These days there’s a lot of competition in the pocket-friendly budget (what l like to call the budget budget) Android smartphone market, and with the A9 is Umidigi trying to say hold on, we’re still here – don’t usurp all our market share you pesky Oukitel.
And rightly so, given that the A7S turned out to be a failed experiment. With the A9, Umidigi has improved on the A7S giving the phone a better performance core and some slight upgrades here and there. All that said, however, the most important question still is – should you buy the A9? Well, in this buying guide I will help you make that decision.
Let’s start with what makes the A9 a good buy
Everyone loves a smartphone that can keep its charge even after grinding through a full day of use. On the A9, Umidigi attempts to satisfy that pipe dream. You get a 5150mAh battery that, in my experience, is sufficient enough to power the A9 through a day and a half of use. If you keep things simple (no gaming), the A9 can even stretch it out to last two days, but this is rare anyway. For the $106 Umidigi is charging, it’s hard to pick another smartphone that rivals the battery capacity of the A9.
Although the A9 doesn’t by any means scream high performance, the specifications you get for $103 are actually something of a bargain. The phone comes with 64GB of internal storage and a RAM allocation of 3GB all powered by a Helio G25 Processor. Again, not anything particularly impressive, but for the price, it’s an okayish spec sheet. If anything, unlike the A7S, the A9 is powerful enough to run actual Android, and on this phone, you’re getting Android 11 straight out of the box.
Through the few weeks I’ve been with the phone, I’ve been able to do usual android stuff without hitting too many lags or stutters. The A9 will not run performance-intensive applications smoothly or play high-definition games like Call of Duty without lagging, so note that. It’s not a budget gaming android phone. What it is is a reasonably capable budget android phone equipped to handle run-of-the-mill Android tasks.
Pretty much every Umidigi smartphone now comes with these two added features, and like I’ve been yammering on, on my review of other Umidigi phones like the A9 Pro and the A7S, they’re two really cool features to have.
I especially love the extra customizable button, but that’s just me. Most of my friends fall for the cool to use a contactless thermometer. Together they add a little bit of appeal to the A9 above other competing smartphones. I don’t think Oukitel, Cubot, or Elephone has started including customizable buttons on their smartphones, let alone infrared thermometers.
There are some drawbacks with the A9
The A9 is a heavy phone to hold. It’s certainly not as sleek as the iTel S16 or as light as the Oukitel C21, and for me, that’s a drawback because I really like the finer things of life. If you’re like me, then you should consider this.
The A9 ships with a HD+ screen. While that’s not entirely out of place, given its price, the uncharacteristic washed-out appearance of the images produced by the screen is entirely out of place. Whites appear brownish, and there’s none of that punch or pizzazz you’d find on the Oukitel C21. Disappointing.
Should you buy the A9?
Yes, yes, yes, with a caveat. If you’re in the market for a cheap budget budget Android phone, then really, the A9 should be one of your top considerations. Especially given that the Oukitel C21 sort of jacked up in price after I lavished it with praise in my Oukitel C21 review.
The A9 is a complete smartphone for the price. I said it in my original review of the phone. It’s a jack of all trades that attempts to do everything well enough – not excellently but well enough. You’ve got a good camera, an excellent battery, okayish specifications, above par build quality, with the major drawbacks being just the design and the poor screen.
The caveat is don’t expect the A9 to be anything like the A9 Pro. It’s not its ‘junior brother,’ neither is it a slight downgrade. This phone won’t run PUBG with lagging or shoot the amazing pictures produced by the A9 Pro. It’s more of a small upgrade to the A7S than it is a downgrade of the A9 Pro. And that pretty much sums up what the A9 is all about – budget budget Android that’s pocket-friendly and just about capable enough for the routine android smartphone stuff.