Recently at CES, Samsung revealed their new upper mid-range phone – the Galaxy A8. The A8 is the successor to the A5 (2017). The A5 was a good-looking phone with mediocre specs and a high price tag and it ended up not doing so well with sales. This might change with the A8 because firstly, this is one gorgeous device. And secondly, it packs some real solid hardware and comes with some cool Samsung-exclusive features which were earlier available only on the S and Note devices. Sure, it looks like a Galaxy S8. Hell, it might as well be called a S8 Mini because this device shares so much of similarities from its bigger brothers.
The A8 houses a beautiful 5.6 inch FHD+ Super AMOLED screen (1080 x 2220) while the A8+ has a 6 inch screen with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9 just like almost all the phones coming out this year. Samsung is calling this the Infinity Display, but it is nowhere the same edge to edge display found on the S8, S8+ or the Note 8.
But the A8 still has considerably smaller bezels in comparison to the A5 & A7 from last year. It has the similar all glass and metal edge design the S and Note devices. It luckily still retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack and also comes with USB type – C port for fast charging (standard 9V fast charger included in the box). But unlike the premium Galaxy devices, the A8 doesn’t support wireless charging. Anyways, none of the phones in this price segment support it.
The A8 and the A8+ run on the all new Octa Core Exynos 7885 Soc. The 7785 is quite a handy performer. For comparison, the Exynos 8895 Soc found on the S8 and the Note 8 is 25% faster on single core and 35% faster on multi core. And this difference is acceptable, given that the A8 is over 20,000 INR cheaper than the S8! The A8 comes with 4GB of RAM/32 GB of storage and the A8+ with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. As of battery, the A8 has a standard 300mAh battery while the A8+ gets the beefy 3500mAh battery. Samsung claims the battery should give 17 hrs and 19 hrs of video playback respectively.
In the camera department, for the first time ever Samsung is proving dual front cameras. The A8 has a 8MP primary camera with a 16MP wide-angle lens on the front for wide angle group selfies and has the Live Focus feature present on the Note 8 to help with portrait mode selfies. On the rear, there is a f/1.7 16 MP shooter.
It’s the same one present on the S8. Samsung, learing from its mistake has changed the position of the finger-print scanner. It is now positioned right below the rear camera. If this is any indication, the upcoming Galaxy S9 is going to have a similar. To me personally, the dual front cameras seem pretty useless. I don’t usually click too many selfies and I feel this extra hardware could be invested somewhere else into the device. If not anything, the removal of the secondary front camera would at least bring down the cost of the phone by 4000-5000 INR.
Bixby: The A8 is the first device apart from the S and Note devices to support Bixby . (Bixby is Samsung’s own AI software that was introduced last year). The A8 has Bixby Home – to control all your smart home devices; Bixby Vision – a cool feature in which whatever picture you click with your camera, the phone will scan it and give you related information on what’s in the picture; Bixby Reminder – A standard reminder system just like the ones on the Google Assistant and Siri. The phone unfortunately doesn’t come with Bixby Voice.
Samsung Pay: Samsung Pay is yet another cool feature which is making its way into more phones this year. With Samsung Pay on your phone, you never have to carry a card with you. Samsung Pay, records all your credit and debit cards and links up with your bank account. It basically acts as a virtual card. All you need to do is tap your phone on the card-swipe machine to make a payment. It connects via NFC.
Facial Unlock: In addition to a fingerprint scanner, the A8 also houses an Iris Scanner. This is to enable the Facial unlock feature which seems to be all the rage right now. But to Samsung’s credit, they had the facial unlock feature way before Apple made headlines with Face ID.
Pricing and availability:
The A8 comes in 4 colours – Black, Orchid Grey, Gold and Blue. As per official pricing, the A8 costs €499 and the A8+ costs €599. But in India, strangely only the A8+ is available; exclusively on Amazon for 32,999 INR. Samsung hasn’t spoken about the A8 release in India. In most likelihood, it will never make it here.
The pricing of this device pits it directly against some of the premium devices like the One Plus 5T, Honor View 10 and the Moto Z2. But with top-notch design, superior display, unique cameras, nifty extras like Bixby and Samsung Pay and of course the brand name, the A8 looks to take on the competition.
Click here to buy the Samsung Galaxy A8+