UMIDIGI A9 Pro Review: The Best Mid-Range Phone for ONLY P6,990

We mentioned in our UMIDIGI A9 review that we were supposed to discuss both the A9 and A9 Pro. After evaluating both devices, we thought that they have a lot of differences and each deserved to have its own review. We found ourselves to spend more time with the UMIDIGI A9 Pro because it looked different from their other phones.

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UMIDIGI A9 PRO REVIEW SPECS:

OS:Android 10
Processor:1.8GHz MTK Helio P60 Octa-Core processor | MALI G72
Display: 6.3" Full HD+ 2340x1080 with 19:5:9 In-Cell Display
Wireless Connections:4G, Bluetooth 4.2, 801.11 a/b/g/n/ac, A-GPS
Memory:128GB Internal Storage expandable with a Micro SD card, 6GB RAM
Connectors:Type-C USB, 3.5mm headphone jack
Cameras:48 Megapixels Sony Primary Camera f/1.79 + 16 Megapixels 120 degrees Ultra-Wide angle + 5 Megapixels Depth + 5 Megapixels Macro (Main Camera), 24 Megapixels Sony Ultra-Clear f/2.0 (Front)
SIM Card Slots:2x Nano SIM Cards required
Battery:4,150 mAh
SRP:P6,990

THE UNBOXING

This is the same type of box we have seen in the UMIDIGI A7s and A9. We suppose this is the standard box for the A-series.

Inside the package are the UMIDIGI A9 Pro review unit, clear silicon case, Type-C USB Cable, USB Charger Head, SIM Card Ejector and a User Manual.

THE LOOKS AND FEEL

Being the Pro version of the UMIDIGI A9, I expected the phone to be a bit larger. It wasn’t. Dimensions of the A9 Pro are 158.7mm x 74.9mm x 8.6mm – shorter and slimmer than the A9. It weighs almost the same though at 204 grams. Its form factor though is very different, kinda reminded me of a longer iPhone 4s.

The volume rocker and power buttons are found on the right side of the phone. The SIM Card slot and IR Thermometer button are found on the other side.

Found at the bottom are the 3.5mm headphone jack, Type-C USB port and speaker grille.

The A9 Pro doesn’t look and feel like an entry-level smartphone. It is made of double-sided 2.5D Curved Glass supported by a solid metal frame. I couldn’t believe that the back panel is also made of glass. No wonder we always find it so irresistible to look at. However, we couldn’t tell if it could survive accidental drops. It is wiser to use the silicon case that came with the package. Also found at the back are the camera module and fingerprint scanner for added security. The module is a bit protruding so you have to be gentle in placing the phone on a surface.

If you’ve held an iPhone 4 or 4s, then you’ll have an idea how it feels to hold the A9 Pro. Since it doesn’t have a unibody design, you could feel the edges of the glass on the front and back panels. They’re not that sharp to cause any cuts to your hands, but it is still quite uncomfortable especially when holding in longer periods. Again, use the silicon case to have a better feel of the hold.

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THE DISPLAY

Screen display of the UMIDIGI A9 Pro is smaller than the A9. It has a display size of 6.3″ with a tear-drop notch on top and a bigger bezel at the bottom. While it’s a bit disappointing to have a smaller display, its resolution is bumped up to Full HD+ (2340×1080) with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. How we wish they have made it to at least the same size as the A9 with a Full HD resolution. Display quality is fine and the small screen size isn’t bad at all.

THE PERFORMANCE

The UMIDIGI A9 Pro is expected to have a better processor and we are glad that they didn’t take a step back in this department. It uses a MediaTek Helio P60 Octa-Core processor, which is not new since it was introduced in 2018. We have reviewed at least a couple of them, most notably the Cherry Mobile Flare X3 and the realme 3. Will the benchmark tests show the same results?

What we noticed is the Antutu Benchmark score of the A9 Pro has a very huge lead over the realme 3 (182,251 > 127,670) but the Geekbench and PCMark scores are higher on the realme 3. In fact, the Geekbench score of the realme 3 are way, way higher for both single core and multi core tests.

The Helio P60 processor may be quite old but as we mentioned earlier, it is still reliable in today’s devices especially if it’s going to be used in the entry-level segment. Navigation is snappy and we did not encounter any hiccups with its day-to-day performance. We also love the fact that it comes with a very generous 128GB internal storage and 6GB of memory. These specs are normally found in mid-range phones but UMIDIGI is offering it for the lower market segment. Not only that, it still has a dedicated memory card slot to store multimedia files.

With these specs, it is definitely possible to play all the latest mobile games on the A9 Pro. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang allowed me to play on High Graphics and Call of Duty Mobile was set to High Graphic Quality and High Frame Rate.

UMIDIGI prides itself for using only stock Android for all its phones. The A9 Pro comes with Android 10 pre-installed. We were a bit disappointed at this because the A9 already has Android 11. Why would the lower model have the latest version of the OS while the Pro variant gets the previous version? It doesn’t make sense. We “googled” around and found nothing about the A9 Pro being upgradable to Android 11 and our own review unit says it is up to date.

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THE CAMERAS

The UMIDIGI A9 Pro joins the Quad-camera club in the entry-level segment. It is composed of a 48 Megapixel Sony primary camera, 16 Megapixel ultra-wide, 5 Megapixel depth and 5 Megapixel macro. Sony sensors are usually found in mainstream brands, so it is quite surprising to find it with a UMIDIGI entry-level phone. We have no idea what Sony sensor UMIDIGI used for the A9 Pro, but we took their word for it.

The cameras seem to be better and honestly we feel more at home with them compared to the A9. Sometimes, images turned out sharp and colors were quite accurate. On other times, they look fuzzy and washed out. Night photos are better and have more colors popping out.

Here are sample photos taken by the UMIDIGI A9 Pro:

THE BATTERY LIFE

Battery capacity of the UMIDIGI A9 Pro is rated at 4,150 mAh. We expected the Pro variant to have at least the same battery capacity as the A9. 4,150 mAh is quite short. The PCMark Battery test result shows 8 hours and 47 minutes of runtime, which is roughly the same uptime we’ve had during our evaluation.

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DR’S CONCLUSION

We really like the UMIDIGI A9 Pro’s looks and we think it’s best looking phone among the brand’s current offerings. While it has some shortcomings compared to the non-Pro variant, the A9 Pro offers more mid-range features for the price of an entry-level smartphone. If you are looking for an all-around smartphone for only P6,990, we recommend the UMIDIGI A9 Pro.

PROS:

  • Double-sided glass panels
  • Generous storage and memory
  • Helio P60 offers adequate performance

CONS:

  • Smaller than the A9
  • Battery life could be better
  • Android 10 (Non-pro variant has Android 11)

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