Samsung has got it largely right with its metallic and affordable A series phones in India, with the Galaxy A7 and A8 doing brisk business in the country.
With Samung Galaxy A9, the Korean giant is moving a step forward in terms of power, while still holding on to the Rs 30,000 price range.
Galaxy A7 and A8 were both priced around the Rs 31,000 mark. In fact, the A8, released in India in August for Rs 32,500, has managed to avoid any steep decline in prices yet, and is still selling for around Rs 31,000.
The A9 will also be positioned in the same bracket, but will be launched only around Diwali (Nov 10).
Most of the specifications of the A9 will be what passes for mid-range in India right now — a full HD 5.5-inch display, 4G LTE and so on.
However, there are three aspects in which the A9 goes one above typical ‘mid rangers’ — processing power, memory and RAM.
The base model of the A9 will have storage memory of 32 GB, though even the A8 can claim credit for that.
However, there is one aspect where A8, or indeed any other mid-range phone in India, can claim competition — performance.
The Galaxy A9 will be one of the first phones in India to come with ARM’s new Cortex A72 cores, which are supposed to be around 35% more powerful than the Cortex A57 cores that underlie models such as OnePlus Two and 50% more powerful that the Cortex A53 cores that power models such as Sony Xperia M5.
Not surprisingly, the A9 scores a very substantial 1,513 points in single core performance on Geekbench 3 compared to about 900 for Cortex A53-based models and just around 1220 for Snapdragon 810-based models such as OnePlus Two.
And remember that this is an early stage and single result. Other models powered by Cortex A72 have been known to score as high as 1900 in single core mode.
To go with all that power, Samsung is also increasing the amount of RAM in the model to 3 GB compared to 2 GB found in earlier A series models like A7 and A8.
In addition, the A9 will come with Category 7 LTE, which bumps up download speed from 150 Mbps to 300 Mbps and upload to 100 Mbps from 50 Mbps. Of course, this is practically not going to make any difference in a market like India as Cat 7 LTE requires a total spectrum of 40 MHz, while in India, the maximum LTE spectrum held by any player is only 20 MHz.
The display on the new phone will continue to be Super AMOLED in keeping with past practice. Like the A8, this one too will have a fingerprint sensor.
However, the biggest bummer in case of this model right now is the launch date. With sources indicating that the launch will be next month (November). If it makes it to Indian shores in the first week of November — in time of Diwali — the Lolipop model can expect brisk sales.