Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Review


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Samsung launched the Galaxy C9 Pro (SM-C900F), the top-end smartphone in the Galaxy ‘C series’ in India in January for Rs. 36,900. This is the first Samsung smartphone to pack 6GB of RAM. It has a 6-inch 1080p AMOLED screen and packs a 4000mAh battery. Is the smartphone worth the price? Let us find out in the complete review.

Unboxing

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We unboxed the smartphone recently, check out the video below.

Box contents

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  • Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro smartphone in Golden color
  • Adaptive fast charger (5V-2A/9V-1.67A)
  • USB Type-C cable
  • USB Type-C tp Micro USB converter
  • Headset with microphone
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Quick start guide and warranty information

Display, Hardware and Design

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The Galaxy C9 Pro has a 6-inch Super AMOLED 2.5d curved glass display with a pixel resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a pixel density of around 367 PPI. The display is bright, has good viewing angles, offers vibrant color output and the sunlight visibility is also good. Blacks are perfectly black, thanks to the AMOLED panel. It also has a curved Corning Gorilla Glass protection that prevents the display from scratches and the curved screen also offers a premium look. The display is not too glossy and doesn’t attract fingerprint easily.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Always On Display, Screen mode, Blue light filter

It has option to change the screen mode (adaptive display, AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo and Basic) that will optimise the color range, saturation and sharpness of the display. The is also Blue light filter that filters blue light from the screen to sleep better at night. You can schedule this from sunset to sunrise. There is also always on display that shows up in the lockscreen when the phone is in standby. Since the phone has AMOLED display it doesn’t consume a lot of power, but still it takes up some power.

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The phone has about 75% screen-to-body ratio and slim bezels on the side, yet it is huge for single-handed usage since it has a 6-inch screen. It is also a bit heavy at 188 grams.

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Above the display there is an earpiece that also houses a speaker, 16-megapixel camera with f/1.9 aperture on the left side and the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors on the right side. It also has a notification LED light next to the sensors. The front camera is good for selfies and video chats. It also has gyroscope and magnetic sensor, otherwise known as magnetometer.

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Below the display there is a fingerprint sensor embedded into the home button and menu/recently and back keys on either sides that are backlit that offer haptic feedback when pressed.

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Unlike some smartphones with an unibody design that have hybrid SIM slot, this one has dedicated dual nano SIM slots on the right side and a separate microSD card slot on the top.

The phone has a metal frame and measures 162.9 x 80.7 x 6.9mm. The power button is present on the right side and the volume rockers are present on the left side. The dual nano SIM slot and microSD card slot is present on the right side. The 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, primary microphone and speaker grill are present on the bottom. There is a secondary microphone along with Qualcomm 4G sticker since it is powered by a Snapdragon SoC.

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Unlike the Galaxy A9 Pro that has a glass back, this has a metal back. It also has unique antenna bands on the top and the bottom of the back. Similar to A9 Pro’s glass back, the brushed metal back also makes the phone slippery to hold and is also prone to fingerprints. Samsung could have bundled a case for protection. It packs a 4000mAh built-in battery with support for fast charging. Apart from Gold it also comes in Black color. Overall the build quality of the phone is good.

Camera

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It has a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera with f/1.9 aperture.

The camera UI is similar to any other Samsung smartphone running Android Marshmallow such as Effects (No effect, Deep, Pastel, Monogram, Film, Retro, Sunrise, Gold, Nostalgia and more you can download) when you swipe from right to left, Timer (2 to 10 seconds), flash toggle, picture size along with aspect ratio (16MP/8MP at 4:3, 12MP/6MP at 16:9 or 6MP at 1:1), Gallery, video record and image capture toggles, selfie camera toggle and several modes (Auto, Pro (to adjust white balance, ISO and exposure manually), Panorama, continuous shot, HDR, Night and Food along with Sports shot, Animated GIF and Rear-cam selfie modes to download for free). The front-facing camera has beauty mode for selfies.

Settings option lets you choose resolution, toggle location tag, option to quickly launch the camera by pressing Home key twice, use the volume keys to take pictures and more.

Coming to the image quality, daylight shot are good most of the times. Macro shots are good, thanks to the f/1.9 aperture, HDR shots are good as well. Low-light shots could have been better. Images with flash are pretty good since the single LED flash is not overpowering even in macro shots. The front-facing camera is good for selfies and the details are crisp. It is also good for video chats since it can capture 1080p videos.

Check out some samples below (Click the image to view full resolution sample.).

Daylight

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Macro

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HDR

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HDR OFF
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HDR ON

Low light

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Low-light mode

Flash

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Front camera

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It can record videos at 1080p full HD resolution at 30 fps. Video quality is good, but it doesn’t have OIS. Audio is also crisp, thanks to the secondary microphone. Sadly, it doesn’t have slow motion recording and 4K video recording. Check out the video sample below.

Software, UI and Apps

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Home, Notification and About

Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) with Samsung’s own UI on top and also includes Android security update for January 2017. Samsung has not announced when the phone will get Android 7.0 (Nougat) update.

Android 6.0 for the Galaxy Smartphones bring a neat and plain UI. You can launch the dialer and camera easily from the lock screen. The drop-down notification bar has several toggles and lets you customize the row accordingly. It also has brightness slider with a toggle, quick connect and option to select preference for calls, text messages, mobile data and lots more.

The advanced features option has one-handed operation mode to easily reduce the screen size by pressing the home key three times and there is also one-handed input in keyboard, lock screen for entering unlock pattern and in dialer. Smart alert makes the phone vibrate when you pick it up to notify you about missed calls and messages. Easy mute lets you mute incoming calls and alarms by turning the device over. It also has multiwindow feature to run two apps at a time. The Panic mode lets you call emergency number.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Device Maintenance, Ultra Data Saving and Secure Folder

It also has Smart Manager option, which is called Device maintenance in this phone. This lets you manage your device’s battery life, storage, RAM usage, and security all in one place and Ultra data saving mode powered by Opera Max. This compresses cellular data across all contents such as videos, photos, media, almost all apps and websites. You can also add app exceptions if you don’t want data from an app to be compressed. It offers timeline of app usage and how much data is saved in a day or month. You can also check out data savings by individual app as well.

There is Samsung Secure Folder that lets you save your personal data and information. Once an app or data moved into the secure folder, it becomes Sand box, which means more protective and encrypted adding another layer to the security and privacy from malicious attack. You can also make copies of your favorite apps and easily access them via alternate profiles. Any notes, photos, contacts or browsing history within the apps stored in Secure Folder will remain separate from the same apps outside Secure Folder. This feature is almost similar to ‘Dual Space’ in Xiaomi devices and Secure Zone in Lenovo devices. It has S Health app and Galaxy Apps store, and doesn’t have any other bloatware or additional games.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro RAM, Storage and Move to SD

Out of 6GB of RAM, you get 5.84GB of usable RAM, out of which about 4.2GB of RAM is free when the default apps running in the background. Out of 64GB of internal storage, 51.78GB of storage is usable. You can also move compatible apps to the SD card when you insert one, without formatting the SD card as the internal storage.

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google Apps, the smartphone comes with, Opera Max, which powers the Ultra data saving mode and Microsoft Apps – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype.

Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Fingerprint

The phone has a fingerprint sensor built into the home button. It immediately unlocks phone just by keeping your finger on the home button so that you don’t have to press it. It also doesn’t recognize your finger properly if it’s wet. You can add up to 3 fingerprints. It can also be used for Samsung Pay in some markets where the service is available.

Music Player and FM Radio

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Music Player and FM Radio

It doesn’t have a dedicated music player, so you have to rely on Google Play Music. It has equalizer, UHQ upscaler, Surround and Tube Amp sound effects that can be enabled from the settings. All these improve the audio when listening through earphones. That said, audio through the bundled or third-party earphones is good and the loudspeaker output is good as well. Since it has a second speaker built into the earpiece, you can enable it for media playback and while playing games by enabling stereo mode from the sound settings.

Since the loudspeaker is present on the bottom, sound doesn’t get muffled when you place the phone on a flat surface. The FM Radio has a new UI. It has auto scanning and recording, which lets you store the recorded files in phone memory or SD card.

Calling and Messaging

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Dialer and Messaging

The dialer and messaging UI are similar to other Samsung smartphones running on Android Marshmallow. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get option to select either SIMs when calling or sending text message. There are no call drops and the earpiece volume is good.

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Dual SIM and Connectivity

It has the usual set of connectivity features such as Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4+5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONSASS and also comes with NFC support. It has 4G connectivity with support a lot of bands and also has Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) support for Reliance Jio. Both the SIMs support 4G, but you can enable 4G only in one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 3G.

You can set preferred SIM for voice call, text and data from the SIM card manager. As usual it has Smart Dual SIM feature, similar to other latest Samsung Dual SIM smartphones. This automatically forwards calls from the phone number on SIM 2, even if a user is on the phone with SIM 1’s number. There is a new Adaptive callback feature that lets you select which SIM card to use for calls made from your phone log, messages, or notifications if the preferred SIM card for calls does match the SIM card that was last used for calls or messages. It also has USB on-the-go (OTG) support.

Performance

The Galaxy C9 Pro is powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 (MSM8976Pro) 64-bit 28nm processor that has four ARM Cortex A72 cores clocked at 1.95GHz per core and four ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz per core. The performance is good without any lags. 6GB of RAM is more than enough to run several applications in the background. It has 621 MHz Adreno 510 GPU which offers good gaming performance. We did not face any heating issues during 4G usage or gaming, but the phone gets heated up a bit when charging. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

AnTuTu Benchmark 6

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro AnTuTu 6

It scored 84499 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 6.

Geekbench 3 Single-Core

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Geekbench 3 Single-Core

It scored 1420 points in the Geekbench 3 Single-Core benchmark.

Geekbench 3 Multi-Core

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It scored 4125 points in the Geekbench 3 Multi-Core benchmark.

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited

It managed to score 17497 points in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited GPU benchmark.

Basemark X 1.1

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Basemark X 1.1

It scored 26593 points in the Basemark X 1.1 benchmark.

Battery life

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro FA One Charge Rating

Coming to battery life, the 4000mAh battery lasts for a day even with heavy use such as 4G, gaming, video playback and video recording. It lasts for 2 days easily with average use, with minimal use it lasts for more than 2 days, which is pretty good. Power saving mode and ultra-power saving mode lets you extend the battery life. It also has Samsung’s own adaptive fast charging.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro FA One Charge Rating Pie Chart

In our battery test the smartphone achieved a One Charge Rating of 15 hours and 53 minutes, mainly due to brilliant talk time and video playback results. Check out the complete set of battery life test results here.

Conclusion

At a price tag of Rs. 36,900, the Galaxy C9 Pro is definitely costly compared to other smartphones in the range, including the OnePlus 3 that offers better performance and a better camera at a cheaper rate.Samsung says that the phone is manufactured in India, but still their mid-range smartphones are costly.

The 6-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display is good for media consumption and its huge 4000mAh battery that offers good battery life. The Snapdragon 653 processor is good, but it is not on par with the Snapdragon 820 SoC that is now found even phones under Rs. 20,000 like the Lenovo Z2 Plus. It has all the important sensors that you need, and also has a notification LED that was absent in the Galaxy A9 Pro, but this lacks slow-motion video recording and can’t record 4K. It available through Samsung offline and online stores, Amazon.in and Flipkart. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Good display
  • Good performance
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Slippery to hold
  • No 4K and slow motion video recording
  • Priced on the higher side
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Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+