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Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 review: A competent mid-ranger with triple cameras
Samsung recently unveiled the new iteration of its Galaxy A7 smartphone for the Indian market. The device is touted as the company's first smartphone with a triple camera setup. After Huawei introduced the P20 Pro, it was just a matter of time for other manufacturers to adopt the new antic.
- Triple camera
- Good display
- Convenient fingerprint sensor
- Sluggish UI
- Lacks fast charging
- Only Samsung Pay Mini available
Samsung was quick to respond and came up with its own triple camera phone, but at a much lower price. The 4GB/64GB variant of the phone is priced at Rs 23,990, while the 6GB/128GB variant will cost you Rs 28,990. The smartphone surely brings some high-end features to the table. But is it worthy enough to be the best in this price segment? Let's find out in our review.
- Display: 6-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display
- Processor: 2.2 GHz Exynos 7885 Octa-Core processor
- RAM: 4GB/6GB
- Storage: 64GB/128GB, expandable to 512GB
- Software: Android 8 Oreo
- Side mounted fingerprint sensor
- Rear Camera: 24MP f/1.7 autofocus sensor, 8MP f/2.4 ultra wide sensor, 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor
- Front Camera: 24MP f/2.0, LED flash, Selfie focus and Pro Lighting mode
- Samsung Pay
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: 3300mAh
The triple camera
The biggest highlight of the Galaxy A7 2018 is the triple camera setup placed on the rear panel of the phone. The setup comprises a 24MP autofocus sensor with f/1.7 aperture, an 8MP ultra wide sensor with f/2.4 aperture, and a 5MP depth sensor with a fixed focus and f/2.2 aperture for the bokeh effect.
Considering it's a triple camera setup, we had very high expectations with the camera. We tried to use almost all the camera settings to get the most out of the camera while pushing it to the edge.
The images taken during bright lighting conditions came out really good with an ample amount of detail and no signs of noise. The pictures offered good dynamic range and sharpness.
Speaking of the low light photography, the Galaxy A7 didn't really impress us that much. The images taken in low-light lacked details and sharpness. However, it doesn't fail miserably, it could have done more with the pixel binning technology.
The 8MP sensor lets users capture ultra-wide shots at 120-degree angles in contrast to conventional smartphone cameras that offer only 78-degree angles. The ultra-wide angle sensor also works while taking videos, allowing for more area to be captured at once. For selfies, Samsung has added a 24MP shooter which also has support for AR Emoji and wide selfie mode.
Overall, we believe that the triple camera sure brings high-end functionality, but the software could have been more optimized. The camera also needs some tweaks in the low-light photography department.
With the new A-series model, Samsung decided to go ahead with a glass back, with polycarbonate frames running along the edges. Despite housing a triple camera setup on the rear panel, that protrudes a bit, the Galaxy A7 still manages to be as slim as 7.5mm. This offers a good grip to the palm and makes its ideal for one hand usage. Samsung has also stuck to its design formula and still managed to avoid the controversial notch.
Samsung also relocated the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy A7 2018. The sensor now sits on the right side of the device below the volume rockers. The fingerprint sensor also doubles as the power/ wake-up key.
In a time where major smartphone makers are doing away with the 3.5mm audio jack in favor of the Type-C port, Samsung also managed to keep the functionality alive through all its devices. The Galaxy A7 2018 also continues the tradition, making it easy for the users to use a wide range of third-party hands-free products.
Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 comes with a brilliant 6-inch Super AMOLED display with True FHD+ resolution and 1080 x 2220 pixels. The screen offers an aspect ratio of 18:5:9 which really makes the viewing experience better and ideal for multimedia consumption. The display is also protected by Gorilla Glass, but the version isn't mentioned.
The sunlight legibility of the device is also decent, and we didn't face any major issues using the phone in direct sunlight. The display setting also offers different color profiles to choose from according to users visual requairements. The Always-on display adds to the overall equation, making it convenient to check the time and notifications without having to wake up the screen. The company has also added an Always on home button which can be used to wake up the phone by tapping on it twice.
The color reproduction on the display is impressive making the colors look crisp and vivid. The 6-inch display has a True FHD+ resolution and is Widewine L1 certified, meaning the display is capable of playing HD videos from all the video streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others.
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
With the latest smartphone, Samsung has changed the way of unlocking the device. The Galaxy A7 comes with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which is very convenient to unlock the device without moving the fingers. It is an active fingerprint sensor which means you just need to place your thumb on it to unlock the device. The unlock process was swift most of the times, however, we did notice that the sensor failed to recognize the fingerprint few times.
The company was previously criticized for its the fingerprint sensor placement on devices like the Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S8. The company has taken queues from the consumer feedback and made appropriate alterations to the placement of the sensor on the new phone.
Although Samsung did try to offer a new functionality with the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, it would have made the device even more special if it had the in-display fingerprint sensor, which the company is said to be working on. This would have made the device stand out in the much crowded mid-range market, which is dominated by Oppo and Vivo at the moment. Recently, Vivo also launched its V11 Pro with an in-display sensor and falls in the same price bracket as the Galaxy A7.
Under the hood, the Galaxy A7 2018 is powered by an Exynos 7885 processor with two 2.2GHz Cortex-A73 CPU cores and six 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 CPU cores. Samsung used the same chipset for its Galaxy A8+ as well. The SoC is backed by 4GB/6GB of RAM. Both variants come with an expandable memory of 512GB. The good part is that the Galaxy A7 allows users to install the apps on the memory card, or move their social media content directly to the card. This feature isn't quite popular among other smartphones in this price range.
The smartphone runs Android 8.0 Oreo with Experience UI 9.5 on the top. Though the UI offers a lot of bloatware, it still manages to easily handle the tasks. However, we did notice the UI lagging at times while switching between the apps and running numerous apps in the background.
The device also has support for Samsung's smart assistant Bixby and offers Bixby vision which is a smart way to interact with the surroundings. The device is also ready with Samsung pay, so users can make payments without reaching out for their wallets. But Samsung has only provided the mini version of the service, which means you won't be able to use your phones at PoS terminals.
The Galaxy A7 2018 is juiced by a 3300mAh battery, which is capable enough to keep the device running for a whole day. In case of a moderate user, the device could easily last for one and a half day. The device doesn't support fast charging which seems like a missed opportunity by Samsung, as many phones in the similar price segment come with the fast charging tech.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy qualifies as an impressive performer. It offers a good set of cameras, decent performance, and an excellent battery backup. Starting at a price of Rs 23,990, it is still cheaper than the Galaxy A6+ at the time of launch. It is good to see the company bringing high-end smartphones at an aggressive price. There are a few areas where the phone could have done a little extra to gain more buyers, but overall this is a good package.
There are other phones who offer better specifications on paper, but the Galaxy A7 2018 is a great bargain as well. If you are okay with a phone that has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, alongside a good camera performance, then spending Rs 23,990 isn't a bad deal. Though the 6GB/128GB variant might be a little expensive for the features it brings along. As we mentioned earlier in our first impressions of the device - the 4GB / 64GB variant is a clear winner in our opinion, but the 6GB/128GB variant... well, not so much.