The best premium phablet right now
Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro detailed review
As a leader in the smartphone market, Samsung’s phones are often more scrutinized than any other. The organization has had to deal with many questions. It was designed a few years ago, and questions remain about the TouchWiz despite Samsung making it even better. While none of these questions are unreasonable, there is no denying that Samsung has persevered.
The latest question about the Note 7’s failure, though, could be Samsung’s toughest challenge so far. But if the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro hints at things to come, I dare say Samsung is coming back with a push. The Galaxy C9 Pro review is important in both ways for both Samsung and the consumer.
Construction and design
Ironically, the Galaxy C9 Pro embraces a segment that Samsung has developed over the years – among phablets. The original Galaxy Note kickstarted the phablet market a lot and although the 5.5 and 5.7 inches don’t really qualify for the phablet anymore, 6 inches do. The C9 Pro wants to be a phablet to buy, much like the Note.
6.9mm, it’s really thin and the metallic back feels more premium than what you find on Xiaomi’s devices. More importantly, the Galaxy C9 Pro doesn’t seem like a “big phone” for the first time. Its slim profile and slight curve near the edges create a decent and comfortable grip. Samsung has also narrowed it down to Mi Max (review) and Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra (review), making it the most ergonomic of all the phablets on the market right now.
This is not the only ergonomic feature of this phone. Also it is light enough. At 189 grams, the Galaxy C9 Pro is not particularly worthy of light, but it is lighter in the case of larger phones.
Thinner than a normal bezel, with very little chamfer at the edges and a square 16MP camera module on the back, all this gives the C9 Pro a unique profile. Personally, I also enjoy watching, but you can be different.
To be completely honest, Rs. 36,900 I want a QHD display on my phablet. However, Samsung went for this 6-inch panel with 1080p resolution. This gives the display a 367ppi pixel density, which is almost sharp enough. However, I’m wondering if the pixels added to a QHD display could make things better.
They say that Samsung has redeemed itself again with color and premium. The display looks smooth when used, the touch latency is perfect and there are no ghost touches. It combines with pale and pleasing over-saturated colors to create the best phablet display ever.
However, where you really think it’s a high quality display is the viewing angle. I’ve noticed sub-par viewing angles of both Mi Max and Zenfone 3 Ultra before, but the Galaxy C9 Pro really should be. Another notable difference is how bright this display is, with a maximum illumination of 700 Lux.
To its credit, Samsung has also improved the auto-brightness performance of Android. On most Android phones, the brightness decreases and increases in distinct and noticeable steps. This makes for a sub-par experience. While the C9 Pro is nowhere near the smoothness of the iPhone, you notice a gradual change in brightness, making it less confusing. The Galaxy C9 Pro is also faster than usual in recognizing and reacting to changes in ambient light conditions.
To make the UI work faster, Samsung has put in Microsoft’s apps and Opera Max, all of which can be disabled but not deleted. It’s unfortunate, but they don’t really get in the way.
The settings screen now has fewer options, making it harder to navigate. However, Samsung’s settings include wise advice, which will guide you where to go. There is also a search option in the settings.
Other than that, TouchWiz stays the same and has an app drawer that many may like. You also get the “scroll screenshot” feature that we saw earlier in the Galaxy Note series. This allows you to take longer screenshots beyond what is on the screen. It is, and always is, carried on display from Samsung’s flagship. A new addition is the Device Maintenance option in Settings, which clears system memory, temp files, etc. if necessary. It’s built into the UI, so it works pretty smoothly.
The only downside about the UX is the slow and incomplete fingerprint sensor on the front. It only worked 70% of the time, which was frustrating, and when it worked, the conversion was just fast enough. With a total of 64GB of storage space, you’ll find 38.6GB of usable space in the Galaxy C9 Pro.
Most of Samsung’s phone conflicts have been underscored by its propensity for low-priced glasses at high prices. Samsung carries higher costs in marketing and has higher margins than many, which increases the price. So, here Snapdragon 653 may come under the same investigation. However, this is our first experience with this SoC and it makes it quite interesting.
The 653 is the Pro version of the 652, much like the 820 and 821. Qualcomm has raised the maximum frequency of the four Cortex A72 cores from 1.95GHz to 1.80GHz to 652. In addition, the 653 can take up to 8GB. RAM, which allows Samsung to provide 6GB LPDDR3 RAM on this device. The Cortex A53 core, for efficiency, is rated at 1.44 GHz.
It is interesting that Samsung has used this extra frequency. With regular use, the Cortex A72 core will ideally not be needed, but Samsung unchained one of these cores at about 1.6GHz, which makes the transition from smooth to smooth. Speed blasting is used when launching applications and transferring via AI. You see occasional small frame drops but things basically look like flagships.
Similarly, when games are started, depending on the game, sometimes the A72 cores clock up to their maximum.
Overall, this leads to extremely smooth performance, with only a few, stuttering being easy to ignore. Most of the time the device has 4GB of free RAM, which keeps many apps open for a very long time in the background. You don’t necessarily need so much RAM, but it’s a pleasant surprise when an app you opened yesterday can be re-launched about 12 hours after you left it.
Honestly, benchmark numbers don’t do the phone much justice here. The Galaxy C9 Pro was a treat to use last week. Yes, a flagship class SOC would be better, but the Snapdragon 653 works admirably and well beyond what most people need. The Adreno 510 GPU is also a bit high here.
I haven’t lagged behind in gaming and although the frame rate doesn’t always touch 30fps, they stay there most of the time. Other times, the CPU load is kept below 25%, which is great and most interestingly, Qualcomm’s Trepn Profiler shows Touchwiz Home and SystemUI often calculates for 0% CPU load.
If there are complaints about performance, it is that the C9 Pro tends to get hot, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. In 15 minutes of gaming the phone reaches about 41 degrees Celsius, while I also noticed an internal temperature of 50+ degrees. It won’t happen in normal use, but it requires a little push. Of course, the slim profile and higher processor frequency account for this behavior.
All this is powered by a 4000mAh battery, running show in the background. It is safe to say that this is Samsung’s best performing smartphone as far as battery life is concerned. However, there is good.
With regular use, with automatic screen brightening, the phone lasts about 11.5 hours. It includes about 25 minutes of battery intensive Pokemon Go playing, one hour of video streaming over WiFi, lots of IM and just six phone calls. It’s a full working day worth battery life and then more.
In PC Mark Work 2.0 battery test, the phone lasts 9 hours and 1 minute. It supports fast charging, 10-100% charge possible in just one hour.
Samsung has made a misleading choice to avoid 4K video capture on this device. While many aren’t recording video in 4K right now, the fact that Snapdragon 653 supports 4K capture at 30fps makes the choice a surprise. With 4K video capture, the Galaxy C9 Pro will tick off another feature that a special, flagship buyer will enjoy.
That being said, even if you can do without 4K video capture, the C9 Pro’s camera isn’t really Excel otherwise. It has moved away from Samsung’s flagship phones and is particularly weak in terms of low light performance, something the company has made great strides in recent times. The Galaxy C9 Pro’s camera can take good pictures in sunlight, which is true of almost every smartphone. Price range. However, in low light conditions, such as indoor lights, at the club or just outside at night, the phone fails quite strongly due to its price.
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The pictures are quite noisy and not too detailed, unless clicked in good light The same can be said about the colors, which look good when shooting during the day, but less light than the best light again disturbs the white balance of the phone. Overall, a few good filters and post processing can make your photos worthy of being shared on social media, but it’s nowhere near the best that Samsung can offer. It is a shame that the company has chosen such a big difference between its flagship and this device. The only part the camera seems to be carrying is the instant app launch time and fast focusing and processing speed.
The last row
I questioned Samsung’s price when this device was launched, and I can’t deny that the Galaxy C9 Pro is expensive. However, I have no hesitation in saying that Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro is the best big screen smartphone to buy right now.
Below the 40k range, phones like the OnePlus 3T (Review) and Moto Z (Review) offer better quality, but for special audiences looking for this big screen, it’s a much better choice than the Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra. The Galaxy C9 Pro is a better phone than the Xiaomi Mi Max, with a much better display and better camera.
In pure comparative terms, this doesn’t justify double the price, but if you want to look around for a premium phablet, the Galaxy C9 Pro is actually the best one you can get.