Samsung launched the Galaxy A8 smartphone in India, for a price of Rs 32,500. This is the company's latest addition to its A series of smartphones which are essentially known for being flaunting predominantly metal, instead of the plastic or polycarbonate material that brought much criticism to Samsung in the past.
The Galaxy A8 too brings the goodness of metal, combined with powerful specs that make it quite an attractive smartphone. So you get a premium looking smartphone that features full HD display, Exynos octa-core chipset, 16-megapixel camera, fingerprint scanner and much more, on paper. But, the clock stops ticking at its price!
We are not exactly calling the phone overpriced for its design, but considering the price of company's previously launched premium smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S5, that is now available for as low as Rs 23,000, we wonder how the phone will stand a chance in competition from its own family members, let alone other comparatively cheaper smartphones in competition.
In addition to that, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge can now be purchased for as low as Rs 38,500 online, which again bring up the question around the pricing strategy for Samsung's smartphones. Nevertheless, the Galaxy A8 is designed well and packs in specs and features that, as per the company, will help it challenge its competitors from other top OEMs.
We got to play with the phone for a while, and here are our first impressions about it:
Design and display
There is no doubt about it that the Galaxy A8 has a very premium look and feel; thanks to its slim, metal build with chamfered edges on left and right. It is thin at 5.9mm, yet feels sturdy. The phone is based on the design we have seen on Samsung's other premium smartphones in some or the other way, still we found it prettier than ever.
Ergonomically, it does look big with a massive 5.7-inch display, but not very heavy or uncomfortable on hand. Samsung has this time chamfered the lower part of the sides. So you don't get exactly curved sides, but the change makes it comfortable for a user to hold the phone and use it. Also, it helps the phone score more in the design department.
The front flaunts a 5-megapixel camera, Samsung branding, a 5.7 inch display, home key that doubles up as fingerprint scanner, and two capacitive keys. The right side houses a power key, while volume keys along with SIM-card slots are placed on left side. The rear has camera with flash, and Samsung branding.
As far as display is concerned, there is a massive 5.7-inch FHD AMOLED display which is a treat to eyes, and works well under daylight. The display gets 2.5mm bezel on sides.
Processor and storage space
The Galaxy A8 is powered by Samsung's Exynos 5 octa-core chipset with quad-core ticking at 1.8GHz and quad-core at 1.3GHz, paired with 2GB of RAM. Just to recall, even Samsung Galaxy S5 is powered by the same processor, and is selling for merely Rs. 23,000 online, which is Rs 10,000 cheaper than the Galaxy A8. Considering the performance review of the Galaxy S5, we say that the phone will be good at processing for most functions. Rest can only be said after we review the phone.
Storage space is plenty in the phone, as it offers 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded by up to 128GB on microSD card. However, considering that OnePlus 2 comes with a 4GB of RAM combined with 62GB of internal storage, you may wish the phone to have come with higher RAM.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 features a 16-megapixel rear snapper camera with f/1.9 aperture and LED flash, and up front, a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The camera worked fine for us during the brief hands-on period, and we are yet to test the phone to give an opinion on its performance.
The phone has Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based on Samsung's native TouchWiz UI. It is well known that Samsung's boatware is heavy and gives problems with time. This time as well, the software brings several pre-installed apps and features, which are likely to hinder the performance of the phone sooner or later.
Over all, Samsung Galaxy A8 scores well due to its good looks, and seems attractive for its specs on paper, but still does not really stand out in the crowd. With phones like OnePlus 2 coming to the market in just about a few days, and the upcoming Xiaomi's Mi5, LG Nexus 5 (2015 Edition) and others, the competition is only going to grow. And in that case, the Galaxy A8 in all possible ways is more likely to fail to appeal much in terms of features and specs.
However, going by the trend, it won't be long when the Galaxy A8 will get a price cut. It might then be a better deal, than now!