Samsung wants to improve and update its upper-middle range, with features and design seen in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, but betting on a more affordable price. This is where the Samsung Galaxy A8 appears, a device with an infinite screen (almost without frames), double camera for selfies, protection against water and dust and such interesting functions as facial recognition. All this for 500 euros .
It is the most lustrous member of the Samsung Galaxy A family, formed so far by the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 (all of them with a couple of versions. The A8 is committed to those users who want a more capable device, with a camera much more advanced than that of the A5 , more processor, more memory and the infinite screen design seen in other top-of-the-range devices. A whole bet against the competition, such as the Huawei P Smart, which differs in having a more expensive price. trimmed and in its design without resistance to water and dust.
Samsung Galaxy A8
|screen||5.6, FullHD 2,220 x 1,080 pixels Super AMOLED, density 441 pixels per inch (18.5: 9 aspect ratio)|
|Main chamber||16 megapixels, f / 1.7, Full HD video|
|Selfie cameras||-16 megapixels, f / 1.9, Full HD video|
- 8 megapixels, f / 1.9, Full HD video
|Internal memory||32 GB / Expandable via microSD card|
|Extension||microSD up to 256GB|
|Processor and RAM||Exynos 7885 octa-core 2.1 Ghz, 4 GB RAM, (Antutu 84384)|
|Battery||3,000 mAh, fast charge, (Antutu 10,025 points)|
|Operating system||Android 7.1.1 Nougat / Samsung Touchwiz|
|Connections||BT 5.0, GPS, USB Type-C, NFC, 3.5mm Mini Jack|
|Design||Metal and glass, IP68 certified, fingerprint reader|
|Dimensions||149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm (172 grams)|
|Featured Features||FM radio, face detection, widescreen adaptation, always on display|
We have spent several days using the Samsung Galaxy A8 as a personal mobile to analyze it in detail. We have taken care of its battery life, the brightness of its screen and its ability to solve everyday situations: talking on WhatsApp, watching online content, playing games and posting on social networks. This is our review of the Samsung Galaxy A8 .
The best design for the mid-range
Samsung can boast of Galaxy A8 to the gallery. And it is that it is the mid-range terminal with the best design that we have tested. Manufacturers have gone for glass and metal, but not all opt for an IP68 certification . In this case, it is one of the highlights, allowing us to take the mobile to the shower or even immerse it, although always attending to the specifications. And this protection is precisely that, a resistance to prevent the mobile from being damaged in an accident against dust or water. It must not remain submerged more than five feet and for more than 30 minutes to maintain its integrity. And you also have to take into account that elements such as chlorine in the pool or sea salt are corrosive.
Apart from this feature, we find a mobile that reminds us a lot of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on the front. This is due to the infinite screen that it integrates. We are talking about a panel with a ratio of 18.5: 9, matching the characteristics of Samsung's top-of-the-range screens, at least in terms of format. This allows us to enjoy a 5.6-inch panel, a device with the size of a 5.2-inch smartphone. In short, a space well used, although not as much as high-end mobiles. We develop this point later in the analysis. But we can say that its appearance is elegant, beautiful and offers quality sensations . Nobody would say that it is not a top of the range right out of the box.
Although the infinity screen makes it lose definition and recognition as a brand on its front, Samsung continues to bring its particular design to the back. Here we find an island with the camera and the fingerprint sensor with an already classic quadrangular aspect in Samsung terminals. Apart from this, the design reminds us a lot of the rest of the Galaxy A range , with a single speaker (although quite powerful and clear) in the upper right corner and the volume buttons on one side and the off button on the other.
Basically, in hand and with eyes closed we would not know if we have the Galaxy S8 or the Galaxy A8, if it were not for the well-known Edge curves . Of course, have a cloth handy if you want to show it off. The tempered glass finish remains a magnet for fingerprints as soon as you have it with you for a couple of days.
Dual selfie camera
It is undoubtedly another of the key characteristics. It is not the first manufacturer to decide to bring the dual dual camera to the front. Asus already did it a few months ago. But Samsung is also committed to offering technical characteristics worthy of the high-end range. Thus, with the double camera we not only achieve the so famous bokeh or dynamic focus effect , that is, blur the contour of the subject; it also offers very bright lenses to save the day even in low light.
Of course, they are not the best cameras on the market. Selfies in dark places are solved well, offering a certain luminosity and a more than correct color under the circumstances, but with a rather poor definition . Of course, let's not forget that it is not a top-of-the-range mobile. Of course, when there is good light, the photography is very good, offering great definition in details such as beard hair or eyebrows, or the different textures of clothing.
The front chambers are formed by a sensor 16 and an 8 megapixels . Both have aperture f / 1.9, which offers us that certain luminosity even if the scene is not appropriate. Is the best decision to integrate this dual system at the front? Well, it depends on each user. Of course, if what you like are portrait-type photos with the background out of focus (bokeh), with this system you won't have to ask anyone to take your picture. An aspect much more focused on the social and, perhaps, on that younger audience to which the Galaxy A range is dedicated.
If we look at the main camera we find a 16 megapixel sensor with a focus aperture of 1.7. In this case, photos in dark environments suffer less and are shown with less grain and more definition. Again, it is not the best camera on the market, but it can show off much of the competition thanks to its finishes and speed. Photos in broad daylight are highly detailed and vibrant in color. Its biggest but is not being able to record video in 4K quality .
Of course Samsung has included its pack of stickers to play with the photos . Elements that play with augmented reality, detecting our face to apply a cat mask and follow our gestures. More interesting is being able to have manual mode to manage any aspect of photography. Or other modes such as food, panoramic photo or night photo to try to better capture the scene in each case.
Not so infinite screen
Samsung has brought its infinity display to the mid-range, and it is appreciated. The Samsung Galaxy A8 has a 5.6-inch panel. Of course, the screen percentage on the front is not as high as the Galaxy S8, which reached more than 80%, but it is quite close, with somewhat thicker frames at the top and bottom . By the way, for the maniacs of the forms, the curves of the screen coincide with the corners of the terminal, which offers a feeling of balance and elegance that other terminals such as the LG G6 do not have (its curves are unbalanced).
Now, we are talking about a Super AMOLED panel, with which the image quality and the showiness of it are assured. It only has Full HD + resolution (2220 x 1080 pixels), but it is more than enough to appreciate images and content with a high degree of detail. All in a more panoramic ratio than normal: 18.5: 9 . Being AMOLED means having deeper blacks and a feeling of definition and detail more pressing. And its brightness ensures that we enjoy the contents even in bright sunlight without too many problems. Does it have somewhat saturated colors? Yes, something that is already a brand of the house and that does not matter so much if that wow effect is achieved with videos and games.
This infinite screen, although not as much as in the Galaxy S8, has its good part and its bad part. The good thing is the high-end terminal aspect , where a large part of the front is used to display the contents. The bad part comes from content not adapted to this type of panel . We refer to YouTube videos, Netflix content, games like Clash Royale or applications of any kind. The solution has remained the same since these extra panoramic screens emerged: eat part of the image to enlarge it and cover the entire screen. Something that can leave us without part of the information on certain occasions.
Faced with this problem, Samsung offers the possibility, through its customization layer, to hide the navigation bar to take advantage of the screen , or to extract it. Even to enlarge the image a little in order to cover the space between the bar and the image. Something that does not provide a solution to the real problem: the contents, applications and games are still not adapted to the infinite screens and information is lost on the sides if the image is enlarged.
Eye and touch proof security
As we said at the beginning of the analysis, Samsung has opted for a family of Galaxy A with characteristics of Galaxy S. Especially in the case of this Galaxy A8, which has biometric security measures seen in the Note 8 . That is, face recognition to unlock the screen (not the iris) and a fingerprint sensor. Both are quick and useful, but after a few days of use, the natural tendency is to unlock the terminal with your finger. It is almost immediate, it is comfortable and does not require a light environment, posed in front of the mobile or any kind of strange gesture.
And it is that facial recognition is very good, but it involves a couple of more steps in the unlocking process . Not only do you have to turn on the terminal screen, which already leads to holding it and looking for a button, you also have to take the environment into account. By not having an infrared system like the iPhone X, the Galaxy A8 requires good light to detect the user's face. And that, of course, does not vary too much from the originally registered image.
In our experience it has surprised us on some occasions, when we had already forgotten about this type of recognition. Moments in which we did not even pose in front of the camera, but in which it has recognized us a second or two after turning on the mobile screen. However, it has become tedious for us when we have actively pursued this feature. It involves more steps to access the mobile and is not always effective . So, it has been relegated to a fortuitous complement if the circumstances are good: there is light and we pose in front of the mobile, even without realizing it.
For years, the fever for dual SIM terminals seems to spread to more and more manufacturers. And it seems that there are more and more users using two SIM cards simultaneously. Something that is solved without problems in the Samsung Galaxy A8, which has two slots and preloaded software to keep two different accounts active in the same services , as is the case with WhatsApp.
The slots are separated into two different spaces (top and left side of the terminal), and both are opened with the thumbtack system that includes the Galaxy A8 package. As for the aforementioned software, it is Dual Messaging , which is found in the Advanced Functions section of the terminal settings. With it we can duplicate WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Telegram accounts in a simple way. The applications are duplicated and marked with a special icon in one of the corners, thus being able to differentiate the professional account from the personal one.
As for the rest of the connectivity section, there is no complaint with this Galaxy A8. It integrates, in the tray of the second SIM, a space to incorporate microSD memory cards of up to 256 GB capacity . It also comes with a headphone port, without the need to use the Bluetooth connection to listen to music through headphones. There is also NFC to make use of the Samsung Pay payment service, Smart View connectivity to bring content to a Samsung SmartTV without problems, and all kinds of sensors, in addition to a USB type C port. Everything that can be required of a terminal today.
Fast charging and good autonomy
There are no complaints about the autonomy of the device. Its 3,000 mAh battery offers a life cycle that, under normal use that integrates more or less constant messaging, occasional games and applications that use GPS, lasts all day. Of course, compared to its little brother, the Galaxy A5, we notice how a larger processor and a longer screen can reduce its autonomy in a few hours. And it is that everything has a cost.
The good thing is that, to solve those days when the terminal is used more intensively, the Galaxy A8 has fast charging, like the rest of its family. This works quite agilely, recharging approximately 40 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes. Enough to give you a boost and get through the day without too much trouble.
Performance that is not surprising
And it is nothing bad in itself, since the Samsung Galaxy A8 is capable of moving any application or game of the moment with ease . Its performance is high for regular use. But it is in this section where it is discovered that it is not a top of the range, since the most demanding 3D games require adjustments in their graphic aspect so as not to jerk. However, it carries out everything expected of an upper-mid-range without problems.
This is because the processor that it brings with it is Samsung's own. It is the Exynos 7885 , an eight-core processor with ARM Cortex-A53 architecture and 64 bit that is effective and efficient, but without being the most powerful on the market.
In our experience we have come across only a few moments when the performance of the terminal has faltered. Some specific functions of Instagram , such as its Stories, seem to be able to become saturated in some moments, especially when many applications are open in the background. This causes the application to hang for a few seconds, or to force it to close and restart it. The same happens if we have a WhatsApp application full of messages and photos, in addition to many other open applications. Its operation may be delayed for a few seconds. But it is solved by closing all those applications instantly.
By the way, the processor is accompanied by 4 GB of RAM , which meets the standards of current options on the market. And it is accompanied by 32 GB of storage capacity, which can be expanded by microSD cards of up to 256 GB more. A point in favor so that there are no problems in storing content. A technical sheet that, as we say, is not surprising at this point in the market, and that is that there are many mid-range devices that marry them by betting on more adjusted prices.
Packed with apps but with Android Nougat
As we have seen throughout the review, Samsung's claims with the Galaxy A8 is to elevate the mid-range with high-end aspirations. All this with elements typical of the most powerful mobiles on the market, but with a reality that remains at a more affordable price. Logical when it comes to hardware, but not so much when it comes to software .
And is that the Samsung Galaxy A8 comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat as standard . Not with Android 8.0 Oreo, as would be expected with a new mobile. Of course this data does not reduce security or functionalities to the equipment, which has to be updated right out of the box; but it is a detail to take into account if we want a mobile that arrives prepared for the future. We can live without the Picture-in-picture or without the floating image, since Samsung's customization layer includes something similar, or with a not so efficient performance, but it is not logical.
Apart from this, and as usual, Samsung loads its phones with a multitude of its own and third-party applications with which it tries to satisfy the needs of any user. Samsung Pay stands out , which already has great integration in Spain, Microsoft's office applications, its own radio, calendar and browser application and, of course, its own application store, the Galaxy Apps.
During the user experience we have felt really comfortable with Touchwiz , and especially with the Always on display function. The sensations, along with the infinite screen, are of having the Galaxy S8 in hand. Moving around the applications is fluid and, although Touchwiz continues to slow down in very specific moments, the gestures are really comfortable. We have multi-window and even floating window options. And all of it is customizable.
We do not forget Bixby, the well-known Samsung assistant that is also present in the Galaxy A8. However, its presence is still testimonial, being able to take advantage only of its Bixby vision function through the camera or as an assistant for reminders and news on the screen to the left of the desktop. Something in which we have hardly invested time.
The first Galaxy A ready for Virtual Reality
The Samsung Galaxy A8 doesn't just offer services and experiences on its own. It is Samsung's first mid-range mobile ready for Virtual Reality , and it is fully compatible with the company's Gear VR. The helmet with which to enjoy immersive experiences such as visiting the Prado museum from home, or playing space titles without getting up from your chair. Of course, perhaps not with the fluidity of the S8 or Note 8, which have better processors and graphics chips.
Apart from this, Samsung has made this last terminal compatible with all kinds of wearables or accessories that it already had. We are talking about the Samsung Gear S3 watch, with which to measure workouts, walks or show notifications and other services directly without having to look at the mobile screen. Or the Gear IconX wireless headphones, which are inserted into the auditory cavities and linked via Bluetooth with the terminal to play all the music, again without having to access the mobile.
Elements, all of them, that once again demonstrate Samsung's interest in taking its Galaxy family one step beyond the mid-range with this A8. And that is to be appreciated, taking into account that it is still a mid-range terminal. He may not do it so fluently, but he is capable .
Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy A8 is Samsung's best mid-range mobile. All its characteristics stand out towards the high end in some respect. Its IP68-certified design , its infinite screen, its double front camera, the brightness of its main camera or its fast charging features and compatibility with Samsung peripherals make us wonder if it is not a somewhat more limited version of the Samsung Galaxy S8.
However, they have it difficult in today's market . Other companies like Huawei compete face to face with a very similar technical sheet with their Huawei Smart P and a somewhat lower price. A very important point for almost any user. To buy the Galaxy A8 you have to pay 500 euros , while the mid-range of other companies usually offers prices about 200 euros below. Of course, without the finishes and some of the features seen in the Samsung mobile.
The price of this Galaxy A8 can also be a problem for Samsung itself, whose flagship, the Galaxy S8 or even the Galaxy S8 +, can already be purchased online for around 500 euros . Something that makes things difficult for this great mid-range phone with a high-end aspiration. Will Samsung manage to keep its Galaxy A family among the best-selling devices despite the price?
- Its elegant, simple and typical design of a high-end mobile (except for the Edges curves)
- Infinite Super AMOLED display in a mid-range device
- Dual camera system for selfies
- IP68 certification
- Same sensations and experience as a Samsung Galaxy S8
It could get better
- Uncompetitive price in the current market
- Low-light front camera results lose a lot of definition
- Bixby is still a plugin that eventually appears useless
- Facial recognition ends up going unnoticed