Even though there’s a number nine in its model name, the Galaxy C9 Pro has this interesting obsession with the number six.
Let’s see: 6-inch AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 653 processor, 16-megapixel cameras on the front and back, 64GB of expandable storage, 6.9mm thickness, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and most noteworthy, 6GB of memory.
All these numbers equate to a midrange smartphone that could be mistaken for a premium handset, if not for the average Snapdragon processor — and that’s where the confusion arises.
It’s quite pricey for what it offers
We have to get this out of the way before we go in deep: The Galaxy C9 Pro isn’t affordable. With an SRP of INR 36,900 in India and PhP 27,990 in the Philippines, it’s in borderline flagship pricing territory.
Just look at the alternatives at this price range: Huawei’s brand-defining P9, the high-powered OnePlus 3T, and even the well-rounded ZenFone 3 Zoom from ASUS. That’s some tough company, and all the Galaxy C9 Pro can truly boast is its generous amount of memory.
Performance is what you’d expect
When I first saw the specs sheet, I could already tell what the Galaxy C9 Pro is all about, and I was right. The chipset is more than enough to navigate through the interface, and the 6GB of memory allows you to go back to apps without needing to refresh.
It’s when you fire up graphics-intensive games and max out visual settings that you begin to notice a dip in performance, which is mostly the weakness of the middling processor. The good news is you can switch from heavy games like NBA 2K17 to other apps without any hiccups thanks to the abundance of RAM.
Has a battery that can last
With large proportions comes a big battery — case in point with the Galaxy C9 Pro. I often broke the one-day barrier with about five hours of screen-on time and enough energy left to reach the second day’s afternoon. It’s something you can credit to the combination of the power-efficient processor and Full HD AMOLED display. Fast charging is supported too, allowing you to go from zero to a hundred percent in more or less two hours.
Saturation at its finest
As with any Samsung handset, the Galaxy C9 Pro has one seriously saturated AMOLED panel. It’s six inches of contrast bliss, with colors that can really blow your photos out of realism. The screen does, however, make less dire tasks like gaming and Netflix watching a lot more spectacular. And like other Galaxies, the C9 Pro allows you to tone down the visual levels in the settings menu if you think it’s too much.
A couple of surprises
To our delight, there are three card slots in the Galaxy C9 Pro: two for nano-SIM cards and one for a microSD card. This is a no-compromise setup, and should be the standard for every phone if you think about it. Another pleasant surprise is the strength of the stereo speakers. I could hear every screech and roar of the engine while playing Asphalt Xtreme: Rally Racing, even from a distance.
Split praises for the cameras
Similar to the Galaxy A5 (2017) we reviewed recently, the C9 Pro has similar cameras for the front and back. The 16-megapixel rear camera does a fantastic job boosting colors and taking advantage of its dynamic range. On the other hand, the 16-megapixel front-facing camera produces blurry shots most of the time. And even when it does create a fine-looking selfie, the quality is nowhere near that of the main camera’s.
Design is simply… uninspiring
Finally, it comes down to the aesthetics. Frankly, there’s nothing special to the Galaxy C9 Pro in the looks department. Even if you don’t factor in the astonishing Galaxy S8, the C9 Pro barely gets by with its stale Galaxy design. The usual fingerprint scanner on the home button is there, along with an annoying rear camera bump and plain aluminum body — nothing special to see here.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
I mentioned the price near the beginning of this review because I feel it ultimately defines the Galaxy C9 Pro. Whether or not it excels at certain aspects — and it does with app retention and multimedia presentation — it’s difficult to stomach the premium cost it demands.
Aside from the competition we mentioned earlier, adding a little more can net you Huawei’s splendid Mate 9 and digging a little deeper would reward you with last year’s Galaxy S7 Edge at a discounted price.
The choices near this price point are plenty, which, unfortunately, don’t favor the Galaxy C9 Pro. But this isn’t to say the premium midranger isn’t any good. If you’re a heavy multitasker in need of a larger-than-usual display, the C9 Pro makes a strong case — its only one.