Samsung Announces Galaxy A9, A Midrange Phone With Four Cameras

Back of Galaxy A9 with 4 cameras
Samsung Press Room/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Samsung is not known for subtlety or finesse when it comes to their design aesthetic — but rather ostentatious excess. They have the tendency to emulate, yet enhance, the look and feel of market leaders in consumer categories ranging from smartphones to robot vacuum cleaners.

The new Galaxy A9 sits very comfortably amidst that innovative and iterative tradition. Apple’s two-camera system has served it well. Samsung is no longer satisfied with two cameras. Starting with their midrange Galaxy A9, they are introducing their first four-camera phone. If four cameras are too many for cash-strapped buyers, they are also offering the A7 model with three.

Four cameras are not even the most cameras to be found on the back of a smartphone this year. PCMag has the story.

“How many cameras are enough on a smartphone? The LG V40 ThinQ has five, but for those who need something a little more affordable, Samsung’s new midrange Galaxy A9 has four rear cameras… The South Korean tech giant stuck a 24MP f/1.7 main camera, a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, a 120-degree 8MP f/2.8 ultra-wide lens, and a 5MP f/2.2 lens for depth on the back of its latest smartphone,” Adam Smith details for the tech magazine.

Apple manages to do most of this with two physical cameras because they use a combination of sophisticated glass and silicon. Google utilizes machine learning to deliver deep results with just one camera — and theirs is arguably the best in the business.

iPhone camera
  Carl Court / Getty Images

That said, Samsung is a hardware manufacturer with comparatively underdeveloped software and machine learning talent. So solving a problem with hardware plays to Samsung’s strengths, given the industry sector that they are currently competing within.

With this move, Samsung is making a bold play to capture the top end of the smartphone market, where iterative improvements reign supreme over outright revolutionary design changes. Right now, smartphones are all about the camera tech — Huawei’s marketing trailers playing in cinemas across Canada and the United States should be proof enough of this current consumer desire. Everything about the phone can be unimpressive — but if the camera is appealing enough, any hypothetical phone from an established manufacturer has a decent shot at market success.

The A9 has good specs at a reasonable price of €599, or about $749. That looks especially attractive compared to $1,000 flagships from competitors. Samsung is looking to recapture much of the midrange. They may not bring this particular phone to the United States, but if it is well-received — expect four or more cameras in a high-end Galaxy not so far, far away.