in this state.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

I really enjoyed the display and have no complaints about it at all.

If you’re looking for the best display on a smartphone under Rs 40,000, the Galaxy A9 should definitely be among your primary choices.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Camera

The camera is not only one of the USPs of the Galaxy A9 but also what Samsung is presumably using to justify the high price. We tried to get a variety of shots with the Galaxy A9 and have attempted to bring you a wholesome picture of what the smartphone is capable of.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

The quad camera comprises a 24-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.7 sensor aimed at providing ample muscle power for night light shots, a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor for 2x zoom, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor for a 120-degree field of view, and lastly a 5-megapixel sensor for sensing depth to render images with bokeh effects.

Let’s take a look at some of the samples of the Galaxy A9’s cameras.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Camera Samples: Daylight

In daylight, the Galaxy A9 manages to capture colors really well, but falls flat when it comes to details, especially when the object is too close or too far.

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Samsung Galaxy A9 Camera Samples: Low Light

When there’s low light, the smartphone really struggles to capture details, especially when the object is moving. Unlike daylight pictures, here the saturation is overblown and makes the image look unnatural. Further, the smartphone often fails at retaining ample light in the image.

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Wide-Angle

The wide-angle sensor increases the depth of view from 78-degrees to 120-degrees, offering a wider frame. I am really fascinated by this lens and it is probably the only thing that the Galaxy A9 is better at than most other phones in its competition.

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In low light, however, details are visibly lost due to the smaller f/2.4 aperture of the wide-angle sensor.

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Telephoto (2X Zoom)

The Galaxy A9 also packs in a 2X lens which helps bring distant objects nearer, but it might not be the best option when it comes to low light because of the smaller aperture compared to the main 24-megapixel sensor.

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Portrait Mode

The bottom-most sensor on the Galaxy A9 works as a dedicated 5MP depth sensor and despite that, the portrait mode shots are far from impressive. As you can see edge detection is not the best in class.

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When there are more than one faces in the frame, the Galaxy A9 focuses on a single person and blurs out the rest.

Selfies

On the front, there’s a 24-megapixel sensor and to be honest, it is not surprising at all. Often, the front camera feels sloppy and to be able to click the best selfie for your Instagram account, you really need a lot of patience and multiple attempts.

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In low light, especially, the front camera fails to maintain a high dynamic range or match the lighting as per the object in focus, leaving the background over or underexposed.

The Galaxy A9 also gets a selfie panorama mode, but I would have appreciated had Samsung put three cameras on the back and one more on the front – like Pixel 3 – for wide-angle selfies.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting
Selfie Panorama

Selfie Portrait

The camera’s struggles with retaining detail is even more apparent when you’re clicking a selfie in portrait mode and it simply struggles to detect edges cleanly. When it does manage to get the edges right, the over-smoothening of images can make you groan.

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Video

The Galaxy A9 is capable of capturing 4K UHD videos and has EIS, which only works when you’re shooting at Full HD. The videos are just average and while the stabilization is solid, you’ll be required to lower down the resolution and thus, sacrifice on quality.

I’ve embedded the below with the exact timestamp where you can see how the A9 performs while taking videos.

Comparison

While Samsung promoted the Galaxy A9 as a camera-centric smartphone, it does not live up to the expectation. Meanwhile, we have looked at how two other similarly priced smartphones – OnePlus 6T and Pixel 2 perform.

So here’s a quick comparison:

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The OnePlus 6T Captures More detail than the A9!

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As you can see that the Pixel 2 shines out as the best out of the group while the Galaxy A9 performs the worst compared to both smartphones in all situations. The A9 only excels when it comes to exposure.

We’ll also bring you a detailed comparison soon, with more images and in different lighting conditions to help you judge better if the winner is not yet clearly visible.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Performance

Performance is one area where Samsung Galaxy A9 falls short of the competitors. While noteworthy smartphones in the segment come with flagship Snapdragon CPUs, the A9 is still stuck with Snapdragon 660, which has very made a home for itself in the mid-range segment of smartphones. The processor can be seen usually powering phones in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment, but Samsung still banks on it despite the almost flagship-like pricing.

We would have forgiven the choice had it not hampered the performance of the device. To cut it short, the Galaxy A9 is not as powerful as its peers. When it comes to gaming, the smartphone can handle basic to moderately heavy games but as you move up the pyramid, the Galaxy A9 starts showing its true colors – and they are not as shiny or attractive as the smartphone’s blazing back.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

You get options between 6GB and 8GB RAM variants – priced at Rs 36,990 and Rs 39,990, respectively – and we tested the 6GB variant. I did not have any problem while multitasking and the phone can keep at least 10-12 apps alive at the same time – although these apps went into hibernation when left inactive for a long duration.

Gaming

Playing demanding games such as PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 on the Galaxy A9 is taxing and almost made me lose my calm. This is because, the graphics appear distorted and there are plenty of frame drops; the gameplay was noticeably jittery. After spending significant time with the Poco F1, I wouldn’t have gone through the pain of playing games on this device if it wasn’t for the review.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

PUBG Mobile was laggy and there are noticeable frame drops, even at Medium graphics settings. So as long as you’re playing light games like Guns of Boom, Knife Hit, Horizon, SBK 16, you won’t have any issues, but with heavier games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, Mortal Kombat X, you will either suffer due to the choppy frame rate and the low graphics fidelity, which is neither justified nor acceptable at this price.

In terms of general use, the performance is just average and not surprising at all. But I was dazzled the most when I saw this phone score comparably to the Realme U1 on benchmarks, which costs less than half of what Samsung is asking for the A9.

Benchmark Scores: AnTuTu, GeekBench 4, 3D Mark

The Snapdragon 660 on the Galaxy A9 paired to 6GB of RAM (on our test unit) offers middling performance, resulting in scores on par with other Snapdragon 660 devices. Further, the Samsung Experience can sometimes get overwhelming, which might also lead to lower than expected scores.

Here are the AnTuTu, GeekBench 4, and 3DMark scores associated with the smartphone:

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

In a price-wise comparison, the Galaxy A9 is mercilessly beaten by its biggest challenger the OnePlus 6T, which is powered by the most powerful processor currently available for Android phones.

Sound

In terms of audio or video playback, the Galaxy A9’s solo speaker seems very powerful and punchy, although I found myself longing for more bass. However, the bundled earphones have great audio quality and you also get Dolby Audio support which boosts the output slightly when you connect any wired or Bluetooth headset, so much so that listening to music at the maximum volume can be tough most of the time.

Overall, I have no complaints with the audio experience on the Galaxy A9, and this is in line with superb multimedia capabilities of the smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Software Experience

Samsung Experience 9.0 based on Android 8.0 is what drives the Galaxy A9 on the user experience (UX) front. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of this interface, even though it is a gazillion times better than the lousy TouchWiz UI which Samsung phones had a few years ago.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

My reason for not liking this user interface (UI) is that it looks like a crossbreed of stock Android and other UIs with absurd shapes and no app drawer, as preferred by many Chinese vendors. Samsung appears to have put in an extra effort to ensure that even though it has elements of both these UIs, it does not look or function like either.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

From the stock Android interface, Samsung Experience skin borrows an app drawer, clean quick settings panel as well as the settings interface while it appears to be inspired by MIUI-like skins when you find bloatware such as Daily Hunt and a series of Samsung apps including Samsung Mall, Samsung Max, My Galaxy etc.

The company also promotes its own app store, recommending you to download and buy wallpapers, themes, ringtones etc from the “Galaxy Apps” store.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

The Galaxy A9 also comes with Samsung Pay which works over NFC as well as facilitates UPI payments, which means in India, you’ll either be limited to select POS terminals which support NFC or “Wave N Pay”. The shortcut for Samsung Pay keeps prompting you to add your cards, and is almost intrusive.

Another peeve I have with the Samsung Experience interface is that despite the large screen, Samsung has been reluctant to include navigation gestures. It will be interesting to see how the UI fares when the Android Pie update brings a much cleaner One UI.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

However, there are some points that show the Samsung Experience UI in good light too. Firstly, it seems pretty polished and there are no bleeding edges when it comes to delivering what it promises. Multi-window and Picture-in-picture work like a charm and while the animations are slow, they do not appear sloppy in any way.

To sum it up, the UI is not terrible but not as clean or simplistic as stock Android. So, upgrading from a smartphone running vanilla Android to another by Samsung could weigh down some users, But if you’re keen on learning new ways of accomplishing the usual chores, you might have an easier time.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Battery

Without a doubt, the Galaxy A9 is a great and noteworthy smartphone when it comes to multimedia. Naturally, one of the areas where a great phone for entertainment is expected to excel is in terms of battery life and here, the Galaxy A9 is A-one. Samsung has installed a 3,800mAh battery on this device which lives up to the general trend observed on Samsung devices.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

During moderate usage, the phone easily lasts between 22 to 24 hours with more four and a half hours of using the screen. When running heavy and demanding tasks, the A9 lasts well over 14-15 hours and you can easily watch videos or binge on shows at maximum screen brightness for more than 7 hours easily.

When it comes to charging, the bundled charger rated at 15W takes merely 1 hour 25 minutes to go from 10% battery to 100% battery. The technology governing this is called Adaptive Fast Charging using which the Galaxy A9 consumes 35 minutes to go from 10% to 50%. While it cannot exactly be called mind-blowing, the rate of charging on this device is impressive and convenient.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the Galaxy A9 scores all the basic options such as Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, LTE, as well as NFC. For wired connections, you get the 3.5mm headphone jack as well as the a USB-C port, which BTW cannot be used for audio playback through Type-C earphones.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

The smartphone supports dual VoLTE connectivity such that both SIM are capable of sending or receiving calls over data connection without requiring you to switch between your primary and secondary numbers. Galaxy A9 has decent connectivity and call quality and this on par with most smartphones almost tending towards the flagship segment (or certain others which challenge such phones).

Samsung Galaxy A9 Security

The Galaxy A9 gets basic security features such as fingerprint and Face Unlock. The fingerprint scanner on the smartphone feels cramped and is not fast at all. Further, the slow wake up animation makes it almost dreadful. The Face unlocking, too, misses the mark here with very slow performance and high dependency on a bright light source.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

I have noticed that using the fingerprint becomes slightly easy if you’re using a cover because it helps you position the finger correctly. But that isn’t very assuring and I hope Samsung improves the fingerprint reader using a software update in future.

Samsung Galaxy A9: Pros and Cons

The Galaxy A9 is a smartphone is a striking smartphone majorly because of its quad cameras and somewhat because of its bewitching colors. However, after using it for more than 10 days, I can admit that it is not very exciting and has areas where it falls short, and what it does well.

Pros

  • Stunning Display
  • Great Battery
  • Appreciably fast charging
  • Still has a headphone jack
  • Wide-angle camera
  • Dual VoLTE and reliable connectivity

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

Cons

  • Quad cameras fail to impress
  • Average performance
  • No navigation gestures
  • Slow fingerprint scanner
  • Bloated UI

Samsung Galaxy A9: Quad Cameras Fail to Justify the Hype

Samsung pulled an ambitious stunt by launching the world’s first smartphone with four camera but it appears that it made a hasty move. This is because, despite the four cameras, the Galaxy A9 clicks average pictures and the only saving grace is the wide-angle camera which stirs up things slightly, although failing to completely make up for lacking cameras.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

I have come to feel that the Galaxy A9 is better suited for entertainment because of its powerful audio delivery and a bright and beautiful display, which also supports HD playback on Netflix and other OTT video services.

The boxy design with curved corners makes the A9 look outdated although the dazzling colors make up for it.

The device is great when it comes to connectivity and the dedicated micro SD slot affirms the fact that Samsung still expects its users to carry a lot of media with them on the move. Lastly, in terms of performance too, the Galaxy A9 does not impress, although it would not make you feel restricted either. I’m not a big fan of Samsung’s UI but it can be worked with, if you have the patience.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Review: Entertaining but Not Exciting

If you’re in the market for a good camera smartphone, with a budget floating along the Rs 40,000 mark, the Pixel 2 or the Pixel 2 XL (starts at Rs 45,499) will be better options than the Samsung Galaxy A9. Additionally, you also get a flagship processor – Snapdragon 835, which might be a year old but does not feel as impractical as Snapdragon 660 for Rs 40,000.

However, if performance is your main criteria and you can be okay with a decent camera, OnePlus 6T (starts at Rs. 37,999) should definitely be your option.

The Galaxy A9 only makes sense if you’re comfortable with the Samsung ecosystem or use smart devices made by Samsung – such as the Galaxy Watch – and are unwilling to move out of your comfort zone.

Buy Samsung Galaxy A9 6GB for Rs 36,990 (Amazon, Flipkart, Samsung Store)

Buy Samsung Galaxy A9 6GB for Rs 39,990 (Amazon, Flipkart, Samsung Store)

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Best Phones with Pop-up Cameras and Sliders in 2018

In a bid to get as close to a full-screen display as possible, Apple adopted the infamous notch on the iPhone X which housed the front facing camera and Face ID sensors. Taking note from Apple’s design choice, a number of Android manufacturers also jumped on the notch bandwagon, adding notches of different shapes and sizes to their devices in order to get a nearly bezel-less display. Not being a huge fan of the notch, I was glad to see some Android manufacturers come out with creative solutions to house the front facing camera, earpiece and sensors to achieve a completely bezel-less display. The race to achieve a completely bezel-less display introduced a new breed of smartphones with pop-up cameras and brought back the slider design of yesteryear. Here, we’ll be taking a look at the best phones with pop-up cameras and sliders that were released in 2018:

Smartphones with Pop-up Cameras and Sliders

1. Vivo NEX

Lets kick off the list with the smartphone that is, in part, responsible for making pop-up cameras a trend, the Vivo NEX. A flagship device from Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo, the Vivo NEX took the bezel-less concept to a whole new level by ditching the notch for a pop-up mechanism that housed the front facing camera. The pop-up camera module on the Vivo NEX has been designed to pop-up on its own as soon as you switch to the front facing camera and it hides back inside the top edge of the device when the front camera is closed.

Vivo NEX

 

Since there isn’t any room for the front facing sensors on the pop-up module, Vivo neatly tucked them within the minimal top bezel, while adopting a piezo-electric sound system to replace the earpiece. For the price, the Vivo NEX brought a number of innovative features to the market, making it a compelling option for those who were looking for a flagship device with a bezel-less display and no notch. It even housed an in-display fingerprint sensor, a technology that has now become a bit more mainstream with the launch of the OnePlus 6T.

Vivo NEX specifications: Snapdragon 845, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, 6.59-inch Super AMOLED display, 12MP+5MP primary dual camera setup, 8MP pop-up selfie shooter, 4,000mAh battery, Funtouch OS based on Android 8.1 Oreo

Price: Rs. 44,990

2. Oppo Find X

In a bid to one-up Vivo’s pop-up camera module on the Vivo NEX, Chinese smartphone giant Oppo launched the Oppo Find X – a smartphone in which both the front and rear camera modules are revealed by a motorized pop-up mechanism. Thanks to the mechanism, the smartphone features an almost bezel-less design with a sleek curved glass build, with all its sensors hidden on the slide-out tray. Unlike the Vivo NEX, the Oppo Find X also features a facial recognition feature for face unlock capabilities which also triggers the motorized slider as soon as the device is turned on.

Oppo Find X

The Oppo Find X, however, doesn’t feature an in-display fingerprint scanner like the Vivo NEX. In fact, it doesn’t feature a fingerprint sensor at all, relying completely on its face unlock feature for biometric security. Since the Oppo Find X packs in a larger motorized section, it doesn’t feel as solid as the Vivo NEX, but the mechanism does look a bit more premium and well thought out. On top of that, the fact that the slider opens up every time you try to unlock the device raises some concern regarding the durability and longevity of the smartphone.

Oppo Find X specifications: Snapdragon 845, 8GB RAM, up to 512GB storage, 6.42-inch AMOLED display, 16MP+20MP primary dual camera setup, 25MP selfie shooter, 3,730mAh battery, ColorOS 5.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo

Price: Starts at Rs. 59,990

3. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Compared to the Vivo NEX and the Oppo Find X, both of which rely on motorized pop-up designs, Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 resurrects the manual slider mechanism that was all the rage back in the day and does a great job of it. The smartphone’s slider mechanism neatly hides the front facing camera and sensors behind the large bezel-less display and it feels sturdier and more satisfying to use than the aforementioned smartphones. For the earpiece, the Mi Mix 3 has a very ingenious solution – a simple cutout that lets the sound pass through from the actual earpiece packed within the sliding mechanism.

Mi Mix 3

 

The device also doesn’t include an in-display fingerprint scanner, but thankfully retains a traditional capacitive fingerprint scanner which is placed on the back. Turning on the front-facing camera on the Mi Mix 3 is as simple as sliding the screen down which reveals the camera module and turns on the camera app. Being a fan of slider phones in the past, I personally like Xiaomi’s design a whole lot more than the Vivo NEX and the Oppo Find X.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 specifications: Snapdragon 845, up to 10GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display, 12MP+12MP primary dual camera setup, 24MP+2MP dual selfie shooter, 3,200mAh battery, MIUI 10 based on Android 9.0 Pie

Price: Starts at Rs. 41,216

4. Honor Magic 2

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has also released a slider smartphone of its own – the Honor Magic 2 – which features a sliding mechanism much like that of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. Packing in flagship specifications, the Honor Magic 2 is also a great alternative if you’re in the market for a smartphone that is almost all screen up front and doesn’t have an ugly notch.

honor magic 2

The old school slider mechanism on the Honor Magic 2 tucks an impressive triple camera setup behind the bezel-less display, along with the front facing sensors, the earpiece, and sensors for Honor’s 3D face recognition technology for faster and more secure face unlock capabilities. Much like the Mi Mix 3, the Magic 2 also has a cutout for the earpiece right above the display, but the device doesn’t automatically open up the front facing camera upon opening the slider.

Honor Magic 2 specifications: Kirin 980, up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, 6.39-inch AMOLED display, 16MP+16MP+24MP primary triple camera setup, 16MP+2MP+2MP triple selfie shooter, 3,500mAh battery, EMUI 9.0 based on Android 9.0 Pie

Price: Rs. 62,236

5. Lenovo Z5 Pro

The latest addition to the slider party, Lenovo’s Z5 Pro, is a bezel-less mid-ranger which aims to make the innovative sliding mechanism more accessible to a larger number of buyers. Much like the Mi Mix 3 and the Honor Magic 2, the Lenovo Z5 has a smooth sliding mechanism which hides the front facing camera and sensors behind the large display. The earpiece on the device is also located on the slider mechanism, with no visible cutout up front, so we can’t be sure if that will have an effect on the audio quality.

lenovo z5 pro design

The device also packs in an in-display fingerprint scanner which, the company claims, can unlock the device in just 0.2 seconds, making it slightly faster than the fingerprint scanner on the OnePlus 6T which can unlock the device in 0.34 seconds. The Lenovo Z5, however, has a noticeable chin at the bottom of the display, something which isn’t found on wither the Honor Magic 2 or the Mi Mix 3, but considering the device’s price point, I believe that’s something most buyers would overlook.

Lenovo Z5 Pro specifications: Snapdragon 710, 6GB RAM, up to 128GB storage, 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display, 16MP+24MP primary dual camera setup, 16MP+8MP dual selfie shooter, 3,350mAh battery, ZUI 10 based on Android 8.1 Oreo

Price: Starts at 1,998 Yuan (~Rs. 20,400)

SEE ALSO: Huawei Teases Phone With Punch-Hole Front Camera For December Launch

Best Phones with Pop-up Cameras and Sliders in 2018

Well, that rounds up our list of the best phones with pop-up cameras and sliders that were released this year. Other than the aforementioned options, there are a couple of smartphone from relatively obscure Chinese brands that have also adopted a pop-up or slider design. The Elephone U2, Elephone U2 Pro, the Elephone PX and the Doogee Mix 4 (concept) are some notable options that you can take a look at, but don’t expect anything spectacular from these phones.

Have you had the chance to try out any of the aforementioned phones? Do you prefer the pop-up cameras or the sliding mechanism? Do you have any concerns regarding the durability of the moving parts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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10 Best Movie Sites to Legally Watch Movies for Free

I can’t remember the last time I downloaded a movie on my laptop or tablet. Both internet speeds and streaming services have improved so much in the past few years that I normally stream all my movies. My streaming habits have increased even more as it has become much more easier to stream movies than downloading them, thanks to a number of great websites which offer streaming capabilities. And while there are tons of paid options out there, I stick to the free ones as they offer quite a good selection of free movies. The best part is that all these services are completely legal, so you don’t have to worry about anything. So, if you are interested in streaming free movies, here are the 10 best movies sites that are legal and free:

Best Movie Sites to Watch Free Movies Legally

1. YouTube Free to Watch Movies

Just a few weeks back, YouTube introduced a new category of movies for its viewers. Dubbed as the “Free to Watch” category, it offers a healthy selection of movies which you can stream without having to pay a dime. All these movies are ad-supported, so they basically work as any other YouTube video. I especially love the movie collection here as YouTube is offering some of the best movies that have ever been produced. At the time of writing this article, there are 99 titles featuring movies such as the Rocky series, Terminator, IP Man, Police Story, and more. If you love free movies, you should definitely check this out.

1. YouTube Free to Watch Movies

Availability: USA

Price: Free

2. Tubi

My favorite and probably my pick from the best movie sites is Tubi. While most of the other services offer movies which are pretty old, thanks to its partnership with movie producers such as Lionsgate, MGM, Starz, and more, Tubi gives you access to a ton of movies which are relatively new. One of the good things about Tubi is that not only does it work on a browser but it also has apps for various platforms including Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and more. To watch movies, you only have to register for a free account (no credit cards required) and you can watch hundreds of hours of free content.

2. Tubi

Availability: Worldwide

Price: Free

3. Vudu

Vudu is a great place for streaming movies which are generally considered as paid offerings on other platforms. Vudu does that by showing ad-supported movies and generating income from ads. This is a win-win situation for both viewers and the company and makes Vudu a worthy contender for our list of best movie sites. Thanks to this approach, Vudu gives you access to movies such as Rocky, Predator, Undisputed, Warrior, and more. Vudu also features new movies (paid) just like iTunes or Google Play Store so you can keep your selection of free and paid movies at the same place. If you love movies, definitely check this out.

3. Vudu

Availability: Worldwide

Price: Free with some paid titles

4. Sony Crackle

Another great place for watching free movies is Sony Crackle. Since the service is provided by a big studio, you will get access to a ton of free movies along with high-quality original content. Not only that, Sony Crackle also features a good selection of anime movies which makes it great for anime lovers. I found the service to be best for action and thriller genre of movies. Some of the movies hosted on Sony Crackle include Babel, 30 Minutes or Less, Charlie’s Angles, Drive, and more. The service is only available in the US and in Australia, but it’s still one of the best movie sites out there.

4. Sony Crackle

Availability: US and Australia

Price: Free

5. Popocornflix

Popocornflix is a great place to consume movies. First of all it’s available worldwide so it doesn’t face any content restrictions as Sony Crackle or other restricted services mentioned on this list. Secondly, the website is very fast and provides very good streaming speeds which makes this ideal for streaming movies if you have an internet connection with lower speeds. Lastly, there’s also a good selection of movies here so you will definitely find something interesting to watch. Apart from featuring studio movies, Popcornflix also features a lot of indie movies which is a great news for indie movie lovers. Overall, this is a great place to discover and watch movies.

5. Popocornflix

Availability: Worldwide

Price: Free

6. Viewster

This streaming service is for all you anime lovers out there and is the best movie site for Anime fans. While the service offers non-anime content, the most prominent content genre here is anime. You can find a ton of good anime movies and series here, more than any other free movie streaming platform mentioned on this list. While I myself have not used this service a lot, I have heard pretty good things about its content capabilities. As far as performance is concerned, I had no problem while streaming content from this platform. If you enjoy anime, definitely check this out.

6. Viewster

Availability: Worldwide

Price: Free

7. Top Documentary Films

If you are a fan of documentary films then this is the best movie site for you. Aptly named “Top Documentary Films” the service offers a big selection of documentary movies. The documentaries covers various topics such as art, nature, mystery, politics, sexuality, and more. I personally don’t follow documentaries too much so I cannot tell you about the quality of content here. However, if online reviews are any indication, this is the best place to watch free documentaries films on the internet.

7. Top Documentary Films

Availability: Worldwide

Price: Free

8. Free Movies Cinema

Free Movie Cinema is one of the best movie sites for indie and short films. Since the service holds mostly short and indie movies you get access to them just a few months they are released which is something unheard of. The platform also offers studio movies but they are nowhere near as new as compared to indie or short ones. The movies cover a lot of different genres including western, zombieflix, war, SciFi, and more, so everyone will find something to watch here. If you love short movies, definitely check it out.

8. Free Movies Cinema

Availability: Worldwide

Price: Free

9. Hotstar

This is for all the Bollywood movie lovers out there. Hotstar is a studio backed online streaming service which offers a great selection of movies both free and paid. While most of the new movies are paid, the free collection of Bollywood movies here is not too bad either. Also, if a movie doesn’t do well on the box office, it generally is made available in a few months. Apart from Bollywood movies, you also get access to international movies, series, and more. If you love Bollywood movies, definitely check it out.

9. Hotstar

Availability: India

Price: Free, ₹999/year or ₹199/month

10. SonyLiv

Another great place to watch Indian movies, and definitely one of the best movie sites for regional movies and Hindi movies, is SonyLiv which gives you access to a ton of free and paid movies. Apart from Bollywood movies, the service also offers a great selection of Telugu and Tamil movies along with international movies. Just like Hotstar, you can find quite a lot of new movies here. I also love its streaming capabilities. While the website itself is not that good, the streaming speeds are very good. If you like Hotstar then you are going to love this one too.

10. SonyLiv

Availability: India

Price: Free, ₹499/year

SEE ALSO: 10 Netflix Tricks to Enhance Your Experience

The Best Movie Sites for Watching Movies Legally

That ends our article on the best movies sites that are completely free and legal. I love streaming movies as it makes the whole experience so much simpler. Do check these sites out and let us know your favorite ones by writing in the comments section below. Also, if we missed a great service and you want to share that with us, don’t hesitate.

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Meizu 16 Series Set to Launch in India on December 5

Meizu launched its dual-screen Pro 7 smartphone in India earlier this year, but it wasn’t really a success and the company is now looking to make a comeback to India with the launch of its Meizu 16 series, which includes the mid-range Meizu 16 and flagship Meizu 16th (weird name, we know) in the country on December 5.

Meizu started teasing the launch of their flagship 16 series via their Twitter official India handle for the past week, but it is only now that we have caught air of the same.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The company has since sent been tweeting out a teaser, showing off the silhouette of the device and highlighting its key features like the camera, bezel-less display, under-display fingerprint sensor, and more. You can check them out right here:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Meizu 16, Meizu 16th Specifications

Both of these devices sport the same design and features, with the only major difference being the processor powering them.

They sport a 6-inch Full-HD+ S-AMOLED display and feature a 12MP+20MP dual rear-camera setup, with OIS, 3x lossless zoom and laser auto-focus. There’s also a 20MP selfie camera on board, with AI face unlock and Face AE features.

These devices also include a second-gen in-display optical fingerprint, something that is steadily becoming the norm and is currently the hottest feature on the market.

meizu 16th

Similarities aside, Meizu 16th is a flagship and is powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset, coupled with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The Meizu 16, on the other hand, is backed by the Snapdragon 710 chipset and packs up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.

While the former is expected to butt heads with the OnePlus 6T in the budget flagship segment, the latter should give the upcoming Nokia 8.1 some competition – though only time will tell if people are ready to place their trust in Meizu smartphones.

Meizu M6T Launch Expected

While all the teasers point to the arrival of the Meizu 16 series in India, the rumor mill is talking about the launch of the company’s budget M6T smartphone as well.

Meizu M6T looks like your everyday budget phone with a polycarbonate body. It sports a 5.7-inch HD+ display (1440 x 720 pixels) and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 chipset, coupled with up to 3GB RAM and 32GB storage.

On the optics front, you get a dual rear-camera setup with a 13MP (f/2.2) primary and a 2MP (f/2.8) depth sensor. There’s also an 8MP (f/2.0) selfie camera on board. It packs a 3,300mAh battery, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and also runs Android 8.0 Oreo-based Flyme OS.

So, December is going to chock-full of smartphone launches in India. Are you excited for Meizu flagships? Let us know in the comments down below.

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