If you’re in the market for a budget mid-ranger smartphone that does all that’s expected of a budget mid-ranger you’ve probably come across Umidigi’s flagship A9 Pro. At $152 and with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, it’s a smartphone that manages to strike the sweet spot between performance and cost effectiveness. But is it the right device for you? Should you consider buying the A9 Pro above other budget android smartphones in the market? I answer those question in this buying guide.
Read my full review of the A9 Pro here
What are the selling points of the A9 Pro?
The price – obviously
When you consider everything together, $152 is a fair price to pay for an Android smartphone with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and the overall finish on the A9 Pro. I like to think of the A9 Pro as the budget android all-rounder. It certainly has its flaws – the build is not as solid as what you’ll get on the Cubot C30, for instance – but overall, it’s a smartphone that ticks many more checkboxes than the competition, for the price.
The A9 Pro comes with Umidigi’s signature flagship glass-sandwich build design. It’s similar to what you’ll find on the A7 Pro and the S5 Pro and on the A9 Pro and it looks really cool. You get a back mounted fingerprint sensor, placed below a finely executed camera bump that works to give this phone a very distinctive back profile.
At the front of the device, a teardrop notch complements the 1080 x 2340 full HD screen and while there are very visible notches (and a chin) the phone still feels well thought out. Matter of fact, If you squint your eyes a little to ignore the plastic edges it even begins to look like something from the more premium side of the Android market.
Umidigi has always placed an emphasis on its phone’s camera. However, having used and reviewed the Umidigi A7S and its abysmally poor camera I was not expecting too much from the A9 Pro’s camera setup. Picture my surprise when I tested the A9 Pro’s camera and got these photos. Take a look.
Cool right? Pictures came out with full color contrast. They were sharp, detailed and punchy; it’s hard to ask for more from a sub $220 smartphone.
The only downside was the lags I experienced with the camera software and the overexposure I encountered while shooting with the selfie camera in poorly lit scenes. My guess is that it’s a software issue and with a new update already available it should be fixed.
From the factory, the A9 Pro ships with an extra customizable button and a contactless thermometer. If you’re a shortcuts person like me you’ll love the extra customizability and convenience brought on by the customizable button. You can program it open any phone app or launch select phone functions.
The contactless thermometer allows you to take temperature readings by simply pointing your phone at a subject. It’s located on the camera bump and while I haven’t come around to using it frequently, I guess it’ll be a handy feature for those who need to take body temperature readings on-the-go.
The gaming capacity
With 6GB of RAM (there’s an 8GB RAM variant) and 128GB of storage, the A9 Pro packs the specifications to shoulder some gaming heavy lifting. But hey, how often does it happen that specs don’t translate to better performance in the real world.
Thankfully that’s not the case with the A9 Pro. Running PUBG, Call of Duty and even PES 2021 was a breeze on mid performance settings. I did notice some stutter with PUBG in higher graphics settings but its barely noticeable.
Battery life (not exactly a selling point but worth the mention)
The A9 Pro ships with a 4150 mAh battery and on paper that’s a pretty neat battery spec to have on a budget Android phone. In real world use, I’d say the performance just about matches what you’d expect. The phone can go a full day when you stick to the basics. If you plan on doing any heavy lifting, say gaming or binge watching a series on Netflix, you’ll have to carry your charging brick along with you.
Which brings us to the next point as to why the battery department is not exactly a very strong point for the A9 Pro – there’s no fast charger in the box. You’ll have to make do with a 10W charger that gets the phone from 0 – 100 in about 120 mins (2 hours).
What are the weak points that might sway you from buying the A9 Pro?
Just to clarify. Build is different from design. While the design on the A9 Pro stands out the build leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, the phone is heavy. At 213g, it will cause your jeans to sag if you’re not wearing a belt. Then there’s the fact that the plastic edge looks like it was painted over with cheap paint. If you go over the volume rocker and power button, you’ll also notice they wobble in their seating. All this makes the phone feel less premium than it really should’ve been.
No fast charger in the box
Given that this is a flagship and given that Umidigi doesn’t even ship this phone with a complimentary earphone, a fast charging brick should’ve been included in the box. Sadly, it’s not. If you get this phone, you’ll have to make do with the 10W charger, although that manages to get it to 100% in just about 2 hours.
Final thoughts – Should you buy the Umidigi A9 Pro?
Should you buy the Umidigi A9 Pro? It’s a resounding yes for me. There’s a lot to like about the A9 Pro and if we’re being candid very little to hate: for the price and compared to competition the build quality is quite okay: no fast charger in the box is pretty much standard for most Chinese phone manufacturers at this price category.
What Umidigi has managed to do with the A9 Pro is include just about everything that’s necessary to satisfy the needs of the budget smartphone shopper.
For now, it’s hard to find another smartphone that beats that.