January 23 2018
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Samsung Galaxy A8 Review – Metallic Beauty

Samsung revved up its smartphone range with metallic form factors this season. The Samsung Galaxy A8, the mid-range offering is a big, yet sleek phone.

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Samsung has split its offerings under different letters. While S is still the flagship, it is no more used for all the phones, rather the ‘J’ series is the series of affordable phones while the ‘A’ series comprises of mid-range yet suave phones. The Samsung A8 takes its design elements from the A3 and A5 and builds up upon them. Yet, it is closer to the premium Note and S-series phones in feel, looks and pricing.

We have had the Galaxy A8 for some weeks and tested it out.

Here is our view of different aspects of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy A8 specs:

  • 5.7 inch display
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal memory
  • 16 MP primary camera
  • 5 MP front facing camera
  • Android v5.1 Lollipop
  • 3050 mAh battery

Hardware

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In terms of hardware, the Galaxy A8 does quite decently. The metallic frame looks and feels great. While the SA8 is too big for someone with small hands like me, it was still easy to hold.

The design is good to look at and operatively the phone works well.

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While the bottom of the phone houses both the MicroUSB port and the 3.5-mm audio jack, the top of the phone has been kept relatively free just a microphone on top.

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A similar philosophy has been followed on the sides of the device. One side houses volume up and down buttons along with a SIM and a SIM/MicroSD slot while the other is mostly plain with just a power button in sight.

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The bezels have been kept very think on this phone, giving you a large amount of screen area to work on. Below the display, there is the home button housing the fingerprint  and back and recent tab capacitive buttons that light up on touch. Above it, there is the speaker grille and the 5-megapixel front cam.

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The back of the Galaxy A8 is made of plastic rather than glass or metal. This makes it more equipped to take on heating issues and more smudge free. The only trouble was that the finish did not provide necessary friction and there was always a danger of the phone slipping from your hand.

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The 16-megapixel rear cam is located towards the top of the back, accompanied by a speaker grille while the Duos logo and the certifications are towards the bottom. The back is non-removable.

At 5.9mm, the device is big yet thin.

In terms of hardware, the Samsung Galaxy A8 does score some brownie points and does well for itself.

Display

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The 5.7-inch display on the Galaxy A8 is the star of the handset. The full HD display covers the front of the handset expansively, owing to the thin bezels. It is generally pretty responsive, whether it be switching between apps, multitasking or gaming.

It is a little smudgy and you have to turn up the brightness to get good sunlight visibility.

Once again, the big display size is a raw deal for people with small hands.

Software

The software on the Galaxy A8 is the same as most Samsung phones priced above mid-range. There are a lot of apps, some being redundantly placed since there are Google apps for the same purpose already, like S Voice vis-a-vis Google Now.

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The A8 comes with Android Lollipop along with the new TouchWiz UI. The same double press gestures work on the A8 like the Samsung Galaxy Note and S6.

The fingerprint lock on the lock screen works well to secure your phone.

You can also use stuff such as ‘Private Mode’ and Samsung Knox for enhanced security.

Swiping right will pull out Flipboard and when you try to use the drop down menu only the most prominent shortcuts come out at first, you have to drop down further to see the whole menu.

Although Samsung allows you to disable unwanted apps, you still can pilfer with the TouchWiz ones  which is a pity. Multi-Window usage is easy on this phone.

Samsung has partnered with Microsoft to provide 100 GB OneDrive storage on the Galaxy A8. The smart manager boosts your phone performance and is worth mentioning.

Generally, TouchWiz fares well on the Galaxy A8, unlike many other Snapdragon 615 phones, thanks to Samsung’s optimization.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy A8 uses a similar camera to the flagship Note series, albeit without features such as OIS and other customizations.

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The camera looks impressive and is rightly placed for easy focusing.

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The camera UI doesn’t offer too many customizations.

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Samsung Galaxy A8 Indoor Shots

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Samsung Galaxy A8 Outdoor shots

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Shots from the Galaxy A8

Photography with the Galaxy A8 generally is a charm, yet, it has its nicks and crevasses. Indoor shots in artificial light came out fuzzy, while even in extreme sunlight, the camera gives up.

On the whole, we did manage some decent shots from the Samsung Galaxy A8 with not too much to complain about.

Performance

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The A8 comes with a Snapdragon 615 chipset under the hood. It has two A53 cores and uses an Adreno 405 GPU. It also has 2 GB RAM.

The device does decently in  benchmarks and generally performs well. Battery life is average, though. Since it is a 615, we do not recommend high-end gaming.

Verdict

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The A8 is a decent looking device. It is thin yet, big and a good mix of metal and plastic. It comes with a well-performing 16-megapixel camera along with external MicroSD support.

We generally enjoyed using the A8 and it did not give too much to complain about.

At Rs. 32,900 it is definitely not cheap, but think of it as a muted version of the Note, which comes at double the price. Its thin frame and big screen make this phone seem aspirational.

But you can go for a Moto X for around the same price or even a OnePlus 2 for much less.

But if you are fixated on a Samsung phone and don’t have much usage for the S-Pen, this is the phone that we would recommend.

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