The name Umidigi A9 is sorta deceptive. You hear it and think this phone is a toned-down version of the largely successful A9 Pro. Newsflash, it’s not. What it is is a slight upgrade of the very less successful A7s. I hated the Umidigi A7s so there was a proclivity for me to not like the Umidigi A9 – but in the spirit of being fair I stuck to the A9 for well over a week. Here’s my verdict on the phone presented as the top cool features on the phone to like and it’s other not so desirable bits.
Starting with the good – what’s to like.
The main shtick of the Umidigi A9 relative to other Umidigi’s releases this year is its affordability – capability ratio. With this phone Umidigi attempts to debut an Android smartphone that manages to do all the basics right at the lowest price possible. The A7s is their attempt to produce the cheapest smartphone possible).
For what it is able to do, Umidigi is charging just $106 for the phone. That’s a very fair price in my opinion especially considering that this phone ships with Android Eleven straight out of the box.
For that $106 you also get a 5150mAh battery which is by all means a ‘big’ battery for an Android phone, at the very least it is a big battery for an Umidigi phone. In my experience, the 5150mAh battery setup lasted a full day and more. If I stuck to the basics and kept off my mobile games the battery easily lasted a day and a half which is again something for an Umidigi smartphone. The range topping A9 Pro only manages to last just about a day so you get where I’m coming from.
A nice touch of extras
Umidigi has bundled a contactless thermometer, extra customizable button salvo in every of its recently released Android smartphones including the A9. I’m a huge fan of the extra customizable button. I feel it genuinely makes using this phone way more intuitive and easier than you’d imagine. The infrared thermometer is also a fun extra function to have and if you’re an hypochondriac, who like me is supper scared of the COVID-19 virus then you’d appreciate the fact that it allows you to do 1-sec temperature screens that I’ve found fairly accurate in my tests. It’s also worth noting that the A9 comes with USB-C. how often do we see manufacturers scrape off USB-C when they drop the price this low. Not Umidigi though, even the 75 dollar A7s ships with USB C.
While it’s lesser cousin – the A7s – bins biometric tech, the A9 retains the fingerprint sensor and facial recognition module available on the A9 Pro. It’s nice to see a back mounted fingerprint sensor in a sub $110 and both the fingerprint sensor as well as the facial recognition software work flawlessly smooth – I have no complaints whatsoever.
I’ve deliberately placed the specifications of the A9 as last on the what’s good list because it’s not exactly a ‘very’ good feature of the phone compared to other smartphones on the market. You get 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, all powered by a Helio G25 processor. Not stellar numbers but for the price you’re paying it’s not entirely out of place. And except you begin to crank things up with some gaming heavy lifting you’re not really going to notice the performance lag that comes with the A9’s not so powerful specifications. Note that the internal storage of the A9 is of the eMMC variant as opposed to the faster, more reliable UFS 2.1 available on the Umidigi A9 Pro.
Now let’s move on to the other not so nice features of the Umidigi A9.
The Umidigi A9 is a heavy phone to hold. It’s exactly like the Umidigi A7s and while there are some fine touches on and about the phone (the textured back and nicely curved edges for instance) it certainly doesn’t feel as premium as the A9 Pro.
I especially hate the plastic rim that goes around the A9’s screen. I’ve talked about this in my review of the A7s but basically, it’s prone to picking up scratch.
And speaking about the screen, the A9 has what I’ll describe as a lull screen. It’s an IPS HD+ screen that somewhat bright but there’s not enough of that saturation and vibrance that make images ‘pop.’ Whites are almost greyish on the A9’s screen and black come with a somewhat pronounced white hue. Add that to the out of place plastic rim and you get a clear picture of my issue with the A9’s screen. It’s not a bad screen but hey, there’s room for improvement.
No fast charger in the box
To power up that massive 5150mAh battery on the A9, Umidigi has included a 10W charger which in my opinion is largely inadequate. On the average it took me about, 3 hours to get the phone from 0-100% a time duration that increased if I was actively using the phone while charging. We’re in a smartphone market where phones go from 0-100 in 45 mins, come on Umidigi.
As was the case with the Umidigi A9 Pro, once again, Umidigi has managed to create a jack of all trades out of the A9. It’s a phone that does a lot of good things but none too excellently and with some negatives here and there. Overall, the negatives are minute when compared to the positives which makes the A9 a viable consideration if you’re just looking for a budget smartphone that does all the budget Android smartphone stuff you’ll need it to do. The fact that it also comes with Android 11 out of the box is another feather in its cap.
Sure, I’ll always recommend the Oukitel C21 over most other pocket friendly phones (yeah, it’s that good) but the A9 attempts to carve a niche for itself with that hefty 5150mAh battery. If staying on for longer is important to you then yeah, you should definitely consider the A9 above other pocket friendly midrangers I’ve covered on the site.