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The Hisense A9 is an Android smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and a 6.1 inch, 1648 x 824 pixel black and white E Ink display. It’s the latest in a line of E Ink phones released by the Chinese electronics company in recent years.
When Hisense launched the A9 in China last year it was available with 128GB of storage and 4GB or 6GB of RAM. Now you can also order a model with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage.
One thing to keep in mind is that this phone is designed for use in China and has limited support for cellular networks in other countries. So while you might be able to connect to some 4G networks from time to time, it’s probably better for North American customers to think of the Hisense A9 as a pocket-sized device for reading eBooks or other content, listening to music, or performing other tasks that don’t necessarily rely on a cellular connection.
The Hisense A9 is available in China for 1,799 RMB and up, and international shoppers can pick one up from AliExpress with prices ranging from around $260 for a 4GB/128GB model to $360 for an 8GB/256GB version.
All models feature a 4,000 mAh battery, 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, and an ES9318 audio chip with support for LDAC, AAC, SBC, and AptX Bluetooth audio codecs. It has a USB-C port for charging and data and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The phone measures 159 x 79.5 x 7.8mm and weighs 183 grams, making it slimmer than an Amazon Kindle eReader, but a bit heavier than Amazon’s entry-level eReader, which measures 157.89 x 108.6 x 8mm and weighs 158 grams.
But while a Kindle is designed first and foremost for reading eBooks, the Hisense A9 is an Android-powered device that you can use to surf the web, play word games (or other games that don’t require a high screen refresh rate), and use any number of other third-party apps, assuming they play well with grayscale E Ink displays.
The display can be viewed in brightly lit environments without any additional illumination, but there’s also a front-light system that supports 36 levels of brightness for reading in dim or dark environments. That light also supports 36-levels of color temperature adjustments, allowing you to choose a colder temperature with more blue light or warmer colors that border on orange with the blue light removed.
Some other things to keep in mind are that the Hisense A9 runs Android 11, which is a few years old at this point. It has a highly customized user interface but should support third-party apps. But you’ll have so sideload many of them, since the device doesn’t come with the Google Play Store or other Google Mobile services enabled.