Predictably, the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) comes in a fairly large box. It contains the full basic set - a Quick Charge 2.0 charger (15W), a cable to go with it and a headset.
It's a one-piece headset with a three-button remote and in-ear plugs, Samsung's usual.
The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) measures a whopping 161.7 x 80.9 x 7.4mm, wider and taller than the Note5 and S6 edge+ by almost half a centimeter in either direction.
It's not very thick, but it certainly is heavy - 200g. Not surprising given the size, but still it adds to the feeling of awe you get when you first handle the A9.
While the scale is different, the floor plan remains unchanged. A metal skeleton holds up two panes of 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4.
The scale truly is different, though, be prepared to only hold the Galaxy A9 (2016) with one hand for reading; any active use will require two hands.
Several design elements compound the problem. First, the 80.9mm of width pushes your grip wide. The 7.4mm thickness is pretty good, but at that width, even this little can make the phone feel bulky. The 200g of weight combined with the slippery glass and metal exterior mean you can't relax your grip too much or risk sending the A9 to the floor.
Button positioning isn't ideal either - we could reach the Power button with our thumb (it was a stretch), but the Volume buttons are just too high up to reach comfortably.
Similarly, using the Home button - which also houses the flagship-class fingerprint reader - requires that you hold the phone low, leaving most of the massive 6" screen and 200g bulk high above your hand. As we said, single-handed grip really only works for passive media consumption.
The capacitive App switcher and Back keys flank the Home button and depending on which hand you use, one of them will be a reach.
Anyway, above the screen is the new 8MP selfie camera (up from 5MP on other A-series models), which kept the bright f/1.9 aperture.
The main camera on the back protrudes slightly, but not as much as on the Galaxy S6 or Note5. It's accompanied by a single-LED flash (no biometric sensors like on the Galaxy top dogs though).
The bottom of the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) is where the wired ports live - the stock microUSB 2.0 port and the 3.5mm audio jack. Squished alongside them are the loudspeaker (singular) and one of the mics (the second one is on top).
Our review unit (SM-A9000) is currently the only A9 version available. It has a second tray (positioned on top) that is dedicated to holding the second SIM. This way you get to have both two SIMs and expanded storage.
If the A9 is anything like the A5 and A7, international dual-SIM models will have a single hybrid tray can hold either two nanoSIMs or nanoSIM + microSD (but not three cards at the same time).
Admittedly, this is less of a problem on the A9 (2016) than it is on smaller A-phones as this one has 32GB of built-in storage. Unfortunately, a massive 7.5GB is dedicated to the system.