Chinese manufacturer Gionee unveiled the S9 earlier today, and though the phone might not exactly quality as a flagship, it still manages to impress in several key aspects.
Our tour begins on the outside, where you will notice the glass front and the aluminum back curve at the sides to meet each other in the middle. Even though this gives the S9 good looks, particularly if you go for the stealthy black version, it is not a design we have not seen before. Furthermore, since the S9 is similar to the iPhone and other phones in terms of looks, the S9 might be a bit slippery for most hands.
Even so, the phone adopts the recent trend of having dual rear cameras, with the 5-megapixel Samsung sensor playing second fiddle to the 13MP Sony sensor. Equipping the S9 with two rear cameras allows the phone, along with its software, to adjust focus points and gives photos a depth of field effect. Not to be outdone, however, the front-facing 13MP camera uses the screen as a selfie flash, with added effects such as seven different “beautify” modes.
Gionee emphasizes the cameras and their capabilities, but the company gives just as much attention to its rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. According to Gionee, applications and documents can be locked behind either a password or your fingerprint. Furthermore, the S9 can cordon off part of the operating system for private contacts, calls, messages, documents, and applications, with users able to lock that space using their fingerprints.
Under the hood, a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor and 4GB RAM run the show, with the S9 packing 64GB of native storage. The two SIM card slots let you use the phone as a dual-SIM device, with the second SIM slot doubling as a MicroSD card slot that supports up to an additional 128GB of memory. Keeping the lights is a 3,000mAh battery, which should be enough to let you use the S9 from morning through the evening.
Finally, the S9 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with Gionee’s Amigo OS 3.5 layered above it.
Alas, do not expect the S9 to makes its way to the West any time soon, as the phone was announced for release in mainland China for CNY 2,499 ($364). As such, importing the phone might be the only way to get your hands on the S9. At that point, however, there are plenty of other compelling options, such as the Huawei Honor 8 and the ZTE Axon 7, that hover just above the S9’s price point and are more readily available.
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